Gampopa Teaches Essence Mahamudra: Interviews with His Heart Disciples, Dusum Khyenpa and Others
Author: Tony Duff
This book began as a translation of the "Interviews" section of Gampopa\'s Collected Works. Interviews or Question and Answer Sessions as they are literally called in Tibetan are records of the personal interviews of a great teacher with those who come to see him. These are amongst the most interesting writings to be found in Tibetan literature because of the very personal quality found in them. The interviews section of Gampopa\'s Collected Works consists of interviews with four of his greatest yogin disciples—the first Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa, source of most of all the lesser Kagyu lineages Phagmo Drupa, Lord Gomtshul, and Yogin Choyung. The outstanding feature of these interviews is the private teachings on Essence Mahamudra, the ultimate transmission of Mahamudra within the Kagyu lineage. In one session after another, Gampopa reveals all the teachings of Essence Mahamudra to his foremost disciples in a thoroughly personal, pointed, and practical manner. Another feature is that these interviews give a very clear picture of how ultimate Mahamudra was taught in the early days of the Kagyu lineage. Yet another feature of these interviews is that the majority of them are notes that were taken on the spot or written out just after the interviews. As such, they are historical records which give us a very personal sense of Gampopa and these great disciples and what they went through on their personal journeys to enlightenment. More than that though, the reader gets a distinct impression of the personalities involved through their own, hand-written records. Because the interviews are so focussed on Gampopa’s presentation of Mahamudra, two more texts from his Collected Works were added to give a further sense of his way of teaching it: first, a short text which is the root of his famous "Four Dharmas of Gampopa" teaching, and second, a medium-length text which records an oral teaching he gave on the entire path of Mahamudra. These two texts form a perfect introduction to the teachings contained in the interviews. A point of interest is that the first addition makes the original teaching of "The Four Dharmas of Gampopa" available in English for the first time. Gampopa\\\'s explanation of the Four Dharmas differs a little from some modern-day presentations of it, a point which is clarified for the reader in the introduction to the book.