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Great Liberation

Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation - coverThe Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation
- Or the Method of Realizing Nirvana Through Knowing the Mind
— by Padmasambhava
- translated by W. Y. Evans-Wentz

This volume is the repository of teachings of paramount importance which have been transmitted to the peoples of Occident from most illustrious Teachers of Tibet and of India.

In Book I hereof, an account of the marvellous super-human life and secret doctrines of the Great Guru Padmasambhava, who, in the eight century of our era, by invitation of the Tibetan King, journeyed to Tibet and converted Tibet to Tantric Buddhism.

Book II of the volume expounds the quintessence of the Supreme Path, the Mahayana, and reveals the yogic method of attaining the Great Liberation of Nirvana by means of knowing the One Mind, the cosmic All-Consciousness, without recourse to the postures, breathings, and other techniques commonly associated with the lower yogas.

The aphorisms of the Guru Phadampa Sangay, comprising Book III, supplement those of Book II.

Still more useful supplementary material will be found in the book's introductory remarks, by its editor Evans-Wentz and by the eminent psychoanalyst C. G. Jung. The former presents a 100-page General Introduction that explains several key names and notions (such as Nirvana, for starters) with the lucidity, ease, and sagacity that are this scholar's hallmark; the latter offers a Psychological Commentary that weighs the differences between Eastern and Western modes of thought before equating the "collective unconscious" with the Enlightened Mind of the Buddhist. As with the other three volumes in the late Evans-Wentz's critically acclaimed Tibetan series, all four of which are being published by Oxford in new editions, this book also features a new Foreword by Donald S. Lopez.
— From the cover

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The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation , which was unknown to the Western world until its first publication in 1954, speaks to the quintessence of the Supreme Path, or Mahayana, and fully reveals the yogic method of attaining Enlightenment. Such attainment can happen, as shown here, by means of knowing the One Mind, the cosmic All-Consciousness, without recourse to the postures, breathings, and other techniques associated with the lower yogas.

The original text for this volume belongs to the Bardo Thödol  series of treatises concerning various ways of achieving transcendence, a series that figures into the Tantric school of the Mahayana. Authorship of this particular volume is attributed to the legendary Padmasambhava, who journeyed from India to Tibet in the 8th century, as the story goes, at the invitation of a Tibetan king. Padmasambhava's text per se is preceded by an account of the great guru's own life and secret doctrines. It is followed by the testamentary teachings of the Guru Phadampa Sangay, which are meant to augment the thought of the other gurus discussed herein.

Mandala of Guru RinpocheThe Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation or, the Method of Realizing Nirvana Through Knowing the Mind - is the last of four books in the Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation  series, where The Tibetan Book of the Dead , is the first book of the series which describes Buddhist philosophy, psychology and metaphysics. The second book in the series is called Tibet's Great Yogi Milarepa and is the story of a great yogi who puts into practice most of what we learn from The Tibetan Book of the Dead. It is through the story of Milarepa that we learn more about The Tibetan Book of the Dead. In the story of Milarepa the yogi studies the Seven Books of Wisdom of the Great Path as taught to him by his gurus. Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines - the third book in the series - is an expansion that explains those wisdoms and describes the yoga that is used to achieve them.

The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation  is a three act book which ties together everything learned from the other three books. Essentially the start of the book develops a clearer understanding of the metaphysics associated with the first three books in the form of a general introduction. The book then lays out the premise for a type of yoga practice called the Supreme Path or Mahayana, that was created to serve as an instant enlightenment yoga. The middle section of the book is devoted to the guru Padma-Sambhava who brought this yoga to Buddhists in the eighth century. The latter part of the book expounds on that yoga in a full translation.

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