Chod in the Ganden Tradition: The Oral Instructions of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche Paperback – Nov 8 2006
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"We finally have a wonderful testament to the wisdom, compassion, and erudition of one of Tibet's greatest twentieth-century Buddhist masters, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. Those who have had the good fortune to listen to the late Kyabje Rinpoche will recognize the immediacy, freshness, and humor of this great master's teachings, captured beautifully in this wonderful book. With this book, the translators have also brought an important aspect of Tsongkhapa's more mystical teachings to the English-speaking world."—Thupten Jinpa
"The great modern Tibetan master Kyabje Zong Rinpoche provides detailed instructions for the practice of Chöd, along with bone-chilling and often humorous tales of Chöd masters and their students."—Tricycle
"An excellent survey of one of the finest Tibetan masters of our times. . . . Any collection strong in Tibetan Buddhist principles must have this."—Midwest Book Review
About the Author
Kyabje Zong Rinpoche was born in Eastern Tibet in 1904 and became abbot of Ganden Shartse Monastery in 1937. He was the first principal of the Central Institute of Tibetan Higher Studies in Sarnath. David Molk began to study with Zong Rinpoche twenty-five years ago and has translated for many Tibetan lamas. He lives in Big Sur, California.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
First, the Gelugpa school (to which the late Kyabje Zong Rinpoche belonged) has always particularly emphasized the secrecy of this practice - so much so that students of other traditions have often believed (mistakenly) that there is no practice of Chod to be found within Gelug!
This is why it's very rare to find published texts for the Gelugpa Chod (also known as Ganden Chod), much less in English; in fact, the only other text for the Ganden Chod that I know of is the short practice text that was published by Lama Zopa Rinpoche under the auspices of the FPMT. "Chod in the Ganden Tradition" is therefore unique in being the first full commentary by a Gelugpa master, and written from the unique point of view of the Ganden practice.
The book contains several sections. Naturally it commences with a biography of the author himself, the late Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Zongtrul Jetsun Losang Tsondru Thubten Gyaltsen. This is followed by an introduction to the "Sacred Cutting" of Chod by editor David Molk, who provides an approachable introduction to the topic. Molk, a gifted and sensitive translator, shares his deep familiarity with the Chod practice and speaks also of his personal experience with Zong Rinpoche, who was both a rigorous logician and a highly realized tantric master.
The main body of the text, of course, is the superb commentary by Rinpoche himself. The reader is guided, with Zong Rinpoche's typical thoroughness, through every aspect of the Chod practice - from the lineage teachers who passed down the practice over the centuries, to the qualities of the place where one should perform the practice, to the motivation for practice, through all the stages of the actual Ganden Chod sadhana (practice text) itself. The text is studded throughout with colourful anecdotes, making it enjoyably readable as well as profoundly insightful. (Occasionally they're funny, too; Zong Rinpoche was gifted with a delectably dry wit.)
The text concludes with several practice texts translated into English by David Molk, beginning with the Ganden Chod text itself ("Dedicating the Illustory Body as Ganachakra") as well as a tsog offering text. These unique translations were written expressly to be sung to the haunting Tibetan melodies of the Ganden Chod, so that practitioners who wish to perform the practice in their own language are still able to chant using the traditional, centuries-old tunes.
There is also a short but very blessed commentary by Umapa Pawo Dorje on Chod as taught by Ven. Manjushri (which I believe is the first ever translation into a Western language); a prayer for the flourishing of Je Tsongkhapa's teachings by Gungthang Tenpai Dronme; and in conclusion, a prayer by H.H. the Fourteenth Dalai Lama: "The Sages' Melodious Song of Truth: Nonpartisan Prayer for the Flourishing of Buddha's Teachings."
On that note, I'd like to add that although this is a Gelugpa text, practitioners of Chod from the other Tibetan Buddhist schools will also find a great deal to treasure in this book, since ultimately all Chod practitioners trace their lineage back to the great female saint Machig Labdron and the Prajnaparamita.
And finally, I should mention that my husband Keith Milton and I assisted on an earlier transcription of this text. We could not be more delighted that now, through the dedicated efforts of David Molk, this precious text is finally able to reach a wider audience.