Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Stages of Meditation - Dalai Lama

Stages of Meditation - Dalai Lama
Stages of Meditation
is a commentary by the Dalai Lama on a rare text by ninth-century Indian Buddhist scholar Kamalashila, written in Tibet to correct some Chinese misinterpretations of Buddhism that were influential at the time. Kamalashila's short work is not widely known today, but according to the Dalai Lama, it is a most important text, and worthy of study by those new to Buddhism, because "on the basis of this knowledge you will be able to understand other treatises without great difficulty. This text can be like a key that opens the door to all other major Buddhist scriptures."

Throughout the book, the Dalai Lama emphasizes the importance of logical analysis of scriptures, even if they are in the Buddha's own words; some teachings, he stresses, "should not be taken literally, but need interpretation." And this is what he does in this clear and readable commentary, originally given in 1989 and now translated and published for the first time. Its 10 short chapters are on such familiar Buddhist themes as Training the Mind, Compassion, Identifying the Nature of Suffering, and The Practice of Calm Abiding.

"Through meditation," says the Dalai Lama, "we can train our minds in such a way that negative qualities are abandoned and positive qualities are generated and enhanced." Those who practice meditation, whether Buddhist or not, will find this a thoughtful and practical guide, written with the Dalai Lama's characteristic warmth and gentleness



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