Lamdre Translation Project, Cyrus Stearns, April 4, 2017

The Lamdre, or Path with the Result, is the most important system of Buddhist theory and meditation in the Sakya tradition of Tibet. These profound teachings come from the great Indian adept VirÅ«pa (7th–8th century), as recorded in his work known as the Vajra Lines. Two of the brief sections in this work summarize the preliminary practices and the main section of tantric meditation focusing on the deity Hevajra. These are the two primary topics that Sakya masters teach when giving the Lamdre to groups of students. The preliminary practices are known as the Three Appearances (Snang gsum) and the main section is known as the Three Continua (Rgyud gsum). During the last one thousand years in Tibet, many individual texts were composed for the purpose of teaching, studying, and practicing the Three Appearances and the Three Continua. The first and briefest Tibetan work dedicated to these specific topics was written by Jetsun Drakpa Gyaltsen (1147–1216), the fifth Sakya Trizin. The most extensive texts were written in 1543 and 1552 by Ngorchen Könchog Lhundrup (1497–1557), the tenth abbot of Ngor Monastery. During the last five hundred years, Könchog Lhundrup’s two works have assumed a crucial role in the transmission and practice of the Lamdre in Tibet, and now in other countries of the world.


At the request of His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin, in early 2016 I began to work on translating Könchog Lhundrup’s two detailed treatises into English. In his letter to me, His Holiness noted “an increasing tendency to teach the Lamdre Tsokshey by Ngorchen Könchog Lhundrup rather than other versions.” This is the reason His Holiness wants the works to be available in English. He is thinking of the future need to transmit the Lamdre throughout the world on the basic of these two specific works.


I am comparing four different Tibetan editions of Könchog Lhundrup’s Three Appearances and Three Continua. I would estimate that the two books contain about 700–800 quotations from Indian scriptures and early Tibetan writings. The identification of these quotations requires much time and work, but it is necessary in order for the translations to be accepted as authentic and reliable.


I will translate both texts, identify the quotations to the best of my ability, make the endnotes and bibliography, and write a translator’s introduction. I will also contact publishers when the project is near completion, and work with copy-editors to prepare the two books for publication (according His Holiness’s wishes).


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