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Mahamudra: The Moonlight -- Quintessence of Mind and Meditation Paperback – June 5, 2006

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Editorial Reviews


"This updated edition of an English translation of a great classic for mastering mind and meditation comes recommended by the Dalai Lama. Mahamudra is a profound meditative discipline that is most accessible for modern practitioners, and this book presents first the common approach, and then the Mahamudra approach to tranquility and insight. A fundamentally valuable addition to one's Dharma library." (Mandala)

About the Author

Dakpo Tashi Namgyal (1511-87), a lineage holder of the Drukpa Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism who also trained in the Sakya school, was renowned as both a scholar and meditator. During his later years he served as chief abbot of Daklha Gampo in southern Tibet.

Lobsang P. Lhalungpa was born in Lhasa, Tibet. From 1940 until 1952, he was a monk-official in the service of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and of the Tibetan government. He established the first Tibetan-language program of All India Radio and dedicated his life to the promotion and preservation of Tibet's rich spiritual and cultural tradition. Lhalungpa translated The Life of Milarepa, and was chosen by His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa to translate Mahamudra: The Moonlight. He authored Tibet: The Sacred Realm. He lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for many years before his death in 2008.

Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He frequently describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk. Born in northeastern Tibet in 1935, he was as a toddler recognized as the incarnation of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama and brought to Tibet's capital, Lhasa. In 1950, Mao Zedong's Communist forces made their first incursions into eastern Tibet, shortly after which the young Dalai Lama assumed the political leadership of his country. He passed his scholastic examinations with honors at the Great Prayer Festival in Lhasa in 1959, the same year Chinese forces occupied the city, forcing His Holiness to escape to India. There he set up the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, working to secure the welfare of the more than 100,000 Tibetan exiles and prevent the destruction of Tibetan culture. In his capacity as a spiritual and political leader, he has traveled to more than sixty-two countries on six continents and met with presidents, popes, and leading scientists to foster dialogue and create a better world. In recognition of his tireless work for the nonviolent liberation of Tibet, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. In 2012, he relinquished political authority in his exile government and turned it over to democratically elected representatives.

His Holiness frequently states that his life is guided by three major commitments: the promotion of basic human values or secular ethics in the interest of human happiness, the fostering of interreligious harmony, and securing the welfare of the Tibetan people, focusing on the survival of their identity, culture, and religion. As a superior scholar trained in the classical texts of the Nalanda tradition of Indian Buddhism, he is able to distill the central tenets of Buddhist philosophy in clear and inspiring language, his gift for pedagogy imbued with his infectious joy. Connecting scientists with Buddhist scholars, he helps unite contemplative and modern modes of investigation, bringing ancient tools and insights to bear on the acute problems facing the contemporary world. His efforts to foster dialogue among leaders of the world's faiths envision a future where people of different beliefs can share the planet in harmony. Wisdom Publications is proud to be the premier publisher of the Dalai Lama's more serious and in-depth works.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 532 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications; 2nd edition (June 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0861712994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861712991
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #499,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For some reason this wasn't included in the new edition, perhaps because of the change of publisher. Here it is, for those who are interested:

"I am so delighted that this text is being published in the English language. It will greatly benefit English-speaking students of Buddhism. I myself have used this text in working with my students, and I have always found that it communicates, clearly and simply, the Mahamudra teachings of the Practice Lineage. I am very pleased that now English-speaking students can read and study this book in their own language.

"The term Mahamudra in Sanskrit of chaggya chenpo (phyag rgrya chen po) in Tibetan literally means "the great symbol." Mahamudra refers to an actual experience of realization that we ourselves might have. As this text makes very clear, the ground of Mahamudra is experienced in the sitting practice of meditation. So although Mahamudra is very deep and profound, it can only be realized through the direct and simple practice of samatha and vipashyana meditation.

"The precision and accuracy of mediation allow us to rest in our natural state of being, and out of that we are able to realize that homes and fears and emotions of all kinds no longer need be regarded as obstacles or highlights. In mediation practice, there is always some sense of going and not going, some process of thinking taking place. Nonetheless, beyond that process of thinking and not thinking, there is some basis of though, nonconceptualization. No matter how confused we might be, there is a dancing ground of experience that is common to everyone.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read at least 100 Buddhist books, most of the great ones; and yet I believe
this is one of the greatest. It has answered almost every question I have had about
Mahamudra, questions I have pondered for years. It has made perfectly clear the correct view of emptiness. Chandrikirti's Madhyamakavatara was also great in explaining this but not as clear as this work by Dagpo Tashi Namgyal. It also contains a treasure of great comments from Milarepa, Gampopa, Nagarjuna, Saraha,
Savari, Tilopa, Marpa, Maitripa. The quotes from Gampopa and Saraha are pure treasures as is this book.

Here is a quotqtion from Samputa:

when looking at forms,
when listening to sounds,
when speaking or laughing,
when relishing different flavors,
when performing different actions,
a true meditator who controls his mind
will experience a constant dawning of the natural state,
for this is the supreme enlightened mind (bodhichitta)
it is the industructible one, the glorious
industructible mind (Vajradhara)
the completely purified enlightenment(Samyaksambuddha)

gampopa says:

Now I understand that this inmost awarenes,
clear and empty, is the Dharmakaya.
Now I understand this beginingless pure awareness
as the inherent acomplishment.
Oh in this vast expanse of the precious mind-
the source of cyclic existence-
is enshrined the spontaneous inner acomplishment.

I will be reading and re-reading this book for the rest of my life.
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Format: Paperback
Guys, when you go to the hardware store to buy a power tool, what's your first impulse? Is it to buy the least expensive tool capable of getting the job at hand done (e.g., a SuperMart Drillz-o-matic)? Or do you lust for the best your money can buy, a tool that might outlive you no matter how much you use it (a Milwaukee, or Makita, etc.)? If you're looking to save money and don't mind throwing away broken power tools, don't buy this book. If you want a book worth saving for your children and grandchildren, buy this one. This is the book the big boys use to teach Mahamudra.

Power tools and Dharma texts are quite similar, in at least this respect: the professionals go with "bigger and more powerful is usually better". I.e., not only more cost-effective, but more durable, more iron-clad or rather, vajra-like, even infallible. Especially if you have excellent confidence in your practice, and want to cultivate depth and stability even more, this book is an excellent companion.

It's a shame the reviews of earlier editions of this book haven't been carried forward with this one.
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It took me 30 years and about 2 weeks to do a good read and now I can spend a few more years finding deeper meaning now hidden from myself. However, that is my personal challenge. This edition seems to have struck a good balance between letting the thoughts speak for themselves and insightful commentary to help the aspiring student. I found it a real pleasure to be able to choose straight reading or mixing commentary with reading. Meditaion on the subject usually came clearly. If this material is of interest, this is a great place to look for it.
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Format: Paperback
I wish that I could rate this book more than 5 stars. This is one of the best books that i have ever read. It is a concise manual of buddhist meditation. It is not a book that you can just read straight through though. This is a book that you need to study and meditate on. Again, a fantastic book.
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