Nine Yanas

The Six Pāramitās: Part One

In this teaching kindly provided by Samye’s Indonesian Sangha, Khenpo Gyaltsen begins a series of teachings dedicated to the six pāramitās. These six “transcendental perfections” (Tib. parol tu chinpa druk) enable practitioners to accumulate both merit and wisdom as they progress along the Bodhisattva’s path. Khenpo-la reminds us that the teachings of the Buddha can be crystallized down to performing virtuous actions and avoiding negative actions. For us to be able to perform both of these actions though, we need to thoroughly tame our minds.

We may expect the positive results of particular Buddhist practices, but Khenpo-la reminds us that without training our minds, we are unlikely to experience any progress on the path. We need to begin with a study of the teachings, then we need to commit to practice diligently to see results. The six pāramitās are a means to tame our minds. Having an intellectual understanding of the pāramitās is essential, but they must also be applied to our practice.

Additionally, the practice of the perfections represents the bodhicitta of application. First, we engender the wish to benefit all sentient beings and bring them to the state of awakening. And then, through practicing the pāramitās we engage in activities or behavior that bring real benefit.

Translations (Audio)




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Suggested Reading

Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, trans. and ed. by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1991), vol. 1, pages 468–474.

Ngawang Zangpo, Guru Rinpoche: His Life and Times, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2002.

Nyoshul Khenpo, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage, trans. Richard Barron (Junction City: Padma Publishing, 2005), pages 41–48.

Padmasambhava, Legend of the Great Stupa, Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1973

Padmasambhava & Jamgön Kongtrul, The Light of Wisdom, trans. by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1986-1999), pages 43-47 & Appendix 5.

Taranatha, The Life of Padmasambhava, Shang Shung Edizioni, 2005

Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles, Shambhala, 1996.

Yeshe Tsogyal, Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, translated by Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays (Emeryville: Dharma Publishing, 1978, republished 2008).

Yeshe Tsogyal, Lotus Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2004.

‘The Life of Guru Padmasambhava’ in A Great Treasure of Blessings, The Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2004.