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Sounds of Innate Freedom

The Indian Texts of Mahamudra, Volume 4

The second 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 as well as extensive commentary that brilliantly unravels enigmas and clarifies cryptic verses.

Sounds of Innate Freedom: The Indian Texts of Mahamudra are historic volumes 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). The collection offers a brilliant window into the richness of the vast ocean of Indian mahamudra texts 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.

Besides the individual dohas (couplets), vajragitis (vajra songs), and caryagitis (conduct songs) in this second volume in publication, the three extensive commentaries it contains brilliantly unravel enigmas and bring clarity not only to the specific songs they comment on but to many other, often cryptic, songs of realization in this collection. These expressive songs of the inexpressible 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. Reading and singing these songs of mystical wonder, bliss, and ecstatic freedom, and contemplating their meaning, will open doors to spiritual experience for us today just as it has for countless practitioners in the past.

Karl Brunnhölzl, MD, PhD, was originally trained as a physician. He received his systematic training in Tibetan language and Buddhist philosophy and practice at the Marpa Institute for Translators, founded by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, as well as the Nitartha Institute, founded by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. Since 1989 he has been a translator and interpreter from Tibetan and English. He is a senior teacher and translator in the Nalandabodhi community of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, as well as at Nitartha Institute. He is the author and translator of numerous texts, including most recently A Lullaby to Awaken the Heart (2018) and Luminous Melodies: Essential Dohas of Indian Mahamudra (2019).