This book is a collection of the essential features of the 196 je-nangs (permission to practice) from Yidam gyatso’í drub thab rinchen jung nä (Source of the Precious Means of Attainment of an Ocean of Meditational Deities) given by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche in January and February 1982 as part of the First Enlightened Experience Celebration (EEC1).
The text (Rinjung Gyatsa for short) was compiled by Lama Taranatha (1575-1635 approx.), a member of the Jonang school of Tibetan Buddhism, in the sixteenth century.1 As transmitted by lineage lamas it contains the sadhanas (means of attainment) of 305 deities from the four classes of tantra and the various Buddhist traditions, such as Nyingma, Sakya and Kagyü, together with the methods of initiating disciples into their practice.
Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche received the oral transmission of this text from the late Tsenshab Serkong Rinpoche at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, in the summers of 1977 and 1978. It is planned for Lama Zopa to give the remaining je-nangs during the Second Enlightened Experience Celebration in January and February 1986. We are extremely grateful to Lama Zopa Rinpoche for so kindly offering us this transmission.
Ideally we would have liked to present here the complete sadhana for each deity, but there has not been time to carry out this extensive task. Therefore, we present here the main features, as requested by students attending the transmission in Bodhgaya: the name of the deity in English, Sanskrit and Tibetan (where possible), and its purpose, description, seed syllable and mantra. An asterisk indicated which of the mantras carried a voluntary commitment. Furthermore, we have not been able to check the work as fully as we would have liked and it is certain that some inaccuracies remain. We apologize for these. It is our intention ultimately to produce a book containing the entire sadhana of each of the deities, completely free of error.
How the book is set out
Following the introduction, there are twenty pages listing the contents. The main body of the book contains the essential features of each deity, numbered from 1 to 196; each, with the exception of the last section—the Twenty-One Taras—starts on a new page. The last section contains the mantras in Tibetan, numbered in correspondence with those appearing in phonetics in the main body of the book.
The main translation work for this book was done by Barry Clark in Bodhgaya and Dharamsala during the first half of 1982. We offer many thanks to him for the great effort that this task entailed.
Thanks are due also to Thubten Choedak and Yeshe Khadro, who, with help from Michael Perrott, Thubten Sampel and Ngawang Chötok, checked the first draft of the manuscript in Nepal; to Sonam Rigzin, Vicki Bischof and Martin Boord, who went through it again in Delhi; and to George Churinoff for his help throughout.
Finally, we express our gratitude to Robina Courtin for designing the book, Sarah Thresher for typing the final copy and Thubten for writing the mantras.
Enlightened Experience Celebration
1 The introduction to the book states that the Jonang school no longer exists. The fifth Dalai Lama and Gelug followers suppressed the Jonang school in the late seventeenth century, however, the lineage has survived and Jonang as a living tradition is studied and practiced up to the present day. Read more about the Jonang tradition here. [Return to text]