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Flight of the Garuda by Zhabkar

Flight of the Garuda by Zhabkar

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Description Table of Contents
Title Flight of the Garuda
Sub-title A Complete Explanation of Thorough Cut by Zhabkar
Author Translation and extensive introduction by Tony Duff
Details 248 pages, 2 colour plates, 6" X 9" (large format), US$30, available in paper, PDF e-book, and Kindle e-book formats
ISBN paper book 978-9937-572-05-7, e-book 978-9937-572-04-0
Texts Tibetan texts in Tibetan script included
Flight of the Garuda is a series of twenty-three songs sung by the Dzogchen master Tshogdrug Rangdrol [1781–1850 C.E.] for the sake of his students. The songs explain the practice called Thorough Cut (Thregcho), which is one of the two innermost practices of Dzogchen or Great Completion. Tshogdrug Rangdrol, who is more commonly known as Zhabkar, later compiled the songs into a text. Over time, this text became one of the most popular texts used to explain Thorough Cut because of its complete and very clear treatment of the practice.

Zhabkar went further and made Flight of the Garuda into the first of a trilogy of texts. The other two texts in the trilogy explain the second innermost practice of Dzogchen, called Direct Crossing (Thogal). These two texts are not included in this book, though a clear explanation of all three texts in the trilogy is given in the introduction. Note that the second text of the trilogy is essentially the famous text by Jigmey Lingpa Guidebook called “Highest Wisdom” (Triyig Yeshe Lama) re-arranged by Zhabkar and put into verse. Jigmey Lingpa’s text is available in English through PKTC, which means that there is way to obtain the content of the second text of the trilogy without it being translated into English. The third text of the trilogy contains personal instructions on Thogal which were meant for Zhabkar’s students and which might not be suitable for publication in English.

The translation here is a fresh translation of Flight of the Garuda which improves considerably on two earlier translations. The translation was made by Lama Tony in Tibet, while receiving an extended teaching on the entire text by the great treasure revealer Ontrul Tenpa’i Wangchuk. The translation benefits from the exceptional knowledge and high realization of this master and the general atmosphere of pure blessings of the Nyingthig Dzogchen (Quintessential Great Completion) tradition in his retreat centre.

Those who have read either of the other translations available will be surprised and delighted at this translation. Verse and prose versions of the translation are provided to accomodate all needs. A summary of topics of the text, by Ontrul Tenpa’i Wangchuk, which has not been seen before and which helps considerably to understanding the many topics within the text itself has been included.

A lengthy introduction helps the reader understand the background to the text. Extensive footnotes and a long glossary have been provided so that the reader can clearly understand all the details involved.

Ontrul Tenpa’i Wangchuk’s principal lineage of Dzogchen teachings is that of Dzogchen Monastery, Tibet. Dza Patrul is an early figure of the same lineage who wrote a very famous commentary on Thorough Cut called Feature of the Expert Glorious King. Ontrul Tenpa’i Wangchuk has written a commentary to it which is available from PKTC under the title Relics of Dharmakaya.

The book contains translations of the following texts:
Song of the View of the Thorough Cut of Luminosity Great Completion Called “Flight of the Garuda Capable of Quickly Traversing All the Levels and Paths”
A Summary of the Guidebook to the Thorough Cut View, Flight of the Garuda, Called “A Key to Unravel the Treasury of the Three Lineages’ Instructions”
Download Tibetan texts in TibetD format: available here.

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Average Rating: Average Rating: 5 of 5 5 of 5 Total Reviews: 1 Write a review »

  0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Best Translation of Flight of the Garuda Available October 4, 2018
Reviewer: Dirk Johnson from California  
Keith Dowman's translation of Flight of the Garuda truly inspired me when I was relatively new to the Vajrayana path, and I thank him deeply for that. It was the clearest explication of the Dzogchen view and path that I could find at the time, and it was a brilliant light shining at the end of what looked like a long tunnel.<br/><br/>

After 22 more years of study and practice, and the great good fortune to meet and learn from several exemplary Nyingma Dzogchen masters and Khenpos, I  bought Lama Tony Duff's translation of Flight of the Garuda and started to read it in tandem with Keith Dowman's translation. But I quickly dropped Dowman's translation and stayed focused on the translation by Lama Tony Duff.<br/><br/>

The translation made by Tony Duff is much more straightforward and clear, and the explanatory notes are much more to the point. It also contains a summary that aids in the study, comprehension, and recall of the root text. I also appreciate the verse-form layout, which reminds me that the original text was written in verse. If you prefer a prose-style layout, he has also provided that.<br/><br/>

I'm not qualified to judge whether Mr. Dowman or Lama Tony is the more highly trained, accomplished, and realized Dzogchen practitioner.  But I am qualified to judge writing in English. Lama Tony's translation is a peak to which other translators will aspire for many years to come.

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