Monday, May 31, 2010
The Dalai Lama (People in the News)
The Dalai Lama is a Buddhist leader of religious officials of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The name is a combination of the Mongolian word Далай "Dalai" meaning "Ocean" and the Tibetan word "Blama" (with a silent b) meaning "chief" or "high priest." "Lama" is a general term referring to Tibetan Buddhist teachers. In religious terms, the Dalai Lama is believed by his devotees to be the rebirth of a long line of tulkus who descend from the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. Traditionally, His Holiness is thought of as the latest reincarnation of a series of spiritual leaders who have chosen to be reborn in order to enlighten others. The Dalai Lama is often thought to be the director of the Gelug School, but this position belongs officially to the Ganden Tripa, which is a temporary position appointed by the Dalai Lama who, in practice, exerts much influence.
Taking the Path of Zen - Robert Aitken
There is a fine art to presenting complex ideas with simplicity and insight, in a manner that both guides and inspires. In Taking the Path of Zen Robert Aitken presents the practice, lifestyle, rationale, and ideology of Zen Buddhism with remarkable clarity.
The foundation of Zen is the practice of zazen, or mediation, and Aitken Roshi insists that everything flows from the center. He discusses correct breathing, posture, routine, teacher-student relations, and koan study, as well as common problems and milestones encountered in the process. Throughout the book the author returns to zazen, offering further advice and more advanced techniques. The orientation extends to various religious attitudes and includes detailed discussions of the Three Treasures and the Ten Precepts of Zen Buddhism.
Taking the Path of Zen will serve as orientation and guide for anyone who is drawn to the ways of Zen, from the simply curious to the serious Zen student.
Faces of Bhutan - November 2009/November 2010
Buddhism in the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Exotic, sacred and hidden. Home to mad yogis and countless enlightened masters. For centuries Bhutan has intrigued the outside world and now, f.or the first time, many of its esoteric mysteries are revealed. Top Bhutanese and international writers include Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche on “Going Beyond Space and Time”, Chogyam Trungpa’s life-changing journey to Tigers Nest, Professor Bob Thurman on the emergence of western Buddhism, plus Bhutan’s secret spiritual warriors, the punk monk and much more. Through stunning photography and fascinating stories, this is a rare insight into Buddhism as it is practised in this last secretive shangri-la.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
The Buddhist I Ching
This book is a reading of the classic I Ching by the noted Chinese Buddhist Chih-hsu Ou-i (1599-1655), an outstanding author of the late Ming dynasty whose work influenced the development of modern Buddhism in China. Ou-i uses the I Ching to elucidate issues in social, psychological, and spiritual development.
The I Ching is the most ancient Chinese book of wisdom, widely considered a basic guide for conscious living. While it has been extensively expounded by the traditional sociologists and psychologists of the Confucian and Taoist schools, the written records of Chinese Buddhism are nearly silent on the I Ching. Of course, several key phrases and signs were adopted into the commentaries of the Ch'an (Zen), Hua-yen, and other Buddhist schools, but no extensive explanation of the I Ching seems to have been written by a Buddhist until Chih-hsu Ou-i composed the present work in the seventeenth century.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Buddhism in America: Brilliant visions of the present and future of American Buddhism
What happens when an ancient Asian spiritual tradition takes root in a brash young democracy? Ask the world’s leading Buddhist teachers and thinkers this question, and you have Buddhism in America, Volume I, a historic collection of the most provocative and insightful sessions from the respected Buddhism in America national conferences. Here are the sometimes iconoclastic, always brilliant visions of those who are mapping out the present and future of American Buddhism.
* Sogyal Rinpoche: The Future of Buddhism – “When I came to the West,” recounts this native Tibetan scholar and teacher, “I relearned the Dharma.” Sogyal Rinpoche shares his learned and cross-cultural perspectives on American Buddhism.
* Robert Thurman: Toward American Buddhism – It took Buddhism a thousand years to convince the warlike Tibetans to lay down their arms. How long will it be before America’s army bases are converted into Dharma centers? A penetrating and entertaining session with this esteemed professor and author.
* Joan Halifax: Mindfulness and Compassionate Action – A Zen master surveys the challenges we all understand – consumerism, over-achievement, misdirected sexuality – and shows how to apply the Buddha’s teachings in a culture he never experienced.
* Lama Surya Das: American Karma, One Dharma – Describing American Buddhism as “unorthodox,” Lama Surya Das explores the special importance of the spiritual community sangha in the land of the rugged individual.
* Tsultrim Allione: Relationship and Intimacy As a Path – The author of Women of Wisdom shows how we can take advantage of our obsession with relationships to enter more deeply into the Buddhist practice of compassion.
* Peter Matthiessen: The Coming of Age of American Zen – A Buddhist priest and bestselling author reveals how the austere teachings of Japanese and Korean Zen lend themselves to the American tradition of social activism.
* Stephen Batchelor: Deep Agnosticism – Two dangers face Western Buddhism, warns Stephen Batchelor: applying the Dharma too loosely and adhering too rigidly to its Asian forms. The author of Buddhism beyond Beliefs brings new relevance to the Buddha’s teaching of the “Middle Way.”
Transparent Lama: Story of Lama Ole Nydahl & Hannah Nydahl about their Bhutanese Lama
The film presents one of the great Tibetan Buddhism teachers of the Karma Kagyu order, Lama Lopen Tseche Rinpoche. The movie covers material from two countries: Nepal - where he was a abbot of a monastery in his final years, and Bhutan - his country of birth.
His first western students Ole and Hannah Nydahl share the memories about their spiritual teacher Tseche Rinpoche.
Dalai Lama: Discourse on the Heart Sutra
The Dalai Lama discusses and explains the Heart Sutra, the succinct but profound sutra regarded as the summation of the wisdom of Buddha.
An interview with the Dalai Lama by Japanese producer Kozo Otani in which His Holiness answers questions about the Heart Sutra, its practice and meaning, including its use in daily life. The Dalai Lama explains the meaning of the mantra in the Heart Sutra and discusses emptiness, interdependence and infinite altruism. He also particularly recommends combining the study of the Heart Sutra and Prajnaparamita with the understanding of Buddha nature.
Cold Mountain" is a film portrait of the Tang Dynasty Chinese poet Han Shan, a.k.a. Cold Mountain. Recorded on location in China, America and Japan, Burton Watson, Red Pine and the legendary Gary Snyder describe the poet's life and tell poems. A trickster, Han Shan wrote poems for everyone, not just the educated elite. A man free of spiritual doctrine, it is unclear whether or not he was a monk, whether he was a Buddhist or a Taoist, or both. It is not even certain he ever lived, but the poems do.
Encyclopedia of Reincarnation and Karma
Featuring over 1,200 topical entries arranged alphabetically, this encyclopedia provides diverse and detailed coverage of the related subjects of reincarnation and karma. Its in-depth examination ranges from ancient beliefs to those of the present, incorporating all relevant world cultures. A series of broad thematic entries cover foundational aspects while over a thousand highly focused entries deal with various societies and organizations which support the concepts of reincarnation and karma; specific religious groups, sects, and associations; key individuals both historic and modern; and related beliefs, concepts, and practices.
Yantra Yoga: The Tibetan Yoga of Movement
Yantra Yoga offers the practitioner a unique approach to yoga practice, parallel to the Hatha Yoga of the Hindu tradition. Called "The Union of Sun and Moon," it is a dynamic system of trulkhor (movements) and tsalung (pranayamas, breath control) and differs from more widespread yogas in that it is done as a sequence of movements coordinated with the breath and specific ways of holding it. Yantra Yoga helps the practitioner to relax and achieve a state of well-being and harmony, at the same time enhancing physical health, energy, and mental balance.
At a more profound level, it is an important practice to integrate body, speech, and mind in a state that is beyond normal dualistic concepts. Yantra Yoga is a very rich body of knowledge that includes three preliminary series, 75 yantras (asanas), 7 breathing practices, 7 lotuses, and the vajra wave--108 exercises in all.
Profusely illustrated with drawings and photographs, Yantra Yoga presents Tibet's trulkhor yoga tradition as taught by one of its master exponents, Chogyal Namkhai Norbu.
Yantra Yoga's movements, exercises, and methods of concentration are all based on an eighth-century text by Vairocana whose translation is included, illuminated by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu's commentary. Detailed charts for the timing of the breathing exercises are also included.
The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Digha Nikaya
This book is a modern translation of the Long Length Discourses of the Buddha, a seminal collection of early Buddhist texts. The Digha is part of the scripture of the Theravada school of Buddhism. The Theravada school is is the oldest surviving form of Buddhism and is still practiced in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, and elsewhere. Together with other forms of Buddhism, Theravada has attracted a great deal of interest in the West, and this book will be invaluable in making its teachings accessible. This collection of discourses is considered canonical by all other schools of Buddhism. Subsequent understanding of the Buddha's teachings built upon it, even when they seemed to depart from it.
The Digha is a collection of 34 discourses (suttas), originally written in Pali. The form of the teaching differs from that of later Buddhist teachings in that in the Digha, the Buddha is presented as a person wandering through India and teaching his disciples, followers of other sects, kings, princes, gods, and anyone who is open to listen. The teachings are difficult but the emphasis in this collection is on psychology more than metaphysics. The Buddha described his dhamma as designed to end suffering and to teach people how to be happy. That is the core of this volume.
The History of Buddhist Thought
While the author's earlier work Life of Buddha as Legend and History detailed the historical evidence for the life and teaching of the founder of the religion, the present volume offers a learned presentation of the development of Buddhistic teachings over time. Beginning with geography and chronology, Dr. Thomas goes on to discuss in detail such topics as the ascetic ideal; the background of Buddhism, Brahminism, and the Upanishads; karma, release, and nirvana; the doctrine of the void; the doctrine of consciousness only; Buddhism and modern thought; and much more. He is at special pains to show how the severely simple teachings of a band of wandering ascetics with the goal of achieving a final state of peace evolved into the doctrine of world saviors, the great career of the Bodhisattva as savior of all, the revolution in thought brought about by the schools which spread over India, and the various doctrines that came to be taught in China, Japan, Ceylon, Burma, and other Asian countries. Serious students of Buddhism will welcome this inexpensive reprint of a classic study which clearly explicates the different trends in Buddhistic thought as they developed through history.
China's Buddhist Culture
This book elaborates and elucidates the concepts and characteristics of China's Buddhist culture with special emphasis on two aspects: (1) the historical evolution of Chinese Buddhism as well as related ancient books, records, basic doctrines, systems and protocols, and famous historical and cultural sites; and (2) the influence of Buddhism on such aspects of Chinese culture as politics, ethics, philosophy, literature and art, and folk customs, as well as the differences and similarities between Buddhism and both Confucianism and Taoism. This book further summarizes the structure, core beliefs, internal and external relations, root of evolution, and peculiarity of China's Buddhist culture system. This book aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the historical status of Buddhism and its important role in the evolution of Chinese culture.
Light on Enlightenment - Christopher Titmuss
Ever wondered why Buddhists seem so gung ho about suffering? Curious why so many of your Buddhist friends are vegetarian? If so, this straightforward, readable introduction to Buddhism, by acclaimed retreat leader and former Buddhist monk Titmuss, is the book for you. Titmuss explores Buddhist basics, from the Four Noble Truths (there is suffering, it is caused by desire, there is liberation from suffering and there is a path to liberation) to the Eightfold Path, from the roles of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha (Buddhist communities) to Buddhist understandings of human consciousness and feelings. His chapters on Buddhist morals tend toward the sanctimonious; in his discussion of not killing, Titmuss records meeting an American woman who had spent time in a Central American country governed by a U.S.-backed military regime. The woman, though committed to the Buddhist practice of ahimsa (nonviolence), felt compelled to work as a gunrunner for the left. Although Titmuss recognizes that "in such a situation, there is no point in preaching about the morality of protecting life," he goes on to do just that. This is a painless primer; it won't add much to the expert's library but is guaranteed to give the novice a better understanding of Buddhist teaching and practice.
Lady of the Lotus-Born: The Life and Enlightenment of Yeshe Tsogyal
The first Tibetan to attain complete enlightenment was in all probability the woman Yeshe Tsogyal, the closest disciple of Padmasambhava, the master who brought Buddhism to Tibet in the eighth century. This classical text is not only a biography but also an inspiring example of how the Buddha's teaching can be put into practice. Lady of the Lotus-Born interweaves profound Buddhist teachings with a colorful narrative that includes episodes of adventure, court intrigue, and personal searching. The book will appeal to students of Tibetan Buddhism and readers interested in the role of women in Buddhism and world religions.