Malcolm Smith: Translating Dzogchen Texts

In this episode of the Wisdom Podcast we meet Malcolm Smith, translator of the core Dzogchen text Buddhahood in this Life, recently published by Wisdom Publications. This inspired translation of the Great Commentary of Vimalamitra offers insights into one of the earliest and most influential texts in the Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. We sat down with Malcolm to hear the fascinating historical context of this classic text as situated within Tibet’s terma, or treasure, tradition. Most profoundly, Malcolm provides extensive insights on the finer points of Dzogchen meditation, including topics such as the pathway of pristine consciousness, how delusions arise, and the importance of receiving transmission from a qualified Dzogchen teacher.

Buddhahood in this Life

Now available for the first time in English, Buddhahood in This Life presents the Great Commentary of Vimalamitra—one of the earliest and most influential texts in the Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. It explores the theory and practice of the Great Perfection tradition in detail, shows how Dzogchen meditation relates to the entirety of the Buddhist path, and outlines how we can understand buddhahood—and even achieve it in our lifetime.

This essential text includes topics such as:

  • How delusion arises
  • The pathway of pristine consciousness
  • How buddhahood is present in the body
  • and more.

Translator Malcolm Smith includes an overview, analysis and clarification for all topics. Buddhahood in This Life covers fine details of Dzogchen meditation, including profound “secret instructions” rarely discussed in most meditation manuals. This text is essential for any serious student of the Great Perfection.

“I rejoice and praise Acarya Malcolm Smith’s direct translation from Tibetan into English of the Aural Lineage of Vimalamitra from the cycle of the Pellucid Transcendent State of the Great Perfection. Since it is certainly of great benefit to those faithful practitioners of Dharma around the world, I sincerely wish that once they have realized the secret of the mind in dependence on all of the book’s instruction, which appear through the intimate instructions of the guru, they will be able to accomplish liberation into the body of light in one lifetime.”—Tulku Dagpa Rinpoche

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Malcolm Smith has been a student of the Great Perfection teachings since 1992. His main Dzogchen teachers are Chogyal Namkhai Norbu and the late Kunzang Dechen Lingpa. He is a veteran of a traditional three-year solitary Tibetan Buddhist retreat, a published translator of Tibetan Buddhist texts, and was awarded the Acharya degree by the Sakya Institute in 2004. He graduated in 2009 from Shang Shung Institute’s School of Tibetan Medicine. He has worked on translations for renowned lamas since 1992, including His Holiness Sakya Trizin, Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche, Kunzang Dechen Lingpa, Khenpo Migmar Tseten, Tulku Dakpa Rinpoche, Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche and many others.