Mipham Rinpoche Series

Tibetan MastersMipham Rinpoche

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Mipham Rinpoche

Ju Mipham Namgyal Gyatso

Name variants:
  • Dhīḥ
  • Jampal Gyepe Dorje
  • Ju Mipham
  • Lodrö Drimé
  • Mipham Namgyal Gyatso
Further Information:

Through the blessings of the youthful Mañjuśrī, the union of awareness and emptiness,

You released the eight brilliant treasures,

Master of an ocean of treasure-like teachings of the Dharma in both aspects, transmission and realization—

To you, Mipham Rinpoche, Mañjuśrī in person, I pray!

Texts by and about the great Nyingma polymath Jamgön Mipham Namgyal Gyatso (mi pham rnam rgyal rgya mtsho, 1846-1912), arguably the most influential Tibetan scholar of recent times:

Advice

This very short yet practical set of instructions, composed in verse, was written at the request of several beginners.

Mipham Rinpoche gave this text in thirty-seven verses to the Third Dodrupchen Jigme Tenpe Nyima as a sealed scroll while they were both at Dzongsar Monastery. Although the precise date is unclear, it seems likely that this was in or around 1886. The text is a mixture of personal, often cryptic advice and prophecy.

In a few lines of verse, Mipham explains the essence of Dzogchen Atiyoga, which is, in turn, the essence of the 84000 approaches of the Dharma.

A short text in verse that outlines various stages in the cultivation of śamatha, or calm abiding.

Written in 1906, this short text contains the most profound instruction on the practice of śamatha, or calm abiding, in which mind is turned upon itself.

Properly titled Wondrous Talk Brought About by Conversing with a Friend (Grogs dang gtam gleng ba'i rkyen las mtshar gtam), this playful text pokes fun at followers of the Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyü and Gelug (or Gendenpa) schools, in order to highlight potential pitfalls associated with each tradition, while also pointing out the absurdity of sectarian prejudice in general.

In these six pithy verses, composed in 1896, Mipham explains the relative strengths of each of the four main Tibetan Buddhist Schools—Nyingma (rnying ma), Kagyü (bka' brgyud), Gelug (dge lugs) and Sakya (sa skya)—and appeals to their followers to tolerate and respect one another.

This short advice in verse explains the perfect equality (mnyam pa nyid) of the dharmadhātu (chos kyi dbyings), the space-like nature of phenomena, which, Mipham says, is a crucial point to understand in both sūtra and tantra. Mipham wrote this text in 1901.

Aspiration Prayers

This famous prayer for the spread of the teachings of the Nyingma tradition is among Mipham Rinpoche's most famous compositions. It is recited daily at the annual Monlam Chenmo festival and was the subject of a major commentary by Mipham's student and lineage-holder, Shechen Gyaltsab Pema Namgyal (1871–1926).

A short prayer of aspiration to accompany the offering of a butter lamp (mar me).

A short prayer incorporating the four causes of rebirth in Sukhāvatī, namely: 1) visualizing the pure realm, 2) accumulating merit and purifying obscurations, 3) generating bodhicitta, and 4) making prayers of aspiration and dedicating all sources of virtue towards rebirth in Sukhāvatī.

This 72-line liturgy for the practice of yang-guk (g.yang 'gugs), or 'summoning the spirit of abundance (or prosperity)' was composed in 1896.

A brief prayer to be reborn on the Copper Coloured Mountain of Glory, or Zangdok Palri, in the presence of Guru Padmasambhava, and to complete the path to enlightenment in that pure realm, so as to work for others’ benefit.

This popular prayer, which Mipham wrote in 1896, is addressed to the eight sugatas, eight bodhisattvas, eight goddesses of auspiciousness, and eight guardians of the world. It is recited at the outset of any virtuous project, or indeed any activity of any kind, in order to bring about auspiciousness, success and good fortune.

Averting Obstacles

Buddhist Philosophy

In this short text, Mipham Rinpoche succinctly explains what is meant by the self of the individual (pudgalātman; gang zag gi bdag) and the 'self' (or identity) of phenomena (dharmātman; chos kyi bdag), and he describes how to become certain as to the non-existence of them both. The author also highlights the importance of distinguishing between a more superficial, conceptual understanding and a genuine, non-conceptual realization of ultimate reality.

This section of Gateway to Learning (mKhas 'jug) explains the so-called "Four Great Logical Arguments of the Middle Way" (dbu ma'i gtan tshigs chen po bzhi), which are: 1) investigation of the cause: the Diamond Splinters; 2) investigation of the result: refuting existent or non-existent results; 3) investigation of the essential identity: ‘neither one nor many’; and 4) investigation of all: the Great Interdependence. This translation also includes some comments from Khenpo Nüden's celebrated commentary.

Extracted from Gateway to Learning (mKhas 'jug), this section on the selflessness of the individual (gang zag gi bdag med) explains the absence of any permanent, unitary, independent and all-pervading self, either identical to or distinct from the five aggregates (pañcaskandhā; phung po lnga).

Composed in 1892 and appended to The Wheel of Analytical Meditation (dpyad sgom 'khor lo ma), this instruction continues that text's analysis, extending it to all phenomena. Its central message is that the nature of all things, i.e., appearance and emptiness, can only be fully understood through meditation.

One of Mipham's best known works, this treatise in 104 verses was written in just a single day in 1885. It is structured around the four principles of reasoning (rigs pa bzhi)—of causal efficiency, dependence, nature and establishing a proof—and the four reliances (rton pa bzhi), i.e., Rely not on the individual but the Dharma; Rely not on the words but the meaning; Rely not on the provisional but the definitive meaning; Rely not on ordinary consciousness but wisdom.

This short verse-text sets out to clarify the term "self-awareness" (rang rig; svasaṃvedana), especially as it is used in Dzogchen, and challenges those who reject the notion. Mipham points out that self-awareness is something to be experienced firsthand, not debated or speculated about.

Composed in a single day in 1891, this celebrated verse text offers a practical guide to meditating analytically on the multiplicity, impermanence, suffering nature and selflessness of the aggregates, as an antidote to the mental afflictions (kleśa; nyon mongs).

Dharma Protectors

Dzogchen

Also known as the "instruction that points directly to the very essence of mind in the tradition of ‘the old realized ones’ (rtogs ldan rgan po)", this is a pithy guide to Dzogchen meditation written for 'village yogis' and other practitioners without a background in study. It includes three separate instructions, for: 1) cracking open the egg-shell of ignorance, 2) cutting the web of saṃsāric existence, and 3) remaining in space-like equalness.

Written using the language of the Great Perfection, this prayer, which Mipham wrote in 1886, is an aspiration to realize the nature of mind — indestructible awareness and emptiness — and the true meaning of Mañjuśrī.

In this short text, Mipham Rinpoche attempts—by his own admission—to express the inexpressible. Aware of the challenge and the apparent contradiction, he nevertheless offers various descriptions of mind's ineffable essence "for the sake of those fortunate individuals who seek to penetrate the profound meaning of dharmatā."

In this, one of his most popular Dzogchen instructions, Mipham Rinpoche explains how to go beyond the initial stage of the recognition (ngo shes) of the face of rigpa, or pure awareness, to the subsequent stages of perfecting the strength (rtsal rdzogs) and gaining stability (brtan pa thob).

Written in 1893/4, this brief versified instruction outlines the key points of Trekchö (khregs chod) practice through an explanation of the four ways of leaving things as they are (cog bzhag bzhi).

This short instruction in verse was written in 1876. It explains the nature of mind, which is 'seen', or realised, in an experience that transcends the duality of seeing and seen.

Gesar

A brief, eight-line windhorse invocation focused especially on Gesar and his retinue, which Mipham composed in his hermitage in Rudam in 1903.

A short, four-line prayer to accompany offerings to Gesar.

This brief 'first-portion' offering (phud mchod) to Gesar and his retinue for the sake of prosperity, which Mipham composed in 1872, is said to bring about "the four treasures of longevity, glory, wealth and prosperity," and fulfilment of all wishes and requirements.

Mipham wrote this four-line prayer to Gesar—the "Great Lion and Foe-Subduing Jewel" (seng chen nor bu dgra 'dul)—in 1896.

Mipham composed this short, four-line windhorse prayer to Gesar and his retinue in 1905.

This brief rite of offering and requesting Gesar to carry out activity was written in 1880. As with the other texts in this section of Mipham's works Gesar appears not only as powerful warrior-figure but as an enlightened emanation of Guru Padmasambhava.

Composed in 1884, this is a short eight-line prayer together with a mantra to accompany the offering of amṛta nectar and torma.

This practice of guru yoga focused on "the great lion Gesar" it said to be especially swift in bringing blessings and signs of accomplishment. Mipham wrote it in 1887.

Guru Yoga

Lineage Prayers

Long Life Prayers

Lungta

Mantras

Praise

Prayers to Guru Rinpoche

Prayers to Mañjuśrī

Prayers to Śākyamuni

Preliminary Practice

Sādhanas

Sang Offering

Saving Lives

Tārā

Tsok

Vajrasattva

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