Moonbeams of Mahamudra
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This classic Buddhist work, written in the sixteenth century, comprehensively presents the entire scope of the Tibetan Kagyu Mahāmudrā tradition. These profound yet accessible instructions focus on becoming familiar with the nature of one’s mind as the primary means to realize ultimate reality and thus attain buddhahood. Dakpo Tashi Namgyal’s manual for the view and practice of Mahāmudrā is widely considered the single most important work on the subject, systematically introducing the view and associated meditation techniques in a progressive manner.
Moonbeams of Mahāmudrā, along with the Ninth Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje’s Dispelling the Darkness of Ignorance, are to this day some of the most studied texts on Mahāmudrā in the Kagyu monasteries throughout Tibet and the Himalayas. Elizabeth M. Callahan, a renowned translator of classical Kagyu literature, has provided new translations of these two texts along with ancillary materials and annotations, making this a genuine resource for both scholars and students of Tibetan Buddhism. This historic contribution therefore offers the necessary tools to properly study and apply the Mahāmudrā teachings in a modern context.
"This remarkable text, Moonbeams of Mahāmudrā, contains the essence of the entire Buddhist tradition as it has come to us from India and Tibet. The author, Dakpo Tashi Namgyal, clearly lays out the profound path of Mahāmudrā with both the analytical style of a scholar and the experiential style of a meditator. This unique approach is, at the same time, profound, practical, and completely accessible. It is my sincere wish that this new translation will inspire and benefit all who encounter it." —Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
Dakpo Tashi Namgyal’s Moonbeams of Mahāmudrā is a fine piece of traditional scholarship that is, at the same time, a clear manual for beginners as well as advanced Mahāmudrā meditation practitioners. With her extensive introduction and new annotated translation of Moonbeams, Elizabeth M. Callahan renders an enormous service for scholars and practitioners alike.
The introduction does not only cover a comprehensive history of the relevant transmission lineages, but also discusses in an academically balanced and well-documented way the major issues of current research, such as the controversy around the attempts to justify sūtra-based Mahāmudrā. The new translation of Moonbeams profits from Callahan’s exemplary mastery of classical Tibetan philology as well as her long-standing experience of Mahāmudrā meditation. This rare combination of skills shines throughout the highly readable text, making Dakpo Tashi Namgyal’s Mahāmudrā classic for the first time easily accessible." —Klaus-Dieter Mathes, Professor of Buddhist Studies, University of Vienna
"Mahāmudrā, the 'great seal' of empty and blissful awareness, was a crucial concept and meditative practice in late Indian Buddhism and lies at the very heart of the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. No Kagyu text on the great seal is more important that Dakpo Tashi Namgyal’s Moonbeams of Mahāmudrā, and with Elizabeth Callahan’s superb new translation, this masterwork receives the full scholarly treatment it deserves. Her fresh translation of the shorter but equally influential Mahāmudrā: Dispelling the Darkness of Ignorance, by the Ninth Karmapa, only adds to the richness of this spiritual and intellectual feast—which will be savored by any scholar or practitioner seeking a lucid explanation of some of the deepest explorations the nature of mind and reality ever undertaken." —Roger Jackson, Professor Emeritus of Asian Studies and Religion, Carleton College