Zurchungpa’s Testament by Dilgo Khyentse

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Zurchungpa’s Testament: A Commentary on Zurchung Sherab Trakpa’s Eighty Chapters of Personal Advice. Translated by the Padmakara Translation Group. Ithaca, N.Y.: Snow Lion Publications, 2006. Hardcover, xxviii + 418 pp.

This splendid volume gathers the collective wisdom of three of the greatest masters of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism—Zurchung Sherab Trakpa (1014–1074), Shechen Gyaltsap Rinpoche (1871–1926), and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910–1991). The focal point is Zurchung Sherab Trakpa’s work “Eighty Chapters of Personal Advice,” which consists of nearly 580 maxims distilled from his own experience and deep study of the Buddha Dharma. These pithy statements, based on orally transmitted teachings, cover the entire approach of Dzogchen—from faith and discipline to concentration and the flowering of wisdom.

Many of Zurchungpa’s highly condensed sayings are intelligible only thanks to Shechen Gyaltsap Rinpoche’s remarkable annotations, and they are further illuminated by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, who was as famous for his spiritual attainment as for his profound learning and great compassion. Dilgo Rinpoche says this about Zurchungpa’s work: “. . . if we practice in accordance with the meaning of this, his final testament, it will greatly help us in the future. The way to do so is gradually, day after day, to reflect and meditate one by one on each of the pieces of advice in this series he has given us. Then they will be like flowers, which emerge as shoots in spring and grow day after day, finally coming into full bloom in summer” (p. 12).

It is impossible to read this work with an open mind and heart without being deeply affected by the realized wisdom found on its pages. If we do not yet possess the deep trust, or faith, that makes our encounter with the Dharma fruitful, this book has all the qualities necessary to ripen our mind to the point where it can readily “mingle” with the Dharma, as Dilgo Rinpoche put it.

Copyright ©2007 by Georg Feuerstein. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in any form requires prior permission from Traditional Yoga Studies.

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