Ornament of Precious Liberation - Preface
A welcome new translation of Gampopa’s classic overview of the Buddha’s teachings.
The text in this volume has a long and rich history in the world of Tibetan Buddhism. Gampopa’s Ornament of Precious Liberation remains to this day the quintessential understanding of the Buddhist path to enlightenment in the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. Trained in the Kadam teachings stemming from the Bengali master Atiśa as well in the Mahāmudrā instructions of Marpa Lotsāwa and his famed disciple Milarepa, Gampopa presents in his work a unique blending of two important streams of Tibetan spiritual instructions. The step-by-step instructions developed in this work continue to guide and elevate the attentive reader and practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism today. Imbued by Gampopa with so much insight and helpful instruction, it is not surprising that this manual was considered a classic of Buddhist literature in Tibet. With this new translation, students and teachers of Tibetan Buddhism will have a chance to directly engage with the insights and instructions of a great spiritual master. For the general reader, it offers an opportunity to appreciate the richness of the Tibetan tradition and its creative synthesis of the vast corpus of classical Indian Buddhist teachings. As the founder and director of the Institute of Tibetan Classics and editor of the present volume, it has been an honor for me to be part of this important translation project, which first appeared as part of an anthology of three path texts in Stages of the Buddha’s Teachings, volume 10 of The Library of Tibetan Classics. I thank Ken Holmes for translating Gampopa’s words into elegant English with such care and diligence. I thank my wife, Sophie Boyer-Langri, for her countless contributions to the work of the Institute. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to Tsadra Foundation, who generously funded the direct costs of this translation project. The Hershey Family Foundation has supported the Institute of Tibetan Classics during its first decade, for which I am deeply grateful. I would also like to acknowledge the Ing Foundation for its generous patronage of the Institute since 2008. Finally, I thank the Scully Peretsman Foundation for supporting my own work, enabling me to edit this precious volume. It is my sincere hope that this translation will be of benefit to many people. Through the efforts of all those who have been involved in this noble venture, may all beings enjoy peace and happiness. Thupten Jinpa