In pecha format (like native Tibetan books), so a bit difficult to work with if you're not used to that, but at least the pages are numbered. No TibetIn pecha format (like native Tibetan books), so a bit difficult to work with if you're not used to that, but at least the pages are numbered. No Tibetan script: all English, with transliterated Tibetan for bits that aren't simple instruction or Sanskrit for the mantras. A number of the mantras have transcription errors, probably arising from copy-paste problems: e.g., a body mantra correctly includes "kaya," followed by a very similar speech mantra that retains "kaya" where it should read "waka" (which I checked against the Tibetan master to be sure), followed by the associated mind mantra which inexplicably uses a transliteration like "tshita" where one might expect "citta."
As fro content, if you're looking for instructions on drubchen for a Nyingma practice that doesn't have its own, it's hard to beat Kongtrul. OTOH, if you don't have a lama set to lead it who already knows this stuff, then you're probably not going to figure out much—especially including the ging dances—just from this text....more
Strangely, this had both a lot more and a lot less detail than I was hoping for. The author missed a large chunk of the concluding Dzogchen transmissiStrangely, this had both a lot more and a lot less detail than I was hoping for. The author missed a large chunk of the concluding Dzogchen transmissions, and so had nothing much to say about them. Still, it provided and interesting perspective both on the differences between how the Rinchen Terdzöd is bestowed in India vs. America, where I received portions of it, and on the background of the transmissions. Still, I'd say this is of more relevance to adherents of the Shambhala lineages than it is to students of the Terdzöd generally....more
There are not many publicly-available books on Chöd practice, so from that perspective this book is an invaluable resource no matter which tradition oThere are not many publicly-available books on Chöd practice, so from that perspective this book is an invaluable resource no matter which tradition one practices. Also, there are obviously many common elements running through the various Chöd traditions, and this speaks well to those underpinnings.
That said, this is a distinctly Gelug approach, and as a Nyingma practitioner myself I found a very few elements either jarring or simply inapplicable. Easy enough to ignore those. Also, like most tantric practices, one must really learn from a qualified teacher; texts are a supplement to, not a replacement for, direct instruction. This is particularly obvious in this case: while the notes regarding melodies for specific segments of the practice may be useful for those who have been instructed, I see no way anyone could possibly construct them properly from the text sound-unheard. (Supposedly, there are CD recordings available from this tradition, I have not looked into those.)
Bottom line: if you're not overly sectarian in your approach, and you've had some Chöd transmission and instruction, this is a very worthwhile supplement to your studies. If you are curious about the practice and want to see if you might be interested without a large investment, this might do the trick. Otherwise: move along, nothing to see here....more