John Myrdhin Reynolds

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John Myrdhin Reynolds (b. 1942) and is a scholar, linguist, author, translator, and practitioner of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.[1]

Reynolds has made a special study of Dzogchen and the tantras of Buddhism, both in their own context and in comparison with Gnosticism and other Western mystical traditions.[2] This has resulted in Reynolds translating many original Tibetan texts of the Nyingma and Kagyu into English. He has also studied the Bon traditions of Dzogchen and has translated some Bon literature as well.[3]


Reynolds studied History of Religions, Anthropology, Arabic, Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, at the University of California at Berkeley, and at the University of Washington at Seattle. At Columbia University Reynolds pursued Islamic Studies under Arthur Jeffrey along with Iranian Studies under J. Duchesne-Guillemin. Reynolds did his PhD research in Sanskrit, Tibetan and Buddhist Philosophy under Edward Conze, the lauded scholar of the Buddhist Prajnaparamita literature.

Field research and experience

Post PhD, Reynolds spent circa ten years in India and Nepal doing fieldwork research at a number of Hindu ashrams in South India and at Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in Darjeeling, Nepal and Kalimpong. At these monasteries, Reynolds studied and researched the rituals, literature and meditation practices of the Kagyupa and Nyingmapa. Reynolds' lama teachers included Dezhung Rinpoche, Kangyur Rinpoche, Chatral Rinpoche, Jigdral Yeshe Dorje (2nd Dudjom Rinpoche), Kalu Rinpoche, the Karmapa, C.R. Lama and Lama Gonpo Tseten, amongst others. [4] In Nepal, Reynolds researched the techniques and folklore of Himalayan shamanism, including rites of soul retrieval and exorcism, employed and practiced among ngakpa lamas belonging to the Nyingma school.

Reynolds has taught History of Religions and Buddhist Studies at Shanti Ashram (South India), at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, at the University of California, Santa Cruz and at the College of New Rochelle in New York City.


Reynolds has worked closely with Namkhai Norbu on a number of translations of Dzogchen texts.

Since 1989, he has worked closely with Lopön Tenzin Namdak on the translation of a large number of ancient and rare Bön Dzogchen texts into English, including the Zhangzhung Oral Tradition and also the Bön Mother Tantra.

A principal focus of his research is the origins of Dzogchen in both the Nyingmapa and the Bön traditions, and especially into the connections of Dzogchen and the Bön with Iranian religious culture of ancient Central Asia and the West, including Buddhism in Iran, Mithraic mysteries and Gnosticism.


Publications include:

  • The Alchemy of Realization (1978, Simhanada Publications)
  • Tibetan Astrological Calendar and Almanac (1978, Kalachakra Publications)
  • The Cycle of Day and Night (1984, 1987, Station Hill Press)
  • The Golden Rosary of Tara (1985, Shang Shung Edizioni)
  • The Adamantine Essence of Life (1987, Vidyadhara Publications)
  • Self-Liberation through Seeing with Naked Awareness (1989, 2000 Snow Lion)
  • The Secret Book of Simhamukha (1990, 2001, Vidyadhara Publications)
  • Wicca, Paganism, and Tantra (1994, Vidyadhara Publications)
  • The Golden Letters (1996, Snow Lion)
  • The Oral Tradition from Zhang-Zhung (2005, Vajra Publications)
  • Bonpo Dzogchen Teachings (2006, Vajra Publications)
  • The Sadhana Practice of Wrathful Deities in Tibetan Buddhist Tantra (2009, Bodhiszattva Publisher)


  1. "Vajranatha / John Myrdhin Reynolds". Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  2. "John Myrdhin Reynolds biography". Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  3. "Vajranatha / John Myrdhin Reynolds". Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  4. "John Myrdhin Reynolds". Retrieved 24 January 2015. 

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