The Root Volumes of Longchen Nyingthig Great Completion contains specific texts for the various topics that need to be covered during the transmission of the teaching. One of them is a text by Jigmey Lingpa that gives a complete set of instructions on Development Stage practice, that is, the practice of visualizing a deity. The text, which is one of the core texts of the Longchen Nyingthig transmission of Great Completion, provides an extensive level of instruction in deity practice using a ground, path, and fruition presentation of the subject. The instruction is based on the root tantra of Mahayoga, the Core of the Secret (in Sanskrit, Guhyagarbha), in Tibetan gsang ba snying po. However, it adds instructions on applying the view of Great Completion to the visualization practice. The text is popularly known by its name Stairway Leading to Akanishtha.
Jigmey Lingpa’s text presents many different instructions of Development Stage practice, including the key instruction called The Four Nails Pinning The Life-Forces. The full teaching on the Four Nails should be read in conjunction with it, hence PKTC has published a book of Dza Patrul’s teaching on it called Key Issues of Visualization: Four Nails Pinning the Life Forces, A Melody of Brahma Playing Throughout the Three Worlds.
The author has added an introduction that clarifies many points, a glossary, and many notes to ensure that all the many details of visualizing a deity are fully explained. The introduction clearly shows the special value of this text for those who are practising Great Completion. The differences between deity practice in the Mahayoga and Atiyoga are clearly shown. The author’s authentic experience and knowledge of the Longchen Nyingthig system has guided the translation of these texts so that they correctly reflect the view of Longchen Nyingthig.