After the publication of my fiftieth book, I plan to write a book detailing the pith instructions that have been secretly High-
transmitted in the Vajrayana lineage.
This book will be entitled
Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra, and the debut of this masterpiece
will awaken and tremble the whole universe. As a result, Vajrayana
Buddhism [a.k.a.Tantric Buddhism] will become an eternally glori-
ous rainbow in the sky, liberating and blessing all sentient beings and
heavenly beings. I will be the first in modern times to completely re-
veal these ancient teachings in writing. (This book shall be my fifty-
I have been secretly practicing the Highest Yoga Tantra and Ma-
hamudra for many years, and these teachings were transmitted to me
by the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa and Guru Padmasambhava. Now,
Master Sheng-yen Lu will unveil the closely guarded secrets of this
lineage. These secrets are the supreme quintessence of Vajrayana Bud-
They contain the extremely rare and pith instructions for all Vajrayana practitioners to attain buddhahood. I, the Holy Red Crown Vajra Guru, am the master of the inextinguishable dharma lamp. I am the master that knows all secrets and who expounds the Highest Yoga Tantra. When this book is published, it will send shockwaves throughout the world.
In the past, Vajradhara (a secret epithet that represents the great authority of Vajrayana Buddhism) first transmitted the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra to Tilopa, who later transmitted them to Naropa. [Naropa then passed the dharma baton to Marpa], who was originally from the snow-capped mountains of Tibet. Marpa estab- lished the Kagyupa School, the white sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Mar- pa’s successor was Milarepa, who attained buddhahood in his present body, as the result of his attainment from the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra.
When I received the secret empowerment from the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, His Holiness conferred the teachings of the High- est Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra to me. He also entrusted me with the responsibility of propagating the principal teachings of attaining buddhahood to everyone, when the time was ripe for Vajrayana to blossom in the world. When I received this transmission, I vowed to offer my entire body and mind to all buddhas of the ten directions, transforming myself into hundreds and thousands of bodies. I vowed to be continually reborn in order to liberate sentient beings from the great ocean of samsara.
The lineages I received come from a mix of different traditions and lineages, which include the following:
The Red Sect/Nyingma School – bestowal of the empowerment of the Great Perfection of the Nyingma School in my meditation.
The White Sect/Kagyu School – bestowal of the secret transmission by His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa and the Twelfth Tai Situpa Rinpoche, Pema Donyo Nyinje Wangpo.
The Yellow Sect/Gelug School – bestowal of the empowerment from Guru Thubten Dargye.
The Flower Sect/Sakya School – bestowal of the great empower-
ment from Sakya Zhengkong Lama. In the Zongchi Temple, Guru
Pufang gave me Cundi Bodhisattva Empowerment.
About one thousand years ago, the lineage holder Marpa validated
the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra after practicing diligently
for eighteen years in India. It then took Milarepa [Marpa’s disciple]
twelve years to practice the pith instructions, in the White Horse
Tooth Cave of the high mountains of Tibet. Milarepa was able to
achieve yogic union through Mahamudra, and achieved all super-
natural faculties. Among the yogic practitioners of the Kagyu lineage,
Milarepa was among the most famous and highly accomplished.
The Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra are profound and un-
fathomable, but I am willing to explain the teachings using a simple
language, according to my own realization and actual practice. This
will help readers to understand the secret instructions. It is extremely
challenging to write this kind of book. Therefore, the completion of
this book relies on the protection of Vajradhara. The spiritual energy
naturally released from this book can illuminate the sentient beings of
the ten directions, and allow all beings to receive blessings.
The Highest Tantra Yoga and Mahamudra literally mean “great
union.” These teachings are the heart essence of attaining buddha-
hood. They completely penetrate and reveal the reality of the self-na-
ture. Through yogic practices, one achieves union with buddhas and
the self-nature. Therefore, they are the most incredible secret prac-
tices in the world and are known as the Middle Way Vajrayana. They
are non-dual, are neither empty nor existing, but are always residing
perfectly in the middle way. When the practitioner attains the middle
way, he attains nirvana, and therefore is not bound to continual re-
birth. Instead, he resides freely in a state of no birth and no death.
The practices of the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra involve
the purification of the body, speech and mind, which are the common practices of the Three Secrets.
The practices also include the wonder- fully subtle Pith Instructions of Insight, the Pith Instructions of Tran- quility, the Method of Breathing, and the Vase Body Method, which are supreme Tantric treasures. They are truly priceless. Whoever practices the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra will be endowed with incredible peace and joy, and will know the secrets of the heavens and the physical realms. He will attain buddhahood in the present body. Thus, the secret for attaining buddhahood is contained in the teachings of Highest Tantra Yoga, which were once lost and hidden for countless centuries.
One time when I was deeply absorbed in meditation, practicing the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra, I met and paid homage to Mahasiddhi Saraha, Nagarjuna, Lama Kazi Dawa Samdup, Marpa, Arapati, Milarepa, and more than a hundred others. I prostrated to the lineage holders of the teachings, and in return they praised and encouraged the Holy Red Crown Vajra Guru. The lineage holders be- lieved that Master Lian-sheng’s dedicated practice qualified him to be a genuine Tantric master, one who could deliver countless sentient beings to enter the path to enlightenment. Through actual practice, I have gained realization and achieved great dharma power. The formi- dable vow that I made stems from the strength of vows made through- out many lifetimes. The lineage holders praised this great dharma af- finity that had never been encountered in the past. The number of sentient beings that would be liberated by Master Lian-sheng would be as vast as the stars in the sky, and limitless like the grains of sand in the Ganges.
In my deep meditation I experienced supreme joy, and during deep absorption I was filled with such happiness that tears flowed from my eyes. When I first mentioned to my guru that I would write a book about the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra, my guru said, “These teachings are considered extremely precious by the lineage holders.
Therefore, the teachings can only be revealed publicly after seeking permission from one’s guru. If you wish to reveal these teachings, you must first seek permission from the lineage holders during your meditation.”
Thus, I entered into deep meditation to seek permission from the lineage holders. The lineage holders said:
The revelations of the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamu- dra are linked to the great causes and conditions of Master Lian-sheng bringing the Dharma from the East to the West. There is extraordinary spiritual significance to these rev- elations. Today, through the pen of Master Lian-sheng, the teachings shall be made available to all those who eagerly seek the great teachings, paving a path for them to follow. That is the secret within the secrets. The teachings that are about to be disclosed are a mandate from heaven. This unveiling will be a great dharma event of the current times, and it has been destined to take place since time immemorial. If one wishes to practice the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra, one must be guided by a genuine master who can confer the em- powerment, and clarify and expound on any unclear parts. No one should practice this teaching blindly and follow only the printed materials. These wonderful teachings are made known to help sentient beings understand their contents, and appreciate their profoundness and supremeness. Hence, sen- tient beings should quickly find a suitable master to take ref- uge in, and focus wholeheartedly on this affinity. They should practice truthfully to attain realization. For the above reasons, the affinity of this great Dharma has ripened.
My fifty-first book will address the topics of vidya (knowledge of enlightenment), adhyatma vidya (inner studies), and anuttarayoga (Highest Yoga Tantra). I named this book the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra because it possesses the sacred teachings of mind purifi- cation. Since I have attained fruition in these teachings, I vowed that I would propagate them. The teachings of the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra are like the rising sun that transforms all darkness into a brilliant world. I have reached the attainment of a throne holder, and my debating skills are sharp and persuasive. I have destroyed the il- lusionary mara and I have attained the unexcelled yoga, just like the Victorious Lion King did. These great teachings shall be propagated throughout the world for time immemorial.
I have been secretly cultivating for more than ten years. The secret to my success lies in the fact that no matter where I am, whether it is at home or whether I’m traveling, entertaining guests, ill, bedridden with sickness, disturbed by mara, working, exhausted, encountering calamities and so forth, I have never once abandoned my daily cul- tivation. Not once did I succumb to laziness nor indulge in rest. My unending perseverance and devotion of blood, sweat, and tears is a testimony to my achievement. This is the key strength of my cultiva- tion and attainment. The one thing that I can say I am proud of is the fact that I have been practicing earnestly. There is nothing to be proud of except for the fact that in the last ten years or more, I have never once missed my daily cultivation.
The teachings of the Highest Yoga Tantra and Mahamudra will soon be published, and the darkness that shrouds the world will dis- appear at once. Buddhas and bodhisattvas have fulfilled our wishes by reaching out their compassionate hands. The most valuable Tantric teachings, which are all-encompassing and perfect, will soon be pre- sented to all sentient beings. Followers of the different traditions of Vajrayana Buddhism and those with the proper dharma affinities to read this book, shall be blessed by the guru and attain great spiritual power. This book will connect all sentient beings of the ten directions, allowing them equally to achieve spiritual accomplishments.
May 1984, True Buddha Attic, Seattle
Preface by Holy Red Crown Vajra Guru, Sheng-yen Lu.