Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

A Direct Path to the Buddha Within - Praise

Gö Lotsāwa’s Mahāmudrā Interpretation of the Ratnagotravibhāga

“A fundamental issue for religion in general is how to understand the presence of the sacred in the profane. In Buddhist terms this becomes a question of how to understand the buddha nature that inheres in all sentient beings. Dr. Mathes’ study of this issue as dealt with in a late-fifteenth-century Tibetan work is a truly outstanding contribution to this important branch of Buddhist philosophy. He lucidly historicizes a good number of fundamental treatises—their authors, Indian and Tibetan, and their ideas. Mathes’ diction is also first rate, rendering his exemplary work easily accessible.”—Leonard W.J. van der Kuijp, Harvard University

“One of the notable achievements of Tibetan Buddhist thinkers was their remarkable synthesis of speculations from the Mahāyāna sūtras concerning buddha nature—the inherent potential of beings for awakening—with the esoteric teachings of the mahāmudrā, the ‘great seal’ of realization, inherited from the tantric adepts of India. And no single work embodies this synthesis more fully than does Gö Lotsāwa’s unparalleled commentary on the Ratnagotravibhāga, a text so highly esteemed that its authorship was attributed to the bodhisattva Maitreya. Klaus-Dieter Mathes has rendered an extraordinary service to students of Tibetan intellectual and contemplative traditions by editing this singular work in full, and now here providing us with a clear and meticulous English translation of its key sections. His thorough introduction and annotations resolve the many difficult points found herein and place Gö Lotsāwa’s contribution in its proper context in the history of the tradition. In A Direct Path to the Buddha Within, Mathes sets a lasting standard for the presentation of Tibetan Buddhist doctrinal writings.”—Matthew T. Kapstein, The University of Chicago and the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris; author of Reason’s Traces: Identity and Interpretation in Indian and Tibetan Buddhist Thought