Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tara's Enlightened Activity: Commentary on The Praises to the Twenty-one Taras
The female Buddhist deity Tara is an object of devotional worship and meditative practice for Tibetan Buddhists everywhere, both male and female. She clears away fears, overpowers negative emotions, and enables all beings to reach enlightenment. She has special resonance as a source of female spiritual wisdom. Tibetans of all schools and traditions recite the verses on which this commentary is based. Focused, contemplative meditation in relation to the myriad aspects of Tara work to transform the practitioner's mind into those enlightened qualities and mind states that Tara represents.
Sought-after teachers throughout the West for over twenty-five years, Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche and his brother Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche illuminate the practice of The Praises to the Twenty-one Taras with humor and wisdom. The explanations cover progressively more subtle levels, from basic Buddhism through the Inner Tantras and culminate with Dzogchen. Interspersed with lively stories about Tara, the authors explain the physical conditions for practice, the outer and inner meanings of the text itself, and give solutions for problems that may emerge as practice progresses.
Nirvana: Concept, Imagery, Narrative
The idea of nirvana (Pali nibbāna) is alluring but elusive for non-specialists and specialists alike. Offering his own interpretation of key texts, Steven Collins explains the idea in a new, accessible way - as a concept, as an image (metaphor), and as an element in the process of narrating both linear and cyclical time. Exploring nirvana from literary and philosophical perspectives, he argues that it has a specific role: to provide 'the sense of an ending' in both the systematic and the narrative thought of the Pali imaginaire. Translations from a number of texts, including some dealing with past and future Buddhas, enable the reader to access source material directly. This book will be essential reading for students of Buddhism, but will also have much to teach anyone concerned with Asia and its religions, or indeed anyone with an interest in the ideas of eternal life or timelessness.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Being Peace - Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh delivered the words on this compact disk to an assembly of 700 gathered at Green Gulch Zen Center in Muir Beach, California, on November 3, 1985, and inspired the creation of the best selling book, Being Peace. The teachings contained here provide a crucial antidote to our busy lives, and because of Hanh's experience with the war and his willingness to face the realities of our time, these teachings are also about suffering, reconciliation, and peace.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Buddhism and Dalits : Social Philosophy and Traditions
Buddhism is nothing if it is not social. A man from Kapilavastu on the border of Nepal saw the interaction of interests among individuals, associations, kingdoms and general folks with murderous hunt for enthronement, cut-throat competition between kins, rule of might over meek from a corner of Uruvela forest and found the way leading to the end of this misery and professed and propagated his vision of new and fresh dispensation by words of mouth while treading the rugged lands from east to west and n:orth to south on foot for forty five years and breathed his last at the age of eighty years in Kusinagar.
This was Siddhartha Gautama the Buddha whose legacy is transmitted to the world through Buddhist countries and missionaries who cared it more than their own and passed it on to us at present. Buddhism as philosophy appealed to the rational and as art to the artists. In the later half of the 19th century the attention of European scholars was drawn to the study of the Buddha and his religion. The story of Buddhism in India extended to Far East with its ramifications into different schools and sects, its literature, its education, its rulers and writers, during the fifth and seventh centuries A.D., its art, its revival and its present status in the world.
The most compassionate feature of Buddhism was its adoption of Dalits as its own and rendering service to uplift them on par with generality. Dr. Ambedkar, the 14th Dalai Lama, Yen. Thich Nhat Hanh, Sulak Sivaraksha and alike belonged to this social stream of Buddhism. They have always espoused the cause of the most degraded and downtrodden sections of society and set them free from the thraldom of social slavery, economic exploitation, educational backwardness and political subjugation. Out of 14 million Dalits in India none falls above ultra poor or poverty line poor. As such they suffer from poverty including deprivation of food, income and employment and, being socially disadvantaged group Dalits suffer from backwardness in education, discrimination in employment. atrocities and suppression in social, cultural and religious matter. Needless to stress that compared to SCs and STs, let alone OBCs and General Category the Buddhist group in Maharashtra has greatest incidence of poverty. No radical change is possible without Dalit participation in the midst of capitalist privatized corporate market economy neglecting human labour and its contribution for new products and new order of humanity.
Mahamudra: The Moonlight -- Quintessence of Mind and Meditation
When Mahamudra first appeared in 1986, it was a landmark in the history of Buddhist publishing in English. It was translated at the behest of the 16th Karmapa, who was asked what text would be most beneficial to Western practitioners. Collecting all of Mahamudra's key texts in one volume, the book is a staple for practitioners of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, who appreciate its detailed theoretical and practical explanations. This stunning new edition, printed on fine paper, is as inspiring to behold as it is to read.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Kindness, Clarity, and Insight: The Fourteenth Dalai Lama, His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso By Dalai Lam
This best-selling book contains teachings for Western audiences during His Holiness' tours of North America. He covers a wide variety of spiritual and human concerns in a practical and direct manner with his characteristic warmth, wit and perception. The teachings move ever deeper: Religious Values and Human Society, The Luminous Nature of the Mind, Altruism and the Six Perfections; Deities; Transforming the Mind Through Meditation; Eight Verses of Training the Mind; Om Mani Padme Hum; The Path to Enlightenment; Tibetan Views on Dying; Self and Selflessness; The Two Truths.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Rediscovering the Buddha: The Legends and Their Interpretations
Hans Penner takes a new look at the classic stories of the life of the Buddha. In the first part of the book, he presents a full account of these stories, drawn from various texts of Theravada Buddhism, the Buddhism of South and Southeast Asia. Penner allots one chapter to each of the major milestones in Buddha's life, with titles such as: Birth and Early Life, Flight from the Palace, Enlightenment and Liberation, Last Watch and Funeral. In the process, he brings to the fore dimensions of the myth that have been largely ignored by western scholarship. In Part II, Penner offers his own original interpretations of the legends. He takes issue with Max Weber's assertion that "Buddhism is an other-worldly ascetic religion," a point of view that remains dominant in the received tradition and in most contemporary studies of Buddhism. His central thesis is that the "householder" is a necessary element in Buddhism and that the giving of gifts, which creates merit and presupposes the doctrine of karma, mediates the relation between the householder and the monk. Penner argues that the omission of the householder - in his view one-half of what constitutes Buddhism as a religion - is fatal for any understanding of Buddha's life or of the Buddhist tradition. This boldly revisionist and deeply learned work will be of interest to a wide range of scholarly and lay readers.
Orthodox Chinese Buddhism: A Contemporary Chan Master's Answers to Common Questions
As a well-known scholar and meditation master—His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama called him “extremely modest, a true spiritual practitioner of deep and broad learning”—Sheng Yen is uniquely qualified to guide Western seekers into the world of contemporary Chinese Buddhism. Written while the author was secluded in solitary retreat in southern Taiwan, Orthodox Chinese Buddhism provides a wealth of theory and simple, clear guidelines for practicing this increasingly popular form of spirituality. One of the most influential Buddhist books in the Chinese language, the book explores a wide range of subjects, from distinguishing core teachings from outdated cultural norms to bridging the gap between Western and Chinese traditions. In the process, it addresses such questions as “To what extent should Buddhism be Westernized to fit new cultural conditions?” and “Does Westernization necessarily lead to ‘a dumbing down’ of Buddhism?” In addition to the translation of the complete original text, this edition includes new annotations, appendixes, and a glossary designed for the Western reader.
Monday, July 19, 2010
How To Live Without Fear and Worry - K. Sri Dhammanada
Ven. Dr. K. Sri Dhammanada Is a household name in the Buddhist world. In more than forty two years as incumbent of the Buddhist Maha Vihara, Malaysia, the Venerable has brought the Buddha Word to countless numbers of devotees who otherwise would have has no access to the sublime message of the Enlightened One
Besides his talks the Venerable has been able to reach an even wider audience through his publications which range from the voluminous "Dhammapada" to little five page pamphlets. He has been able to reached all levels of readers from erudite scholar monks to young school children. His whole approach to the exposition of the Dhamma is governed by his deep concern for giving the ancient teachings a contemporary relevance, to show that the Sublime Message is timeless and has a meaning that cuts across the boundaries of time, space, race, culture and even religious beliefs.
My thanks to Yuttadammo for the link.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Genuine Happiness: Meditation as the Path to Fulfillment
Wallace, founder of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies, explores key Buddhist meditation-related concepts that aid the "conquest of our inner obscurations" and "present a path to inner fulfillment and human flourishing." He first examines several particular methods—such as "mindfulness of breathing"—for cultivating shamatha, a state of "meditative quiescence" in which people's capacity for attention is refined and stabilized. They can then use these techniques to make a direct, delusion-free investigation of their own bodies, feelings and thoughts. These insights, in turn, help them nurture hearts of compassion and equanimity and, ultimately, realize more advanced teachings such as cultivating bodhichitta (a "spirit of awakening"), dream yoga and a highly developed meditation technique known as dzogchen. Wallace's discussions are usually clear and helpful (on why meditation works: "sustained, continuous effort can actually reconfigure your brain"), and his questions invite readers to see for themselves if his assertions resonate. Moreover, each chapter contains guided meditations to help readers encounter the teachings more directly. Nevertheless, the text can become dense and self-referential, and if readers miss a particular point early on, the effectiveness of later sections may be lessened. The result is a solid—if advanced—examination of some key Buddhist meditation techniques that will appeal to the serious student more than the casual seeker.
The Wisdom of Imperfection: The Challenge of Individuation in Buddhist Life
If you have been practicing Buddhism for a while, why do you still have problems? And how do you balance the (apparently) sometimes different needs of spiritual and psychological perspectives? This wonderful book fills a hitherto unmet need among Buddhists.
Psychotherapist and meditation teacher Rob Preece draws on his eighteen years as a psychotherapist and many years as a meditation teacher to explore and map the psychological influences on our struggle to awaken. Acceptance of imperfection, for both psychological and spiritual health, is key.
Love and compassion grow out of an understanding of our fallibility, not from ideals of perfection, and wisdom does not always come as a flash of inspiration, but from the slow—often painful—working of experience. The Wisdom of Imperfection explores the journey of individuation in Buddhist life, looking at the psychological process beneath the traditional path of the Bodhisattva.
Rob Preece has been a practicing Buddhist since 1973, principally within the Tibetan tradition. He has spent many years in intensive retreat in the Himalayas under the guidance of eminent Tibetan lamas. He has been working as a psychotherapist since 1987 and gives workshops on comparative Jungian and Buddhist psychology. He is an experienced meditation teacher and Thangka painter.
Tantric deity yoga is the contemplative practice of visualizing oneself as a buddha, replete with compassion and wisdom, acting altruistically to benefit all sentient beings. This book offers a complete system of Tibetan Buddhist tantric meditation that details the process of transforming oneself through the step-by-step use of the imagination. Hopkins offers a contemporary Western perspective on the practice of deity yoga, based on his study and practice of these techniques.
How to Free Your Mind: Tara the Liberator
The beloved deity Tara is the feminine embodiment of enlightenment. For centuries, practitioners have turned to her for protection from both external and internal dangers, from fire to arrogance. This well-written book, presented in conversational style, is an authoritative guide to the practice of Tara. Includes very helpful chapters on the whys and hows of various Tara practices as well as a commentary on the "Homage to the 21 Taras."
"Venerable Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron was a student of my guru, Lama Thubten Yeshe, and has been a fully ordained nun for many years. For thirty years her mind and life have been fully immersed in the Dharma, like a diamond, indestructible; essenceless worldly things cannot affect her mind. She is a dynamic teacher who has taught extensively all over the world, inspiring many people, awakening them like the shining sun and leading them to the path, bringing them the happiness of not only many future lives but also the everlasting ultimate happinesses of liberation and full enlightenment.
This small, accessible book contains the essence of the Seven-Point Mind Training, expressed in the intimate, colloquial style that distinguishes Ringu Tulku's teachings. The Seven-Point Mind Training, a lojong practice, assumes no prior special training or preparation. It does not require practitioners to enter seclusion or change the way they live their lives. It asks that they examine their relationships with all those around them, and to make a strong determination to become enlightened for others' sake rather than for their own. It gives instructions for tonglen, breathing practice that ties the concepts of lojong to the physical act of breathing. Mind Training focuses simply on giving up self-cherishing and transforming self-centered thinking into compassion, egoistic feelings into altruism, desire into acceptance, and resentment into joy.
A Truthful Heart: Buddhist Practices for Connecting with Others
The Dalai Lama often says, "Kindness is society." By learning to live from a more compassionate viewpoint, Jeffrey Hopkins writes, we can create a better life not only for ourselves but for everyone. In A Truthful Heart, Hopkins uses Buddhist meditations (including the Dalai Lama's favorite), visualizations, and entertaining recollections from his own life to guide us in developing an awareness of the capacity for love inside us and learning to project that love into the world around us.
Delivering a potent message with the power to change our relationships and improve the quality of our lives, A Truthful Heart is the ideal book for an age in which our dealings with each other seem increasingly impersonal--and even violent and aggressive.
Music in the Sky: The Life, Art and Teachings of the Seventeenth Karamapa
s the second millennium drew to a close, the Seventeenth Karmapa leapt from the roof at his monastery in Tibet. Evading his Chinese guards, the 14-year-old spiritual leader began a grueling, dangerous journey to India. The Karmapa's picture has appeared all over the world since then, yet his own words are hard to find. Now, for the first time in print, Music in the Sky offers a series of the Karmapa's profound teachings, an extensive selection of his poetry, and a detailed and gripping account of his life and flight from his homeland. Readers will be captivated by this wonderfully accessible and profound book.
Music in the Sky concludes with brief biographies of all 16 previous Karmapas, specially composed for this collection by the highly respected Seventh Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. Here, the reader will discover the compelling histories of the first Tibetan masters to be recognized as reincarnate lamas. Music in the Sky presents a definitive portrait of the Seventeenth Karmapa, strengthened and illuminated by an authoritative depiction of his place in one of the world's most revered lines of spiritual teachers.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Opening to Our Primordial Nature
This book provides clear and deep explanations of how to uncover our inherent wisdom and compassion. The authors explain how our minds function and what our primordial nature is; they show us how to go about cultivating insight, bodhichitta, and devotion so that our true nature can manifest. They give detailed instructions on how to meditate using the tantric techniques of visualization, mantra, and formless meditation. At the same time, the book is simple and accessible, pointing out how we can see our fundamentally enlightened nature. This is a great introduction to Tibetan Buddhism by highly respected teachers from the Nyingmapa Vajrayana tradition.
The Dalai Lamas on Tantra
This is a unique collection of authentic teachings by the Dalai Lamas on Tantric Buddhism and tantric practice. The clarity and power of their tantric writings is unparalleled. Glenn H. Mullin is an internationally renowned Tibetologist, author, and expert on Buddhist meditation. Glenn lived in Dharamsala, India, the home of the Dalai Lama, for many years, where he studied Tibetan language, literature, yoga, and meditation under twenty-five of the greatest masters of Tibet. He is the author of over fifteen books on Buddhist topics and has led many pilgrimages to Nepal and Tibet in the last five years. He now divides his time between writing, lecturing, giving workshops, and leading pilgrimages to the power places of Central Asia.
The Moon of Wisdom: Chapter Six of Chandeakirti's Entering the Middle Way with Commentary from the Eight Karmapa Mikyo Dorje's Kagyu Siddhas
Nagarjuna, in his seminal text The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way, summarized the vast teachings of the Buddha and used logical reasoning to prove the validity of his words. Entering the Middle Way is Chandrakirti's explanation of Nagarjuna's work. Its sixth chapter, which comprises the majority of the text, has four main sections: an explanation of how, in genuine reality, phenomena do not truly arise; a refutation of the Mind-Only School's assertion that mind truly exists; a refutation of the true existence of the personal self; and an explanation of the sixteen emptinesses taught by the Buddha in the Transcendent Wisdom Sutras.
The Moon of Wisdom is thus a book that explains the Buddha's ultimate teachings, how to gain confidence in them, and how to put them into practice in one's own life, to the great benefit of oneself and others.
The Essential Tao: An Initiation into the Heart of Taoism Through the Authentic Tao Te Ching and the Inner Teachings of Chuang-Tzu
Thomas Cleary presents original translations of the two ancient Chinese texts that describe the essential philosophy and practice of the Tao, or "universal way." The Tao Te Ching, Lao-tzu's classic anthology of sayings, poems, and proverbs, appears here in its entirety; Cleary's excellent, detailed notes to each of the 81 stanzas illuminate the more difficult verses and unfamiliar ideas. The first seven, or "inner" chapters of the Chuang-Tzu, those containing the essence of the Taoist master Chuang-tzu's teachings, are also presented, with accompanying notes explaining the philosophy and significance of the symbolic stories. Readers already acquainted with the two texts will find renewed enjoyment in the directness and simplicity of Cleary's translations, which are particularly pleasing to modern ears while losing none of the nuances of the originals.
The well-known opening lines of the Tao Te Ching, for example, are given new life: "A way can be a guide, but not a fixed path; names can be given, but not permanent labels." And there is a clarity in the passages from the Chuang-Tzu not often found in other interpretations: "Who knows the unspoken explanation, the unexpressed Way? Among those who do know, this is called the celestial storehouse: we can pour into it without filling it, we can draw from it without exhausting it; and yet we don't know where it comes from." The subject matter of both texts ranges widely, from politics and economy to psychology and mysticism, addressing the needs and interests of a diverse readership. No less relevant today than when they were written more than 2,000 years ago, there is a "perennial currency" to these writings achieved by few of the world's great books. Cleary's readable introduction and notes provide an elegant frame that complements the quiet grandeur of these important texts.
Gems of Wisdom from the Seventh Dalai Lama
The Seventh Dalai Lama was one of the most beloved Buddhist masters—he had an outrageous sense of humor which found its way into his spiritual compositions. His popular Gems of Wisdom contains spontaneous verses employing earthy metaphors to illustrate key points—he uses metaphors like farts, body odor, slimy monsters and mindless lunatics to present the teachings. Simple yet direct his language captures the spirituality of his vision while avoiding religiosity. Here are Buddha's teachings in the context of mind training. Mullin translates and comments on the quintessential meanings of the Seventh's verses.
In the Forest of Faded Wisdom: 104 Poems by Gendun Chopel
In a culture where poetry is considered the highest form of human language, Gendun Chopel is revered as Tibet’s greatest modern poet. Born in 1903 as British troops were preparing to invade his homeland, Gendun Chopel was identified at any early age as the incarnation of a famous lama and became a Buddhist monk, excelling in the debating courtyards of the great monasteries of Tibet. At the age of thirty-one, he gave up his monk’s vows and set off for India, where he would wander, often alone and impoverished, for over a decade. Returning to Tibet, he was arrested by the government of the young Dalai Lama on trumped-up charges of treason, emerging from prison three years later a broken man. He died in 1951 as troops of the People’s Liberation Army marched into Lhasa.
Throughout his life, from his childhood to his time in prison, Gendun Chopel wrote poetry that conveyed the events of his remarkable life. In the Forest of Faded Wisdom is the first comprehensive collection of his oeuvre in any language, assembling poems in both the original Tibetan and in English translation. A master of many forms of Tibetan verse, Gendun Chopel composed heartfelt hymns to the Buddha, pithy instructions for the practice of the dharma, stirring tributes to the Tibetan warrior-kings, cynical reflections on the ways of the world, and laments of a wanderer, forgotten in a foreign land. These poems exhibit the technical skill—wordplay, puns, the ability to evoke moods of pathos and irony—for which Gendun Chopel was known and reveal the poet to be a consummate craftsman, skilled in both Tibetan and Indian poetics. With a directness and force often at odds with the conventions of belles lettres, this is a poetry that is at once elegant and earthy. In the Forest of Faded Wisdom is a remarkable introduction to Tibet’s sophisticated poetic tradition and its most intriguing twentieth-century writer.
The Voice of the Buddha: The Dhammapada and other key Buddhist teachings
The "Dhammapada" is the single most important extant Buddhist text. It is the "the voice of the Buddha" where many of his key ideas are presented in a cogent verse form. Also included are other key Buddhist concepts illustrated by original texts.
A compilation of Buddhist writings is presented in an accessible format. Each section of text is introduced with a short statement by narrator Sean Barrett, followed by the text itself, presented by Kulananda or Anton Lesser--or in the case of dialogues with the Buddha, both of these two narrators. Each narrator reads with reference and respect. The recording is broken into separate tracks on the CD for each introduction and each section of text. A booklet enclosed with the recording provides a key to the tracks. This post-production care enhances the use of the collection as an introduction to Buddhist teachings and/or a meditation tool.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
The Art of Happiness by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama is probably one of the only people who, if you ask him if he's happy, even though he's suffered the loss of his country, will give you an unconditional "yes." What's more, he'll tell you that happiness is the purpose of life, and the "the very motion of our life is toward happiness." How to get there has always been the question. He's tried to answer it before, but he's never had the help of a psychiatrist to get the message across in a context we can easily understand.
Through meditation, stories, and the meeting of Buddhism and psychology, the Dalai Lama shows us how to defeat day-to-day depression, anxiety, anger, jealousy, or just an ordinary bad mood. He discusses relationships, health, family, work, and spirituality to show us how to ride through life's obstacles on a deep, abiding source of inner peace. Based on 2,500 years of Buddhist meditations and with a healthy dose of common sense, The Art of Happiness is a program that crosses the boundaries of all traditions to help listeners with the difficulties common to all human beings.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Chatral Rinpoche, the quintessential "hidden yogi," has been a legend in the Himalayan region for the past seventy years. Although he has never traveled to the West, his amazing story and teachings have gradually been infiltrating the Western Buddhist consciousness since Father Thomas Merton first met him in 1968 and famously remarked that he was "the greatest man I ever met."
This is the first English-language book of this living legend, and includes his biography and autobiography, six of his essays, five prayers he composed, an exclusive interview, and sixteen pages of photos from throughout his life.
Wisdom Nectar: Dudjom Rinpoche's Heart Advice
Dudjom Rinpoche was one of the seminal figures in Tibetan Buddhism in the twentieth century, yet very few of his religious writings have been translated into English. This volume contains a generous selection of his inspiring teachings and writings, the core of which is a lengthy discussion of the entire path of Dzogchen, including key instructions on view, meditation, and conduct, along with direct advice on how to bring one's experiences onto the path.
Also included in this book in their entirety are the oral instructions, tantric songs, and songs of realization of His Holiness's Collected Works, along with a generous selection of the aspiration and supplication prayers.
Timeless Rapture: Inspired Verse from the Shangpa Masters
Throughout history awakened ones have celebrated the rapture of mystical states with inspired verse, sung extemporaneously. This book offers a rare glimpse into the mysticism of the Shangpa Kagyu lineage, a tradition based mainly on the profound teaching of 2 women. This compendium of spontaneous verse sung by tantric Buddhist masters from the 10th century to the present includes translations as well as short descriptions of each poet's life and a historical overview of the lineage.
Ngawang Zangpo's fluid translation and rich commentary truly brings us into the presence of the extra-ordinary masters of the Shangpa Kagyu tradition. As we listen to their verse, we are transported by their devotion, awakened wisdom, and blessing to the Vajra world that has become their home."- Lama Drupgyu Tenzin A selection of excerpts from Timeless Rapture follow.
In Nepal, I once translated for a Tibetan lama visited by both Westerners and Tibetans. As the private interviews were given at random, I stayed in the room while he spoke directly with Tibetans who came for his advice. On one occasion, an ordinary Tibetan woman in her 40s50s asked a question, which I hadn't listened to, and which the yogi began to answer in normal, conversational language. He then abruptly switched into song. He continued for a few minutes, singing his advice to her in verses that seemed to me both fluid and impromptu. It was stunning. There was a naked meeting of minds between them that produced the song. Yes, if one were technical about it, there was a singer and a listener, two bodies and two faces, one of which had tears streaming down it. But there were less than two minds in that encounter, or even less than one mind: there was only nondual wisdom and the song that emerged from it.
Zurchungpa's Testament - Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Zurchungpa's Eighty Chapters of Personal Advice was the final teaching given by the great Nyingma master Zurchung Sherab Trakpa. The original text consists of 580 maxims, covering the entire path of Dzogchen from fundamental teachings through to a series of pith instructions that bring the Dzogchen view to life. Much of the meaning of these often cryptic instructions could be lost to the reader without further explanations, so this book contains a complete, detailed commentary on Zurchungpa's text by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Originally intended as essential instructions for a group of practitioners in three-year retreat, it will undoubtedly serve as an indispensable guide to anyone who seriously wishes to practice the Great Perfection.
Medicine Buddha Teachings
One of the key deities in the intricate pantheon of Vajrayana Buddhism is the Medicine Buddha. A person who appropriately venerates this figure is promised to experience an "increase in healing powers... and a decrease in physical and mental illness and suffering." In 1999, Thrangu (Everyday Consciousness and Buddha-Awakening) led a retreat in Washington State where he explicated the Medicine Buddha Sadhana (traditional liturgy) and the Sutra of the Medicine Buddha. Chapters in the book are edited transcripts of his teaching sessions at this retreat. The first portion of the book is largely a detailed, verse-by-verse commentary on and guide to practicing the sadhana, highlighting such topics as the importance of visualization, making offerings to the deity and why certain symbolic objects are auspicious. The next section is the text of the sadhana itself, in Sanskrit and in translation. Thrangu then exegetes the sutra (scripture) underlying the liturgy, explaining the Medicine Buddha's 12 "aspirations"-the vows he made to illuminate, benefit, heal and prosper all beings-and describing the benefits of "recollecting" and supplicating him. Thrangu rounds out the book with a discussion of the Vajrayana view of gods and spirits. This is no introduction to Vajrayana Buddhism: a working knowledge of basic concepts is assumed, and the text is dense and often extraordinarily detailed. Yet the book is informative and conversational in tone, and may benefit advanced students specifically seeking to understand the Medicine Buddha practice.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Buddhist Fasting Practice: The Nyungne Method of Thousand Armed Chenrezig
The Tibetan Buddhist practice of Nyungne (nyoong-nay) has been gaining increased attention in Buddhist centers across North America; participants say the practice purifies them both physically and spiritually. This volume is one of the few comprehensive treatments in English of these powerful teachings. Nyungne is a profound two-and-a-half-day practice, whose length of time is especially helpful for people whose schedules cannot accommodate a long-term retreat. It involves the keeping of strict vows; the second day is devoted to complete silence and fasting. The meditation centers on the recitations, mantras, and guided visualizations of the Thousand-Armed Chenrezig, the embodiment of all the buddhas' loving-kindness and compassion. Translated as abiding in the fast, Nyungne is said to be effective in the healing of illness, the nurturing of compassion, and the purification of negative karma meditation.
The Union of Bliss and Emptiness: Teachings on the Practice of Guru Yoga
Guru Yoga is an important aspect of the tantric practice of Mahayana Buddhism and the foundation on which the whole tantric structure is built; it is also the force that gives vitality to a practitioner's meditation. Unlike other systems, tantric meditation depends largely upon inspiration transmitted in an unbroken lineage through a living person, the teacher. Who better than the Dalai Lama can pre a proper understanding of this practice for Tibetan Buddhists.
Absorption in No External World: 170 Issues in Mind Only Buddhism
This book examines a plethora of fascinating points raised in six centuries of Tibetan and Mongolian commentary concerning the first two sections of Dzong-ka-ba's The Essence of Eloquence, the Prologue and the section on the Mind-Only School. By providing vivid detail, Jeffrey Hopkins reveals the liveliness of Tibetan scholastic controversies, showing the dynamism of thoughtful commentary and stimulating the reader's metaphysical imagination. In the process of examining 170 issues, this volume treats many engaging points on Great Vehicle presentations of the three natures and the three non-natures, including how to apply these to all phenomena, the selflessness of persons, and the emptiness of emptiness. It concludes with a delineation of the approaches through which the Mind-Only School interprets scriptures.
This stand-alone book is the final volume of a trilogy on Mind-Only that Hopkins composed over the last twenty-two years. His heavily annotated translation of these sections in Dzong-ka-ba's text is contained in the first volume, Emptiness in the Mind-Only School of Buddhism, along with a historical and doctrinal introduction, a detailed synopsis of the text, and a critical edition. The second volume, Reflections on Reality: The Three Natures and Non-Natures in the Mind-Only School, provides historical and social context, a basic presentation of the three natures, the two types of emptiness in the Mind-Only School, and the contrasting views of Dol-bo-ba Shay-rap-gyel-tsen of the Jo-nang-ba order of Tibetan Buddhism.
In this volume Hopkins presents opinions on crucial issues from twenty-two commentaries on Dzong-ka-ba's The Essence of Eloquence, considered by his followers to be so challenging that it is called his steel bow and steel arrow, hard to pull but powerful when one succeeds. The careful analysis with which these scholar-yogis probe the issues provides an avenue into patterns of thought that constitute the environment of the text over this long period of intense interest to the present day. Hopkins' lively style draws the reader into the drama, revealing horizons of transformative meaning.
Written especially for advanced scholars of Buddhism and its sacred texts, and featuring a delineation of the different approaches through which the Mind-Only School interprets scriptures, Absorption in No External World can be read as a stand-alone book or as the final volume in the author's trilogy on 'Mind-Only'
Introduction to Emptiness: As Taught in Tsong-Kha-Pa's Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path
Readers are hard-pressed to find books that can help them understand the central concept in Mahayana Buddhism—the idea that ultimate reality is "emptiness." In clear language, Introduction to Emptiness explains that emptiness is not a mystical sort of "nothingness," but a specific truth that can and must be understood through calm and careful reflection.
Newland's contemporary examples and vivid anecdotes will help readers understand this core concept as presented in one of the great classic texts of the Tibetan Tradition, Tsong-kha-pa's Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. This new edition includes quintessential points for each chapter.
Guy Newland is Professor of Religion and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Central Michigan University, where he has taught since 1988. He is a translator and co-editor of the three-volume translation Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, and is the author of several books on Tibetan Buddhism, including Appearance and Reality.
The Treasury of Knowledge, Book 6, Part 3: Frameworks of Buddhist Philosophy
This volume from the sixth book of the Treasury is his masterful survey of broad themes and subtle philosophical points found in more than 1500 years of Buddhist philosophical writings. In a clear and systematic manner, he sets out the traditional framework of Buddhism's three vehicles and four philosophical sytems and provides an overview of the key points of each system. His syncretic approach, which emphasizes the strengths of each of the systems and incorporates them into a comprehensive picture of philosophical endeavour, is well suited for scholar-practitioners, who seek awakening through the combination of analytical inquiry and meditation.
"The Treasury of Knowledge excellently presents the entire corpus of the sutra and mantra traditions, from the path of the common sciences all the way up to the uncommon Great Perfection, or Atiyoga (Dzogchen), which is the culmination of the nine vehicles." Dudjom Rinpoche.
"Jamgon Kongtrul was a true saint, a great scholar, an exemplary teacher, a renowned physician, a peacemaker, and one of the most prolific writers of Tibet…the Five Great Treatises of Kongtrul..enshrine all the wisdom of Tibet." Ringu Tulku.
Tsong-Kha-Pa's Final Exposition of Wisdom
If objects don't exist the way they appear, is mind itself an illusion, or is it merely empty of illusions? Is the reality of the mind already endowed with ultimate Buddha qualities, or is reality just the immaculate nature of the mind that allows for Buddha qualities to be developed? Tsong-kha-pa (1357-1419), the great Tibetan Buddhist master, had to address these and a host of other questions in order to formulate the nature of liberation in Buddhism. This volume presents the explanations found in Tsong-kha-pa's Medium-Length Exposition of the Stages of the Path and in a commentary Tsong-kha-pa supplied for Chandrakirti's supplement to Nagarjuna's Treatise on the Middle, contrasting them with views of his predecessor Dol-bo-ba Shay-rab Gyel-tsen (1292-1391), as found in Dol-bo-ba's Mountain Doctrine. The two systems--Dol-bo-ba's doctrine of other-emptiness and Tsong-kha-pa's doctrine of self emptiness--emerge more clearly, contributing to a fuller picture of reality as viewed in Tibetan Buddhism.