Sounds of Innate Freedom

The Indian Texts of Mahamudra, Vol. 5

Translated by Karl Brunnhölzl

The first volume in an historic and noteworthy 6-volume series containing many of the first English translations of the classic mahamudra literature compiled by the Seventh Karmapa.

Sounds of Innate Freedom: The Indian Texts of Mahamudra is an historic six-volume series containing many of the first English translations of classic Mahamudra literature. The texts and songs in these volumes constitute the large compendium called The Indian Texts of the Mahamudra of Definitive Meaning, compiled by the Seventh Karmapa, Chötra Gyatso (1456–1539). Mahamudra refers to perfect buddhahood in a single instant, the omnipresent essence of mind,  nondual and free of obscuration. This collection offers a brilliant window into the richness of the vast ocean of Indian Mahamudra texts, many cherished in all Tibetan lineages, particularly in the Kagyü tradition, giving us a clear view of the sources of one of the world’s great contemplative traditions. 

This first volume in publication contains the majority of songs of realization, consisting of dohas (couplets), vajragitis (vajra songs), and caryagitis (conduct songs), all lucidly expressing the inexpressible. These songs offer readers a feast of profound and powerful pith instructions uttered by numerous male and female mahasiddhas, yogis, and dakinis, often in the context of ritual ganacakras and initially kept in their secret treasury. Displaying a vast range of themes, styles, and metaphors , they all point to the single true nature of the mind—mahamudra—in inspiring ways and from different angles, using a dazzling array of skillful means to penetrate the sole vital point of buddhahood being found nowhere but within our own mind. 

The beautifully translated texts brilliantly capture the wordplay, mystical wonder, bliss, and ecstatic sense of freedom expressed by awakened Mahamudra masters of India. It includes works by Saraha, Mitrayogi, Virupa, Tilopa, Naropa, Maitripa, Nagarjuna, the female mahasiddhas princess Laksmimkara and Dombiyogini, and otherwise unknown awakened figures of this rich tradition. Reading and singing  these songs that convey the inconceivable and contemplating their meaning in meditation will open doors to spiritual experience for us today just as it has for countless practitioners in the past.