This guide to exploring The Treasury of Precious Instructions includes selections from the text, words of advice and praises from distinguished Tibetan teachers, audio and video series from the translators, and helpful resources. Use the above navigation menu above to explore each page and discover this truly remarkable and timeless series of texts!

Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye
treasury of precious instructions

Summary of the Series

The Treasury of Precious Instructions or Dam-ngak Rinpoché Dzö by Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Taye, one of Tibet’s greatest Buddhist masters, is a shining jewel of Tibetan literature, presenting essential teachings from the entire spectrum of practice lineages that came from India into Tibet. In its eighteen volumes, Kongtrul brings together some of the most important texts on key topics of Buddhist thought and practice as well as authoring significant new sections of his own.

This is one of Jamgön Kongtrul’s Five Treasuries, his major collections of writing. It is considered one of the most important contributions to Tibetan literature. This Treasury contains the collected transmissions and esoteric instructions of the eight principal practice lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, which trace their lineages back to India. These eight lineages of accomplishment (one model of classifying the practice traditions of Tibet) are encompassed  in 18 volumes. This collection was compiled in roughly chronological order as the traditions developed:

  • Nyingma - Two volumes
  • Kadampa Tradition - Two volumes
  • Sakya Path & Result - Two volumes
  • Marpa Kagyu - Four volumes
  • Shangpa Kagyu - Two volumes
  • Pacification (Zhije) & Severance (Chöd) - Two volumes
  • Kalacakra & Orgyen Nyendrup - One volume
  • Mahasiddha Practice and Miscellaneous Teachings - Two volumes
  • The 108 Guidebooks of Jonang (Practices from the Sakya, Kagyu, Kadam, and Nyingma Traditions) - One volume
jamgon-kongtrul

Continue to next page: History of the Precious Treasury of Instructions or continue below to view a summary of page contents

Available Books from the Treasury of Precious Instructions

We have four volumes available with more volumes scheduled to release each year.  A full description of each volume is on the Treasury's books page and for the complete description in the catalog, linked at the bottom.

Zhije
The Pacification of Suffering

In this volume, Kongtrul presents a diverse corpus of texts from the Zhije (Pacification) tradition that trace especially to the South Indian master Dampa Sangye (d. 1117), whose teachings are also celebrated in the Chöd (Severance) tradition. It includes source scriptures by Dampa Sangye, empowerments by Lochen Dharmashrī (of Mindroling), and guidance by Dampa Sangye, Lochen Dharmashrī, and Sönam Pal. Also included are lineage charts related to the transmission of Zhije teachings as well as detailed notes and an orientation to the texts by translator Sarah Harding.

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Jonang: The One Hundred and Eight Teaching Manuals

This volume, which is not about the Jonang tradition (!), is actually the most essential volume of the entire Treasury.    Kongtrul included it but its author is the 16th century adept Jetsun Kunga Drolchok.  Kongtrul  describes the teachings and transmissions in this volume as “supports for all the foregoing teachings”.  In other words this is the wellspring of the content in the previous volumes.  It was the inspiration for Jamgön Kongtrul and the essential basis for all the other teachings.

The manuals are in fact mostly Kagyu, Sakya, and Kadam, with a few from the Nyingma tradition as well.  It ranges from foundational Buddhist teachings (e.g. Parting from the Four Attachments, lojong, etc.) to the tantric practices from across all the eight “chariots” or traditions that came from India.

So why is the title of this volume called Jonang?  Because that’s where Kunga Drolchok wrote them.  While he held the monastic seat of Jonang monastery, as these guidebooks make obvious, he was a true Rime figure, studying and deeply practicing the most profound dharma without being hung up on identifying himself as a holder of a particular school.

Chöd
The Sacred Teachings on Severance

In this, the fourteenth volume, Kongtrul compiles the teachings on Severance, or Chöd. It includes some of the tradition’s earliest source scriptures, such as the “grand poem” of Āryadeva, and numerous texts by the tradition’s renowned founder, Machik Lapdrön. Kongtrul also brings together the most significant texts on the rites of initiation, empowerments for practice, and wide-ranging instructions and guides for the support of practitioners. Altogether, this quintessential guide to Severance offers vast resources for scholars and practitioners alike to better understand this unique and remarkable tradition—the way of severing the ego through the profound realization of emptiness and compassion.

Shangpa Kagyu: The Tradition of Khyungpo Naljor, Part One

Volume 11 of the series, Shangpa Kagyu, presents a selection of teachings and practices from the Shangpa Kagyu practice lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. This tradition derives from the celestial being, or ḍākinī, Niguma and her human Tibetan disciple, the eleventh-century yogi Khyungpo Naljor Tsultrim Gönpo of the Shang region of Tibet. The scriptural source material for this practice tradition is twofold: the yogic teachings of the Six Dharmas of Niguma and nature of mind teachings from the text Amulet Box Mahamudra.

The tantric basis of the Shangpa Kagyu tradition is the five principal deities of the new translation (sarma) traditions and in particular the Five-Deity Cakrasamvara practice. The six parts of this sizable volume include source scriptures, liturgies, supplications, empowerment texts, instructions, and practice manuals composed by Niguma, Virupa, Taranatha, the compile Jamgon Kongtrul, and others.

Sakya: The Path with Its Result, Part One

This volume, which is not about the Jonang tradition (!), is actually the most essential volume of the entire Treasury.    Kongtrul included it but its author is the 16th century adept Jetsun Kunga Drolchok.  Kongtrul  describes the teachings and transmissions in this volume as “supports for all the foregoing teachings”.  In other words this is the wellspring of the content in the previous volumes.  It was the inspiration for Jamgön Kongtrul and the essential basis for all the other teachings.

The manuals are in fact mostly Kagyu, Sakya, and Kadam, with a few from the Nyingma tradition as well.  It ranges from foundational Buddhist teachings (e.g. Parting from the Four Attachments, lojong, etc.) to the tantric practices from across all the eight “chariots” or traditions that came from India.

So why is the title of this volume called Jonang?  Because that’s where Kunga Drolchok wrote them.  While he held the monastic seat of Jonang monastery, as these guidebooks make obvious, he was a true Rime figure, studying and deeply practicing the most profound dharma without being hung up on identifying himself as a holder of a particular school.

Mahasiddha Practice
From Maitrayogin and Other Masters

Mahāsiddha Practice, the sixteenth volume, presents a selection of teachings and practices centered on the mahāsiddhas, Indian tantric masters. The mahāsiddha Mitrayogin, whose work forms the majority of this volume, visited Tibet in the late twelfth century. His ritual texts along with instructions are here translated from Tibetan, including sādhanas, empowerments, guru yogas, authorization rituals for protector deities, and detailed compositions on Mahāmudrā practice, or resting in the nature of mind. In addition to instructions given by mahāsiddhas, this volume includes ritual practices to visualize them and transmit their blessings, beginning with a devotional text composed by Jamgön Kongtrul himself.

The Video Series

Treasury Precious Instructions Videos

In 2016, the Tsadra Foundation sponsored a series of talks on the Treasury of Precious Instructions focusing on Kongtrul and the specifics of the Eight Chariots.  Translator and teacher Sarah Harding who has been immersed in this work for decades and has completed several volumes of this work leads the conversations.  Also included are Elizabeth Callahan and Acharya Tenpa Gyaltsen.

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A History of the Treasury of Precious Instructions

palpung
Palpung Monastery in Tibet

The following account of the history of the Treasury of Instructions is an excerpt from Ringu Tulku’s The Ri-me Philosophy of Jamgön Kongtrul the Great.


When they were together at this time, Kongtrul asked Khyentse [Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo] what he thought of their collecting the most important instructions they had received from the eight practice lineages, in order to keep these teachings from fading away. Khyentse Rinpoche replied that he had already written down about twenty volumes of explanations and commentaries, but his writings were unorganized and there were some missing parts, like the empowerments. He told Kongtrul it would be very good for him to do that and that they should call it the Treasury of Instructions. Khyentse listed the order for the contents of the ten volumes of the Treasury of Instructions, and then he gave Kongtrul the transmission of the Red and Black Volumes of the Lamdre, which are Sakya lineage teachings of the Path with Its Result.

Read the full excerpt>

Listen to the Talks

In addition to the videos above, this series of talks on the Eight Chariots, or Practice Lineages, is available for streaming, downloading, or listening to on your podcast app of choice.

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Ringu Tulku on the Treasury of Precious Instructions

The Karchag or Catalog

Catalog_of_The_Treasury_of_Precious_Instructions_by_Jamgon_Kongtrul_Lodro_Ta

"The Catalog of the Treasury Of Precious Instructions is not just a catalog in the usual sense. It also presents vital information about the history, the lineage figures, and the essential teachings of the original eight practice lineages transmitted from India to Tibet. In outlining the instruction manuals, empowerment texts, and practice sadhanas from each of these traditions, the Catalog is a true gateway to understanding, appreciating, and gainfully using Jamgön Kongtrul's vast treasury of the essentials of Tibetan Buddhism. Ably translated by Richard Barron, the Catalog offers a fascinating map of the Indian Vajrayana heritage and its full assimilation by Tibetans

Karl Brunnhölzl, translator and author

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