English Translation Fellows

Ingrid Mcleod

B.A. in Honors Psychology; completed two three-year retreats at Kagyu Ling France, 1976–1980 and 1980–1983; resident lama at Montreal Dharma Center, 1985–1987; founding member and coordinator of Kalu Rinpoche’s International Translation Group. Tsadra Foundation Fellow since 2001.

Ingrid McLeod, who learned Tibetan in order to further her Buddhist practice and study, never intended to become a translator. Her teacher Kalu Rinpoche, however, asked her to join a group of students to work on translating Jamgön Kongtrul’s The Treasury of Knowledge. She complied, and recalls, “I had no idea that twenty-five years would be needed to complete the project…” So when asked now what her greatest strength as a translator is, she replies, “I do feel that I have developed perseverance along the way.”

Moreover, she has come to enjoy translation immensely, relishing “work that requires long hours of quiet concentration” to such a degree that she humbly remarks, “I wish that I could say that I worked solely for the benefit of others.”

As to the aims of her translations, “I am most interested in presenting material that inspires a person to commit to a consistent practice of meditation.” She strives for accuracy in conveying the meaning of texts, and also tries to communicate “the mood of the piece.” Deeply interested in Buddhism from when she first encountered Dharma teachings (“It seemed to me that I was hearing a true description of reality”), Ingrid believes that for Dharma to flourish in the West, there must be increased support for intensive practice in retreat settings.

"Kongtrul describes the creation phase as a path based on the deliberate effort of thought. Its essential nature is the deity’s form, which represents inseparable appearance and emptiness. Its distinguishing feature is meditation whose steps correspond to birth, death, and the intermediate state, the three processes in cyclic existence. The completion phase is a nonconceptual path. Its essential nature is pristine awareness, made manifest when winds and mind have entered, abided in, and dissolved in the central channel.

The term ‘creation’ (bskyed), derived from the Sanskrit utpatti, denotes that which is created or fabricated by thought. ‘Phase’ (rim, krama) refers to a step or stage in the path, a ‘yoga.’ The phase of creation is also known as the phase of imagination, the fabricated yoga, or the conceptually created yoga. The term ‘completion’ (rdzogs), from the Sanskrit nispanna, means that which is ultimately true, the natural state, or the true nature. What is meant, Kongtrul explains, is a state with which one has to become familiar—not a new state of mind developed through practice, but one already fully present in the mind stream of every being: the pristine awareness of luminous clarity, the union of bliss and emptiness. The phase of completion is also called the nonconceptual yoga or the yoga of the natural state.

Kongtrul points out that an ordinary person ‘entangled in the net of discursive thinking’ would not be able to train in the completion phase, since it does not involve thoughts. Therefore, one first purifies the ordinary thought process by means of the yoga of creation, which entails the imagination of the deity and the mandala. Then, when one has understood the nature of thought, one embarks on the cultivation of the phase of completion. In other words, until the practitioner has given rise to an exceptionally stable realization of the natural state—the unfabricated completion phase—he or she must rely on the fabricated creation phase and employ imagination. Once realization has arisen, however, it is no longer necessary to deliberately cultivate ordinary types of creation-phase practices." —Ingrid McLeod and Elio Guarisco, from the Introduction to The Treasury of Knowledge: Book VIII, Part 3; The Elements of Tantric Practice, Jamgön Kongtrul

Previously Published Translations (with participation of Kalu Rinpoche's Translation Group)

•  The Treasury of Knowledge: Book I; Myriad Worlds, Jamgön Kongtrul

•  The Treasury of Knowledge: Book V; Buddhist Ethics, Jamgön Kongtrul

Completed Projects as a Tsadra Foundation Fellow

•  The Treasury of Knowledge: Book VI, Part 4; Systems of Buddhist Tantra, Jamgön Kongtrul (with Elio Guarisco)

•  The Treasury of Knowledge: Book VIII, Part 3; The Elements of Tantric Practice, Jamgön Kongtrul (with Elio Guarisco)


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