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Gampopa Teaches Essence Mahamudra

Gampopa Teaches Essence Mahamudra

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Description Table of Contents
Title Gampopa Teaches Essence Mahamudra
Sub-title Interviews with his Heart Disciples, Dusum Khyenpa and Others
Author Tony Duff
Details 342 pages, 3 colour plates, 6" X 9" (large format), US$35, available in paper, PDF e-book, and Kindle e-book formats
ISBN paper book 978-9937-572-08-8, e-book 978-9937-572-09-5
Texts Tibetan texts in Tibetan script not included
This book began as a translation of the “Interviews” section of Gampopa’s Collected Works. Interviews or “question and answer sessions” as they are literally called in Tibetan are records of the personal interviews of a great teacher with those who come to see him. These are amongst the most interesting writings to be found in Tibetan literature because of the very personal quality found in them. The interviews section of Gampopa’s Collected Works consists of interviews with four of his greatest yogin disciples—the first Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa, source of most of the lesser Kagyu lineages Phagmo Drupa, Lord Gomtshul, and Yogin Choyung.

The outstanding feature of these interviews is that Gampopa [1079–1153] uses them to give private teachings on Essence Mahamudra, the ultimate transmission of Mahamudra within the Kagyu lineage. In one session after another, Gampopa reveals all the teachings of Essence Mahamudra to his foremost disciples in a thoroughly personal, pointed, and practical manner. Another feature of these interviews is the very clear picture they paint of how the ultimate Mahamudra teaching was given in the early days of the Kagyu lineage. Many important points of the teaching, some which seem to have been lost historically, can be understood from them. Yet another feature of these interviews is that the majority of them are notes that were taken on the spot or written out just after the interviews. As such, they are historical records which give us a very personal sense of Gampopa and these great disciples and what they went through on their personal journeys to enlightenment. More than that though, the reader gets a distinct impression of the personalities involved through their own, hand-written records.

Gampopa tells the story of his own dharma journey on two occasions in the book. Here he tells it in his own words to Dusum Khyenpa who has recorded it for us:
Read a preview of Dusum Khyenpa’s interviews

Because the interviews are so focussed on Gampopa’s presentation of Mahamudra, two more texts from his Collected Works were added to give a further sense of his way of teaching it: first, a short text which is the root of his famous “Four Dharmas of Gampopa” teaching; and second a medium-length text which records an oral teaching he gave on the entire path of Mahamudra. These two texts form a perfect introduction to the teachings contained in the interviews. A point of interest is that the first addition makes the original teaching of “The Four Dharmas of Gampopa” available in English for the first time. Gampopa’s explanation of the Four Dharmas differs a little from some modern-day presentations of it, a point which is clarified for the reader in the introduction to the book.

A very lengthy introduction has been provided to help the reader see and understand the many interesting threads contained in this book, including paraphrases of the entirety of Phagmo Drupa’s interviews. Extensive footnotes and a long glossary have been provided so that the reader can clearly understand all the details involved.

The book contains translations of the following texts:
The Four Dharmas in Brief
Precious Garland of the Supreme Path
Lord Dvagpo’s Personal Advice and Lord Gomtshul’s Interviews
Dusum Khyenpa’s Interviews
Lord Phagmo Drupa’s Interviews
Yogin Choyung’s Interview

Download Tibetan texts in TibetD format: not available yet. These texts can be found in Gampopa’s Collected Works.

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