An exposition of the entire Buddhist path in only 123 verses. A Buddhist classic.
Nagarjuna's poetic presentation of the fundamental teachings of the Great Vehicle, or Mahayana, is remarkable for its concise style and memorable imagery, making it one of the most widely quoted sources in other commentaries on the Mahayana path. The great Indian Buddhist master Nagarjuna (first-second century C.E.) wrote his celebrated poem "Letter to a Friend" as a gift of advice to a South Indian king, and it has since become a monument in the Indian shastra tradition.
Despite its short length (only 123 verses), Nagarjuna's "Letter to a Friend" covers the entire Mahayana path, combining a practical approach to daily conduct with a theoretical exposition of the different stages leading to enlightenment. It has thus been an ideal source for many of Tibet's great scholars seeking a scriptural authority to enhance their own descriptions of the Buddhist path. Any difficulties in understanding the poem are overcome here by Kangyur Rinpoche's commentary, which turns Nagarjuna's sometimes cryptic poem into straightforward prose, expanding on each topic and ordering the different subjects in such a way that on returning to the original poem, the reader can easily make sense of the advice it contains.
It includes headings to explain Nagarjuna's frequent changes in subject and full explanations of the ideas introduced in each verse. In addition to the commentary, this book presents the original poem in the Tibetan and in a new English translation that attempts to emulate Nagarjuna's lines of metric verse. Also included are Kangyur Rinpoche's structural outline (sa bchad), a Tibetan line index to enable students to locate quotations used in other Tibetan works, full notes, and a glossary.
About the Author
NAGARJUNA, the South Indian Buddhist master who lived six hundred years after the Buddha, is undoubtedly the most important, influential, and widely studied Mahayana Buddhist philosopher. KYABJE KANGYUR RINPOCHE (1897-1975), of the monastery of Riwoche in Kham, was a great scholar and terton. He spent much of his life as a wandering hermit, living in mountain retreats and practicing in various parts of Tibet. He left Tibet in the 1950s and was one of the first Tibetan masters to accept Western disciples. The PADMAKARA TRANSLATION GROUP has a distinguished reputation for its translations of Tibetan texts and teachings and is renowned for its clear and accurate literary style."
"This text is one of the most cherished works amongst practitioners of all levels of understanding and practice."--Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, author of It's Up to You
"The combination of the colorful root text and Rinpoche's helpful commentary make the book a valuable resource suitable for repeated readings and contemplation."--Thar Lam
"An inspiring classic of Buddhist literature, an enlightening commentary, an impeccable translation."--Matthieu Ricard, author of Journey to Enlightenment