Friday, August 5, 2011

An Interview with the Author - A Garland of Flowers: Questions and Answers on the Highly Secret Clear Light Great Perfection

Below is an interview between H.E. Kunde Rinpoche & Sonam Yeshi regarding his newly released book publication in print , conducted on 5 August 2011.

Book title : A Garland of Flowers: Questions and Answers on the Highly Secret Clear Light Great Perfection.
Author : H.E. Kunde Rinpoche; Translated by Geshe Lhakdor and Dr. Chok Tenzin Monlam
ISBN: 978-967-10552-0-5
Published date: 29 July 2011
[Note : Q= Interviewer, A = Interviewee (Rinpoche).  Bracket ( ) - notes added for clarity, [ ] - expression]
Q: Rinpoche, how long did you take to wriite this book in original language, Tibetan?
A : about 10 years.
Q: What is your initial intention in writing this book?
A: Initially, i thought our lamas (monks) in Horthang Tashi Monastery need a concise teaching approach in learning the Great Perfection practice.  After i had written volumes (parts) I and II in Tibetan, the feedback from many lamas and lay people in the College of Horthang Tashi Monastery like it and found it simple to understand yet profound in the contents. 
Q: What is the uniqueness of this book that depart it from those published books in English with the title name of "Dzogchen" terminology?
A: Many books used the term 'Great Perfection' but did not concisely compiled all the major Dzogchen practice in one book (for various reasons).  In the early history the tradition of transmission of Dzogchen practitice (in Tibet) was using oral tradition of one-to-one (Master to student).  So far, the complete set in Dzogchen practice, entitled Yeshe Lama was written by Longchen Rabjam in Tibetan language**, originally carved in wood blocks.  Printed in Tibetan language have 7 volumes. Nevertheless, it only convered Trekcho (cutting-through*) and Thogal (leap-over), but not including Phowa, Clear like Dream Practice and Bardo (Intermediate State). Many famous resources are still in Tibetan language, some might have been translated by different translation groups. 
(*some publications translated Trekcho as "Thorough cut (thregcho)", "Cutting through solidity" , "Cutting through all attchment"etc.
**Note: Readers interested in an English translated publication may refer: The Practice of Dzogchen by Longchen Rabjam, Introduced, translated and annotated by Tulku Thondup. Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca, New York, Boulder, Colorado, 2002).

Q: What are the advantages for the readers of A Garland of Flowers?
A: [laughter] It is a practical book of knowledge for those interested in Dzogchen practice, or Great Perfection practice. I have taken years to synthesize these mentioned few approaches or techniques  (in the book) for lamas, practioners, and lay people who are interested in this quintessence practice of Tibetan Buddhism.  Usually practitioner will concentrate on one particular practice such as Phowa practice, or Clear like Dream Practice, or Trekcho practice etc. The readers will have an advantage of an overview of Dzogchen practice, or Great Perfection practice in this one book publication. For non-practioners, it may be just for knowledge, research and comparative studies in religion, especially in regards to different spiritual traditions of Buddhism - Dzopa Chenpo (Dzogchen).
Q: [uh], and then, can you say further?
A:  Longchen Rabjam had written seven (7) volumes in Great Perfection practice on Trekcho (cutting-through*) and Thogal (leap-over).  Guru Rinpoche's teaching Bardo (title, in Tibetan) consists of 2 volumes  which includes Trekcho (cutting-through*) and Thogal (leap-over), Phowa practice, Clear like Dream Practice.  Firstly, they are very very difficult to be understood for lay people and beginner practitioners.  Secondly, it is big and bulky and take years to digest even for practitioners.  Moreover, one needs to read many books to understand all the major practices in Dzogchen (Great Perfection) tradition.  Thus, i had concisely synthesized all these most important Dzogchen practice in one book - A Garland of Flowers - as a skillful mean for those interested in this teaching, especially the practitioners.
Q: One common question - why is this publication pricy [laughter] to the eyes of some people, or local buddhists here in Malaysia, or even Asia? 
A: Those books are cheap (e.g.RM20-RM30) are compilation of Dharma Talks of teachers, general theoretically written books which researchers in Buddhism could write with good language skills, and NOT the practical Dzogchen practice which needs long years of practising, retreats and learning under the instructions of a recognized Dzogchen Master as well as learning theoretically  its method in a Buddhist College with long traditon of Dzogchen practice (such as Dzogchen Shriseng Monastery). Thus it is an invaluable treasure as a book publication.  In the past, the Tibetan king had used all the gold to preserve this teaching!
Q: Lastly, before we end our conversation, do you have anything else to share with the readers on this blog?
A: This Great Perfection practice is not meant for people who do not practice those basic Buddhist teachings or meditation.  One needs to lay the faoundations (preliminary practice) of Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels, (三皈依) Arising of the Heart Bodhicitta (发菩提心), Offering of Mandala and practicing Prostration (大礼拜), ten thousand times each practice.
Q: huh, ten thousands?
A: Yes, ten thousands each practice, then only practice the Visualization of Vajrasattva. But in view of the 'business' of lay people, you must recite the prayer of the preliminary practice of Dzogpa Chenpo Longchen Nyingthig, and practise Vajrasattva visualization.  After that, you may gradually learn and practise the other Dzogchen practice stated in A Garland of Flowers, part 2 and part 3 under a recognized Dzogchen master. It is not meant for curiosity and fascination you wanna practice  Trekcho and Thogal after you learned these two terms from my book [laughter] - like one of my local friends expressed to myself [laughter].

Q: Thank you very much to Kunde Rinpoche for spending your precious time chatting with me on this very profound and interesting book.
A: Thank you. Tashi Delek

May all beings be Well and Happy.  May the merits gain in this publication be shared with all sentient beings, and for those who practise the Path to Enlightenment...

Tashi Delek.
(Note: Transcribed by Sonam Yeshi, rev. on 12 August 2011.  Any mistakes herein were the ignorant of the transcriber, kindly feedback and notify at  - posted by Sonam Yeshi)

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