In 1838, Choying Tobden Dorje, a Buddhist yogi-scholar ngakpa of Repkong, completed a multivolume masterwork that traces the entire path of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism from beginning to end. Written by a lay practitioner for laypeople, it was intended to be accessible, informative, inspirational, and above all, practical. Its twenty-five books, or topical divisions, offer a comprehensive and detailed view of the Buddhist path according to the early translation school of Tibetan Buddhism, spanning the vast range of Buddhist teachings from the initial steps to the highest esoteric teachings of great perfection. Choying Tobden Dorje’s magnum opus appears in English here for the first time.
The volumes below that include books 1-14 are in fact not specific to the Nyingma tradition and apply across all the lineages of Tibet.
In the first volume, Foundations of the Buddhist Path, which encompasses "books"1-10, the author surveys the scope of the entire work and then begins with the topics that set the cornerstones for all subsequent Buddhist practice: what constitutes proper spiritual apprenticeship, how to receive the teachings, how to make the best use of this life, and how to motivate ourselves to generate effort on the spiritual path. He then describes refuge and the vows that define the path of individual liberation before turning to the bodhisattva’s way—buddha nature, how to uplift the mind to supreme awakening, the bodhisattva’s training, and the attainments of the paths leading to supreme awakening.
Books 11-12 will be in a forthcoming volume.
Book 13: Philosophical Systems and Lines of Transmission presents the philosophical systems of India and Tibet, according to the writings of Longchen Rabjam and the revelations of Orgyan Lingpa. First, it discusses the views attributed to classical Hinduism, Jainism, materialism, and nihilism. Second, it describes the standpoints of the Vaibhashika and Sautrantika exponents of the lesser vehicle, exemplified by pious attendants and hermit buddhas, and the Cittamatra (“mind only”) and Madhyamaka (“middle way”) commentators of the great vehicle, exemplified by great bodhisattva beings. Third, it analyzes the inner and outer vehicles of the Buddhist tantras, with an emphasis on the three classes of the great perfection. Fourth, it documents the lines of philosophical transmission within Tibet, including Bon, Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, Kadampa, and Geluk. It concludes with an extract from a well-known treatise of the Fifth Dalai Lama, applying the techniques of consequential reasoning to the first chapter of Vasubandhu’s Treasury of Phenomenology.
Book 14: An Overview of Buddhist Tantra is the first in the series to focus on tantra. Whereas previous volumes presented the general exoteric teachings of Buddhism, this work outlines the esoteric practice of tantra according to the Nyingma system. The author defines the parameters of tantra by dividing the work into outer and inner tantras, and concludes with explaining the result of the tantric path—enlightenment itself. Designed to be a companion for dedicated practitioners who receive direct instructions from a qualified teacher, this work is a comprehensive manual that provides the foundation for understanding the genuine and profound teachings of Buddhist tantra.
Books 15 to 17: The Essential Tantras of Mahayoga is presented in two volumes and concerns the first of the three classes of inner tantra. It presents the entire text of the Guhyagarbha Tantra, in Tibetan and English, together with the interlinear sections of one of its most important commentaries, Dispelling the Darkness of the Ten Directions, by the outstanding fourteenth-century master Longchen Rabjam. Also included is Choying Tobden Dorje’s rewriting of Candragomin’s inspirational Extensive Commentary on the Sublime Litany of the Names of Manjushri.
Books 18-20, forthcoming 2018.
Books 20-25 will be in a forthcoming volume.