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Pointing Out the Dharmakaya Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Snow Lion Publications (September 23, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559392037
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559392037
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,052,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

What is contained here is a remarkably extensive and detailed approach to looking at the mind, which represents the teachings on insight. [Vipashyana] meditation as presented in the tradition of mahamudra. Students who have received over the course of years rather short and pithy introductions to the nature of mind, and introductions to how to look at the mind, will find in this extraordinary set of instructions systematic and comprehensive approaches to ascertaining the mind’s true nature, to checking one’s experience, and to refining and extending one’s insight.

In order to make use of these instructions – in order for these instructions to become something other than a passing academic curiosity – one must first develop the experience of shamatha, or tranquility meditation.

If one can rest undistractedly in an awareness of the present moment, then the vipashyana instructions contained here, when accompanied by the appropriate direct transmission, will not only be of great interest and great benefit but can become the one sufficient path that will lead the practitioner to the understanding, direct experience, and full realization of selflessness, the emptiness of phenomena, and the emptiness of consciousness. If one is still having difficulty resting undistractedly in an awareness of the present moment, one needs to practice shamatha until one can. If one has difficulty practicing shamatha in the rather formless way of now following after thoughts of the past or inviting thoughts about the future, then one should practice shamatha with a support. The most common support, as Rinpoche mentions, is to follow the breath. Five additional supports for the practice of shamatha are mentioned in this text.

If one is still having difficulty achieving the experience of shamatha, then one needs to practice the preliminary practices, or ngondro, to remove karmic obstacles to meditation; to create openness, surrender to the teachings, and proper motivation; to accumulate virtue and positive spiritual energy; and to induce the merging of one’s own mind with the enlightened aspect of the guru’s mind, thereby drawing into one’s mental continuum the blessings of the enlightened state transmitted by the root and lineage gurus.

If one is having difficulty in motivating oneself to practice, one needs to think long and hard about the fundamental truths of samsaric existence as embodied in the "four thoughts that turn the mind to dharma." These are presented here, but if one requires greater detail, one can find them in all books that give a systematic presentation of the path, such as Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation or Jamgon Kongtrul’s Torch of Certainty. In particular, one needs to evaluate and reevaluate one’s own personal samsaric agendas in light of their inevitable consequences as illuminated by these teachings. Just as bodhichitta is the heart of dharma, these four thoughts that turn the mind to dharma are the adrenaline.

If one finds oneself so emotionally conflicted that one dislikes meditation or dislikes what one sees when one meditates, one needs to adopt a policy of meditating at first only for very short periods of time – thirty seconds, forty-five seconds, two minutes, five minutes – and one needs evluate one’s conduct and one’s relationship with others in light of the seven points of mind training as presented, for example, in Jamgon Kongtrul’s Great Path to Awakening, and in light of the teachings of Shantideva’s Bodhisattvacharyavatara, sometimes rendered Bodhicharyavatara, or in English, A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life or The Way of the Bodhisattva.

The teachings of mahamudra are the essence of all the Buddha’s teachings. Together with the teachings of dzogchen, they comprise what is known as the path of liberation. Traditionally, these teachings are practiced in tandem with deity meditation and the various tantric yogas that comprise the stages of creation and completion of the path of means, the path of method. This was not overly difficult to do in the highly spacious and open conditions of Tibet and other Himalayan countries. But in the very busy, highly stimulating, and stressful conditions of Western life, it is often difficult to find the time, the opportunity, the motivation, and even the willingness to practice the path of method. Practiced without the proper foundation and preparation in shamatha and vipashyana, without proper motivation and training in the practice of bodhichitta, without a substantial accumulation of merit and wisdom, and outside of an appropriate environment, some of the advanced practices of the completion stage can actually lead to even greater stress and, as it states clearly in tantric literature, can endanger one’s health and sanity.

But the teachings of mahamudra are much gentler, and their practice leads to further and further relaxation and openness, to the gradual resolution and elimination of all personal mental and emotional problems, to increasing mental clarity and intelligence, and to the general well-being and uplifting of sentient existence – and one can still get enlightened practicing them.

I would like to point out that, since Vajrayana regards the enlightened state as the path and not simply as the goal, for these teachings to be truly effective one must receive or have received some introduction to the nature of mind from the tantric tradition, whether that occurs or has occurred in a totally informal situation, in a teaching on mahamudra, or in a tantric ritual such as an empowerment. And it is important that such an introduction be received in the very presence of the lama. — Lama Tashi Namgyal

From the Inside Flap

At the heart of successful Mahamudra practice is the ability to get directly at the nature of mind. The 9th Karmapa was the acknowledged master of this approach. No more authoritative instructions exist than the 3 texts he wrote. This easy-to-use, practical manual, which serves also as an indispensable companion to The Ocean of Definitive Meaning, the most detailed of his texts, is so clearly laid out that the instructions are easy to recall and put to use.

Brilliant explanations by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, tutor of the young 17th Karmapa, make the text vividly relevant for contemporary Western practitioners.

"A clear and thorough guide."-- HH the Dalai Lama

"Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche is among the wisest and most compassionate Buddhist masters alive today."--Pema Chodron, author of When Things Fall Apart

"From the Seventeenth Karmapa's tutor, a pithy distillation of the Ninth Karmapa's Mahamudra manual. Its emphasis on the arousing of bodhicitta makes this an indispensable companion to Rinpoche's The Ninth Karmapa's Ocean of Definitive Meaning."--Ziji


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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Neal J. Pollock VINE VOICE on December 7, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very fine book on Mahamudra. Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche (Karma Lodro Ringluk Marwe Sengge) is obviously a modern master; who better to comment upon Wangchuk Dorje's (1555-1603) book? I have read several of Thrangu Rinpoche's works (e.g. "The 9th Karmapa's Ocean of Definitive Meaning" and "Essentials of Mahamudra") and they are all high quality works. If you want to read a book on Mahamudra, it's hard to beat him in quality, readability, sensitivity, etc. If someone asked me to recommend a Mahamudra author, it would be him. Interestingly, he has also authored (published in 2004) a commentary on "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning" entitled: "The Ocean of Ultimate Meaning" (which I own, but have not yet read) though he previously published a commentary on it entitled "The Ninth Karmapa's Ocean of Definitive Meaning." The 9th Karmapa, one of the greatest of Mahamudra masters (maybe the greatest) wrote 3 texts. In addition to the two mentioned already, there is also "Eliminating the Darkness of Ignorance" which has been translated by Alex Berzin with commentary by Beru Khyentze Rinpoche and is also presently available.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By kobo on July 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a very clear presentation of the Mahamudra system, and how to get started. As it is said, "More important than the main practice, are the preliminaries". All these books about Mahamudra are only effective when we have worked out the preliminary practices, and we have established the connection with the Lineage. Without confidence and trust in the masters of the Lineage, reading the books is like "driving" a car without starting it. It may seem funny, but this is what most of us do, because we don't have genuine confidence in the Lineage Holders and the Teachings. We are only "virtual practitioners", very learned, with a good intellectual level, with plenty of books on our bookshelves. This concise guide can help us to see our natural face, but only if we take it seriously, and put it into practice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sandy Lemberg on January 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Exactly what is the difference, if any, between the 1st and 2nd editions?

I have this book and I do not believe that there is a 2nd edition that differs in any way from the edition I have, dated 2003 and 2011.
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