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Secret Sky: The Ancient Tantras on Vajrasattva's Magnificent Sky
By: Christopher Wilkinson

Secret Sky: The Ancient Tantras on Vajrasattvas Magnificent Sky


 
Our Price: $34.99
Translator: Christopher Wilkinson
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781512373400
Publication Date: 2015

Product Code: 9781512373400
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Description About the author Contents
 
The Tantras of Vajrasattva’s Magnificent Sky, also known as the Unfailing Royal Insignia, come to us in manuscript traditions, books copied through the centuries, from Tibet and Bhutan. The texts are translations attributed to Vairochana, a famous translator of the eighth century, a Tibetan who went to India in search of the literature on instantaneous enlightenment, found it, and brought it back to Tibet. The original Indian texts have been lost in time. Vairochana’s translations fill many volumes, but he is most famous for translating the Ngagyur Nga (snga ‘gyur lnga): The Five Early Translations. These are The Cuckoo of Awareness, Shaking off the Grand Search, The Soaring of the Magnificent Garuda, Meditating on the Bodhicitta, and the Unfailing Royal Insignia: The Magnificent Sky. I have already translated and published Vairochana’s own teachings on these five Tantras in the book Beyond Secret. The teachings on the Magnificent Sky are said to be oceanic in proportion. What we have, in terms of surviving manuscript traditions, is fifteen individual titles. Basically, there are three Root Tantras, five Embellished Tantras, two Tantras associated with the Heart of Secrets, the Guhyagarbha, and a set of fifty-five verses that are found under various titles, and which constitute chapter 30 of the Kun byed rGyal po. I have already published a translation of one Root Tantra in this set: The Unborn, in the book Secret Wisdom. There remain two Root Tantras: Effulgent Vajra Light and Vajrasattva’s Magnificent Sky. Both are translated here. The Embellished Tantras are: The Unwritten, For the King, For the Brahmins, For the Yogins, and for the Yoginis. The first three of these are translated in the book you now hold. The two Tantras connected to the Guhyagarbha will be published in an upcoming volume. How do these teachings fit into the Buddhist tradition? Generally speaking, the vast array of the Buddha’s teachings is divided up in many different ways, depending on the objectives of different schools and individuals. We often hear of the division between the Hinayana and the Mahayana, where a concern for personal liberation characterizes the first and an enlightened attitude based on great compassion for all sentient beings characterizes the latter. We hear of a division between the approach of the Sutras and the approach of the Tantras, where the first represents the practical approach of a gradual search for enlightenment through the development of generosity, rules, patience, perseverance, meditation, and wisdom, while the approach of the Tantras is usually based on a deity yoga in which special methods are employed in the hope of rapid enlightenment. The Tantras of the Magnificent Sky belong to a special class of Tantra, the Great Perfection, which does not employ deity yoga, rejects practices of visualization, and recommends instantaneous enlightenment. For those who follow the Ancient Traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, the Nyingma, this is the highest and most profound Buddhist teaching. The schools of Buddhism in Tibet that are known as the New Schools, or Sarma, did not recognize the instantaneous approach as a true Buddhist teaching. The primary difference in opinion is that the New Schools insist that our progress toward enlightenment is a gradual process, while the Great Perfection teaches that enlightenment is instantaneous. We might say that while all the other pathways offered by Buddhism teach about becoming enlightened, the Great Perfection teaches about being enlightened. The Tantras of the Magnificent Sky are profound expressions of this approach.

Secret Sky: The Ancient Tantras on Vajrasattvas Magnificent Sky, Christopher Wilkinson, Paperback, 361 pages, $34.99

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