It is said that the Buddhism of Tibet is perhaps the most complete form of Buddhism. It contains all the essential teachings of the various Buddhist traditions that are practiced in the world today—Hinayana (the vehicle of individual salvation), Mahayana (the vehicle of universal salvation), and Vajrayana (the vehicle of tantra). Vajrayana is the highest vehicle in the Tibetan tradition and is included within Mahayana. In Gateway to the Vajrayana Path, Khenpo Tsultrim Lodro Rinpoche presents a complete overview of the profound tantric teachings. With great clarity, he also elucidates the similarities and differences between tantra and sutra in Buddhism.
Some people think Vajrayana Buddhism is very mysterious. This is because they lack an understanding of the Vajrayana system of thought and practice. Actually, it is not at all mysterious; it is just that the methods are very special, very fast, and relatively easy to practice. Many practitioners have great faith in tantra but are misinformed about important aspects of tantric practice such as the vajra master, empowerment, and precepts. To fully appreciate the richness of the Vajrayana path, these issues all need to be addressed.
This book is a compilation of many lectures given by Khenrinpoche on the key concepts and methods in Vajrayana Buddhism. Some themes are repeated in multiple places. People who are familiar with Rinpoche’s style will recognize the same sense of urgency and purpose in these teachings. Throughout the text, he calls attention to the importance of: first, establishing a firm foundation in renunciation and bodhicitta; second, progressing on the path in stages; third, taking empowerment with a qualified master and upholding the vows that are an inseparable part of the empowerment; fourth, seeing the view of tantra and the view of sutra to be harmonious, not contradictory. The essential points in the book are certain to give all practitioners on the path of enlightenment a deeper understanding of the progressive views in the three turnings of the wheel of Dharma, and the impediments to a successful practice.
We are most grateful to Khenrinpoche for making this book possible and for his guidance during the course of the translation. A special thanks also to Thubten Norbu Rinpoche for his assistance in the explanation of particular terminologies, and Thinley Chodron for her very helpful suggestions in bringing the book to publication.
It is our sincere hope that all who read this English edition gain insight into the profound nature of reality and, with this understanding, find genuine happiness and peace of mind.
Lorraine Wu Chen