Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Tayé on Mahãmudrã: His brief, early instruction in The Lamp for Definitive Meaning

McKenna, Marianne Christine, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
lang, Karen, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

The focus of this paper is a translation of the final section of The Lamp for Definitive Meaning, called by its author “Instruction in the Main Practice,” and often referred to as “the mahamudra chapter. This is a short, informal text comprising instructions related to the practice of mahamudra. Its author, Jamgön Kongtrul Lodro Tayé was a prolific and renowned nineteenth-century scholar, whose work remains highly influential to this day.

The Lamp for Definitive Meaning was composed early in the first Jamgön Kongtrul’s career as a meditation master and scholar. The initial sections of the text, which provides instruction for preliminary practices for mahamudra, has been published in English translation as The Torch of Certainty.

This translation of the “Instructions in the Main Practice” is presented in two formats—an English translation with subtitles and footnotes added for clarity, and an appendix in which Tibetan and English are presented side-by-side. The former is intended for those interested in the text from a historical or general perspective; the side-by-side version, less clear to the general reader, is provided in an appendix for those interested in specific translation choices.

The introductory material provides a particular perspective on some large topics, addressing the aspects deemed immediately relevant to the text translated here.

MS (Master of Science)
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