cover image On Buddha Essence: A Commentary on Rangjung Dorje's Treatise

On Buddha Essence: A Commentary on Rangjung Dorje's Treatise

Khenchen Thrangu, . . Shambhala, $16.95 (168pp) ISBN 978-1-59030-276-7

Thrangu, a teacher of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, comments on a 231-line treatise written in the early 14th century by Rangjung Dorje, third in the line of karmapas, spiritual leaders of the Kagyu tradition. This treatise is important for understanding the development of Tibetan Mahamudra teachings, which resemble Zen Buddhism in their emphasis on emptiness, the true nature of mind and the importance of meditation in coming to realize emptiness. To see buddha nature is to be buddha nature, this text says. But that simple proposition is complex, so Thrangu shows Dorje's scholarly elaboration of the concept of buddha nature. It's tough sledding and definitely not for beginners. It helps to be unintimidated by key Sanskrit terms, although a lengthy glossary is in back and ready. The treatise is short and affords a view of the Buddhist scripture and tradition that informs contemporary practice. Reading this dense commentary on a significant Buddhist text compares to reading any other textual commentary, with close attention, interpretation and conceptualizing about the nonconceptual. Some will drink its depth, while others will find it too challenging for their taste. (July 11)