Translations by Peter Woods
Peter Woods lives in northern California. He works with Lhasey Lotsawa Translations and Publications and is Director of Programs at Rangjung Yeshe Gomde California.
Texts translated into English by Peter Woods
A popular Nyingma version of the famous Bodhisattvas’ Confession of Downfalls (byang chub sems dpa’i ltung bshags), also known as the Sūtra of the Three Heaps (phung po gsum pa’i mdo), invoking the thirty-five buddhas of confession as a means of purifying transgressions of vows and downfalls of the bodhisattva vow.
This popular canonical work (Tōh. 662) teaches the incantation (dhāraṇī) and rituals associated with the goddess Vasudhārā. According to the text, the dhāraṇī grants prosperity and wealth and averts spirits, demons and disease.
- The Noble Incantation entitled ‘The Rituals for the Blue-Clad Vajrapāṇi’ from the Words of the Buddha
A popular text (Tōh. 748) teaching the incantation (dhāraṇī) and rituals associated with the Blue-Clad (nīlāmbaradhara) form of the deity Vajrapāṇi. According to Karmavajra’s commentary (Tōh. 2676), the dhāraṇī is at once a powerful protection against, and remedy for, spirits, demons and disease.
- The Praise to Tārā with Twenty-One Verses of Homage and The Excellent Benefits of Reciting the Praise from the Words of the Buddha
Perhaps the most popular of all prayers to Tārā, this tantra praises her twenty-one forms, both peaceful and wrathful. The first twenty-one verses are at once a series of homages to Tārā and a poetic description of her physical features, postures, qualities, abilities, mantras, and hand gestures. The remaining six verses describe how and when the Praise should be recited, as well as the benefits of its recitation.
This famous vajra song (rdo rje’i glu), named after its initial syllables "ema kiri", appears in the Tantra of the Union of the Sun and Moon (nyi zla kha sbyor). It consists of a series of arranged syllables which a practitioner should intone melodiously. The individual syllables and their arrangement as a mantra are considered particularly sacred since they are said to have been revealed by the primordial buddha Samantabhadra.
In this brief guide to Ujjain, most likely part of a personal pilgrimage diary, Chatral Rinpoche repeatedly refers to the city as Uḍḍiyāna. Ujjain is home to the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, one of the most famous temples dedicated to Lord Śiva, attracting thousands of devotees every day. Rinpoche concludes with a guide to Khoteshwar, identified here as the Sindhu Isle, birthplace of Guru Padmasambhava.
A short yet profound guru yoga composed at the insistence of close students and which is still recited daily by many disciples. The practice incorporates a unique mantra based on Rinpoche's name and employs imagery associated with the Great Perfection.
- Melodious Tambura of Delight: A Guide to Māratika Cave, Supreme Site of Immortality by Chatral Rinpoche
Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche wrote this brief guide to the sacred Māratika cave at the request of his daughter, Sarasvatī. In a series of verses, he describes the significance of this powerful place of longevity — the "destroyer of death" is the literal meaning of its name — where Guru Padmasambhava and the Lady Mandāravā attained immortality.
- The Sādhana and Empowerment for the Extremely Close Lineage of the Long-Life Practice that Unites the Oral, Treasure and Visionary Teachings by Chöje Lingpa
This pith instruction for accomplishing longevity (tshe sgrub) through Thangtong Gyalpo (1361–1485?) is said to bring together the oral, treasure and visionary teachings. According to its colophon, Chöjé Lingpa received the instruction from Thangtong Gyalpo directly in a vision. Jamgön Kongtrul included the text in the Precious Treasury of Revelations (Rinchen Terdzö).
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
- All Wishes Swiftly Fulfilled: A Prayer to the Mahāguru of Uḍḍiyāna in Eight Chapters by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche composed separate outer, inner and secret guru yoga practices with the great scholar, Sakya Paṇḍita as their object. Here is the outer practice, complete with visualization, prayer and mantra recitation, in which the focus is on the master as inseparable from Mañjuśrī.
Dodrupchen Jigme Tenpe Nyima
- Garland of Night-Blooming Water Lilies: A Commentary on the Guru Siddhi Mantra by Dodrupchen Jigme Tenpe Nyima
This profound explanation of the individual syllables of Padmasambhava's famous Vajra-Guru Mantra is written in colloquial language that is concise and easy to understand. The text is explicitly aimed at 'town-dweller mantrins' who mistakenly confuse the fundamentals of Secret Mantra.
Guru Chökyi Wangchuk
- Meeting the Buddha Face to Face: A Pith Instruction on Realizing the Fortress, Ravine, and View of the Practice of Vajrakīlaya by Guru Chökyi Wangchuk
This pith instruction on how to accomplish Vajrakīla (or Vajrakīlaya) was given by Guru Padmasambhava to his closest disciple Khandro Yeshé Tsogyal. Following the Atiyoga approach, the text comments on the oft-quoted verses of the Vajrakīla Root Tantra Fragment (Tōh. 439). This and a short protector offering, also preserved in the Treasury of Revelations (Rinchen Terdzö), are the only two surviving texts from Guru Chöwang’s Vajrakīla revelation.
Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye
- The Life and Liberation of Padmākara, the Second Buddha from A Precious Garland of Lapis Lazuli by Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye
Extracted from the famous collection of the life stories of 108 treasure revealers called A Precious Garland of Lapis Lazuli, this account of Guru Padmasambhava's life and liberation synthesises and even comments upon earlier sources.
Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
This is a poetic guide to the sacred site of Yangleshö (yang le shod) near the village of Pharping to the south of the Kathmandu Valley, where it is said that Guru Padmasambhava attained the level of a Mahāmudrā vidyādhara. Jamyang Khyentse wrote the text following a series of visionary experiences; it has the quality of a revelation and ends with a series of cryptic prophecies.
Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
- The History of the Hearing Lineage of the Profound and Secret Practice of Siṃhamukhā by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo recounts the origin of the teachings of Siṃhamukhā and how they have been subsequently passed down to him. He closely follows the story associated with the lineage of Bari Lotsawa (ba ri lugs).
Jetsün Drakpa Gyaltsen
Khenchen Jigme Phuntsok
Composed at the cave of Yangleshö in Nepal, this spontaneous song praises the power of this sacred site, a place where Guru Padmasambhava once meditated and gained accomplishment, while also attesting to Khenchen Jigme Phuntsok's own poetic mastery and realization.
Ngakchang Shakya Zangpo
In this famous history of the sacred stūpa of Boudha, Guru Padmasambhava recounts the stūpa's origins. In response to a request from King Trisong Deutsen, he tells how a humble poultry-woman first extracted a promise from the king and then built the stūpa together with her four sons, who were all later reborn as prominent figures in the introduction of Buddhism to Tibet. Padmasambhava also describes the benefits to be gained from circumambulating the stūpa and making offerings before it, and concludes with a series of prophecies concerning the stūpa's restoration.
In this brief treasure text, Padmasambhava prophesies the many ways in which he will reveal himself to disciples in the future. He encourages his students to pray to him continually and gives specific instructions on how to invoke him on the tenth day. The text concludes with a description of the destined revealer of this treasure, Ratna Lingpa.
This short commentary (Tōh. 4353) on the secret mantra or tantric meaning of the famous Heart Sūtra is attributed to the Atiyoga teacher Śrī Siṃha. According to the colophon, he gave this explanation to his disciple Vairocana, who put it into writing and taught it to King Trisong Detsen.
Tulku Zangpo Drakpa
This terma (gter ma), which Tulku Zangpo Drakpa revealed and passed on to Rigdzin Gödem (1337–1408), presents a sūtra-like scenario in which Buddha Śākyamuni reveals a dhāraṇī for subduing enemies and demonic forces.