MAHA VAIROCANA ABHISAMBODHI TANTRA by Stephen Hodge, Tr.
With Buddhaguhya's Commentary
During the last thirty years there has been a revolution in the understanding and appreciation of the Buddhist tantras in the West. [...] This new interest in the Buddhist tantras still has many limitations and unfortunately a detailed description of the development of tantric thought and practices is far from being complete. [...]
FIVE BUDDHA FAMILIES AND THE EIGHT CONSCIOUSNESSES by Thrangu Rinpoche
Thrangu Rinpoche has often taught the transformation of our confused mind, which is full oThrangu Rinpoche has often taught the transformation of our confused mind, which is full of delusion and defilements, into enlightened mind.
Here he describes the confused mind in terms of the eight consciousnesses, which are the five sensory consciousnesses, the mental consciousness, the afflicted consciousness ( which gives us our sense of "I" and "me") and the alaya or storehouse consciousness.
The subject of this teaching is the five buddhas, also called the five buddha families, although it is more proper to speak of the five buddha potentials because a "family" in this sense is a type or species of wisdom that each of us can develop. For a proper understanding of the five buddhas, it is necessary to first have some basic knowledge about how sentient beings such as ourselves exist. Every sentient being is physically composed of accumulations of the five elements and mentally composed of accumulations of the five mental afflictions. There is nothing, neither our own body nor any external phenomena, that is not composed of the five elements. All living beings, including ourselves, depend upon five elements.
The Mandala of the Five Buddhas is a map to our unconscious world and a blueprint of what we could become. The five Buddhas are aspects of Enlightenment, a state of boundless compassion, energy and wisdom that we can choose to develop. Accompanied by Vessantara, we can take a vivid journey into the heart of the mandala to meet these five majestic figures and begin to awaken in ourselves the qualities that they embody.
DEITY YOGA in Action and Performance Tantras by H.H. the Dalai Lama, Tsong-ka-pa and Jeffrey Hopkins (also trans. & ed.)
Describes the profound process of meditation in Action and Performance Tantras--the basis of higher tantric practices. It explains the meditative rites of deity yoga-- visualizing oneself as a Buddha's divine body manifesting compassionate wisdom. Parts 2 & 3 of the Great Exposition of Secret Mantra by Tsong-ka-pa detail special deity yoga techniques for developing the heart, mind and physical form of a Buddha. The mudras (hand gestures) that accompany the meditations are clearly illustrated. The sequel to Tantra in Tibet.
The Paradise of the Buddha of Measureless Light Sanskrit and Chinese Version of the SukhavThe Paradise of the Buddha of Measureless Light Sanskrit and Chinese Version of the Sukhavativyuha Sutras.
This is a free translation of two Buddhist texts on what is arguably the most popular of all Buddhist conceptions of an ideal world, the "Land of Bliss" of the Buddha Amitabha, the Buddha of Infinite Light. The two texts, known to Western students of Buddhism as the "Smaller" and "Larger" Sukhavativyuha Sutra, explain the conditions that lead to rebirth in Pure Land and the manner in which human beings are reborn there.
Approaching the Land of Bliss: Religious Praxis in the Cult of Amitabha by Pane & Tanaka
The discourse of Buddhist studies has traditionally been structured around texts and nations (the transmission of Buddhism from India to China to Japan). And yet, it is doubtful that these categories reflect in any significant way the organizing themes familiar to most Buddhists. It could be argued that cultic practices associated with particular buddhas and bodhisattvas are more representative of the way Buddhists conceive of their relation to tradition. This volume aims to explore this aspect of Buddhism by focusing on one of its most important cults, that of the Buddha Amitabha.
AMITABHA LONG COMMENTARY by Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche
[...] When we explain that Amitabha's pure land is a buddha realm where any ordinary being can experience rebirth, some people may underestimate the power of this pure realm. Such a person might think, "Well, that realm must be ordinary and probably does not have the power of an actual buddha field, because anyone can experience rebirth here."
But you need to understand that Amitabha's buddha field is as powerful, and as pure, as any other buddha field [...]. It is said that by being reborn in Amitabha Buddha's pure land, you naturally obtain many miraculous powers of realization; that in an instant, you have the power to visit any buddha field you wish to visit, in order to obtain dharma teachings. [...]
CHENREZIG-AMITABHA COMMENTARY by Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche
[...] Since Chenrezik is the embodiment of so many noble qualities, the qualities of a lama, the qualities of a yidam, the qualities of the perfectly noble one among realized beings, then Chenrezik is the lord of protection, or KYAP GON CHENREZIK. KYAP means "to protect" and GON means "lord", the leader. So KYAP GON means "lord of protection", indicating that Chenrezik embodies all of these qualities, is worthy of leading beings toward liberation, and is capable of protecting beings from their confusion and suffering. [...] excerpt from page 24.
[...] As explained earlier, all mahayana practices begin with taking refuge and developing bodhicitta, and end with the dedication prayer. Likewise, this Amitabha sadhana begins with taking refuge. We may wonder why refuge is necessary here, since we already did the refuge prayer at the beginning of the Chenrezik practice. There is no harm in repeatedly taking refuge. In fact, the more times we take refuge and develop bodhicitta, the better. In addition, in our personal practice, we can definitely do the Amitabha practice without doing the Chenrezik practice first, in which case the Amitabha practice is not complete without beginning by taking refuge and bodhicitta. [...] excerpt from page 46.
This extraordinary book clearly outlines and discusses the methods for transforming both body and mind through the highest forms of tantric practice. Highest Yoga Tantra is the pinnacle of tantric systems found in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
- Part One discusses the practices common to sutra and tantra.
- Part Two presents the generation stage of Highest Yoga Tantra.
- Part Three covers the entirety of the completion stage yogas (i.e., physical isolation, verbal isolation, mental isolation, illusory body, clear light, and union).
- Part Four compares the Kalachakra and Guhyasamaja stages of completion.
Remarkable for its definitive clarity, this exposition of the stages of Highest Yoga Tantra is the first of its kind in the English language and a must for anyone interested in these highest tantras.