Gelug Mahamudra: Eloquent Speech of Manjushri
By Ven Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
Gelug Mahamudra, Eloquent Speech of Manjushri, Zasep Rinpoche unpacks the profound subject of Mahamudra meditation — the “very heart of Buddha’s teachings” — for the modern western Buddhist student. Drawing on many decades of teaching experience in the west, he distills volumes of knowledge on Mahamudra — the most advanced and significant teachings in Vajrayana — into a concise yet comprehensive 300 pages. He writes in the same style as he teaches, with a focus on making this vast and deep method easy to digest and comprehend. With the aid of color illustrations from Ben Christian — which include channels and chakras diagrams, beautiful thangkas, and postures for sitting — Rinpoche compresses centuries of practice commentary into fourteen short chapters. Covering everything from the preliminaries — Refuge, Bodhicitta, Mandala offerings, Vajrasattva, Guru Yoga — through to Samatha Mahamudra, Vipassana Mahamudra and finally on to Tantric Mahamudra, Rinpoche empowers the student to advance their practice with the “very heart of Buddha’s teachings.”There are extensive how-tos and commentaries in this ultimately very practical book, especially the chapters on Samatha and Vipassana meditation. Rinpoche is well-known for the clarity of his in-person teachings on these important methods, and he brings that practicality. Reading this book has the “flavor” of receiving personal teaching from a meditation master.
Tara in the palm of your hand: A guide to the practice of the twenty-one Taras according to the Mahasiddha Surya Gupta tradition
By Ven Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
Arya Tara is a fully enlightened being, a female Buddha, to whom Tibetan Buddhists are deeply devoted and on whom they rely for protection and inspiration. Tara has been described as the first feminist, who, according to one of the stories of her origin, having been told by her spiritual advisors to take rebirth as a man, vowed always to take rebirth as a woman. Her practice is, however, equally suitable for women and men. Tara has many manifestations, the best known of which are the twenty-one Taras celebrated in the ancient prayer of the twenty-one praises to Tara. The praises pay homage to Tara’s enlightened activity, and the way she skillfully removes both outer and inner obstacles to spiritual attainment. Through daily recitation of the praises and a regular Tara sadhana practice, it is possible to develop an increasingly profound experience of the transformative energy of Tara and to become her ourselves. This guide, which is based on traditional texts, helps make Tara and her practice readily accessible to Westerners.
The sadhanas of the twenty-one Taras included in the guide are according to the Mahasiddha Surya Gupta tradition. Buddha Weekly Review: “For Tibetan Buddhists, Tara is probably the most popular meditational deity, and there are certainly many books on Tara the savior, the mother, the compassionate action of the Buddhas — beloved by millions of Buddhists. Without question, this tight, yet wonderfully detailed book stands apart, not only because it covers a unique Buddhist teaching — an ancient teaching that should be preserved — but because the author, His Eminence Zasep Rinpoche, engages the reader as if they were his students.
Venerable Zasep Rinpoche during Green Tara teachings, with the book Tara in the Palm of Your Hand.
“Venerable H.E. Zasep Tulku Rinpoche’s purpose was to preserve the teachings in a specific lineage, the Surya Gupta teachings and practice of the 21 Taras. It should be a complicated subject, particularly with all the very rich visualizations — must more detailed than other 21 Tara practices — but somehow Rinpoche manages to make everything clear, concise and complete in 164 pages. Original line drawings of each of the very richly detailed Taras make it easier, but it is the teachings that make this book a must-buy for any Tibetan Buddhist who is devoted to Tara practice. “Rinpoche’s skill in simplifying, without “talking down” to students is legendary, cultivated through decades of teaching in Australia, US, and Canada.” From the Introduction: “Who, or what is Tara that she can show us that Enlightenment is in the palm of our hand?
Tara is without a doubt the most beloved female deity in Tibetan Buddhism, revered for her swiftness in helping those who rely on her. She has been described as a Buddha for our modern age, a sublime personification of compassion and wisdom in female form at a time when sorrow and suffering seem to be increasing everywhere. Of all the Buddhas, Tara is the most accessible. To explain who she is, what she is, and how she can show us the way to Enlightenment is to write of many things, of Western ideas about Buddhism and the Buddha, of Buddha Nature, of the spiritual path, of ideas about “reality” and of the place of faith in a world of rationalism and scientism, for all of these situate Tara and her practice… “…
We do not attain Buddhahood or Enlightenment through divine grace; we attain it through persevering with practices that give us insight into our minds and the nature of reality. No one can become God, but by putting the Buddha’s teaching into practice, we can all become Buddhas. Attaining Buddhahood is the ultimate do-it-yourself project… “… every sentient being can become enlightened. Indeed, Buddhahood is already within our mind, our consciousness. The teachings of Mahayana Buddhism say that every sentient being has Buddha Nature, Tathagatagharba… “… As Tara did, we develop the potential of our minds to attain full Enlightenment through meditation. Meditation is a process of focusing our mind on a virtuous object.”
A Tulku’s Journey from Tibet to Canada: Autobiography of a Buddhist Teacher
By Ven Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
Description: Born into a respected and deeply religious family in eastern Tibet in 1948, Zasep Tulku Rinpoche exemplifies a life devoted to Dharma. Recognized as a Tulku at an early age, he was expected to live a monastic life of study and prayer. The Chinese Communist invasion of 1959 changed those expectations. Zasep Tulku Rinpoche, with family and thousands of others, fled from Tibet. After spending three years as refugees in Nepal, Zasep Tulku Rinpoche’s family migrated to India. There, from 1963 to 1974, Zasep Tulku Rinpoche resumed his intensive studies of Buddhist philosophy and practice. He then spent eighteen months practicing Vipassana meditation as a forest monk in Thailand. In 1976, he was invited to Australia where he spent three years translating for Geshe Thubten Loden.
Zasep Tulku Rinpoche immigrated to Canada in 1980. Homeless no more, he has worked tirelessly for over 35 years to spread the precious teachings of Tibetan Buddhism in a way that suits the minds of Westerners. Zasep Tulku Rinpoche’s love of the land and traditions of Tibet, his life-long devotion to the Dharma and his Gurus, and his affection for the West shine through in the words of this fascinating story. Review from Buddha Weekly Magazine: “Zasep Tulku Rinpoche’s A Tulku’s Journey from Tibet to Canada is equal parts autobiography, spiritual epic journey, gripping adventure narrative, inspiring Buddhist life example, and a travelogue spanning nine countries.
Of course, this is a must-read for Zasep Rinpoche’s students, or anyone contemplating asking to become his student. It is also a “should read” for anyone interested in Tibetan Buddhism. It’s a good read for anyone who enjoys biographies since it contains all the elements of a great spiritual bio: adventure, a fascinating life, spiritual insights, and a glimpse into the lives of a once-hidden people in the land of snows. Rinpoche truly brings Tibet alive in an intimate and honest way. While his love of teachers, Buddhism, Tibet, and his people is palpable and constant, he doesn’t portray Tibet as a “Shangri-La”, and he doesn’t hesitate to describe both the good and bad.”