"Now, one issue is that there are times when you simply cannot rest in the nature of your mind. Therefore, it is good to understand that there are many supplementary practices that will facilitate, enhance, and therefore make easier, the practice of mahamudra..All of these supplementary practices...Ngöndro...Yidam Meditation....Guru Yoga...Lojong....Six Perfections...Dedication of Merit...exist for one reason. They exist in order to assist the achievement of mahamudra realization."

- Khyabje Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

2001-2005 MMC Curriculum Required and Recommended Texts

TextAuthor Description
The Jewel Ornament of Liberation Series
The Jewel Ornament of Liberation
(tharpa rinpoche'i gyan)
(trans. Khenchen Könchog Gyaltsen)
Kagyu A fresh and easily-readable translation of the classic by the founder of the Dakpo Kagyu lineages, with considerable supportive materials from a contemporary Drikung Kagyu master. This is the classic text which is the mainstay of all Kagyu practioners. (Required)
The Jewel Ornament of Liberation
(tharpa rinpoche'i gyan ten-chö)
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
(trans. K. and K. Holmes)
Kagyu "Here are presented talks by the unequaled spiritual friend, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche" - 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje. An easy to read commentary on the classic written by the founder of the Kagyupa, Gampopa, combining both the Vajrayana teachings of Milarepa and Kadampa teachings of Atisha. (Required)
A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life Shantideva
(trans. Vesna A. Wallace, B. Allan Wallace)
General This is the classic Bodhicaryavatara which has been the mainstay of H.H. the Dalai Lama and many great masters. This text is also highly recommended as a foundation text for Kagyu Mahamudra practitioners and places emphasis on bodhicitta and the paramitas. (Required)
Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness
(tong-nyid gom-rim)
Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche (trans. S. Hookham) General, Kagyu "The topics contained in the Prajna Editions, which will be the teachings of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso are of great importance to all those who seek understanding of the profound view." -- Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche. This text and its practices complements the Wisdom section of Jewel Ornament. (Required)
Zen Words for the Heart: Hakuin's Commentary on the Heart Sutra Hakuin Zenji
(trans. N. Waddell)
General, Zen The Heart Sutra is a critical text for all Mahayana and Mahamudra Buddhists. This commentary is unlike any other and directly reflects Hakuin's teaching style, cutting through intellectualization of the text so prevalent in his time. Lama Thapkhay studied this text under a contemporary Zen roshi and utilizes this text and the more traditional commentary of Zen Roshi Obora to teach this revolutionary sutra. (Required)
The Uttaratantra: A Treatise on Buddha-Essence Arya Maitreya, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
(trans. K. & K. Holmes)
General , Karma Kagyu "In addition to the theoretical transmission is the meditative approach to this text, the lineage of which has continued through the Kagyu tradition, received first by the Third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje and continuing unbroken to the present day. This is what is transmitted here through the great wisdom and compassion of Khaybje Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche." -- Lama Karma Shedrup. Provides a bridge between the traditonally accepted Sutra teachings of the Buddha and Vajrayana level teachings. (Required)
The Tibetan Vinaya: Guide to Buddhist Conduct Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
(trans. S. Palden & Chojor Radha)
General, Karma Kagyu Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche presents essential instructions on Buddhist conduct and the outer, inner and secret vows.
King of Samadhi: Commentaries on The Samadhi Raja Sutra & The Song of Lodro Thaye
(ting-nge dzin gyalpo'i do ten-chö)
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
(trans. E. P. Kunsang)
General, Karma Kagyu Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche presents a commentary to the words of the Buddha in the Samadhi Raja Sutra, a text which provides a bridge between the Mahayana training and the profound Vajrayana path of Mahamudra. In addition, the Root Text and a commentary on it is presented for a classic Mahamudra text by Lodro Thaye, one of the key Mahamudra texts of the Kagyu lineage.
Atisha's Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment
(jang-chub lam-dron)
Atisha, Geshe Sonam Rinchen
(trans. R. Sonam)
General, Gelugpa Atisha is the 11th Century Buddhist scholar and master who helped resolve the confusion which existed about the Buddha dharma in Tibet at that time. Perhaps very suitable for the West at this time. Atisha's teachings provided the foundation for Gampopa's Jewel Ornament of Liberation.
Piercing the Autumn Sky: A Guide to Discovering the Natural Freedom of Mind Lama Thapkhay
(Peter Barth)
General, Kagyu An easily readable introduction to Mahamudra by a Western student of Thrangu Rinpoche organized by the Four Dharmas of Gampopa. This book was endorsed by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and Khenchen Könchog Gyaltsen. This text and its practices complements Meditation section of Jewel Ornament.
The Transformation of Suffering: A Handbook for Practioners Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche General, Kagyu Inspired reflections and practice instructions in the foundation of the dharma, including the four thoughts which turn the mind to the dharma and bodhicitta, from a master of the Drikung Kagyu lineage. This includes wonderful text on Illusory Body yoga, the transmission and practice of which is maintained by our center. Over the years, Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche has provided a wide array of teachings and transmissions to center members.
Ancient Wisdom Gyatrul Rinpoche (trans. B. Alan Wallace, S. Khandro) General, Nyingma Contains Root Texts by Jigme Tenpa Nyima, Lochen Dharma Shri, and H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche and commentary by Gyatrul Rinpoche. The classic by Jigme Tenpa Nyima, the 3rd Drodupchen Rinpoche entitled Transforming Felicity and Adversity into the Spiritual Path is used as one of the foundation texts to practice by our center's members. Includes also superb instruction on meditation and dream yoga.
The Opening of the Lotus: Developing Clarity and Kindness Lama Sherab Gyaltsen Amipa
General, Sakya An ideal introduction to Buddhism, in general, and the Sakya teachings, in particular, by one of Lama Thapkhay's first teachers.
Moonbeams of Mahamudra Series
Mahamudra: The Quintessence of Mind and Meditation
(dawai özer)
Dakpo Tashi Namgyal (trans. Lama L. Lhalungpa) Kagyu A major presentation of the theory and practice of Mahamudra. This is the classic text personally recommended by the 16th Karmapa Rigpe Dorje, Dukchen Thuksay Rinpoche and Khenchen Könchog Gyaltsen, leading teachers of 3 major Kagyu lineages. (Required)
Essentials of Mahamudra: Looking Directly at the Mind

(dawai özer ten-chö)
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche Kagyu This text summarizes Rinpoche's thorough and inspired commentary on the classic text, Mahamudra: The Quintessence of Mind and Meditation, carried out at Big Bear Lake over a period of five years in the fulfillment of the request of the 16th Karmapa Rigpe Dorje. (Required)
Clarifying the Natural State
(nyugmey denyi salwa)
Dakpo Tashi Namgyal (trans. E. P. Kunsang) Kagyu The Tibetan and English are provided in this beautiful translation of Dakpo Tashi Nagyal's classic meditation manual. Dakpo Tashi Namgyal is the author of Mahamudra: The Quintessence of Mind and Meditation, the extensive Mahamudra classic. (Required)
Crystal Clear: Practical Advice for Mahamudra Meditators
(nyugmey denyi salwa ten-chö)
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche (trans. E. P. Kunsang) Kagyu A masterful commentary by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche on the meditation manual of Dakpo Tashi Namgyal, the author of Mahamudra: The Quintessence of Mind and Meditation. (Required)
The Practice of the Co-Emergent Mahamudra Padma Karpo Ngawang Norbu
(trans. A. Hoshin Sensei)
Drukpa Kagyu A newer translation of the classic Mahamudra practice text of Padma Karpo, the great Drukpa Kagyu master (previously translated by Lama K. Samdap in Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines compiled by Evans-Wentz.) (Required)
Introduction to Mahamudra the Co-emergent Unification
(chagchen lhenchig kyejor gyi ngotrö)
Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon
(trans. Khenpo Konchok Tamphel)
Drikung Kagyu A translation of the classic Mahamudra practice text by Je Jigten Sumgon (1143-1217 CE), the great Drikung Kagyu master and foremost disciple of Drogon Phagmodrupa.(Required)
Mahamudra Teachings Garchen Rinpoche
(trans. Khenchen Könchog Gyaltsen)
Drikung Kagyu A modern, comprehensive presentation of the teachings of Lord Jigten Sumgön on Mahamudra practice by a contemporary master on his first visit to the U.S. after spending two decades in a Chinese prison. Edited by Lama Thapkhay. (NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE: click here)
The Practice of Mahamudra Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche
(trans. Ani K. T. Chödron)
Drikung Kagyu The teachings of the head of the Drikung Kagyu on Mahamudra based in particular on Tilopa and Gampopa. Contains very helpful practice instructions, received from H.H. in the 1990's along with sadhana on Five-Fold Mahamudra.
The Seven Points of Mind Training Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
(trans. M. Stern & E. P. Kunsang)
General, Karma Kagyu A way of practice stemming from Atisha emphasizing relative truth, very useful for pacifying the afflictive emotions.
Mind at Ease: Self-Liberation Through Mahamudra Meditation Traleg Kyabgon
Karma Kagyu Presents a modern, comprehensive introduction to the Kagyu lineage's tradition of Mahamudra, including meditations for investigating, experiencing and contemplating it as it is uniquely presented in the Karma Kagyu tradition.
Eliminating the Darkness of Ignorance Series
Pointing Out the Dharmakaya
(chökur dzub tshug ten-chö)
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
(trans. Lama Y. Gyamtso)
Karma Kagyu An extensive and detailed commentary on Pointing Out the Dharmakaya, the condensed text on Mahamudra by the 9th Karmapa Wangchug Dorje by the tutor of the 17th Karmapa (Root text available separately.) (Required)
The Mahamudra: Eliminating the Darkness of Ignorance
(marig münsel)
Wangchuk Dorje
(trans. A. Berzin)
Karma Kagyu The second major, middle-sized text on Mahamudra by the 9th Karmapa Wangchug Dorje. This is a translation of the actual root text with some commentary from Beru Khyentse Rinpoche.(Required)
An Ocean of the Ultimate Meaning
(ngedön gyamtso ten-chö)
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
(trans. P. A. Roberts)
Karma Kagyu A thorough commentary on the third and most comprehensive of Wangchug Dorje's classic texts on Mahamudra, with detailed instructions on tranquility and insight practice. (Root text available separately.) (Required)
A Guide For Mahamudra Meditation Lama Thapkhay
(Peter Barth)
Kagyu A detailed meditation manual for members of Mahamudra Meditation Center, personally endorsed by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche. Meditation sessions are divided into distinct sheets/sections to serve as a support for practice. (Required; NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE: click here)
Dudjom Tersar Ngondro H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche
General, Nyingma H.H. Dudjom recommended this Ngondro for busy Westerners interested in "mind teachings." This practice text is utilized at our center for those interested in Tantric Mahamudra and Special Preliminaries (also Karma, Drikung, or Drukpa Kagyu Ngondro, depending on student interest/lineage connections). Serious students are referred to Lama Tharchin's wonderful commentary and H.H.'s original commentary as well as traditional transmissions. Lama Thapkhay received Dzogchen introduction from H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche. (Required)
Lion's Gaze: A Commentary on Tsig Sum Nedak Khenchen Palden Sherab, Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal
(trans. S. Harding)
Dzogchen A wonderful and very careful instruction on the 8th Century Three Words That Strike The Crucial Point by Garab Dorje and the 18th Century commentary by Patrul Rinpoche.
Creation and Completion: Essential Points of Tantric Meditation Jamgon Kongtrul, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
(trans. S. Harding)
Karma Kagyu A wonderful instruction on practice of Tantra according to the famous 19th Century master, with extensive commentary by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche.
The Garland of Mahamudra Practices Kunga Rinchen
(trans. Khenchen K. Gyaltsen and K. Rogers)
Drikung Kagyu A detailed text on the Drikung Kagyu Five-Fold approach to Mahamudra, an approach which dates back to Phagmo Drupa and his summary of Gampopa's teachings.
Lamp of Mahamudra Tsele Natsok Rangdrol
(trans. E. P. Kunsang)
Karma Kagyu A seventeenth century master of Kagyu and Nyingma lineages covers the entire journey of the path of Ground, Path, and Fruition Mahamudra.
Opening the Door to Certainty Bokar Rinpoche
(trans. C. Buchet)
Karma Kagyu A simple arrangement of the content of the third and most extensive Mahamudra text, by the 9th Karmapa Wangchug Dorje, to support both study and practice of the teachings in the Root Text (the Root Text is not included).
The Cycle of Day and Night: An Essential Tibetan Text on the Practice of Contemplation Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
(trans. J. Reynolds)
DzogchenA wonderful instruction on practice according to Garab Dorje from the Longde series of Dzogchen.
Echoes of Voidness Geshe Rabten
(trans. S. Batchelor)
Gelugpa This text includes splendid oral instructions on Mahamudra by the renowned Gelugpa master. In our curriculum we briefly compare Mahamudra in the Kagyu to the Gelugpa.
Songs of the Mahasiddhas Series
The Life of Tilopa & The Ganges Mahamudra Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
(trans. J. Morrell)
Kagyu The life story of the Tilopa, the head of the short Kagyu lineage. This includes the root text and commentary to Tilopa's famous song of Mahamudra given to Naropa along the Ganges river in India in the 11th Century. (Required)
The Songs of Naropa Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
(trans. E. P. Kunsang)
Kagyu The life of Naropa and commentary by Thrangu Rinpoche adorn the root texts of two of Naropa's key instructional works on Mahamurdra. Naropa used one of these root texts extensively in his own teaching of Mahamudra.(Required)
Drinking the Mountain Stream: Inspiring Songs of Tibet's Beloved Saint, Milarepa Milarepa
(trans. by Lama Kunga Rinpoche & Brian Cutillo)
Kagyu A splendid and perhaps the most genuine collection of songs by Tibet's most famous yogi. Also take a look at Garma C. C. Chang's classic translation entitled "The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa." (Required)
Mahamudra Teachings of the Supreme Siddhas Rangjung Dorje, 8th Situ Rinpoche
(trans. Lama S. Dorje)
Karma Kagyu The classic by the 3rd Karmapa summarizing the key points of Mahamudra, along with a commentary by the 8th Situ Rinpoche. Our center studies the oral instructions of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and utilizes the root text translation of Ken McLeod. (Required)
A Spacious Path to Freedom
(mar-trid chag-dzog zung-'jug thö-pa don-den)
Karma Chagme
(trans. B. Alan Wallace)
Karma Kagyu The teachings of a major lineage holder of the Karma Kagyu which integrates the two meditational systems of Tibet: Mahamudra and Dzogchen. Commentary by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche utilized (available separately.) (Required)
Prayer Flags: The Spiritual Songs of Jigten Sumgon Jigten Sumgon
(trans. Ani T. Chödron)
Drikung Kagyu Inspired songs of the founder of the Drikung Kagyu (1143-1217). Included is a short text on the Drikung Five-Fold approach to Mahamudra. (Required)
Saraha's Doha for the King

DVD (www.vajraechoes.com)
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
(trans. Lama Y. Gyamtso)
Karma Kagyu The Indian Mahasiddha's song represents one of the earliest complete teachings on the ground, path, and fruition of Mahamudra. A detailed commentary is provided by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche based on the classic commentary by Karma Trinley (tutor to 8th Karmapa) which completely illuminates this ancient text. (Required)
Intermediate States of Mind

DVD (Bardo Teachings)
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
(trans. Lama Y. Gyamtso)
Karma Kagyu Tsele Natsok Rangdrol's classic text on the Bardo is presented by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche over 9 days in Crestone, Colorado, 2004. (Required)
The Life and Spiritual Songs of Milarepa Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
Kagyu Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche shares his wisdom on the life and teachings of Milarepa through explaining a series of songs from Milarepa's "One Hundred Thousand Songs."
The Life of Marpa The Translator
(marpa namthar)
Tsang Nyon Heruka
Kagyu Nalanda Translation Committee's delightful translation of the classic biography of the layperson and lotsawa Marpa, who brought the Karma Kagyu lineage to Tibet.
Song of Karmapa: The Aspiration of Mahamudra
(chagchen monlam)
Rangjung Dorje, Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche Karma Kagyu The classic by the 3rd Karmapa summarizing the key points of Mahamudra, along with a commentary by the contemporary master Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche.
Transcending Ego: Distinguishing Consciousness from Wisdom - A Treatise of the 3rd Karmapa
(namshe yeshe gepa)
Rangjung Dorje, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche Karma Kagyu One of the branch texts by the 3rd Karmapa regarded by him to be essential as a foundation for understanding Mahamudra.
Teachings of Tibetan Yoga Lama Kong Ka
(trans. Garma C. C. Chang)
Kagyu Includes a text entitled "The Essentials of Mahamudra Practice" by Lama Kong Ka, as well as early translations of the songs of Mahamudra by Tilopa and The 3rd Karmapa, as well as an early translation of Tashi Namgyal's text on the Six Yogas of Naropa.
The Yogins of Ladakh Tipun
(trans. J. Low)
Drukpa Kagyu Includes a rare copy of the Drukpa master's notes on Mahamudra meditation with a commentary based in part on instructions from one of Lama Thapkhay's early teachers, Geagen Khyentse.
Dogen Zen Kyoto Soto Zen Center
General, Zen A wonderful collection of three Soto Zen texts by Dogen Zenji, Menzan Zuiho Osho, and Uchiyama Kosho Roshi.
Mud and Water:
A Collection of Talks by the Zen Master Bassui
Zen Master Basui
(trans. A. Braverman)
General, Zen A wonderful collection of Zen talks by the 14th century Zen master.
Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind Shunryu Suzuki
General, Zen This is the classic by the Soto Zen master who helped bring Zen to the United States. Lama Thapkhay studied and practiced Zen in his lineage.
Time, Space and Knowledge Tarthang Tulku
General This is an interesting, challenging work by a contemporary Nyingma master, suitable for all level of practioners. Lama Thapkhay completed one of the first nine-month study and practice program at Nyingma Institute on this and recommends both readings and practices included in it.
Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali:
Containing his yoga aphorisms with Vyasa's commentary in Sanskrit and a translation with annotations including many suggestions for the practice of yoga
Samkhya-yogacharya Swami Hariharananda Aranya
(trans. P. N. Mukerji)
General, Samkhya, Raja-Yoga Samkhya philosophy historically has provided an interesting counter-point to Buddhist yoga and philosophies. This text includes a classic commentary and a contemporary one by an authentic lineage holder of Patanjali's tradition which has strong roots in Samkhya. Not easy reading, but it is interesting to see how another experiential lineage reaches entirely different conclusions about some of the most subtle meditations -- and yet this seems to make no difference in terms of the benefit of the practice to the practitioner.

"Have a good heart, act with kindness; nothing is more important than that." - Patrul Rinpoche

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