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Tuesday, 03 March 2015 23:17

Three Inspirations

Three Inspirations - coverThe Six Yogas of Naropa
- Tsongkhapa's commentary entitled A Book of Three Inspirations - A Treatise on the Stages of Training in the Profound Path of Naro's Six Dharmas  commonly referred to as the Three Inspirations
— translated by Glenn C. Mullin

Anyone who has read more than a few books on Tibetan Buddhism will have encountered references to the Six Yogas of Naropa - a preeminent yogic technology system.

These Six Yogas - which represent one of the most popular Tibetan Buddhist presentations of yogic technology to come from India to Tibet - gradually came to pervade thousands of monasteries, nunneries, and hermitages throughout Central Asia over the past five and a half centuries.

The Six Yogas are:

Naropa & Vajrayogini

  • inner heat (tummo)
  • illusory body (gyulu)
  • clear light (osel)
  • dream state (milam)
  • intermediate state (bardo)
  • consciousness transference (phowa)

Naropa (b. 1016) was a disciple of the Indian mahasiddha Tilopa (b. 988). The lineages that Naropa gave to his Tibetan lay-disciple Marpa Lotsawa (b. 1012), especially that of the Six Yogas, came to pervade thousands of monasteries and hermitages throughout Central Asia, regardless of sect.

Tsongkhapa (1357-1419) was the forefather of the Gelukpa school, which quickly swept across Centrall Asia and became the largest single school of tantric Buddhism. He was also the guru of the First Dalai Lama (b. 1391).

Glenn C. Mullin's study of the history, substance, and philosophical legacy of the Six Yogas of Naropa together with his translations of Tsongkhapa's treatise provides an invaluable guide to this tradition.

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