About the Gampopa study guide

We finished the online 37 practices class in June 2018, and, as of mid-September, have just begun a new class on Je Gampopa’s Ornament of Precious Liberation, the classic Kagyu how-to manual and step-by-step guide to the path of awakening. Like the previous class, this one will likely take about a year of weekly meetings on Thursday afternoons, including a break for the Nov-Dec holidays. This study guide is being created to allow anyone to follow the readings and the class any time, anywhere. [Contact me if you’re interested in joining the class live.]

How to navigate: As with the 37 practices, the posts are in blog order (latest first), so to follow the course from the beginning or to find a particular post, click on the Gampopa tag in the right hand column of any page, and then scroll down to find the post you need.

Resources for the class: I’ll create a resources page soon, and meanwhile, the books we’re using are Gampopa’s Ornament of Precious Liberation (aka, Jewel Ornament of Liberation) and Ringu Tulku’s Path to Buddhahood. It’s best to have both books, but if you can only get one, I recommend Ringu Tulku for his very accessible and Westerner-friendly retelling of Gampopa’s classic 12th-century text (which is quite accessible itself, for the most part).

Re OPL/JOL, any translation is fine. I personally rely mainly on the Ken Holmes translation under the title Ornament of Precious Liberation, but each translation has its advantages. Khenpo Konchog Rinpoche’s Jewel Ornament has a wealth of supplementary resources at the end.

Why study this text? In case you need encouragement, Gampopa makes a compelling case in his introduction to OPL. After explaining that samsara consists of a confused state of mind characterized by relentless suffering, he continues, “For anyone who thinks confusion may clear up by itself: samsara is known to be endless. So, in light of the reality — that samsara is nothing but confusion, how much suffering it involves, how long it lasts, and that it will never liberate itself — from this day forward, we must make every effort to attain unsurpassable awakening.”

Audio of the classes may be found at: http://kagyudc.org/zoom/yeshe-chodron-opl/