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Words of My Perfect Teacher, Revised Edition [Paperback]

Patrul Rinpoche , Padmakara Translation Group
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Paperback, Oct. 27 1998 --  
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Book Description

Oct. 27 1998 Sacred Literature Series
A favorite of Tibetans—and of the Dalai Lama himself— The Words of My Perfect Teacher is a practical guide to the spiritual practices common to all Tibetan Buddhist traditions. It is the classic commentary on the preliminary practices of Longchen Nyingthig, a cycle of teachings of the Nyingmapa school. Patrul Rinpoche makes his subject accessible through a wealth of stories, quotations, and references to everyday life, giving the text all the life and atmosphere of a compelling oral teaching.

This second, revised edition (of the book originally published by HarperSanFrancisco in 1994) is the result of a detailed and painstaking comparison of the original Tibetan text with the English translation by the Padmakara Translation Group. The new edition also includes translations of a postface to the text written a century ago for the first printed Tibetan edition by the first Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, and a new preface by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

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"For all teachings on all practices, whether preliminaries or main, this text is indispensable."—Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, author of Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones and The Wish Fulfilling Jewel

About the Author

Patrul Rinpoche (1808–1887) was one of the greatest Tibetan teachers of the nineteenth century. Famous for his precise and direct style, he shunned high monastic office and lived the life of a homeless wanderer, writing his book in a rustic hermitage under an overhanging rock.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars don't miss the point Aug. 3 2000
this is one of my all-time favorite books in the universe. i recommend it to all of my friends (even though most have read it!) and would love for everyone interested in tibetan buddhism as a real-life practice to own and read this book. and reread it. it starts at the beginning and goes all the way to the end. if i may offer a primer: in tibet there were (are?) four main schools. the oldest of them is called "nyingma," or "old ones." within the nyingma's thousands of sub-lineages by far one of the most widely practiced is that begun by a man named jigmed lingpa. his student's student's student (i believe i have that right) wrote this text as a record of his master's oral instructions on the so-called "preliminary practices" (tib. ngondro). however, as many lamas will tell you, the use of the word "preliminary" must be taken with a grain of salt. these practices embody the essence of the dharma, and the joy of this book is that it helps to bring that truth to light. the translation was done by a committee of tibetan language scholars and lineage-holding masters. so intent were they to provide a true translation, a few years after the first edition they republished it with the adjustments they had developed as the text was being used and studied. and it is precisely this use and study that is the point of this text. what more could you ask for?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure bliss in written form! July 6 2003
I was lucky enough to have received oral commentary on this text from H.E. Khamtrul Rinpoche a few years ago. Ever since then, I knew that this text was a jewel just needing to be read!
Patrul Rinpoche's personality and heart instructions really come through in this text. It is both poetic yet earthly and never gets preachy at all. The stories, poems, and teachings listed throughout are simply perfect and fit each topic he is discussing. He writes this in regards to listening to your teacher giving instructions:
"Put your hands together palm to palm and listen,
every pore on your body tingling and your eyes wet with tears,
never letting any other thought get in the way." (Pg.11)
Simple, but direct, The Words of My Perfect teacher is a text to study for life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful & Cherished Book Sept. 23 2007
'The Words of My Perfect Teacher' is without doubt the most cherished book I have ever owned and is highly recommended for anyone seriously following the Buddhist path. Referring to a review made earlier, this book definitely does not miss the point. Preserving the sacredness and accuracy of Tibetan texts is a very important issue. This is the reason why the members of the Padmakara Translation Group take great care to consult with highly respected Tibetan lamas and scholars to ensure accuracy in the translation from Tibetan to English and other languages. The point of having a group is so that some of the top Tibetan & Buddhist scholars around the world can collaborate with one another.

However, I would not recommend this book as a beginner's introduction to Buddhism. Although it provides an essential overview, the detailed information that it contains is intended for practitioners who are about to begin /are doing / have done the preliminary practice (ngondro) - an advanced meditation practice which provides the foundation of Buddhist practice and a necessary prerequisite for main practice (sadhana / deity practice) and finally for the study and understanding of Dzogchen. However, does this mean that the text should not be made available? If today's most highly respected lamas are highly recommending this text above all others, and if it can be of profound benefit to practitioners, then I would argue that this text deserves to be accessible to the world. I would, however, caution beginners to stick with general introductions to Buddhism (such as 'What the Buddha Taught') and / or to only read the section on 'special preliminaries' when it has been directly recommended by a Tibetan lama, or once they have received direct instruction on the preliminary practices. In this day and age, the responsibility must be with the practitioner to respect the tradition of relying on a teacher in order to understand and respect the authentic study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism.
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Patrul Rinpoche's classic and powerful text contains essential instructions and expositions for those already familiar with, and may be practicing, Tibetan Buddhism. It cuts at the root of our misunderstandings and misery. What more can we ask for? For Buddhists of other lineage traditions, the text still contains many valuable insights and meditations. For newcomers to Tibetan Buddhism, however, other introductory texts would be more appropriate (e.g. selected works by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Kalu Rinpoche, Dudjom Rinpoche, Sogyal Rinpoche, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Thubten Chodron, Alan Wallace, Robert Thurman).
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