March 15, 1999

 Namo Buddha’s First Paperback Book

Due to a generous loan from two sangha members, Namo Buddha Publications is proud to present our first paperback by Thrangu Rinpoche. THE THREE VEHICLES OF BUDDHIST PRACTICE.

Personally, I think that it is one of the best introductions to Buddhism that exists. It may seem to be an introductory text, but even advanced practitioners tell me there is valuable information in it that they did not know. If you are involved in teaching Buddhist classes this book (with a 40% discount) is an incredible course-book.


Three Vehicles of Buddhist Practice by Thrangu Rinpoche (Namo Buddha Publications, 1998. Paperback, 126pages, $ 12.95) Special Introductory Offer: No Postage on this book. Bookstores and Dharma centers ordering three or more this title will receive a 40% discount.

This extensive set of teachings was one of Thrangu Rinpoche's introductions to the basic Buddhism concepts of the three main schools of Buddhism. When Buddhism came to Tibet, the great masters of meditation determined that to practice Buddhism properly, all three vehicles or levels of Buddhism had to be studied and practiced. The first vehicle of this practice includes the careful examination of the self, the meticulous accumulation of merit, and of course, the meditation on the Buddha's first teaching—the four noble truths. The practice of this vehicle is basic Shamatha and Vipashyana meditation. The second vehicle of this practice is the mahayana path which involves the understanding of the emptiness of phenomena and understanding of the ultimate and the conventional truth. The practice of the mahayana is embarking upon the bodhisattva path, engendering great compassion, and practicing the six perfections. Finally, Thrangu Rinpoche, a well known teacher, explains the third vehicle of the vajrayana which involves doing the preliminary preparations, engaging in meditation on the yidams, and doing the meditation of looking directly at mind called the mahamudra.


Lama Tashi has done an extraordinary service of transcribing and editing Thrangu Rinpoche’s teachings that he gave in Vancouver last year on the Bardo—that state in between life and death which is so important to understand. Lama Tashi has sent out thousands of copies of this 62 page teaching.

Thrangu Rinpoche has done a remarkable thing of an extensive teaching on the what happens in the bardo and why we must understand this process while we are alive as practitioners without going into the hundreds of deities and demons with all their attributes that are encountered in this state. As Lama Tashi has so eloquently said:

Perhaps nothing in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition has evoked more sustained popular curiosity than the teachings on the intermediate state between death and rebirth, first published in the English language under the title, the Tibetan Book of the Dead with its description of the bardo of dharmata of the one hundred peaceful and wrathful deities in all of their magnificent, phantasmagorical, and sometimes frightening detail, together with brilliant light paths leading to buddha realms and liberation.

But here in these extraordinary teachings given in May and June of 1997, Thrangu Rinpoche gives us a fresh perspective on the bardo, deemphasizing the detailed descriptions of the actual deities themselves, and emphasizing the relationship between various aspects of one’s dharma practice of shamatha, vipashyana, mahamudra, ngondro, deity meditation and other aspects of the stages of creation and completions and one's experience of death, the intermediate state between death and rebirth, and rebirth itself. The instructions given in these teachings are, therefore, very practical and very possible to include in one's daily life. In fact, one comes away from these teachings with great encouragement that, if one applies oneself to the study and practice of these teachings, one could demystify death and make a good job of the journey through the bardo to a positive rebirth as a bare minimum, and that one might very well be able, even as a "mere Westerner," to attain true liberation and enlightenment.

These teachings appear in Shenpen Osel which I think is one of the best Dharma Magazines in the world because it is nothing but teachings (no ads and no cutsy cultural hype) of the Kagyu lineage. To get a reprint of this entire teaching you need only to send $5.00 for first copy and $3.00 for each additional copy and tell Lama Tashi that you want the Journey of the Mind issue. This $ 5.00 is a donation so if you don’t have the money he will send it to you without cost. But even better subscribe for $ 15.00 and receive a year of teachings from Kalu Rinpoche, the Karmapa, Tenga Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsultrim and many other Kagyu masters. The fact that Lama Tashi sends out hundreds of these detailed teachings and asks only for a donation in return is a true bodhisattva activity of his and the dharma patrons of this wonderful dissemination of the dharma.

Shenpen Osel
4322 Burke Avenue N
Seattle, WA 98103
Tel: (206) 632-1436


According to the teachings of the Buddha, there are four classes of illness. The first class of illness is relatively inconsequential. If one takes medicine or receives proper medical attention, one will get well, but if one doesn’t, one will also get well. The second class of illness is more serious, but if one takes medicine or receives proper medical attention one will get well. The third class of illness consists of those which cannot be cured by medicines or other medical treatments, but can be cured through the practice of dharma. In the fourth class of illness are those whose outcome is karmically inevitable. The patient in these cases is going to die, and the use of medicine only increases their suffering. The only reasonable thing to do in these cases is to prepare for death.

The practice of the Medicine Buddha sadhana will enhance the healing power of both patients and health care providers in the first three classes of illness and is especially beneficial in treating the third class. Inasmuch as the proper practice of the Medicine Buddha reduces fear in general, and fear of rebirth in states of suffering in particular, it is also very beneficial for those who are facing death. These, of course, are but the mundane, short-term benefits of the Medicine Buddha practice; ultimately, it is in itself a path leading to enlightenment. The Thrangu Rinpoche will offer the teachings of the Medicine Buddha Sutra, the empowerment of the Medicine Buddha, and detailed instructions in the practice of the Medicine Buddha sadhana in an eight-day Medicine Buddha Retreat at Buck Creek Camp near Crystal Mountain outside of Seattle, Washington, June 9-16, 1999.

The current Thrangu Rinpoche, born in Tibet in 1933, is the ninth incarnation of the first Thrangu Rinpoche, Sherab Gyaltsen, who was an emanation of Shubu Palgyi Senge, one of the twenty-five great siddha disciples of Guru Padmasambhava. He is a highly accomplished meditation master and one of the foremost teachers and lineage holders of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. He holds the degree of Geshe Lharampa, the highest degree in the four principle sects of Tibetan Buddhism and is recognized as a master of the mahamudra teachings. His teachings are known for their clarity, warmth, and humor, and for their ability to make even the most profound dharma teachings easily accessible to western students.

For those who register and pay in full before April 15, the cost of the retreat is $395. For those who register thereafter, the cost is $450. Prospective participants may reserve a place in the retreat by sending their name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address, along with a $100 check made payable to KSOC, c/o KSOC, 4322 Burke Ave. North, Seattle, WA 98103. The balance of the payment is due on or before the beginning of the retreat. Unfortunately the retreat cannot provide deposit refunds after May 21. The cost of the retreat includes accommodations, texts, and both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. Details concerning what to bring, directions, when to arrive, and bus transportation to and from SeaTac airport will be sent to participants in a timely fashion after they register. This is a rare opportunity, perhaps unique in the West, to receive the transmission and teachings of both the Medicine Buddha Sutra and the Medicine Buddha empowerment from an eminent Tibetan Lama in the context of a retreat situation in which one will have ample opportunity to learn how to practice the daily Medicine Buddha sadhana. -- Lama Tashi Namgyal Kagyu Shenpen Ösel Chöling 4322 Burke Avenue North Seattle, WA 98103 USA Telephone: 202-632-1439 e-mail:

Dear Friends in the Internation Kagyu Sangha and Buddhists Everywhere, Shenpen Ösel, a Buddhist Journal of the unadulterated teachings of many great Kagyu Lamas, is now available on world wide web. You can read and download all of the back issues of Shenpen Ösel by visiting our website If you have the means to "spam" the European and other International Kagyu sanghas, or if you would like to communicate by email with friends living abroad, please do so and let them know that it is there free of charge. If they want to send donations to support our effort, they may do so according to the information on the inside back page of each magazine. If, they live somewhere other than in the United States and they would like to subscribe so that they can receive hard copies -- hard copies are much less messy and easier to have at hand, at least for computer beginners --then they can do so by sending their subscription and/or donation plus $5.00 for extra postage.

With every best wish for your continued study and practice of dharma, and for cheerfulness, happiness, and well-being in the new year.

Yours sincerely in the dharma,
Lama Tashi Namgyal

Kagyu Shenpen Ösel Chöling
4322 Burke Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98103 USA
Telephone: 202-632-1439

Clark Johnson
Namo Buddha Seminar
An Organization to Promote the Activities of Thrangu Rinpoche
1390 Kalmia AvenueBoulder, CO 80304-1813
Phone: (303) 449-6608 Fax: (303) 440-0882

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