The Mahamudra teachings are considered among the highest teachings in all of Vajrayana Buddhism. The point in these teachings is to learn how to recognise your mind's true nature and with it gain liberation from the sufferings in this world.
We take our thoughts, emotions and experiences to be ultimately real but it is said that this isn't the case. A traditional analogy for the nature of our lives is said to be like the reflection of the Moon on the surface of water. Is there actually a real moon there that can be grasped or is it just an appearance?
Likewise, are your thoughts, emotions and problems really there? Or are they just an appearance floating in the mind? Do you have to actually get rid of them? Or could you just leave them be?
Where is the mind? What is it's real nature? A clue might be in the name "Mahamudra". "Maha" means great, "Mudra" means seal. Therefore Mahamudra refers to the Great Seal. It is believed that all phenomena that manifest in the world or in the mind are stamped or sealed with the mark of reality.
This book is quite the journey through Buddhist Practice and Philosophy but I'm not sure I would recommend it to anyone that isn't already keenly interested in the subject matter.
Buddhism has it has spread throughout the world can be roughly divided into three great traditions. Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana. Theravada is the oldest school of Buddhism believed to resemble how it was practised in the Buddha's time. Mahayana emerged from the Buddha's teachings as well as the work of Buddhist philosopher's that came after. The teachings of Buddhism that spread through China, Japan, Korea and other parts of the East are considered a part of Mahayana (including Chan / Zen and Thien Buddhism). Vajrayana is more or less synonymous with how Buddhism is pracised in Tibet. The Dalai Lama, who is considered the icon for Buddhism across the world, hails from a subset of Vajrayana. The teachings contained in Vajrayana are considered the quickest path to Enlightenment or Realization. ↩︎