The Knowledge of All Modes
The Abhisamayalankara, or Ornament of Higher Realization, is the cornerstone text of the shedra curriculum and is studied for approximately half of the many years of the program.
Interestingly the text is only about 35 pages. The author, Maitreya, the next Buddha (in his spare time while training for that), writing through his trusted amanuensis Asanga, has miraculously packed enough content into those pages to warrant this central status in the curriculum.
The text is a commentary on the entire corpus of Prajnaparamita--or transcendent wisdom--Sutras, and in particular the version presented in 25,000 stanzas. Maitreya presents all of the nuances of the various paths, travelers, qualities of the stages of maturity and realizations as presented by the Buddha (referred to as "The Knowledge of All Modes") in a versified list. Since then, extensive commentaries were composed by many Indian Acharyas and Tibetan masters of all types which unpack this dense text at great length and thereby create the long course of study which it receives in the curriculum.
Thus this text is an excellent introduction to the shedra curriculum and in fact the entire range of Buddhist practice and philosophy. In this course we will study the root text; a few short meaning commentaries which present an overview of the text; and a short commentary by Thrangu Rinpoche which presents a beginning level of detail on each part of the text.
In short, this course is meant to be both an easy point of access for anyone interested in joining into the Advanced Buddhist Studies/Rime Shedra courses, and an enticing one in that it will cover all topics of Buddhist practice and study.
The course is open to everyone with an interest in all the topics and categories ever presented in the Buddhist tradition and a healthy sense of humor. This study group will be moderated by Derek Kolleeny, who has been leading such groups now for over ten years (so one would hope that he finally has gotten the hang of it!).
- Source Book
- "The Lines of Experience" by Tsongkhapa from The Life and Teachings of Tsongkhapa by Robert A.F. Thurman
- Twenty-Two Similes of Bodhicitta by Khenpo Pema Vajra
- "The Prajnaparamita Upadesa" by Aryadeva
- Note 167 from Gone Beyond, Volume 1 by Karl Brunnhölzl
- The 100 Dharmas
- "Four Sets of Nine Conceptions Overcome on the Path of Preparation" from Gone Beyond, Volume 1 by Karl Brunnhölzl
- "Tibetan Scholastic Education and the Role of Soteriology" by Georges Dreyfus