I am looking for some legal, online Tibetan Buddhist texts.

I have been studying Buddhism for a long time (although mostly Theravada) and so I am not looking for something at the beginner level.

Something that involves specific, meditative techniques/instructions and/or deals with emotional development would especially relevant to me. A list of major texts would also be appreciated.

  • 1
    Which school of Tibetan Buddhism are you interested in? Each school has its own distinctive practices and their own texts that they cherish.
    – Bakmoon
    Oct 5, 2015 at 0:45
  • I don't mean to be proselyte, but I know of a good program were you can get online texts, but it is not for free. If you are interested, let me know. Otherwise, there's no need for me to "advertise" on SE. Oct 5, 2015 at 9:50
  • @TenzinDorje The question doesn't seem to be asking specifically for "free": it's asking for legal and online.
    – ChrisW
    Oct 5, 2015 at 9:56
  • @ChrisW It's true that the question doesn't seem to be asking specifically for "free", but appearances are deceptive. Moreover, I was afraid of not being in my right place by suggesting a paying one. I just did, though. Oct 5, 2015 at 10:06

3 Answers 3


The Gelug tradition expounds on the following five types of meditation.

You find here teachings (for free) related to Tsongkhapa's Middle-Length Lam Rim. They must cover the first, second and third types of the five types of meditation I list below. They were given by my teacher.

You also have the possibility to subscribe to the FPMT Online Basic Program. It provides with study material on twelve subjects. You can chose which subject(s) you wish to study. Again, the Stages of the Path (Lam Rim) module relates to the first, second and third of the 5 types of meditation listed below, while the Ornament for Clear Realization, Ch 4 relates to the practice of the four placements (as well as to actual vipassana, meditation on emptiness).

The five types of meditation you find in the Gelug tradition are:

  1. Of the type of Vipassana (i.e. analytical), but not actual vipassana
    Most Lam Rim topics are objects of such analytical meditations.
    Ani Karin Valham (a quiet inspiring nun and teacher from Kopan, ordained for almost 40 years now) wrote outlines called beginner's meditation guide. It's best is you already know Tsongkhapa's Middle-Length or Greater Lam Rim text. There are other Lam Rim such as Atisha's Lamp for the path to enlightenment and so forth.

  2. Calm Abiding (non-analytical)
    In Tibetan tradition, we cultivate calm abiding mostly by focusing on a [mental image of] the body of the Buddha. Not so much on one's breath. Tsongkhapa's Lam Rim Chen Mo, volume 3, explains the practice. Commentaries on this are:
    - Samatha Meditation, by Gen Lamrimpa.
    - Balancing the Mind, by Alan Wallace.
    - Study and Practice of Meditation, Leah Zahler.
    - Gyaltsab Je's Explanation: Ornament of the Essence Chapter 1

  3. Actual Vipassana (i.e. analytical meditation on emptiness) As commentaries to the 2nd part of the 3rd volume of Tsongkhapa's Lam Rim Chen Mo, the FPMT advises these:
    - Tsongkhapa's Final Exposition of Wisdom.
    - Insight into Emptiness, by Khensur Tegchok
    - Meditation on Emptiness, by Jeffrey Hopkins.
    - Emptiness Yoga, by Jeffrey Hopkins.

  4. Four Placements (close to Sathipattana, but not as elaborated as the typically Theravadin practice)
    - Maitreya's Ornament of clear Realization (and commentaries by Haribhadra, Gyaltsab Je, etc)

    For further study, the four placements are the first of the 37 aids to Enlightenment (Skt.: bodhipakṣa dharma)

  5. Mahamudra
    It is meditation of the conventional nature of the mind (clear light - or 'clear and knowing') and its ultimate nature. Exercises such as 'the mind like a mirror', or 'the mind like the sky', or 'four placements without an anchor' are preliminaries to it. One can study The Gelug/Kagyu Tradition of Mahamudra from H.H. the Dalaï-Lama & Alexander Berzin. Mahamudra is divided into two: (1) sutra and (2) tantra.


For Karma Kagyu school several legal, online, free, traditional sacred texts are available here.


The Asian Classics Institute is a free resource that has texts from all the Tibetan schools in PDF form, with both the original Tibetan and English translations. They also have free audio courses.

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