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Mastering Meditation

Instructions on Calm Abiding and Mahamudra

Published by Wisdom Publications
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

A legendary contemporary meditation master illuminates practices that are essential to Tibetan Buddhists everywhere. Tibetan Buddhism is estimated to have 18 million followers worldwide.

Mastering Meditation gives you the experience of studying with one of the greatest meditation masters of the modern age. His Eminence Chöden Rinpoché was not only a celebrated scholar, honored by selection as a debate partner to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, but he was also an accomplished yogi who spent nineteen years in solitary meditation retreat. In this thorough and thoroughly clear book, Rinpoché offers meticulous explanations and profound practical instructions on two essential practices in Tibetan Buddhism: calm abiding and mahamudra.

The first part of this book contains instructions for developing calm abiding, an unshakable single-pointedness of mind. The second part, Rinpoché’s direct commentary on the Fourth Panchen Lama’s foundational text, offers advanced instructions on using calm abiding as a platform to develop mahamudra. Rinpoché elucidates both sutra-system mahamudra—meditation on the emptiness of the mind—as well as mantra-system mahamudra, a specialized meditation that uncovers subtle, hidden levels of mind to pierce into the ultimate nature of self and reality, leading finally to complete enlightenment.

Drawing from his vast learning and personal experience, Rinpoché provides readers with an open gateway to remarkable states of lucidity and peace.

“My precious guru, H.E. Chöden Kyabjé Rinpoché, was a true master of wisdom and skillful means. He was not only a consummate scholar of the highest order, but an enlightened being who embodied the highest qualities of compassion and loving-kindness. I had the great fortune to be with him constantly for many, many years. The peace and stillness he radiated was so profound that just being in his presence was itself a meditation. Through his deep serenity and insight, he lived in the quintessential nature of calm abiding and mahamudra. It is my sincere wish that readers of this book be blessed, as I have been, by Rinpoché’s gentle and profound wisdom.”

– Khen Rinpoché Geshé Gyalten, cofounder with H.E. Chöden Kyabjé Rinpoché of Awakening Vajra International

“Kyabjé Chöden Rinpoché was more kind to me than all the three times’ buddhas. His teachings are not just words but come from a learned mind—and from experience.”

– Lama Zopa Rinpoche

“Kyabjé Chöden Rinpoché was one of the great masters of the past century and the mentor to many of the senior teachers at Sera, including my own teacher Gen Thupten Rinchen. His broad and incisive understanding was supported by years of intensive practice, yielding the true fruits of the Buddhist path. For anybody interested in looking more deeply into the long-term goals of Buddhist practice, this book is an indispensable guide.”

– Khen Rinpoché Geshé Tashi Tsering, abbot of Sera Mé Monastery and author of the Foundations of Buddhist Thought series

“This volume by one of the preeminent scholars and contemplatives of the Geluk tradition in recent times is bound to become a classic guide to unveiling the mystery of consciousness, which has thus far eluded modern science.”

– B. Alan Wallace, president, Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies

“I am immensely grateful that this fine book makes Chöden Rinpoché utterly present to my mind, and his deep and inspiring teaching gives me consolation! These greatest teachings are simple and direct, yet they give a powerful sense that the teacher actually knows what they mean, is sharing actual experience, not just description.”

– Robert A. F. Thurman, Jey Tsong Khapa Professor Emeritus, Columbia University

“Although typically associated with the Kagyü tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, the profound meditation on the nature of mind known as mahamudra (the great seal) is also important among the Geluk, whose masters have studied, practiced, and taught the technique for many centuries. In this accurate, scholarly, and highly readable translation, Ven. Tenzin Gache brings to light two important texts by the beloved modern Geluk master Chöden Rinpoché (1930–2015): a clear exposition of how to attain calm abiding (samatha), which is an essential part of mahamudra meditation, and a detailed commentary on the root verses on mahamudra composed by the First/Fourth Pa?chen Lama, Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen (1570–1662). Chöden Rinpoché’s discussion of mahamudra is among the most thorough and practical of any written by a modern Gelukpa—including lucid discussions of the philosophical analysis required to perfect sutra-level mahamudra and of procedures for great-seal tantric practice, while Ven. Gache’s introduction, notes, and supplementary sections provide a helpful window onto Rinpoche’s incisive and inspiring writings. Mastering Meditation is a superlative book, which should be on the bookshelf of anyone interested in mahamudra, its place in Geluk tradition, and its power to reveal to us the true nature of our mind.”

– Roger R. Jackson, author of Mind Seeing Mind: Mahamudra and the Geluk Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism

“Embodying the scholarship of a lharampa geshé and the insights of a realized yogi, Chöden Rinpoché is the perfect master to explain how to meditate on the ultimate nature of the mind, and does so in this wonderful book, made accessible by Venerable Gache’s excellent introduction and translation. Highly recommended.”

– Dr. Nicholas Ribush, director, Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive

“Rinpoché’s teachings are genuine manifestations of Lama Tsongkhapa’s tradition. It is wonderful to see that more of his clear, practical, and precious instructions are now available in English.”

– Geshé Tenzin Namdak, senior Western student of Rinpoché and resident teacher at Jamyang Buddhist Centre, London