Mipham's Beacon of Certainty: Illuminating the View of Dzogchen, the Great Perfection
For centuries, Dzogchen — a special meditative practice to achieve spontaneous enlightenment — has been misinterpreted by both critics and meditators as being purely mystical and anti-rational. In the grand spirit of Buddhist debate, 19th century Buddhist philosopher Mipham wroteBeacon of Certainty,a compelling defense of Dzogchen that employs the very logic it was criticized as lacking. Through lucid and accessible textural translation and penetrating analysis, Pettit presents Mipham as one of Tibet's greatest thinkers.
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This is a philosophical text of the highest order. Of course, that makes it rather difficult. It isn't for the beginner. Of course, if you're the type of person who is a beginner and feels challenged by this statement, go for it. But be ready to learn a lot about the subjects covered before understanding this text. That said, this is an extremely important text for anyone interested in, opposed to, intending to pursue, or practicing Dzogchen. Khenpo Gyurmey Rinpoche taught this book for 6 weeks to advanced students at Rigdzen Ling in California. His translator, a lama himself and one of the best translators of Tibetan texts yet to appear in this world, had difficulty with the terminology, which Khenpo explained in detail. But this terminology is the terminology that establishes Dzogchen within Buddhism and demonstrates its ultimate congruence with Prāsaṅgika Madhyamaka (Madhyamika), Svatantrika Madhyamaka, and Yogācāra. It's essential to a full understanding of Dzogchen's place in Buddhism. John Pettit is to be congratulated for his outstanding work on this volume.
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