The Precious Treasury of Pith Instructions


Longchen Rabjam is revered as one of the greatest masters in the Nyingma school of Vajrayana Buddhism. He wrote more than 250 treatises on a wide variety of topics, but is best known for his works on Dzogchen, or Great Perfection, especially the extensive scholastic exegesis of the Great Perfection tantras known as The Seven Treasuries. This collection discusses the primordial nature that is the ground of all experience, the view, meditation, and conduct of the spiritual path, and the final freedom that is the fruition of that path.

The Precious Treasury of Pith Instructions is the shortest of the seven texts and the only one composed entirely in verse. Writing as a spiritual mentor giving advice to his students, Longchenpa distills the principles underlying the entire range of Buddhist practice in more than 400 stanzas, each consisting of six instructions or pieces of advice. Although the later stanzas place greater emphasis on the Dzogchen approach, introductory teachings and advice are interspersed throughout the book with profound instructions on the nature of being itself and the ultimate level of truth. Longchenpa's uncompromising tone reflects his commitment to the highest realization and to the welfare of those inspired by his message.

Paltrul Rinpoche exhorts us to read The Precious Treasury of Pith Instructions as follows: Summarized in groups of six, the perfect treasury of sacred dharma distills the heart essence of all pith instructions. Even if you were to meet the actual Victorious One, would not it be hard to hear teachings on such an excellent path all at once? This volume includes an introduction by the Venerable Tulku Thondup Rinpoche and a foreword by His Eminence Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, whose inspiration and commitment to the translation of all of Longchenpa's Seven Treasuries have guided the publication of the first three texts in this continuing series.

Padma Publishing is engaged in the long-term project of translating into English the revered Dzogchen commentaries known as the Seven Treasuries, authored by the fourteenth-century Nyingma master, Longchen Rabjam (Longchenpa). This masterpiece, admired by scholars for centuries, synthesizes more than 600 years of development in the spiritual tradition first brought to Tibet by Padmasambhava in the eighth century. Padma Publishing editions include the English translation, as well as structural outlines, critical notes, lists of key terms, and glossaries.

Producing an English edition of the Seven Treasuries is a daunting task, both scholastically and linguistically. Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, late head of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, felt that such a project would be an extremely important undertaking, but pointed out that these comprehensive and profoundly intricate texts presented enormous challenges to quality translation. Every line, and often each word, of Longchenpa's text presents challenges. The Padma Translation Committee established a multi-leveled editorial process, similar to the traditional manner of translation projects in Tibet's great monastic institutions. In addition to having received input and direction from Chagdud Rinpoche, the translators have benefited from several visiting scholars, who have lent their expertise in elucidating and clarifying difficult points in the texts.

It was Chagdud Rinpoche's vision that the Seven Treasuries of Longchenpa be made available to Western students of the Dzogchen tradition, and for this reason he founded the Translation Project in 1987, inviting Richard Barron (Lama Chökyi Nyima) to assist Padma in its endeavors. To date, the Padma Translation Committee has produced five of the Seven Treasuries, as well as numerous sadhana texts, ritual liturgies, prayers, and other practice materials.

Book measures 9.25 inches tall by 6.25 inches wide by 1 inch deep.