New translation of Shabkar's, The Emanated Scripture of Manjushri

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New translation of Shabkar's, The Emanated Scripture of Manjushri

Post by anjali » Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:31 am

A new book has recently been released. It is a translation of Shabkar’s The Emanated Scripture of Manjushri. The translator is Sean Price.
From the book blurb,
Composed by Shabkar at the Cave of Miracles close to Mount Kailash around 1815, this compendium of spiritual instructions is written in the form of questions and answers, alternating verse and prose, between Shabkar and his disciples. It presents the essence of the entire graded path to enlightenment, using Tsongkhapa’s Great Graded Path (Lam rim chen mo) as its model. In twenty-three pieces of advice, he explains the need to renounce the world, how to develop genuine compassion, and methods for achieving an undistracted mind that can unite meditation on emptiness with compassion. His nonsectarian approach is evident in his teachings on the nature of mind according to the Mahamudra tradition of Milarepa, his practical explanations of Saraha’s songs of realization, and the attainment of buddhahood without meditation, which draws on the teachings of the Great Perfection, Dzogchen. Shabkar’s style is direct and fresh; his realization infuses his instructions with an authenticity that will continue to inspire Buddhist practitioners for years to come.
There are not many books of Shabkar’s works published in English that I am aware of:
The Life of Shabkar: Autobiography of a Tibetan Yogin
Flight of the Garuda
Food of Bodhisattvas: Buddhist Teachings on Abstaining from Meat

This new book is an essential addition to that small set. The book is divided into 25 relatively short chapters. Twenty three of the chapters are questions with answers. The questions by disciples are in verse form. The answers are in prose form with concluding instructional verses.

There are brief but informative introductions by Matthieu Ricard, and Sean Price. From Ricard’s introduction,
While the core of Shabkar’s practice was the Great Perfection, this practice was firmly grounded in the precepts of the Kadampa masters, which inspire practitioners to have few needs and desires; authentic feelings of renunciation, humility, and inner calm; loving-kindness; compassion; and, above all, the precious bodhichitta—the altruistic resolve to free all sentient beings from suffering and bring them to enlightenment.

Shabkar did not mince his words for practitioners who fool themselves by bypassing some steps of the path, out of childish impatience or arrogance:

These days, some people say, “There is no need to expend great effort on the preliminary practices. What’s the point of so much complications? It’s enough just to practice Mahamudra, devoid of all elaboration.” Don’t listen to such nonsense. How can someone who hasn’t even reached the shore talk about the sea?”

In this spirit, The Emanated Scripture of Manjushir is a perfect companion for those who understand the need to progress step by step, rather than jumping all over the place at the risk of falling apart whenever confronted with outer, inner, and secret obstacles.

In thus uniting the teachings of the great Kadampa masters with those of the quintessential Nyingma tradition, Shabkar was a noble embodiment of the nonsectarian tradition that flourished in the ninetheenth century….
To give a flavor of Shabkar’s instructional verses, and Price’s translation, here is an excerpt from Chapter 18, Ultimate Bodhichitta,
Mind itself is the ground of all—
I anything appears within it, it doesn’t exist.
It is like the outer sky, vast and spacious, pervading and permeating both samsara and nirvana.
Suchness completely pervades all.
It is impossible to conceive of it as this or that.
Or to point to its center or border.
Let go and relax within this expanse and experience that which is unchanging and vivid, like the sky.

Do not attempt to carefully divide the great all-pervading dharmadhatu into sections.
It would be like trying to measure space;
The attempt will only cause you obscuration.

Essentially, everything that arises is the display of mind,
And mind itself is empty luminosity; rest therein.
If unpleasant things occur, don’t get stressed,
Simply remain open and completely at ease.

If you can sustain meditative equipoise within the spacious, unfragmented, undivided, and all-pervading nature of emptiness and clarity.
You’ll completely purify adventitious emotion and conception,
The meaning of Dharma words will arise from within,
You’ll see samsara and nirvana as if a show.
And you’ll fulfill the twofold benefit of self and other.

In dependence upon supreme, ultimate bodhichitta, the dharmakaya is rendered evident,
And without moving therefrom, may the rupakaya fulfill the wishes of all beings.

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