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Tilopa's Mahamudra Upadesha: The Gangama Instructions with Commentary [Kindle Edition]

Sangyes Nyenpa Rinpoche , David Molk
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

All lineages of Mahamudra meditation have their source in a verse teaching—a “song of realization”—sung by the Mahasiddha Tilopa to his disciple Naropa on the banks of the Ganges River more than a thousand years ago. Since that time, the meaning of Tilopa’s instructions has been passed directly from master to disciple in a continuous stream that exists unbroken to this day. This book offers the reader a rare glimpse into the Mahamudra oral transmission, given in a traditional Tibetan context by one of the lineage’s most learned and accomplished contemporary masters.


Mahamudra meditation, while highly advanced, is yet simple, practical, and accessible for anyone, because what is identified and meditated upon is the very nature of one’s own mind. In Sangyes Nyenpa Rinpoche’s words, “The distinction between deception and liberation lies in whether we understand the ever-present nature of our own mind or not. Knowing our own face is liberation; not knowing our own face is samsara. This is not something far distant from us.”


The instructions are ideal for Westerners because the root text is manageable and Rinpoche has provided an outline of his own composition that makes it easily understandable. He explains terminology with frequent comparisons between Dzogchen and Mahamudra, quotes prolifically from scripture, gives clear examples, and generally cajoles, admonishes, and encourages his listeners to be true to their own spiritual path.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1021 KB
  • Print Length: 263 pages
  • Publisher: Snow Lion (15 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JJW5OG0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #497,765 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Mahamudra advice 20 May 2014
By Vajra2
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the BEST & MOST THOROUGH consideration of Mahamudra I have encountered (& I'm quite widely read!) It a book for an advanced Buddhist practitioner, but it is inspiring, practical, & packed with supporting quotations from the Masters. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply remarkable 15 Aug. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Perhaps the most remarkable book about the root of Mahamudra practice. Warmly recommended.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extrordinary - Most Useful of Texts 17 July 2014
By Kimball Whitfield - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This is simply an extraordinary work by a contemporary Tibetan monastic practitioner on one of the most important works on the nature of meditation practice. It is the clearest and most straightforward of the commentaries on the mahasiddha Tilopa's short text that is available in English.

It is hard for me personally to overstate the regard I have for this effort by Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche and David Molk. I was preparing for open heart surgery when I receive a copy of the text and read it for the first time. For me it was the perfect written work to be "taking in" under those circumstances.

Unlike the book itself, I would not say that this is in any way a beginner's text. It is subtle and subject to radical misinterpretation without the guidance of a qualified teacher and long practice. Unusually, the book deals primarily with "resultant mahamudra" as opposed to the more common "four yogas" presentation. Refreshingly, this is not another "feel-good" Buddhist book. It is also not another academic discussion of speculative philosophy, nor is it a meditation manual. The commentary is rather an extremely subtle yet straight forward examination of the underlying theory and the necessities behind practice, daily action and the realization of the "ordinary nature of mind".

The commentary is on a short teaching (spiritual song) by the great mahasiddha and unconventional lay teacher Tilopa. The teaching is directed at the pandit Naropa, who had been chancellor of the most important Buddhist monastery in India in the early first century C.E.. Like David Molk's previous effort, "Lion of Siddhas", a translation of the teachings of the mahasiddha Phadhampa Sangye, it expresses the natural interrelationships between sutric, tantric and mahamudra approaches to Buddhist meditative practice, as well as the important incommensurate elements.

For more academic students, the text infers challenging questions about the great debate of the Council of Lhasa between Hashang and Kamalashila that drove most of the future teaching and practice in Tibet. The very same issues of sudden versus gradual enlightenment are manifested in the divergence between northern and southern Zen within the Sino/Japanese tradition. We see clearly that the issue actually goes all the way back to first century India and the seeming gulf between the monastic versus the radical lay mahasiddha approaches.

I would unhesitatingly classify Tilopa's Mahamudra Upadesha as the most important and personally gratifying new text that I have studied in the past few years.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic, Inspirational, Deserving of Accolades 18 April 2014
By Book Drawn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Poetic, inspirational, so moving it seems to awaken your highest being, Buddha Nature itself. Deserving of accolades for the beauty of its verse and the profundity of the commentary. For those who have a serious Buddhist practice it is a must read, for others certainly an inspiration. It's hard to imagine anyone who wouldn't benefit from adding this book to their library and reading it over and over again.

What a fortunate time we live in that new translations of ancient teachings are coming to publication all time. This is one of those books that should go to the top of the list of Mahamudra texts that you read, no matter what tradition if you are a serious spiritual practitioner. Even better if you are familiar with Buddhism in general, Mahamudra in particular.

Of course there is another view on this, and that is that at least some of the text should be restricted. The counter to that is that it will be self-restrictive, not understood by someone not ready for the read. The beauty of the poetic translation is reward enough to counter that view. Your understanding will grow with each reading. Savor it, study the commentary, and then come back to it later, and do this over and over again. It's almost certain you'll be well rewarded for your efforts.

If there's any doubt left about reading this book, perhaps David Molk, the translator of this text said it best:
"If you sense that there is something important to discover about life, perhaps a feeling of bliss or connectedness you've had glimpses of before; if you are concerned that time is limited and you see your life passing before your eyes; if you are tired of feeling that you are wasting your time, running a race that seems to be going nowhere; if you would like to turn away from inconsequential things to develop ultimate qualities of immeasurable love and inner peace that are everlasting ......" then you've found your reason.
Quote is found in the introductory pages at page XX.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Both illuminating and remarkable 10 July 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Most probably one of the most illuminating and remarkable commentary on Tilopa founding text, at upstream of the entire Mahamudra approach. Even if not a basic Mahamudra book, his reading contains transformation potentials at every pages. Warmly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This text is vast and fully useful to all Indo-Tibetan schools of Buddhism 17 Nov. 2014
By Rodolfo Justine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Sublime! This text is vast and fully useful to all Indo-Tibetan schools of Buddhism
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book to read for the original teachings of Mahamudra 7 May 2014
By S. W. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Well written. A very complexed subject matter that is easily explained for students of tantric Buddhism. Adds a lot of clarity to basic teachings and is an enjoyable book to read if you have a basic foundation of understanding of Buddhism.
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