Saturday, October 18, 2008
Approaching the Great Perfection
Simultaneous and Gradual Methods of Dzogchen Practice in the Longchen Nyingthig
An important new study that looks at one of the lineage's seminal figures, Jigme Lingpa, and makes an extensive analysis of a core tension within Buddhism: does enlightenment develop gradually, or can it come about suddenly?
Dzogchen is the highest meditative practice of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, and Jigme Lingpa was an eighteenth century scholar-yogi whose cycle of teachings, the Longchen Nyingthig, has been handed down through generations as a complete path to enlightenment. Ten of Jigme Lingpa's texts are presented here. Van Schaik shows that both the sudden and gradual approaches and positions on enlightenment are present within each of the Tibetan Buddhist schools, and he demonstrates that Jigme Lingpa is a great illustration of this balancing act, using the rhetoric of both sides to propel his students along the path of the Great Perfection.
"A stimulating contribution to the study of simultaneist and gradualist approaches in Buddhism by way of important new translations and lucid commentary. His insights into the philosophical content of Tibetan tantric literature, as well as into the boundaries between revelation and composition, illuminate the most significant tantric cycle in the Nyingma tradition of the last three centuries." David Germano.