Main CategoriesTibetan BuddhismPadmasambhava and the Nyingma School Words of My Perfect Teacher, The (Revised Edition)

Words of My Perfect Teacher, The (Revised Edition)

Product no.: 1-57062-412-7
This practical guide to inner transformation introduces the fundamental spiritual practices common to all Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

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Publisher's Synopsis
A classic commentary on the preliminary practices of the Longchen Nyintig - one of the best known cycles of teachings and a spiritual treasure of the Nyingma tradition. Patrul Rinpoche makes the technicalities of his subject accessible through a wealth of stories and references to everyday life. His style of mixing broad colloquialisms, stringent irony and poetry has all the life and atmosphere of an oral teaching, making this a quintessential introduction to Tibetan Buddhist practice.


"The Words of My Perfect Teacher sets out the paths of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism without any conflict between them... For all teachings on all practices, whether preliminaries or main, this text is indispensible... that followers of the Dharma teach or listen to this text is of great importance."     ~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche


"The Words of My Perfect Teacher belongs to a category of literature known as 'written guides' (khrid yig), which emulate and supplement the oral explanations needed to elucidate a meditation text. In this case the text in question is the preliminary practice of the Heart-essence of the Vast Expanse.

The Heart-essence of the Vast Expanse cycle of teachings that Longchenpa passed on to Jigme Lingpa has become one of the most widely practised in the Nyingmapa school. It contains a complete Vajrayana path, starting at the beginner stage with the preliminary practices (sngon ‘gro). Then comes the main practice (dngos gzhi), which has three principal parts, the generation phase (bskyed rim) the perfection phase (rdzogs rim), and the Great Perfection (rdzogs pa chen po).

The preliminary practices have an outer and an inner section, and our text is accordingly divided into two. The first part, the ordinary or external preliminaries, deals with 1) the freedoms and advantages offered by human life, 2) impermanence, 3) the sufferings of samsãra, 4) how karma, the principle of cause and effect, applies to all our actions, 5) the benefits of liberation and 6) how to follow a spiritual teacher. These elements are fundamental for a proper understanding of Buddhist values. They are general because they are the fundamentals of Buddhism in general. The contemplations in this section can be practiced by anyone, Buddhist or not.

The second part, the inner preliminaries, starts with taking refuge— learning to rely on the Buddha, the Dharma (his teaching) and the Sangha (the Buddhist community). This is the basis of Buddhist commitment common to all traditions. Next comes the development of bodhicitta, the 'mind of enlightenment.' This attitude of unconditional love and compassion, that seeks to bring all beings to perfect freedom, is the basis of the Mahãyana. It is followed by practices to purify the effects of one’s past negative actions and accumulate the positive energy necessary to progress on the path. These practices use more fully the techniques of visualization and mantra specific to the Vajrayãna approach.

Finally comes the Guru Yoga, uniting one’s mind with the mind of the teacher. Guru Yoga is the very root of the Vajrayãna, where the purity of the link between teacher and disciple is of paramount importance. Also included here is the practice of phowa, or transference of consciousness, a shortcut method to enable those who are unable to pursue the path to the end to be liberated nonetheless at the time of death.

Next come the practices of the generation and perfection phases, culminating in the Great Perfection. In the Tibetan tradition the inner journey is mapped with astonishing precision. For each stage of the practice there are oral explanations and explanatory texts."


Patrul Rinpoche (1808-1887) was one of the greatest Tibetan teachers of the nineteenth century. Famous for his precise and direct style, he shunned high monastic office and lived the life of a homeless wanderer, writing his book in a rustic hermitage under an overhanging rock.

Author Patrul Rinpoche
Translator Padmakara Translation Group
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 457 pp.
Publisher Shambhala Publications 1998
Browse these categories as well: Padmasambhava and the Nyingma School, Bon and Dzogchen Shamanism, Vajrayana and Crazy Wisdom Masters, Termas, Tantras and Sutras

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