Part One: The Eight Great Chariots of the Practice Lineage

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This section contains a single text, a sādhana, written by Jamgön Kongtrul himself, venerating the teachers of the Eight Great Chariots. It appears in the first volume of the 2002 Shechen edition of his Treasury of Extensive Teachings (rGya chen bka’ mdzod) and the second volume of the 1975–1976 Paro edition, but not in the Kundeling printing of the Palpung edition of The Treasury of Precious Instructions, nor does Kongtrul appear to mention it in his catalog. The colophon suggests that it was extracted from the (or a?) Treasury of Instructions (referred to simply as gdams mdzod, presumably a contraction for the sake of meter of gdams ngag rin po che’i mdzod), yet it is absent from the Palpung (Kundeling) edition of The Treasury of Precious Instructions. Did it form part of Kongtrul’s original Treasury of Precious Instructions and was it subsequently included in the Treasury of Extensive Teachings before being returned to the first collection? Its source is all the more mysterious for the fact that in all these editions, the colophon mentions the person who sponsored the printing, which would lead one to imagine that it might have been a stand-alone text at some point or was sponsored separately from the rest of the collection. Whatever the case, its inclusion in the Shechen edition immediately after the last of the fifteen volumes devoted to the eight principal lineages of Tibetan Buddhism could not be more appropriate. Far from being a “miscellaneous instruction” without any properly defined place in the other parts of the collection, it appears to have been inserted here as Kongtrul’s concluding homage to the masters of the lineages represented in the preceding volumes. This homage takes the form of a ritual of venerating the teacher (bla ma mchod pa), a genre based on the guru yoga or lama sādhana with expanded offering and praise and supplication sections. Kongtrul adapted a ritual veneration of the teacher written five centuries earlier by the Jonang translator Lodrö Palzang.[1] In the sādhana, the principal masters of the eight lineages are grouped around the central figure of Guru Padmasambhava as described in the visualization section, which is followed by a long and detailed offering section and lineage prayer.

  1. *Jonang Lotsawa blo gros dpal bzang, 1299–1353/4.