This Well-known Original Text presents in elegant verse the entire Buddhist pith according to the Nyingma school. Despite the separation in lime between the lives of the author, Jigme Lingpa (1730-1798), and the great Longchenpa (14th century), who is considered to be the brightest luminary of the Nyingma school, the two are closely linked. Jigme Lingpa was a terton (discoverer of treasure teachings) who encountered Longchenpa in a series of visions; and the Longchen Nyingtik, Jigme Lingpa's terma cycle of teachings and practices, is one of the most important systems in the Nyingma tradition. His Treasury Precious Qualities is regarded as the summary and quintessence of Longchenpa's Seven Treasures. It is pithy and concise, makes use of elaborate poetic language, and is often presented as a concluding summary indeed a crowning masterpiece, to the long, traditional course of studies in both the sutras and tantras.
Of the numerous commentaries that exist, the present text was composed by Longchen Yeshe Dorje, Kangyur Rinpoche (1897-1973) of the monastery of Riwoche in Kham, who, like Jigme Lingpa, was a great scholar and terton. He left Tibet in the 19505 and was one of the first Tibetan masters to accept Western disciples.
The Treasury of Precious Qualities consists of two sections devoted, respectively to the sutras and the tantras. The sutra section, which is the subject of the present volume, covers the ethical, psychological, and philosophical teachings common to all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. It gives a comprehensive presentation of such fundamental issues as karma, the four noble truths, and the twelvefold chain of dependent arising. The general thrust of the work is, however, toward the Mahayana and is designed to prepare the student for the higher teachings of the tantras. To make the text more readily accessible to Western Buddhists, detailed notes and appendixes have been added from other texts and authorities.