Tsongkhapa's A Lamp to Illuminate the Five Stages (1419) is a comprehensive presentation of the highest yoga class of Buddhist tantra, especially the key practices - the so-called five stages (pancakrama) - of the advanced phase of Guhyasamaja tantra. Beginning with a thorough examination of the Indian sources, Tsongkhapa draws particularly from the writings of Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Candrakirti, and Naropa to develop a definitive understanding of the Vajrayana completion stage. Whereas in the generation stage, meditators visualize the Buddha in the form of the deity residing in a mandala palace, in the completion stage discussed in the present volume, meditators transcend ordinary consciousness and actualize the state of a buddha themselves. Among other things, Tsongkhapa's work covers the subtle human physiology of channels and winds along with the process of dying, the bardo, and rebirth. This definitive statement on Guhyasamaja tantra profoundly affected the course of Buddhist practice in Tibet.
"Working from an extremely difficult Tibetan text, Gavin Kilty has succeeded in making his translation readable and comprehensible while at the same time most careful and accurate. I read Kilty's translation alongside the Tibetan and believe it to be the kind of exemplary achievement every translator should aspire to."
– Yael Bentor, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
"The Guhyasamaja Tantra and its circle of texts changed the face of tantric Buddhism. Kilty's translation is at once accurate and a pleasure to read. It represents a major contribution to our growing knowledge of this profound and beautiful tradition and will be valued by scholars and practitioners alike for many years to come."
– Jacob P. Dalton, UC Berkeley, author of Tibetan Tantric Manuscripts from Dunhuang
"Another masterful translation by Gavin Kilty! The teaching of Guhyasamaja Tantra is the fundamental purpose of the Gelukpa tantric colleges, and Tsongkhapa's Lamp is the foundational guide through this most profound system. Gavin Kilty has again presented us with a most accessible, accurate rendering of this central text in lucid translation."
– Jeffrey Hopkins, Emeritus Professor of Tibetan Studies, University of Virginia
"This important work, the great Tsongkhapa's final major masterpiece, brings to English readers the most authoritative account of the highest, most esoteric practice of Tibetan Buddhism. Gavin Kilty should be congratulated for having produced a highly readable translation of a very difficult and complex text."
– Daniel Cozort, Dickinson College, author of Highest Yoga Tantra
"Tsongkhapa's Lamp to Illuminate the Five Stages stands as one of the greatest literary contributions to the genre of highest yoga tantra ever written. In his translation of this extremely profound text, Gavin Kilty has successfully captured both its meaning and eloquence with such precision and grace that it will stand as the benchmark to which future translations of similar material must aspire."
– David Gonsalez, translator of Source of Supreme Bliss
"A work of singular importance. Gavin Kilty's masterful English translation is a gem that will deeply enrich the lives of many generations of readers."