A Juggernaut of the Non-Dual View
Ultimate Teachings of the Second Drukchen, Gyalwang Je
290 pages, 1 colour plate, 6" X 9" (large format), US25, available in paper and Kindle e-book formats
paper book 978-9937-572-07-1, e-book 978-9937-572-06-4
Tibetan text in Tibetan script not included
This is a remarkable book with many interesting themes. It presents a translation of the text entitled
“Chariot of Establishment”, Treasure Trove of a Mind Absorbed in the Profound
by the second Drukchen [1428-1476 C.E.] or leader of the Drukpa Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. To begin with, it is of interest simply because it is the first major text of
Drukpa Kagyu teachings to have been translated into English.
The text is a compilation of over sixty different oral teachings given by the second Drukchen. The compiler, an attendant, tells us that the teachings included were selected because they establish the ultimate, non-dual view of the Kagyu tradition as it is presented by the Drukpa Kagyu. The text begins with a long teaching on the view of the Kagyu in general, making it of interest to all Kagyu followers. An important feature of this teaching is that it clearly shows the Other Emptiness approach which is at the root of the Kagyu view, though does so according to the earliest teachings of the Kagyu lineage in which the name “Other Emptiness” is not mentioned. Through it, we see how Other Emptiness was taught originally in the Kagyu and we see how the Drukpa Kagyu in particular presents the Other Emptiness view of the Kagyu without using the name “Other Emptiness”.
The text continues to a second long teaching in which the second Drukchen neatly establishes
the view of the tantras as non-dual wisdom seen in direct perception. In doing so, he cleanly
chops the Tibetan Buddhist schools who are infamous for insisting that the emptiness of the
second turning of the wheel of the sutra teaching is the utltimate non-dual view. This
is a fascinating chapter because it shows a logic to establishing the view which has rarely
been seen in the West to this point. It will certainly give academics who have thought
that the emptiness of the Middle Way is the ultimate presentation of the view something to
The text then presents many smaller teachings on the view, always with reference to the
non-dual view of Kalachakra as the ultimate way to establish the view. Thus, the book also contains many teachings on tantra in general as well as many interesting points from the Kalachakra. For instance, there are clear explanations of mother, father, and non-dual tantra and how each demands a different approach. One chapter has a fascinating presentation which shows the meaning of Kalachakra; it shows that the commonplace translation of Kalachakra as “Wheel of Time” is mistaken. Read a preview of the book here:
Read a preview of chapter 49 on the meaning of Kalachakra
A long introduction by the author, giving a history of the lineage, a guide to the Other
Emptiness view and how it is presented in the various Kagyu schools, and more will be of
great help to readers of all levels. A second chapter by the author is dedicated to clarifying
the meaning of the first and largest chapter on the view.
Obviously, the book will be of great interest to Drukpa Kagyu followers. However, it should be of great interest to a wider audience because it shows how the Kagyus express the ultimate, non-dual view and it also shows how the practice of tantra is the ultimate approach to the Buddha’s teaching. Personally, I find this a difficult book to summarize because it has so many different threads, all of which are of interest.
The book contains translations of the following texts:
“Chariot of Establishment”, Treasure Trove of a Mind Absorbed in the Profound Meaning
Download Tibetan texts in TibetD format: This work is part of the Second Drukchen Kunga Paljor’sCollected Works. Much of his collected works is available in the Drukpa Kagyu Heritage Project Collection which is available through PKTC.
1. The Author of the Text, Gyalwang Je, and his Lineage
2. The Text of Gyalwang Je’s Teachings
3. The Main Themes in the Text
4. More About the Other Emptiness View
5. Who is Right?
7. Maintaining the Style of the Original Text
8. Assistance with the Teachings
Guide to the Meaning of Teaching One
Guide to Teaching One, an Extensive Teaching on the View
Gyalwang Je’s Teachings
1. A long explanation of the view of the Kagyu School through the sequence of the four turnings of the wheel. The explanation uses quotes from Milarepa’s famous text An Authentic Expression of the Middle Way and Gampopa’s Four Dharmas, and shows how the relationship between sutra and tantra systems is viewed in the school
2. The relationship between the three vehicles and the certainties of view, vehicle, tenet. The section on tenet shows the conventional and mantric understandings of tenet, and uses that to clarify the mode of accomplishment in the common and Mantra vehicles
3. Discussions of points of misunderstanding that have occurred regarding the teachings of the Kagyu gives rise to a discussion of the view
4. The two truths. A brief discussion of the various types of truth and how they should be understood
5. A proper distinction between the sutra and tantra forms of “emptiness having the excellence of all aspects” and a discussion based on that of the tantric path
and so on up to chapter 66
Glossary of Terms