Phagmodrupa: Engaging by Stages in the Teachings of the Buddha

Since four years a training course in the translation of ancient Tibetan Buddhist texts is underway at Drikung Kagyu Institute at Dehra Dun, India. The goal is to educate students to attain skills and greater perfection in translation. Guided and supervised by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche, Khenpos (teachers) from the Drikung Kagyu Institute teach and train translations of texts from the Drikung Kagyu lineage on a daily basis to western students, who reside in the Kagyu College or in the Songtsen Library. The Tara Foundation from Germany is generously supporting this significant program.

Three years ago Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen wrote: “I am very grateful for this opportunity, and am very confident that this training will be successful and will result in the translation of many important Dharma texts as well as provide for the interpretation of many Dharma talks and teachings by the great teachers of our time in various Dharma centers. This will benefit many people in the West and in the world at large.”

Now the first fruit of this endeavor has manifested with the publication of the text Engaging by Stages in the Teaching of the Buddha by Phagmodrupa Dorje Gyalpo (1110-1170) translated by the students in the program. Phagmodrupa, a principal disciple and Dharma heir of Gampopa (1079-1153), was the founder of the Phagdru Kagyu and established his monastic seat Densa Thil at Phagmodru in 1159. Later the eight foremost among his many great disciples established their own lineages. One of them was Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön , the founder of the Drikung Kagyu, who was appointed Phagmodrupa’s vajra-seat regent.

Engaging by Stages in the Teachings of the Buddha is a work similar to the famous Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, but shorter and more straightforward. Phagmodrupa illustrates the stages of the path with utmost lucidity, providing references to authoritative texts, historical examples and employing logical analysis. His description of the six paramitas is especially valuable, and worth being read and studied thoroughly.

The edition contains two translations from the classical Tibetan text Engaging by Stages in the Teachings of the Buddha, along with a translation of Phagmodrupa’s biography from a modern Tibetan collection, as well as the original Tibetan texts.

Engaging by Stages in the Teachings of the Buddha has been published in a fine edition by Otter Verlag, Munich, Germany, in two volumes in a slim case (384 pages) and sells for € 14.00 plus shipping and handling. The work may be ordered directly from the publishers at