The Catalog of The Treasury of Precious Instructions
by Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Taye
Translated by RICHARD BARRON (Chökyi Nyima) – Tsadra Foundation New York
The Treasury of Precious Instructions is a collection of the essential root texts, instructions, and manuals of all the eight practice lineages of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism. To preserve these is to preserve the complete practice
of Vajrayana Buddhism. All of the texts enshrined in this collection were written by the most authentic masters of their lineage. Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Taye not only made great efforts to receive the transmission of every
one of these instructions from a master of that practice; he also practiced them all in solitary retreat. Therefore, this is not just a collection of texts but a living lineage of transforming practices. The Treasury and its transmission
also became the focal point of the ri-me (nonsectarian) movement in Tibetan Buddhism. When His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwang Karmapa came out of Tibet as a refugee, one of the first things he did was to give the transmission of The Treasury of Precious Instructions—even before building a monastery.
I am extremely grateful that Tsadra Foundation is taking up the enormous task of translating this entire collection into English. I regard this undertaking as one of the greatest possible contributions toward preserving
Tibetan civilization. And I congratulate Richard Barron for making the catalog of The Treasury of Precious Instructions available in English.
Ringu Tulku -February 2013
The Treasury of Precious Instructions (gDams ngag rin po che’i mdzod) is one of the five monumental collections known as the Five Treasuries that were compiled by Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Taye (1813–1900), one of the greatest
figures of his time in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. To read his autobiography is to be astonished at his literary output alone, to say nothing of his other achievements. In A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems, a history of
the Dzogchen lineage of the Nyingma school, the late Nyoshul Khenpo remarked
of Jamgön Kongtrul:
When we examine his legacy of some ninety volumes of original works—a marvelous nonsectarian contribution to the continuity of the teachings—it would seem as though he spent his life solely engaged in composition. When we reflect on his efforts to transmit the empowerments, teachings, pith instructions, and oral
transmissions of the Nyingma and Sarma schools without sectarian bias, it would seem as though he devoted himself entirely to explaining and promulgating teachings. When we consider the ways in which he engaged in the profound stages of development and completion for an incredible range of practices, from the preliminaries to a vast array of mandalas, it would seem as though he spent his entire life sealed away in a retreat center.
However, he also founded monastic centers such as that at Tsari Rinchen Drak, contributed to the restoration of older sites by erecting new representations of enlightened form, speech, and
mind, organized more than 150 rituals for offering ganachakras, served the sublime Three Jewels, and so forth. When we examine how he pursued the ten kinds of spiritual conduct, it would seem as though he spent his life wholly engaged in the pursuit of spiritual activities. He certainly exemplified the conduct of an advanced practitioner.
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