book cover Flight of the Garuda

A Complete Explanation of Thorough Cut by Zhabkar, with explanations by Ontrul Tenpa'i Wangchuk and Tony Duff

TitleFlight of the Garuda
Sub-TitleA Complete Explanation of Thorough Cut by Zhabkar
AuthorTony Duff
Details248 pages, 2 colour plates, 6" X 9" (large format), US$25, available on paper and in Kindle e-book format
ISBNpaper book 978-9937-572-05-7, e-book 978-9937-572-04-0
TextsTibetan texts in Tibetan script included

Flight of the Garuda is a series of twenty-three songs sung by the Dzogchen master Tshogdrug Rangdrol [1781–1850 C.E.] for the sake of his students.  The songs explain the practice called Thorough Cut (Thregcho), which is one of the two innermost practices of Dzogchen or Great Completion.  Tshogdrug Rangdrol, who is more commonly known as Zhabkar, later compiled the songs into a text.  Over time, this text became one of the most popular texts used to explain Thorough Cut because of its complete and very clear treatment of the practice.

Zhabkar went further and made Flight of the Garuda into the first of a trilogy of texts.  The other two texts in the trilogy explain the second innermost practice of Dzogchen, called Direct Crossing (Thogal).  These two texts are not included in this book, though a clear explanation of all three texts in the trilogy is given in the introduction.  Note that the second text of the trilogy is essentially the famous text by Jigmey Lingpa Guidebook called "Highest Wisdom" (Triyig Yeshe Lama) re-arranged by Zhabkar and put into verse.  Jigmey Lingpa's text is available in English through PKTC, which means that there is way to obtain the content of the second text of the trilogy without it being translated into English.  The third text of the trilogy contains personal instructions on Thogal which were meant for Zhabkar's students and which might not be suitable for publication in English.

The translation here is a fresh translation of Flight of the Garuda which improves considerably on two earlier translations.  The translation was made by Lama Tony in Tibet, while receiving an extended teaching on the entire text by the great treasure revealer Ontrul Tenpa'i Wangchuk.  The translation benefits from the exceptional knowledge and high realization of this master and the general atmosphere of pure blessings of the Nyingthig Dzogchen (Quintessential Great Completion) tradition in his retreat centre.

Those who have read either of the other translations available will be surprised and delighted at this translation.  Verse and prose versions of the translation are provided to accomodate all needs.  A summary of topics of the text, by Ontrul Tenpa'i Wangchuk, which has not been seen before and which helps considerably to understanding the many topics within the text itself has been included.

A lengthy introduction helps the reader understand the background to the text.  Extensive footnotes and a long glossary have been provided so that the reader can clearly understand all the details involved.

Ontrul Tenpa'i Wangchuk's principal lineage of Dzogchen teachings is that of Dzogchen Monastery, Tibet.  Dza Patrul is an early figure of the same lineage who wrote a very famous commentary on Thorough Cut called Feature of the Expert Glorious King; Ontrul Tenpa'i Wangchuk has written a commentary to it which is available from PKTC under the title Relics of Dharmakaya.

The book contains translations of the following texts:
Song of the View of the Thorough Cut of Luminosity Great Completion Called "Flight of the Garuda Capable of Quickly Traversing All the Levels and Paths"
A Summary of the Guidebook to the Thorough Cut View, Flight of the Garuda, Called "A Key to Unravel the Treasury of the Three Lineages' Instructions"

Download Tibetan texts in TibetD format: available here