The Dharma Path
is the Dzogchen Lineage of Bodhisattva Training
through learning, contemplation, and meditation
Or read below for an introduction to The Dharma Path
What is The Dharma Path?
The Dharma Path refers to an extensive body of teachings that Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche has given on Shantideva's classic Mahayana text the Bodhisattvacaryavatara, aka "Entering Into the Conduct of a Bodhisattva," or "The Way of the Bodhisattva" as well as Khenpo Kunpal's own commentary on this text.
Regarding the importance of this text and study, in Rinpoche's own words:
"By studying a treatise such as the Bodhisattva-caryavatara one can reach a level of knowledge about the Dharma that will remedy blind faith.
A practitioner of the Dharma should eventually gain the faith of conviction, an unshakeable certainty in the its truth. A Buddhist practitioner should know what Buddha, Dharma and Sangha really are.
Such a person should really understand how to practice bodhicitta and the six transcendental perfections.
Intellectual understanding of the teachings must lead to direct experience of their meaning. Finally, this experience must lead to the realization of the teachings.
As one reads, studies and practices the Dharma more and more, one's wrong views, misunderstandings and doubts should to that extent be dispelled, and certainty about the Dharma should dawn in one's mind."
This particular cycle of teachings on the Bodhisattvacaryavatara has a specific history, and their translation and presentation here is a work in progress. At the same time, because the teachings are very wonderful and rich, and because in fact a great deal of work has already been done to bring them forward, we have begun to organize and incorporate them into study sessions at local Dzogchen Dharma centers.
History of The Dharma Path Teachings
First, the teachings of The Dharma Path are the traditional teachings of the Dzogchen Lineage, which Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche received from childhood on from his teachers at the Dzogchen Monastery and Dzogchen Shri Singha University.
Starting in 1998, at the request of the veteran Tibetan translator Andreas Kretschmar, Rinpoche began giving oral teachings on the Shantideva's Bodhisattvacaryavatara, and Khenpo Kunpal's written commentary on this text. Over the next several years Rinpoche would teach on both texts, usually in a retreat setting, focusing on one chapter per year, and giving a line-by-line, and often word-by-word explanation of their meanings.
Andreas Kretschmar then took these teachings along with the original sources and created a translation of both text and commentary, with extensive footnotes and original Tibetan text included for the reader's reference. Andreas has posted his current work on his website and, as a Dharma offering, has made the work available freely for students of the Dharma to read and use.
To date, the teachings have been given through chapter 6 of the root text. And Andreas' translation has been published through chapter 5. Andreas' publication of these texts is available on his website at: www.kunpal.com, or through the links provided below.
The Dharma Path Teachings
What has emerged from this process is a body of Buddhist teachings of incredible scope and depth of detail, with the first five published chapters alone, themselves referring to only 35 pages of verse poetry in the original text, stretching out to over one-thousand-five hundred pages of translated text and commentary.
This expansion is due to the encyclopedic scholarship of Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche, to the diligent labor of Andreas Kretschmar, and to the fact that the subjects of Bodhisattvacaryavatara touch on almost every aspect of Mahayana Buddhist teaching and practice. Therefore, taking this text as origin and key, Rinpoche is now in the process of revealing the vast wealth of knowledge that emanates from it, the amazing wisdom that exists even today in the minds of scholars, like Rinpoche, of the Dzogchen Lineage.
Dharma Path Study
To read these teachings is to be continually amazed at the articulation of wisdom, of practical advice and profound meaning. The current presentation, also a work in progress, is an organization of Andreas' published texts in a way intended to facilitate the study of these texts, especially as a form of group practice within Dzogchen Dharma centers, or for any other group who would like to study them. These are basically format changes to Andreas' already published work, and Andreas' translations remain the entire basis for the materials we are presenting here as The Dharma Path.
The main effort has been to streamline the study by:
1. Offering a study outline and suggested schedule.
2. Providing a verse-by-verse index to the published teachings.
3. Breaking the parts of Andreas' chapters into pieces that can be easily referred to and studied individually.
4. Including only English language versions of these texts.
5. Reducing footnotes and outside references in the English language texts.
With this said, there is a great deal more work to be done in terms of offering these materials to Buddhist students in the best way. But we hope the benefit of being able to work with this material now will outweigh the glitches and trouble the student will face in going through it. We welcome your help and suggestions in this effort.
Dharma Path Work Group
Dharma Path Source Documents for Download
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