How training the mind in compassion for other beings is directly related to–and in fact a prerequisite for–the very pinnacle of Buddhist meditation.
The heart of meditation—the thing that brings it alive—is compassion. This is not an ordinary compassion but one that is developed and expanded in parallel with wisdom that arises through meditation. Without that essential foundation, other practices are pointless. Fortunately, the mind can be trained in compassion, and the mind thus trained is fertile ground for the practice of the Great Completeness (Dzogchen), which is considered the pinnacle of spiritual practice by many in Tibetan Buddhism. His Holiness the Dalai Lama here teaches the Great Completeness simply but thoroughly, using as his reference a visionary poem by the nineteenth-century master Patrul Rinpoche to show that insight can never be separated from compassion. Through practice of the Great Completeness, we can access our innermost awareness and live our lives in a way that acknowledges it and manifests it. The wisdom and compassion that arise from such insight are critical, His Holiness teaches, not only to individual progress in meditation but to our collective progress toward peace in the world.
“One of the greatest living teachers of Dzogchen, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, explains one of the most profound texts of this tradition (Patrul Rinpoche’s Three Keys), and the teaching is translated by one of America’s leading scholars, Jeffrey Hopkins. Does it get any better than this?” —José I. Cabezón, author of The Buddha’s Doctrine and the Nine Vehicles
“Despite the alleged sectarianism of Tibetan Buddhism, there has been a long history of mutual influence and inspiration across the traditions. Over the course of the past four hundred years, one of the most famous has been the study and practice of Dzogchen by the lineage of the Dalai Lamas. It continues to the present day, as this volume eloquently attests.” —Donald S. Lopez Jr., author of From Stone to Flesh: A Short History of the Buddha