Opening the Door to Certainity by Bokar Rinpoche (PDF)


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Opening The Door to Certainty : Bokar Rinpoche

Bokar Rinpoche was born in Western Tibet in 1940. Considered by his peers as one of the greatest meditation masters of our times, he has written a brief text for his disciples which we are presenting here as Opening the Door to Certainty.

Short and compact, Opening the Door to Certainty is a condensed version of the Ninth Karmapa's work titled, The Ocean of Certainty. The Karmapas are as well known in Tibet as the Dalai Lamas. They have headed the Tibetan Buddhist Karma Kagyu lineage of reincarnate masters since the 12th century and are the direct successors of Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, and Milarepa.

The Ninth Karmapa, Wangchuk Dorje (1556-1603) wrote several works on meditation, the most complete and renowned being The Ocean ofCertainty (Ngedon Gyamtso). This voluminous book, of which to date there is no translation into any Western language, is a major classic of the Kagyupa School. It is generally used by the lamas to teach meditation. The term certainty (or absolute truth, absolute meaning, definitive meaning, true meaning), used in the title of the above mentioned texts designates direct understanding through experience of the absolute nature of the mind beyond the psyche and its fluctuations, beyond concepts and emotions, beyond birth and death, and beyond space and time. The term is also used in a parallel way with the "pedagogic meaning" (or pedagogic truth) which refers to the methods used in the psychological or conceptual domains to aid in the understanding of certainty. Certainty is thus linked with absolute truth and wisdom, whereas the pedagogic meaning is associated with relative truth and skillful means.

Certainty is furthermore an equivalent term for Mahamudra, a Sanskrit word signifying "great seal" or "great symbol." Bokar Rinpoche introduces Mahamudra in the following way: The subject of our study is Mahamudra. Mahamudra is also the mind. We call the mind that which knows, feels, and produces suffering, happiness, thoughts, sensations, feelings, and so on. We will study this mind and work upon it. Do not think ofMahamudra as another reality, like something on a higher plane than ourselves. Mahamudra is not in the sky while we are on earth. Mahamudra is not elsewhere. We are never separated from Mahamudra, although we do not recognize it.

The purpose of Mahamudra is not to bring us something new but to introduce us to that which we already have. Mahamudra meditation allows us to internally grow accustomed to what we have discovered within ourselves through practice following the instructions we have received; it enables us to continuously dwell within this awareness.

The Tibetan word Chagya Chenpo, meaning Mahamudra, is defined as "the nature of the mind, clear light, and emptiness comprising all phenomena of samsara and nirvana."

Bokar Rinpoche's text is so concise that its reading by a beginner risks leaving the reader with a feeling of confusion. In fact, Opening The Door to Certainty is not intended to develop and clarify the meditation and approach to Mahamudra; rather it serves as a reminder for those who are already engaged on the path. Written in verses, the text is easy to memorize and recite ritually. Bokar Rinpoche composed this work at the request of students. It is intended to help students easily recall the various aspects of the path, showing them the exact place of each point, and inviting them to progress and deepen their understanding.

The French and English translations were made at the request and with the help of Bokar Rinpoche. They are mainly intended for the disciples who attend the meditation seminars that Bokar Rinpoche conducts regularly in India. These translations will also be of some interest to those who are engaged on the profound paths of Buddhism and study the Tibetan language. We have tried to remain as close as possible to the Tibetan text. As far as possible, we have selected literal terms for the translation of technical terms~ avoiding their interpretation.

In spite of all efforts, there may be some mistakes in our translations. May those who detect any errors be thanked in advance for sending us their comments.

-Choky Singe

This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 14 December, 2021.