NEW PUBLICATION: The Chariot that Transports One to the Four Kāyas by Bamda Gelek Gyatso: the Common Preliminaries of Kālacakra

This post is to announce and introduce the first publication and printing of the English-language translation of an important Jonang and
Kālacakra instruction text on the Kālacakra Common Preliminaries section of , The Chariot that Transports to the Four Kāyas, (longer title Stages of Meditation that Accomplish the Excellent Path of the Six-Branch Yogas of the Completion Stage of Glorious Kalacakra) by Tibetan Buddhist master, Thubten Bamda Gelek Gyatso.

Translation and Publication

The translation of this text was commenced in March 2017, at the request of Chokyi Nangwa Rinpoche, a Jonang lama in exile. During that time I spent several months with Rinpoche alone going over the meaning of this text, as well as the other major Kālacakra text, One Hundred Blazing Lights, by Jetsun Tāranātha (which will be published soon).

This new book, published this month by the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, is translated and edited by myself and the print is sponsored by the Jonang Lama Yonten Gyaltso and Russian followers.

The only unpublished, translation I have seen on the Kālacakra Common Preliminaries was the short, root text by Jetsun Tāranātha called Seeing the Meaningful (mthong ba don ldan), translated by the late Edward Henning. Before Henning passed away he sent me his translation of this text and told me that the other two main texts on the Kālacakra practises, this one by Bamda Gelek Gyatso, and the heftier and more detailed commentary on ‘Seeing the Meaningful‘ by Tāranātha called One Hundred Blazing Lights, had yet to be translated.

The foreword for the book was provided by Dr. Cyrus Stearns, an eminent Tibetan Buddhist scholar and translator, an expert on the life, philosophy and history of Jonang masters, particularly that of Kunkhyen Dolpopa, one of the main founders and lineage holders of Jonang. Stearns explained to me that he had previously done a draft translation of the Seeing the Meaningful, from teachings he had received on the Kālacakra Preliminaries and Six Yogas in the late 1980s. He stated that was was able to study that text in Nepal with his teacher, Chogye Trichen Rinpoche, and translated it orally three times when he taught the entire work in Nepal, Borneo, and the U.S. He explained that text, and the One Hundred Blazing Lights supplementary commentary, ‘are two of the most amazing works I’ve ever studied’.  Stearns says of this new book:

…students who wish to practice these profound instructions finally have a reliable source in English. Felipe Zabala’s graphic illustrations of the Kalacakra worldy cosmos are also a beautiful addition to the work. Adele Tomlin’s fine translation of Bamda Gelek’s work will be of great benefit to anyone who studies and practises these teachings.

Bamda Gelek Gyatso

The book, The Chariot that Transports to the Kingdom of the Four Kayas, contains a short biography of Bamda Gelek Gyatso, pulled together from primary and secondary sources, including the excellent paper, A Late Proponent of the Jo nang gZhan stong Doctrine: Ngag dbang tshogs gnyis rgya mtsho (1880–1940) by Dr. Fillipo Brambilla (University of Vienna) and the Treasury of Lives biography on Bamda Gelek, including some sections I translated from the Tibetan sources. What is clear from these sources is that Bamda Gelek Gyatso was most certainly a ‘Rime’ (non-sectarian) master. He was not only an expert scholar learned in all the main Tibetan Buddhist traditions, of Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug (as well as Jonang) but he was a master-practitioner of Naropa’s Six Yogas, Dzogchen and Kalacakra. He was considered to be a major tulku within the Gelugpa lineage too. As is detailed in the introduction to the book, Bamda Gelek, wrote it towards the end of his life. He refers to Tāranātha’s texts in it as well.

The text

Bamda Gelek’s text itself is an accessible, instruction manual (‘khrid yig) on the seven preliminary practises (five common and two uncommon) that lead up to the six Vajra-Yogas (completion stage). The five common preliminaries being Refuge, Bodhicitta, One-Hundred Syllable mantra, Mandala Offering, Guru Yoga. They are similar to the preliminaries in other lineages and traditions but also differ in the visualisations and other aspects.

The history, origin and philosophy of the six Vajra-Yogas of Kālacakra and the Preliminaries is explained more in Tāranātha’s One Hundred Blazing Lights. Tāranātha explains there are seventeen lineages that came from India to Tibet, an excerpt from that text on those seventeen lineages has been already given on this website here.

The translation of the text itself, is not based on a critical edition and has not been treated in a scholarly way, albeit there are footnotes and annotations where necessary.

I also commissioned some new graphic designs from Felipe Zabala (who very kindly provided his service for free) using line drawings I produced of the descriptions of the Kālacakra Cosmos in the Mandala Offering practise. I hope these will be of benefit in visually making sense of the detailed descriptions of the Cosmos given by Bamda Gelek Gyatso and Tāranātha , and thus make it easier for practitioners to meditate on.

I apologise for any errors in the book that are mine and hope that this publication will be the start of more publications and translations on
Kālacakra and that the teachings and practise of Kālacakra will flourish and survive.

Copies of the book are available for purchase (all profit/money goes directly to the LTWA, I receive no royalties or profit from the publication or sales), on the condition that one has received a Kalacakra empowerment, and should be read with the guidance of a qualified lama or teacher. They can be purchased from the LTWA, Dharamsala or from myself, please contact here if you need copies.

Copyright laws apply and any public use, reproduction or translations of the book/translation must have the specific permission of the translator/copyright holder.

May it be of benefit!

The Treasury of Kagyu Mantras (Kagyu Ngag Dzo) – Composition, Sources, Contents and Editions

The Treasury of Kagyu Mantras (bka’ brgyud sngags mdzod) is one of the Five Treasuries (mdzod lnga) compiled and composed by Kagyu and Rime lineage holder and master, Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye (’Jam mgon kong sprul blo gros mtha’ yas (1813-1899)) – for a short, yet informative biography, see here). It is a compendium of mandala rituals, maturing empowerments and liberating instructions, originally transmitted by important Kagyu lineage holder, Marpa the Translator (1012-1097), to Ngokton Choku Dorje (rngog ston chos sku rdo rje, 1036-1102) – for more details see below.

Considering the importance of this text to the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions, in particular, it is surprising to find little written about it in English. I am grateful to the French translator, Karma Sangye Tenzin, for sending me a copy of a section from the PhD thesis, A Lineage in Time – The Viscisstudes of the Ngogpa Kagyu from the 11th through 19th Centuries (EPHE, 2017), by Dr. Cecile Ducher, part of which goes into significant detail about the history, content, sources and editions of of the Treasury of Kagyu Mantras. This blog post is in no way comparable to that in terms of thoroughness and detail, so for those with the time and interest I would recommend reading it, see below for download.

In this short, introductory article, I pull together various online sources, extracts from Ducher’s work, as well as provide a brief catalogue of the currently available extant editions of this compendium.

Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye (1813-1899) at the centre accompanied by hand and foot prints – from a three painting set depicting Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Chogyur Lingpa in the other two compositions. An inscription on the back of the the painting states that it was commissioned by the tantric student Tashi Chopel [TBRC P6173] when Kongtrul was 85 years old in 1898 a year before the passing of Kongtrul in 1899. (Image and text reproduced from Himlayan Art Resources website).


The Treasury compendium was compiled by Jamgon Kongtrul between 1853-1854. According to Kongtrul’s Treasury of Lives biography:

”The period of Tsadra’s development coincided with the beginning of Jamgon Kongtrul’s literary output. He created one of the largest collections of writings, both edited writings and compositions, of any Tibetan scholar. His combined literary output is traditionally known as the Five Treasuries. Four of the five were inspired by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, whom Kongtrul also credits with providing the conceptual framework of “five treasuries,” something that Khyentse apparently saw in a dream. His training for the editing work appears to have begun about a decade after he arrived at Pelpung. In 1841 he had been tasked with cleaning up the monastery’s library, during which he had a dream of Mañjuśrī, who gave him instructions on the many methods for organizing the Buddhist teachings. Around the same time he had also been put in charge of editing the block prints for several collections of scripture.”

”The first of the Five Treasuries that Jamgon Kongtrul began work on was the ten-volume Treasury of Kagyu Tantras (bka’ brgyud sngags mdzod), a compendium of tantric liturgical texts based on material originally transmitted by Marpa Chokyi Lodro (mar pa chos kyi blo gros, 1012-1097) to his disciple Ngokton Choku Dorje (rngog ston chos sku rdo rje, 1036-1102), the lama to whom Milarepa (mi la ras pa, 1040-1123) once fled when Marpa refused to give him teachings. Khyentse Wangpo encouraged Kongtrul to create the collection in 1853 when he found the existing collections to be inadequate for proper transmission. Kongtrul began work on the collection that year, following the death of the Ninth Situ, and completed it the following year, in the summer of 1854. Two years later, in the summer of 1856, he gave the first transmission at Pelpung Monastery to Khyentse Wangpo and about twenty other lamas from Pelpung and neighboring monasteries such as the Sakya monastery of Derge Gonchen (sde ge dgon chen) and the Nyingma monastery of Dzogchen (dzogs chen). He gave the transmission seven times in all.”

Kongtrul explains the circumstances and conditions of the composition of the work in his autobiography and in the introduction to the first volume of the Treasury (see DUCHER 2017: 74-75):

”In the early 1850s, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (’Jam dbyangs mkhyen brtse dbang po) had travelled to the main seat of the Ngog, Thre Zhing (sPre’u zhing), where he had a vision of Marpa and had received a prophecy that Kongtrul should codify the rNgog maṇḍalas. From 1852, and more insistently in 1853, he requested Kongtrul to make new manuals for the rNgog maṇḍalas. Karma Tenpa Rabgye (Karma bsTan pa rab rgyas (19th c.)), one of the 9th Situ’s disciple, remarked that although Karma Chagme (Karma Chags med)’s manuals were without mistake and full of blessing, they had the defect of being too condensed, although that made them quite convenient to carry. As the continuity of most earlier manuals were on the verge of interruption, it was in effect quite difficult to do group or personal practices on these tantras. It would thus have been good to have new manuals before it was too late and the transmissions was lost. Khyentse, when granting Kongtrul teachings on the rNgog maṇḍalas, argued for his part that these transmissions were incomparable, but the continuity of the old manuals was often interrupted and, in later manuals, the specific import of each tantra was not always clear, so that one often had to rely on post-hoc additions to give a complete transmission. Faced with these requests, Kongtrul wondered whether he was suited for such a work and asked confirmation and omens from his masters and colleagues. Then, in June 1853, the 9th Situ, who was considered an emanation of Marpa, died. As the omens for the composition were good and as Kongtrul wished to honor the memory of his deceased master by creating a collection including all of Marpa’s tantras so that it would be available in Palpung (dPal spungs), he finally accepted the request and started his task by compiling the manuals for the Hevajra transmission.

Over the next year, he consulted all available materials, compiled what was suitable and composed new manuals, all the while doing personal practices on these tantras. During the process, he was blessed first by the visit of the 6th Traleb Yeshe Nyima (Khra lebs Ye shes nyi ma (19th c.)), who held the complete transmission of the works of the 4th Zhamar (Zhwa dmar). Traleb was the recipient of a very pure lineage coming from Belo Tshewang Kunkhyab (’Be lo tshe dbang kun khyab (18th c.)), a disciple of the 8th Situ, who himself had received several lines of transmission from the 4th Zhamar, including the Drigung (’Bri gung) one mentioned above. Additionally, in the spring of 1854, Kongtrul was granted the transmission of the complete works of Tāranātha by Karma Osel Gyurme (Karma ’Od gsal ’gyur med (d.u.)), and he completed a first version of his work in the summer of that year.”

”He then revised the collection several times (in 1856, 1881 and 1886), enriching it with the new transmissions he was receiving from various masters. He transmitted it completely for the first time in the spring of 1860, to the 14th Karmapa Thegchog Dorje (Theg mchog rdo rje (1798-1868)). He transmitted it again to the 15th Karmapa Khakyab Dorje (mKha’ khyab rdo rje (1871-1922)) in Tsa ’dra in 1887, together with the entire range of Karma Kagyu (bka’ brgyud) transmissions. On that occasion, many more lamas came to receive the transmission, so that the hermitage was completely full.” (DUCHER 2017 : 84)

Kongtrul also states in his autobiography (see BARRON 2003:96) that in the fifth month of the Water-Tiger year (1854-55): 

There, I codified the texts for some thirteen tantras; in addition to those that
were already well-known, I included some of the other tantras transmitted by Marpa. These included the sadhanas, mandala rituals, and other necessary texts, as well as instructions on the stages of completion, formal authorizations, and cycles concerning the guardian deities. I gave this collection the title The Tantric Treasury of the Kagyü School. With this, I completed the work that I had begun the year before. On a number of occasions (I can’t pinpoint when), I dreamed of excellent signs that I was receiving blessings. I received some amazing prophecies concerning the tantras of Marpa. I saw prophecies by Naropa written on the walls of many temples. In the center of a delightful temple, in which all the tantras were housed, I saw the deity Vajra Chaturpitha Yoga, blue like the sky; it was as though I actually met the deity. And I opened a cloth scroll, said to be a blessed object copied by Rechungpa and Karma Pakshi from Chakrasamvara on Sinpori Mountain; inside I clearly saw the syllables Om ah hum hrih in Sanskrit, whereupon I felt faith and received the four levels of empowerment. However, I didn’t note these experiences down at the time, so now I can’t recall much of what happened.

Kongtrul mentions the Tibetan works that precede him and differentiates five stages of source writings available to him and that he consulted in order to compile the work (from DUCHER: 72-73):

  1. The earliest Tibetan texts by Mar pa [commentaries on Hevajra and Pañjara]; the manuals composed by Ngog Zhewang Dorje (rNgog Zhe sdang rdo rje) as well as his commentary on the Two Segments [i.e. the Hevajratantra, called] Likeness of a Precious Ornament; the Collected [Works] of Gar (mGar [bKra shis dbang phyug]) and Tsag rTsags [Dar ma rgyal po, who were mDo sde’s main disciples]); the “Old rNgog maṇḍalas,” which are compilation of manuals by later rNgog such as Kun dga’ rdo rje, Thogs med grags pa, Rin chen bzang po, and so on.
  2. The Karmapas. The manuals composed by the Venerable Omniscient Rangjung Dorje (Rang byung rdo rje [3d Karmapa, 1284-1339]) on the three—Hevajra, Cakrasaṃvara and Guhyasamāja—as well as on Mahāmāyā, and so on; and by his successors: the Venerable Thongwa Donden ([mThong ba] Don ldan) the 7th Karmapa Chodrag Gyatso ([Karma pa, Chos grags rgya mtsho, 1454-1506]); [the 8th Karma pa] Mikyo Dorje (Mi bskyod rdo rje (1507- 1554)); the Great Jamyang ( ’Jam dbyangs [Don grub ’od zer]) from Tsurphu (mTshur phu (14th-15th c)), and so on, that is to say the main Kamthsang (Kaṃ tshang) tradition, in which many manuals on most tantras of the Mar rNgog [tradition] were composed.
  3. The “Manuals on rNgog Maṇḍalas” composed by Thrimkhang Lochen Sonam Gyamtso (Khrims khang Lo chen bSod nams rgya mtsho). They provide outlines and clarify practices on the basis of the Old rNgog Maṇḍalas. Based on these, the manuals of the Lord Chennga (sPyan snga). He was a disciple of the 5th Karma pa Dezhin Shegpa (bDe bzhin gshegs pa (1384-1415)) and a master of Lochen Sonam Gyatso. He was the abbot of Tshurpu Monastery for 45 years and developed the Tshurpu tradition of astrology have the wise vision endowed with the two forms of knowledge which thoroughly strains the stains of errors.
  4. The great Venerable Jo nang [Tāranātha, 1575-1634] cleaned the general hybridations and crossovers [which had crept in] the rNgog practices and composed manuals which purely and unmistakably expound the Indian root texts and Mar pa’s interpretation.
  5. Lord Karma Chagme (Chags med) summarized thoroughly the extensive initiation texts which are set in for example the Old rNgog Maṇḍalas by unifying the self and front [generation stages], thus speeding up the empowerment.”

Kongtrul states that: ” I mainly took as a base the writings of the Lord sPyan snga [the 4th Zhwa dmar] and the Venerable Jo nang [Tāranātha], which are unmistaken as to the meaning and have a majestic blessing.”

Ducher notes in a footnote (81: n253) that:

”In the collection, there are two types of texts, those composed by Kongtrul and those composed by other authors. In all, there are 126 texts. Out of these 126, 70 were authored by Kongtrul (55,6 %), 37 by other authors (29,3 %), two texts are tantras (1,6 %) and sixteen (13,5 %) are anonymous. Among texts by other authors, five come from Tāranātha, but none from the fourth Zhamar or Karma Chagme. Most of the others come from Karma Kagyu hierarchs, three from Buton Rinchen Drub (Bu ston Rin chen grub), and eight from rNgog masters (all on Dud sol ma).”



The complete Tibetan titles and texts within the volumes have not been translated or published in English as a collection. Ducher explains that:

”There are several generally available tables of contents for the KGND. A short presentation and table of contents is translated in the end of Kongtrul’s Autobiography; a list of titles of the 1982 edition is displayed on TBRC and on the Rangjung Yeshé Wiki. There are also two catalogues of teachings received, by Dilgo Khyentse (Dil mgo mkhyen brtse) and Dudjom Rinpoche (bDud ’joms Rin po che). Above all, there is Kongtrul’s introduction, which presents the origin of the transmissions, the contents, the circumstances of composition, as well as a short presentation of the transmissions themselves and of their respective lineages.”

Several empowerments of the entire Treasury have been given by Kagyu and Nyingma masters in recent years, such as HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, 12th Tai Situ Rinpoche, 12th Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche (who has given it several times).

I recently translated a schedule of the empowerment of the Treasury, by HE 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche (see below). The empowerments started on 1st March 2019 in Bhutan at the Karma Drubde Nunnery (a nunnery set up by the Kagyu yogi-scholar, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamsto Rinpoche). The empowerments and transmissions normally take three to six weeks (depending on the lama) in total.

Vajravarahi Five Deity Mandala. This painting is dated to the early 16th century because of the presence of seven images of Karmapa wearing the characteristic black hat. The 7th Karmapa Chodrag Gyatso lived between 1454-1506. The composition can be dated to circa 1500 or even a little earlier. Reproduced from Himalayan Art Resources here.

There is also a nice resource, with images, of the general contents condensed into six volumes on the Himalayan Art page. However, the best and most thorough detail on the contents can be found in DUCHER 2017:78-84.

Kongtrul’s Three Divisions

In the Introduction and Outline of the Treasury (1982 edition) Kongtrul divides it into three Sections – Initial Virtue (thog mar dge ba), Middling Virtue (bar du dge ba), Final Virtue (tha mar dge ba).

  1. Intitial Virtue

Ducher explains: ”The first of the six volumes is made up of what Kongtrul considers auspicious for a beginning: White Tāra, Amitāyus and Marpa’s three special deities—Uṣṇīṣavijayā (gTsug tor rnam rgyal ma), Green Tāra (sGrol ma ljang mo) and Vajrasattva from King Dzaḥ (rGyal po dzaḥ nas brgyud pa’i rdo rje sems dpa’). He also includes the practice of Vajrapāṇi to dispel obstacles, and practices on the master (bla ma mchod pa) to open the doors of blessing…… He indicates at the end of the presentation of the initial virtue that the empowerments of this part only consist in authorizations of practice (rjes gnang). Complete empowerments to a tantra (dbang) are only in the second part. As one cannot technically receive an authorization of practice before having had one’s mind matured by an empowerment, the transmission of the KGND set can be granted in the order of the manual only if the student already received a complete empowerment. If that is not the case, the master should start with the transmission of the highest yoga tantras of the second part, and then proceed with the first part and end with the third, protectors. ”

Kongtrul includes sādhanas and activity rites for the main transmissions of Hevajra, Nairātmyā, Mahāmāyā, Catuṣpīṭha, Nāmasaṃgīti, and Guhyasamāja. He also includes instructions (khrid) on their perfection phase, excepting for Cakrasaṃvara, which, he says, are well preserved elsewhere.

2. The Middling Virtue

This is the heart of the collection, from volume two to five. It consists in sixteen transmissions associated with thirteen highest yoga tantras.

”The first three transmissions in the collection (Hevajra nine deities, Nairātmyā fifteen deities and Pañjāra combined families) belong to the Hevajra cycle. The perfection phase associated with it is called merging and transference (bsre ’pho). It was the main practice of Mar pa and the rNgog, and is the one expounded in most detail in the KGND. Four maṇḍalas (Peaceful Cakrasaṃvara Vajrasattva from the Saṃputatantra, Cakrasaṃvara five deities, Vajravārāhī five deities and Six Cakravartin Cakrasaṃvara from the Abhidhānottaratantra) are associated with the Cakrasaṃvaratantra and two of its explanatory tantras. Their perfection phase is called the six doctrines of Nāropa (nā ro chos drug). Following in the footsteps of Mi la ras pa and many of the Karma pas, most practitioners of the Karma bka’ brgyud school rely on Cakrasaṃvara as their main practice, hence the continuity of the six doctrines as they are practiced in relation with Cakrasaṃvara is assured, and Kong sprul does not include instructions on them. Mahāmāyā is expounded through both the main maṇḍala in five deities and instructions on the perfection phase, as is Buddhakapāla, with a maṇḍala of twenty-five deities and its perfection phase. As far as Catuṣpīṭha is concerned, there are the two maṇḍalas of Yogāmbara (the male deity) and Jñānaḍākinī (the female deity), together with the perfection phase of that tantra. ….

Additionally, Kongtrul includes two transmissions of Mar pa that belong to the mahāyogatantra class, Guhyasamāja and Nāmasaṃgīti. Tantras in that class are distinguished according to the three poisons, desire, anger, and ignorance. Guhyasamāja belongs to the desire class….

Kongtrul includes three more cycles of the father tantras in order to cover mahāyoga tantras of the anger type, although these transmissions do not come from Mar pa. These are the cycles of Yamāntaka five deities according to Birvapa’s tradition, Vajrabhairava nine deities according to Mal Lo tsā ba’s tradition, and Vajrapāṇi five deities according to Ras chung pa’s tradition. No specific perfection phase is included. In the end of the fifth volume, Kong sprul gathers several Mar pa bKa’ brgyud rituals that do not rely on one tantra in particular but explain more general aspects of Mar pa’s transmissions such as gaṇacakras (tshogs mchod), consecrations (rab gnas), empowerments, and so on. Kong sprul does not explicitly mention these texts in the catalogue, hence they tend to be displaced or lost in the various editions. ” (From DUCHER 2017: 82-83).

3. Final Virtue

”In the sixth volume are collected texts that make up the final virtue, with four cycles of protective deities. The first is a transmission of the wisdom-protector Four-Arm Mahākāla with thirteen deities. ….The second, Vajramahākāla, is derived from the Pañjaratantra and was passed through the rNgog….Third is the cycle of Dhūmāṅgārī (Dud sol ma), which is derived mainly from the Catuṣpīṭhatantra and became the central protective deity of the rNgog pa bka’ brgyud teaching. …Closing the collection is the transmission of the five bKra shis tshe ring ma, a group of female protectors particularly associated with Mi la ras pa and the “lineage of practice” (brgub brgyud). ”

The 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche explained to me that the reason the Third Section, the Protectors, are not in the public schedule of the empowerments in Bhutan is because they are only given to people who will practise them in a three year retreat so are not given publicly. He stated that was the instruction he was given by HH Dilgo Khyentse on that.

Editions of the Text

Kongtrul’s Edition

Ducher explains that: ”Kongtrul completed a first version of the Treasury of Kagyu Mantras in the summer of 1854. He then revised the collection several times (in 1856, 1881 and 1886), enriching it with the new transmissions he was receiving from various masters. Kong sprul was based in Palpung (dPal spungs) Monastery, in Khams, located to the south of the capital city of sDe dge. From the 1850s, he lived in the nearby retreat centre of Tsadra Rinchen Drag (rTsa ’dra rin chen brag), about one hour walk up the mountain behind Palpung. Kongtrul’s Five Treasuries were all initially printed at the Palpung printing house, which is located a few hundred meters from the main temple. ”

There are three sourced editions listed of the Treasury on the TBRC website.

Bhutanese edition, 1982

The first is an edition published in Bhutan, 1982 by Lama Ngodrup at the request of HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. It is eight volumes in length, and was expanded by Dilgo Khyentse to include special teachings concerned with Vajrapani according to the Ngok tradition (W20876). This is the edition that Ducher relies on in her thesis, the reason for that being that: ”The 1982 edition by Khyentse (mKhyen brtse), on the other hand, corresponds exactly to the catalogue set by Kongtrul, with no text missing, and with a continuous numbering in each volume. It is probably for this reason that it became the reference edition, and is the reference for the present study. ” (DUCHER: 78).

Palpung, 2010

The second edition is a block print was published in India, 2010, by the
Palpung Sungrab Publishing House. Its contents have been condensed into three volumes (W8LS31021) .


A third edition listed is a modern computer print of five volumes, published by Palchen Choling Shesel Publishing ( dpal chen chos gling shes gsal dpe skrun khang ) ( W3CN3118).

Other editions not uploaded on TBRC are one by Jamyang Khyentse, that has been catalogued in terms of its original sources (it seems) in Tibetan wylie by the late translator-practitioner, Edward Henning here.

Shechen Publications, 2004

The edition is the one being used by 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche for the transmissions in Bhutan. It is a pecha block print edition published by Shechen Publications in 2004. Below is a photo of the preface in English to it (photos courtesy of Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche, I have not seen this edition in person). The preface states that this edition was done under the direction of HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and that, ‘the original three-volume Palpung (spal pungs) edition (which fills Vol. 1-6 of it) has been supplemented by five additional volumes (vol.7-11). The two first ones pertain to the cycle of Vajrapani (phyag na rdo rje) in the wrathful form of rdor rje gtum po. The three last volumes comprise extensive commentaries on the rgyud bla ma, the rgyud brtag gnyis and the zab mo nang don. An earlier edition of the eight first volumes is the one published in Paro in 1982, see above.

HE Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche told me that he received the transmission himself from HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche at Kuje Lhakhang, Bumthang, Bhutan when he was nine years old. He did not receive the extended edition as published by Shechen, which was compiled afterwards, and so does not give those additional volumes in his own transmissions of the texts.

In conclusion, as Ducher also states, there has been little written in English about the Treasury of Kagyu Mantras, despite it being a text of importance for the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages, as well as a text of historical importance of the Marpa-Ngog lineages. Ducher’s thesis discusses this Treasury in detail and for that reason it is worth reading that section on it if you can. If you don’t then I hope this brief introduction on it here helps people to get more an idea of the extraordinary texts contained within it and how it came about.



New Translations in Remembrance of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche – Shentong yogi-scholar

This month is the 84th birthday of the great yogi-scholar practitioner, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. For more details on his remarkable life please visit his official website here.

Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche

I first met and came across the view of Shentong and the name of Rinpoche when I studied the Uttaratantrashastra by Maitreya at the Rigpe Dorje Institute, Pullahari Monastery in 2012. At that time, the Pullahari Khenpo’s translator was Jim Scott, an old-time student of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. The view taught at Pullahari, as followed by Jamgon Kongtrul the Great, as well as Khenpo Rinpoche is Shentong. It was through this marvellous introduction to Shentong that led me to do further research into it. In addition, I was fortunate to meet Khenpo Rinpoche at his Nepal nunnery twice.

One of his students, scholar and teacher, Lama Shenphen Hookham, wrote an extended analysis of Shentong and its connection with Buddha Nature in The Buddha Within (SUNY, 1991). Aside from many other texts and commentaries, Khenpo Rinpoche also gave teachings, now a book called
Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness,  in which the view of Shentong is taught as the peak of that progress.

Khenpo Rinpoche is also the head of the Karma Drubdre nunnery in Trongsa, Bhutan where HE 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche, another great Shentong master and practitioner, has just commenced giving the Kagyu Ngag Dzod transmissions. He was a former teacher of Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche at Rumtek monastery during the 1970’s.

Khenpo Rinpoche with HE 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche

As part of remembering and showing gratitude to this great Tibetan Buddhist master, I am working on a new translation of the ‘Eight Swirlings of a Spear in Space‘ (mdung skor brgyad) by Gotsangpa Dorje (rgod tshang pa mgon po rdo rje) (1189-1258)  , with a compiled and edited commentary of recent teachings on this short text by 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche. This wonderful and profound text is a song that Khenpo Rinpoche used to teach a lot.

Also, here is a new translation in English of the ‘Long-Life Prayer’ for Khenpo Rinpoche (together with the Tibetan script) written by HH 17th Karmapa.

Aspiration Words for Lasting Stability

Prayer for Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche

composed by HH 17th Karmapa.

Gloriously endowed with the universe of qualities of ethical discipline,
Illuminating each distinctive meaning of the ocean of Dharma,

Chanting inspiring songs of the profound view and meditation,

Genuine spiritual friend, please remain long and stable!






This Aspiration Prayer was composed for the incomparable spiritual friend, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche by HH 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje, at Gyuto Monastery India, after being urged and requested again and again by several Asian devotees.

Translated by Adele Tomlin, 1st March, 2019.



Innate Kalacakra empowerment – HE Garchen Rinpoche, Seattle, USA, April 2019

Happy to announce there will be another Innate Kalacakra empowerment given by yogi Tibetan Buddhist master, HE Garchen Rinpoche in Seattle, USA on 19 April 2019. A Chod and Namgyalma empowerment and teachings on Chod, Dzogchen and the Seven Taras will also be given.

Further details are in the schedule below and also on the Drikung Seattle website at

New Translation: Supplication and Praise to the First Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche composed by Eighth Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje


On the last day before the Tibetan Earth-Pig Losar 2146 (5th February 2019), as an offering to HE the 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche and his foreign devotees, I have translated into English (with Tibetan script and phonetics), the supplication and praise composed by the 8th Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje for the 1st Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche, who was the Karmapa’s teacher. A powerful verse homage praising the accomplishments and strengths of the 1st Sangye Nyenpa, leaving one in no doubt that the 8th Karmapa admired and held him in great esteem.

1st Sangye Nyenpa, Tashi Paljor

The text can be downloaded for free as .pdf below. Translated and edited by Adele Tomlin, 4th February, 2019, Bodh Gaya, India. With special thanks to HE 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche for his generous and precious feedback and checking the translation. Free download here: Supplication to first sangye nyenpa

8th Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje

May this translation be of benefit in helping us all remember the excellent qualities and strengths of the precious lamas of Buddha Dharma and be a cause for the long-life, health and flourishing of the Gyalwang Karmapa and HE 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche!

English Translation of Long-Life Prayer for HE 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche, composed by HH 17th Karmapa

This Long-Life Prayer was spontaneously composed by HH 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje on 2nd November 2010, at the conclusion of the Kangyur oral transmission, which HE 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche gave in two months in Dharamsala, India.

It is shorter than the 16th Karmapa’s ‘Long-Life’ Prayer posted yesterday but is equally profound and beautiful.

The English translation can be freely downloaded as .jpgs below or as a .pdf file below.

May it be of benefit!

New English Translation of Long-Life Prayer for HE 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche, by HH 16th Karmapa

As an offering to the lama on Guru Rinpoche day, here is a brand new English translation of the ‘Long-Life Prayer for HE 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche’, composed by HH 16th Karmapa, Rigpe Dorje. Initially written as a ‘Swift Aspiration Prayer’ it was subsequently converted into a ‘Long-Life Aspiration’ when the 10th Sangye Nyenpa was around four years old. It is recited daily in Benchen monasteries in Tibet and Nepal.

This month, Rinpoche spoke about his health issues at the pre-Kagyu Monlam teachings, which are not at all minor and have been ongoing for several years.
The prayer (in Tibetan script, phonetics and English) can be freely downloaded from the .jpgs below, or here in .pdf format.

A Long-Life Prayer was also composed for Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche by HH 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje. This will also be posted here in English soon.

Translation of the Prediction Letter by HH 16th Karmapa on the Rebirth of the Tenth Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche


Inspired by the French translation of the prediction letter written by HH 16th Karmapa, regarding the rebirth of HE 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche, posted yesterday on Facebook by Karma Sangye Tenzin, I decided to do an English translation from the Tibetan too, with additional footnotes and explanations. It’s by no means perfect but may it be of benefit!

One can download the .jpg  files of it below or download the .pdf file here.



New Translation: Tilopa’s Gangama Māhamudrā Instructions

As preparation for my forthcoming English translation of the Shentong commentary, ‘Music of the Ultimate Sphere’ on the Third Karmapa’s Mahamudra Aspiration Prayer, by HE 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche and also listening to Rinpoche’s teachings on these verses, as well as the eloquent praise of my recent translation of a verse, by a Dharma student and practitioner, Gonpo Jack,  I completed a new translation in one day of these precious verses as an offering, on Dakini Day, 2nd December 2018.

I am grateful to the prior English translation of these verses, by David Molk (Tilopa’s Māhamudrā  Updesha, Snow Lion (2014)) and Lama Yeshe Gyamtso (Shenphen Osel, Vol.3, No.3, 1999), and the published commentaries by HE 10th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche and HE Thrangu Rinpoche, for the excellent guidance they provided in doing this new translation.

For the ease of Tibetan language students and readers, I have tried to translate closer to the original Tibetan, by not adding in any words and where possible keeping the same order of the words and lines in the verses and sentences.  I have also tried to preserve the Tibetan by repeating the same English words in the verses where the Tibetan words are repeated.  The Tibetan text reproduced here is taken from the Treasury of Precious Instructions, by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye (Shechen Publications, Delhi, 1999, TBRC W23605). May it be of benefit!

Adele Tomlin, completed in one day on 2nd December 2018. Please reproduce and use with permission.

May they be of benefit!

Translation below or downloadable as a .pdf file (with the Tibetan phonetics for chanting included) here.

རྒྱ་གར་སྐད་དུ། མ་ཧཱ་མུ་དྲ་ཨུ་པ་དེ་ཤ། བོད་སྐད་དུ། །ཕྱག་རྒྱ་ཆེན་པོའི་མན་ངག ༈ །

In Sanskrit: Māhamudrā Upadesha. In Tibetan: Pith Instructions on Māhamudrā.

དཔལ་རྡོ་རྗེ་མཁའ་འགྲོ་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་ལོ། ༈ །

Homage to Vajradakini!


དཀའ་བ་སྤྱད་ཅིང་བླ་མ་ལ་གུས་པ། །

སྡུག་བསྔལ་བཟོད་ལྡན་བློ་ལྡན་ནཱ་རོ་པ། །

སྐལ་ལྡན་ཁྱོད་ཀྱིས་བློ་ལ་འདི་ལྟར་བྱོས། ༈ །

Engaged in austerities and devotion to the lama

The intelligent one bearing suffering, Nāropa;

Fortunate one, do this to your intelligence!


ཕྱག་རྒྱ་ཆེན་པོ་བསྟན་དུ་མེད་ཀྱིས་ཀྱང༌། །

དཔེར་ན་ནམ་མཁའ་གང་གིས་གང་ལ་བརྟེན། །

རང་སེམས་ཕྱག་རྒྱ་ཆེ་ལ་བརྟེན་ཡུལ་མེད། །

མ་བཅོས་གཉུག་མའི་ངང་དུ་གློད་ལ་ཞོག ༈ །

Just as there is no Māhamudrā ‘teaching’;

For example, whom and what supports space?

One’s mind, Māhamudrā , also has no objective support.

So relax in the unfabricated primordial state!


བཅིངས་པ་ཀློད་ན་གྲོལ་བར་ཐེ་ཚོམ་མེད། །

དཔེར་ན་ནམ་མཁའི་དཀྱིལ་བལྟས་མཐོང་བ་འགག་པར་འགྱུར། །

དེ་བཞིན་སེམས་ཀྱིས་སེམས་ལ་བལྟས་བྱས་ན། །

རྣམ་རྟོག་ཚོགས་འགག་བླ་མེད་བྱང་ཆུབ་འཐོབ། ༈ །

Loosening fetters, will undoubtedly liberate.

For example, looking at the centre of space, ‘seeing’ ceases.

Likewise, when mind tries to look at mind

Masses of thoughts cease and unsurpassed awakening is attained.


དཔེར་ན་ས་རླངས་སྤྲིན་ནི་ནམ་མཁའི་དབྱིངས་སུ་དེངས། །

གར་ཡང་སོང་བ་མེད་ཅིང་གར་ཡང་གནས་པ་མེད། །

དེ་བཞིན་སེམས་ལས་བྱུང་བའི་རྟོག་ཚོགས་ཀྱང༌། །

རང་སེམས་མཐོང་བས་རྟོག་པའི་རྦ་རླབས་དྭངས། ༈ །

For example, as vapour from the earth ascends and evaporates into the expanse of space,

Going nowhere and abiding nowhere.

Likewise, when masses of thoughts arising from the mind

are ‘seen’ as one’s mind, the waves of thoughts dissolve.


དཔེར་ན་ནམ་མཁའི་རང་བཞིན་ཁ་དོག་དབྱིབས་ལས་འདས། །

དཀར་ནག་དག་གིས་གོས་ཤིང་འགྱུར་བ་མེད། །

དེ་བཞིན་རང་སེམས་སྙིང་པོ་ཁ་དོག་དབྱིབས་ལས་འདས། །

དགེ་སྡིག་དཀར་ནག་ཆོས་ཀྱིས་གོས་མི་འགྱུར། ༈ །

For example, the nature of space transcends colour and shape,

Untainted and unchanged by white and black.

Likewise, the ‘heart’ of one’s mind transcends colour and shape,

Untainted and unchanged by white virtue and black evil.


དཔེར་ན་གསལ་དྭང་ཉི་མའི་སྙིང་པོ་དེ། །

བསྐལ་པ་སྟོང་གི་མུན་པས་སྒྲིབ་མི་འགྱུར། །

དེ་བཞིན་རང་སེམས་སྙིང་པོ་འོད་གསལ་དེ། །

བསྐལ་པའི་འཁོར་བས་སྒྲིབ་པར་མི་ནུས་སོ། ༈ །

For example, the brilliant luminous ‘essence’ of the sun,

Is not obscured by a thousand eons of darkness.

Likewise, the ‘luminous clarity’ of one’s mind

Cannot be obscured by eons of samsara.


དཔེར་ན་ནམ་མཁའ་སྟོང་པར་ཐ་སྙད་རབ་བརྟགས་ཀྱང༌། །


དེ་བཞིན་རང་སེམས་འོད་གསལ་བརྗོད་གྱུར་ཀྱང༌། །

བརྗོད་པས་འདིར་འདྲར་གྲུབ་ཅེས་ཐ་སྙད་གདགས་གཞི་མེད། ༈

For example, even though applying the label ‘empty space’,

In space there is nothing to be called that.

Likewise, even though calling one’s mind ‘luminous clarity’

There is nothing established as a base for that label.


།དེ་ལྟར་སེམས་ཀྱི་རང་བཞིན་གདོད་ནས་ནམ་མཁའ་འདྲ། །

ཆོས་རྣམས་ཐམས་ཅད་དེ་རུ་མ་འདུས་མེད། །

ལུས་ཀྱི་བྱ་བ་ཡོངས་ཐོངས་རྣལ་འབྱོར་དལ་བར་སྡོང༌། །

ངག་གི་སྨྲ་བརྗོད་མེད་དེ་གྲགས་སྟོང་བྲག་ཆ་འདྲ། །

ཡིད་ལ་ཅི་ཡང་མི་བསམ་ལ་བཟླའི་ཆོས་ལ་ལྟོས། །

ལུས་ལ་སྙིང་པོ་མེད་པ་སྨྱུགས་མའི་སྡོང་པོ་འདྲ། །

སེམས་ནི་ནམ་མཁའི་དཀྱིལ་ལྟར་བསམ་པའི་ཡུལ་ལས་འདས། །

དེ་ཡི་ངང་ལ་བཏང་བཞག་མེད་པར་གློད་ལ་ཞོག ༈ །

Like that, the nature of mind is primordially, like space,

There are no phenomena not included within it.

Letting go of all physical activities, the yogi rests at ease.

Speech without reference, is like an empty echo.

Body without essence, is like a bamboo stalk.

Mind, like the centre of space, transcends all objects of thinking.

Without sending it away or placing it, relax within that.


སེམས་པ་གཏད་སོ་མེད་ན་ཕྱག་རྒྱ་ཆེན་པོ་ཡིན། །

དེ་ལ་གོམས་ཤིང་འདྲིས་ན་བླ་མེད་བྱང་ཆུབ་འཐོབ། ༈ །

If mind has no fixed reference, it is Māhamudrā.

Becoming familiar and habituated to that, unsurpassable awakening is attained.


སྔགས་སུ་སྨྲ་དང་ཕ་རོལ་ཕྱིན་པ་དང༌། །

འདུལ་བ་མདོ་སྡེ་སྡེ་སྣོད་ལ་སོགས་པ། །

རང་རང་གཞུང་དང་གྲུབ་པའི་མཐའ་ཡིས་ན། །

འོད་གསལ་ཕྱག་རྒྱ་ཆེན་པོ་མཐོང་མི་འགྱུར། །

ཞེ་འདོད་བྱུང་བས་འོད་གསལ་མ་མཐོང་བསྒྲིབས། ༈ །

Practitioners of Mantras, the Paramitas,

Vinaya, Sutras, Pitakas, and so on,

Will not ‘see’ the ‘luminous clarity’ Māhamudrā

By their ‘own’ texts and individual ’ tenets;

Their opinions obscure the ‘seeing’ of ‘luminous clarity’.


རྟོག་པའི་སྲུང་སྡོམ་དམ་ཚིག་དོན་ལས་ཉམས ། །

ཡིད་ལ་མི་བྱེད་ཞི་འདོད་ཀུན་དང་བྲལ། །

རང་བྱུང་རང་ཞི་ཆུ་ཡི་པ་ཏྲ་འདྲ། །

མི་གནས་མི་དམིགས་དོན་ལས་མི་འདའ་ན། །

དམ་ཚིག་མི་འདའ་མུན་པའི་སྒྲོན་མེ་ཡིན། ༈ །

Conceptually protected vows corrupt the meaning of samaya.

Free from all desires, inclinations and mental activities

Naturally arisen and naturally pacified, like designs on water

Not departing from non-abiding and non-observing

Is not departing from samaya, the lamp in the darkness.


ཞེ་འདོད་ཀུན་བྲལ་མཐའ་ལ་མི་གནས་ན། །

སྡེ་སྣོད་ཆོས་རྣམས་མ་ལུས་མཐོང་བར་འགྱུར། ༈ །

If, free of all inclinations and desires, there is ‘no-abiding’ in extremes,

The complete Dharma of the pitakas will be ‘seen’.


དོན་འདིར་གཞོལ་ན་འཁོར་བའི་བཙོན་ལས་ཐར། །

དོན་འདིར་མཉམ་བཞག་སྡིག་སྒྲིབ་ཐམས་ཅད་སྲེག །

བསྟན་པའི་སྒྲོན་མེ་ཞེས་སུ་བཤད་པ་ཡིན། །

Diligent application of this meaning, liberates from the prison of samsara.

Contemplative equipoise of this meaning, incinerates all negativities and obscurations.

Thus it is explained as the ‘lamp of the teachings’.


དོན་འདིར་མི་མོས་སྐྱེ་བོ་བླུན་པོ་རྣམས། །

འཁོར་བའི་ཆུ་བོས་རྟག་ཏུ་ཁྱེར་བར་ཟད། །

ངན་སོང་སྡུག་བསྔལ་མི་བཟད་བླུན་པོ་སྙིང་རེ་རྗེ། །

མི་བཟད་ཐར་འདོད་བླ་མ་མཁས་ལ་བསྟེན། །

བྱིན་རླབས་སྙིང་ལ་ཞུགས་ན་རང་སེམས་གྲོལ་བར་འགྱུར། ༈ །

Ordinary, deluded people without faith in this meaning

Are continually carried away and consumed by the river of samsara.

How sad, is the foolish, unending suffering of the lower realms!

Wanting liberation from its endlessness, rely upon a wise guru.

When their blessings enter the heart, one’s mind will be liberated.


ཀྱེ་ཧོ་འཁོར་བའི་ཆོས་འདི་དོན་མེད་སྡུག་བསྔལ་རྒྱུ། །

བྱས་པའི་ཆོས་ལ་སྙིང་པོ་མེད་པས་དོན་ལྡན་སྙིང་པོ་ལྟོས། །

གཟུང་འཛིན་ཀུན་ལས་འདས་ན་ལྟ་བའི་རྒྱལ་པོ་ཡིན། །

ཡེངས་པ་མེད་ན་བསྒོམ་པའི་རྒྱལ་པོ་ཡིན། །

བྱ་བཙལ་མེད་ན་སྤྱོད་པའི་རྒྱལ་པོ་ཡིན། །

རེ་དོགས་མེད་ན་འབྲས་བུ་མངོན་དུ་འགྱུར།༈ །

Kye ho! Such samsaric phenomena are meaningless, the cause of suffering.

Since created phenomena lack essence, look at the essence of the meaningful!

Transcending all grasping and clinging, is the King of views.

Being without distraction is the King of meditation.

Making no effort is the King of conduct.

Without hope and fear, the result is revealed.



།བགྲོད་པའི་ལམ་མེད་སངས་རྒྱས་ལམ་སྣ་ཟིན། །

བསྒོམ་པའི་ཡུལ་མེད་གོམས་ན་བླ་མེད་བྱང་ཆུབ་འཐོབ། ༈ །

Transcending observed objects, the nature of the mind is ‘clarity’.

With no path to be travelled, one seizes the ‘Buddha’ path.

Habituated to no object of meditation,

Unsurpassable awakening is attained.


ཀྱེ་མ་འཇིག་རྟེན་ཆོས་ལ་ལེགས་རྟོགས་དང༌། །

རྟག་མི་ཐུབ་སྟེ་རྨི་ལམ་སྒྱུ་མ་འདྲ། །

རྨི་ལམ་སྒྱུ་མ་དོན་ལ་ཡོད་མ་ཡིན། །

དེས་ན་སྐྱོ་བ་སྐྱེད་ལ་འཇིག་རྟེན་བྱ་བ་ཐོངས། །

Kye Ma!

Thoroughly examine worldly phenomena;

Incapable of permanence, like dreams and illusions.

There is no meaning in dreams and illusions.

Therefore, generate sorrow and let go of worldly activities.


འཁོར་ཡུལ་ཆགས་སྡང་འབྲེལ་པ་ཀུན་གཅོད་ནས། །

གཅིག་པུར་ནགས་འདབས་རི་ཁྲོད་གནས་པར་བསྒོམ། །

བསྒོམ་དུ་མེད་པའི་ངང་ལ་གནས་པར་གྱིས། །

ཐོབ་མེད་ཐོབ་ན་ཕྱག་རྒྱ་ཆེན་པོ་འཐོབ། །

Severing all relations of attachment and aversion towards objects and surroundings,

Meditate alone in abodes of isolated forests and mountain retreats.

Abide in that state without meditation.

Attaining ‘non-attainment’, Māhamudrā is attained.


དཔེར་ན་ལྗོན་ཤིང་སྡོང་པོ་ཡལ་ག་ལོ་འདབ་རྒྱས། །

རྩ་བ་གཅིག་བཅད་ཡལ་ག་ཁྲི་འབུམ་སྐམ། །

དེ་བཞིན་སེམས་ཀྱི་རྩ་བ་བཅད་ན་འཁོར་བའི་ལོ་འདབ་སྐམ། ༈

For example, a tree trunk with foliage, branches and leaves;

Chopping its single root, hundreds of thousands of branches will wither.

Likewise, if the root of mind is chopped, the foliage of samsara withers.


དཔེར་ན་སྐལ་སྟོང་བསགས་པའི་མུན་པ་ཡང༌། །

སྒྲོན་མེ་གཅིག་གིས་མུན་པའི་ཚོགས་རྣམས་སེལ། །

དེ་བཞིན་རང་སེམས་འོད་གསལ་སྐད་ཅིག་གིས། །

བསྐལ་པར་བསགས་པའི་མ་རིག་སྡིག་སྒྲིབ་སེལ། ༈

For example, a mass of darkness accumulated over a thousand eons;

is dispelled by one single lamp.

Likewise, one single instant of  mind’s ‘luminous clarity’

Dispels eons of accumulated ignorance, negativities, and obscurations.


།ཀྱེ་ཧོ། །བློ་ཡི་ཆོས་ཀྱིས་བློ་འདས་དོན་མི་མཐོང༌། །

བྱས་པའི་ཆོས་ཀྱིས་བྱར་མེད་དོན་མི་རྟོགས། །

བློ་འདས་བྱར་མེད་དོན་དེ་ཐོབ་འདོད་ན། །

རང་སེམས་རྩད་ཆོད་རིག་པ་གཅེར་བུར་ཞོག །

Khye ho!

Intellectual phenomena, does not ‘see’ what transcends the intellect.

Created phenomena, do not realise the uncreated.

If one wishes to attain the meaning of what transcends the intellect and is uncreated,

Uproot one’s mind and strip awareness naked!


རྟོག་པ་དྲི་མའི་ཆུ་དེ་དྭངས་སུ་ཆུག །

སྣང་བ་དགག་སྒྲུབ་མི་བྱ་རང་སར་ཞོག །

སྤང་ལེན་མེད་པར་སྣང་སྲིད་ཕྱག་རྒྱར་གྲོལ། །

Allow the cloudy water of thoughts to clarify itself.

Do not block or create appearances, leave them as they are.

Not accepting or rejecting, the appearances of existence are liberated in Māhamudrā .

ཀུན་གཞི་སྐྱེ་བ་མེད་པར་བག་ཆགས་སྡིག་སྒྲིབ་སྤོང༌། །

སྙེམ་བྱེད་རྩིས་གདབ་མི་བྱ་སྐྱེ་མེད་སྙིང་པོར་ཞོག །

སྣང་བ་རབ་སྣང་བློ་ཡི་ཆོས་རྣམས་ཟད་དུ་ཆུག །

མུ་མཐའ་ཡོངས་གྲོལ་ལྟ་བའི་རྒྱལ་པོ་མཆོག །

མུ་མེད་གཏིང་ཡངས་སྒོམ་པའི་རྒྱལ་པོ་མཆོག །

མཐའ་ཆོད་ཕྱོགས་བྲལ་སྤྱོད་པའི་རྒྱལ་པོ་མཆོག །

རེ་མེད་རང་གྲོལ་འབྲས་བུའི་མཆོག་ཡིན་ནོ། ༈

Within the unborn ‘all-basis’, habitual tendencies, negativities, and obscurations are abandoned

Do not fixate or calculate, rest in the essence of the unborn.

In that illumination of appearances, mental phenomena are exhausted.

Freedom from boundaries and limits is the supreme King of views.

Boundless vastness is the supreme King of meditations.

Impartiality and severing extremes, is the supreme King of conduct.

Self-liberation, without expectation, is the supreme result.


ལས་ནི་དང་པོ་གཅོང་རོང་ཆུ་དང་འདྲ། །

བར་དུ་ཆུ་བོ་གངྒཱ་དལ་ཞིང་གཡོ། །

ཐ་མ་ཆུ་རྣམས་མ་བུ་འཕྲད་པ་འདྲ། །

At the beginning, it is like water of a river racing through a canyon.

In the middle, it is the gentle current of the River Ganges.

At the end, the ‘waters’ of a child meeting their mother.

བློ་དམན་སྐྱེས་བུའི་ངང་ལ་མི་གནས་ན། །

རླུང་གི་གནད་བཟུང་རིག་པ་བཅུད་ལ་བོར། །

ལྟ་སྟངས་སེམས་འཛིན་ཡན་ལག་དུ་མ་ཡིས། །


Those of inferior intellect, unabiding in that state,

Hold the winds at the essential points, and emphasise the elixir of awareness,

Through various stages of gazing and apprehending mind,

Make effort until ‘non-abiding’ in awareness.


ལས་རྒྱ་བསྟེན་ན་བདེ་སྟོང་ཡེ་ཤེས་འཆར། །

ཐབས་དང་ཤེས་རབ་བྱིན་རླབས་སྙོམས་པར་འཇུག །

དལ་བར་དབབ་ཅིང་བསྐྱིལ་བཟློག་དྲངས་པ་དང༌། །

གནས་སུ་བསྐྱལ་དང་ལུས་ལ་ཁྱབ་པར་བྱ། །

Relying on karmamudra, the primordial awareness of bliss and emptiness dawns.

The blessings of ‘method’ and ‘wisdom’ absorb in union.

Slowly falling, binding, holding, reversing, drawing up and

Carrying to the abodes; make it permeate the body.


དེ་ལ་ཆགས་ཞེན་མེད་ན་བདེ་སྟོང་ཡེ་ཤེས་འཆར། ༈

ཚེ་རིང་སྐྲ་དཀར་མེད་ཅིང་ཟླ་ལྟར་རྒྱས་པར་འགྱུར། །

བཀྲག་མདངས་གསལ་ལ་སྟོབས་ཀྱང་སེང་གེ་འདྲ། །

ཐུན་མོང་དངོས་གྲུབ་མྱུར་ཐོང་མཆོག་ལ་གཞོལ་བར་འགྱུར། ༈ །

ཕྱག་རྒྱ་ཆེན་པོ་གནད་ཀྱི་མན་ངག་འདི། །


Without attachment or craving for it, bliss-emptiness primordial awareness dawns.

Long life, without white hair, like the waxing moon

A lustrous complexion and strength like a lion.

Common siddhis will be quickly ‘seen’, leading onto the supreme [siddhi].

May the essential points of these Māhamudrā instructions

Remain in the hearts of all fortunate wanderers!


ཕྱག་རྒྱ་ཆེན་པོ་གྲུབ་པའི་དཔལ་ཏཻ་ལོ་པ་ཆེན་པོའི་ཞལ་སྔ་ནས་མཛད་པ་ཁ་ཆེའི་པཎྜི་ཏ་མཁས་ལ་གྲུབ་པའི་ནཱ་རོ་པས་དཀའ་བ་བཅུ་གཉིས་མཛད་པའི་རྟིང་ལ་ཆུ་བོ་གངྒཱའི་འགྲམ་དུ་ཏཻ་ལོ་པས་གསུངས་པ་ཕྱག་རྒྱ་ཆེན་པོ་རྡོ་རྗེའི་ཚིག་རྐང་ཉི་ཤུ་རྩ་དགུ་པ་རྫོགས་སོ།། །ནཱ་རོ་པ་ཆེན་པོའི་ཞལ་སྔ་ནས་དང༌། །བོད་ཀྱི་ལོ་ཙཱ་བ་ཆེན་པོ་སྒྲ་བསྒྱུར་གྱི་རྒྱལ་པོ་མར་པ་ཆོས་ཀྱི་བློ་གྲོས་ཀྱིས། །བྱང་ཕུལླ་ཧ་རིར་བསྒྱུར་ཅིང་ཞུས་ཏེ་གཏན་ལ་ཕབ་པ་རྫོགས་སོ། །། །དགེའོ། །

The great and glorious siddha, Tilopa, who realized Māhamudrā, verbally bestowed this upon the learned and realised Kashmiri pandit, Nāropa, after he [Nāropa] had engaged in twelve austerities. Tilopa completed these twenty-nine Māhamudrā Vajra stanzas next to the River Gangā. This oral teaching was then given by Nāropa, and translated and written down at Pullahari in the north, by the great Tibetan translator, the king among translators, Marpa Chokyi Lodro.  May it be virtuous!


Ashoka Translation Grant Award by Khyentse Foundation for Innate Kalacakra Project

Good news for Dharma translation, am happy to share the news that the Khyentse Foundation have awarded an Ashoka Translation Grant for my forthcoming Innate Kalacakra project. It was a very pleasant and unexpected surprise as the application round is very competitive for such grants.

The first year of the project will focus on translating and publishing, the sections of the three main Jonang texts that teach the Innate Kalacakra (that are used in the Jonang and Karma Kagyu traditions for Kalacakra retreats). Accompanied with translations of sadhanas by Taranatha and Jamgon Kongtrul Thaye and a short introductory history and background to the Innate Kalacakra. I will also try and include translations of sections on the practise by Karma Kagyu and Nyingma masters.

As I have written about before here, the Nyingma and Khyentse lineage, particularly with the master Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (see photo below) have a very strong historical connection to Kalacakra and the Jonang master, Taranatha.

Many thanks to HE Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and the Khyentse Foundation for their recognition of this proposed work and aims. May it be of benefit!