With masterful clarity and precision, The Profound Inner Principles delineates the principles and foundations of Vajrayāna practice. Rangjung Dorje presents the nature of things—mental and physical—and looks at the cause of delusion, what delusion creates, and how delusion is corrected. His explanations capture the principles of the Vajrayāna’s niruttara tantras, with a special focus on the structure and functioning of the body. Just as sugatagarbha, or buddha nature, is the nature of our mind, the potential for awakening lies within our body. The Mahāyāna literature refers to this pure potential as the evolving gotra, whereas the Vajrayāna refers to it as the “vajra body”—the subtle body of channels, winds, and bindus with six elements (earth, water, fire, wind, space, and wisdom-bliss). The vajra body is not only our innate capacity, it is also our path. Understanding its components and properties is essential for most meditators. The overarching theme of the text is that we need to understand how buddha nature is present in sentient beings, those on the path, and buddhas. All the details concerning the mind’s workings, the vajra body’s structures, and the meditations, paths, and stages will reinforce that understanding and give us insight into how and why the Vajrayāna path provides access to wisdom through the body.
This translation includes a commentary by Jamgön Kongtrul with extensive footnotes containing extracts from all the other important commentaries to The Profound Inner Principles; several glossaries with annotations by the translator; a works cited list and a selected bibliography; and an index.
News & Reviews
"The Profound Inner Principles is Rangjung Dorje's brilliant and visionary presentation of the essential points of the Vajrayāna approach. Focusing on the mind-body interplay, it shows us how the mind, reflected through the subtle body, is a vehicle for awakening. Elizabeth Callahan is a highly qualified translator, and her excellent rendering of this text clearly conveys the profound and compassionate intention of one of the most important teachers of the Kagyu lineage." —Dzogchen Ponlop, author of Rebel Buddha: A Guide to a Revolution of Mind
"The third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje, was perhaps the greatest early synthesizer of the Indian philosophy of Yogācāra, the Indian mahāsiddha traditions of mahāmudrā and yoga, and the Tibetan lineages of Kagyu, Nyingma, and Chöd, among others. The text translated here is a brilliant study of the essentials of tantra, including details of the subtle body and its crucial role on the path to awakening. The commentary by Jamgön Kongtrul, another of Tibet's greatest masters, illuminates the meaning in a way that is both detailed and comprehensive, such that confused practitioners such as myself can finally see the whole picture. How fortunate that there is now a completely trustworthy English translation of these important works." —Sarah Harding, author of Niguma: Lady of Illusion
"The Profound Inner Principles is a central text for the Kagyu tradition. Elizabeth Callahan, the foremost translator of the major Karma Kagyu texts, brings her considerable knowledge and experience to presenting its esoteric content in a form that is even clearer and easier to read than the Tibetan original is for Tibetans. This is a historic milestone in the transmission of Kagyu Buddhism." —Peter Alan Roberts, translator of The Practice of Tranquillity and Insight