From the Editors / Snow Lion Articles

The Eighth Situpa on the Third Karmapa’s Mahamudra Prayer

Book coverAll students of the Kagyu traditions of Tibetan Buddhism are familiar with Karmapa III Rangjung Dorje’s beautiful prayer, known in brief simply as the Aspiration of Mahamudra, and recited daily in countless Tibetan temples, retreats and homes. The depth of the significance this short litany holds for those practicing within the tradition first became clear to me some twenty years ago, when I had the good fortune to read, under the guidance of the late Kalu Rinpoche, the great commentary that Situ Panchen composed to explain Rangjung Dorje’s words. Hearing the actual phrases once spoken by Rangjung Dorje and Situ Panchen expounded by perhaps the greatest contemporary representative of the Mahamudra approach to meditation came with the force of a revelation, pointing the way to a transition from treating Mahamudra as an object of study, to the possibility of comprehending it as the very texture of experience, defying all prospects of objectification.

In the present volume Lama Sherab Dorje offers us an accurate and highly readable translation of this masterwork of Kagyu Buddhism, a work that is sure to be read with profit both by those who wish to learn something about the system of Mahamudra, and by those practicing within the tradition. The latter, in particular, will find here a text that deserves to be studied in depth, until, in the words of the tradition, the intentions of the author have become fully integrated with one’s own meditations.

Matthew Kapstein
Department of Religion
Columbia University
July 1994

The Eighth Situpa on the Third Karmapa’s Mahamudra Prayer, translated by Lama Sherab Dorje

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