With characteristic humility, His Holiness the Dalai Lama begins this landmark survey of the entire Buddhist path by saying, "I think an overview of Tibetan Buddhism for the purpose of providing a comprehensive framework of the path may prove helpful in deepening your understanding and practice." In this book, the Dalai Lama delivers a presentation that is both concise and profound, accessible and engaging. As readers explore Tibetan Buddhism more fully than ever before, they will find in His Holiness a great friend and authority.
This book provides an entrée into the Tantric (or Vajrayana) Buddhism of Tibet, as conveyed by Tibetan masters teaching in the West, and as received by their Western students. The Tantric tradition is a unique collection of lesser-known texts, concepts, and meditation practices that are usually made available only to experienced and specially initiated practitioners. The "Vajra World" (vajradhatu in Sanskrit) is a realm of indestructibility, the level of reality beyond all thought and imagination, all impermanence and change, which a fully realized person knows and inhabits. Used metaphorically, "Vajra World" refers to the traditional culture of Tibet and the unique spirituality that is its secret strength. Topics include: The tantric view of human nature and the external world The special role of the guru, or tantric mentor The preliminary practices that prepare the student for full initiation The major dimensions of Vajrayana practice, including visualizations, liturgies, and inner yogas The tradition of the tulku, or incarnate lama The lore surrounding the death of ordinary people and of saints The practice of solitary retreat, the epitome of traditional Tibetan Buddhism Secret of the Vajra World is the companion volume to the author's earlier book, Indestructible Truth: The Living Spirituality of Tibetan Buddhism. While that book focuses on the history, cosmology, philosophy, and practice of the more public, exoteric side of Tibetan Buddhism, this work treats its more hidden and esoteric aspects as they take shape in Vajrayana. Together, the two volumes provide a broad introduction to the major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.
What does Tibetan Buddhism teach? Just what is the position of the Dalai Lama, and how will his succession be assured? This Very Short Introduction offers a brief account responding to these questions and more, in terms that are easily accessible to those who are curious to learn the most essential features of Tibetan Buddhist history, teachings, and practice.
Few teachers in the West possess both the spiritual training and the scholarship to lead us along the path to enlightenment. Robert Thurman is one such teacher. Now, in his first experiential course on the essentials of Tibetan Buddhism, adapted and expanded from a popular retreat he led, Thurman -- the first Westerner ordained by His Holiness the Dalai Lama himself -- shares the centuries-old wisdom of a highly valued method used by the great Tibetan masters. Using a revered, once-secret text of a seventeenth-century Tibetan master, along with a thorough explanation for contemporary Westerners, The Jewel Tree of Tibet immerses you fully in the mysteries of Tibetan spiritual wisdom. A retreat in book form as well as a spiritual and philosophical teaching, it offers a practical system of understanding yourself and the world, of developing your learning and thought processes, and of gaining deep, transforming insight. Tibetans think of their cherished tradition of Buddhism as a "wish-fulfilling jewel tree" for its power to generate bliss and enlightenment within all who absorb its teachings. Happiness, in fact, is the true goal of Tibetan spirituality, and the wish-fulfilling jewel tree will put you on the road to that reachable goal. This beautiful jewel-tree imagery, which acts like a mandala or a yoga pose to focus your attention on truths larger than yourself, will help you break through worn-out ideas and habits, strengthen positive abilities, develop more energy and creativity, and change your life -- and future -- for the better. As Thurman writes, "Readers learn to cultivate the sensitivity and appreciation to love more fully, feel compassion more intensely, and become a fountain of cheerfulness for all they meet and know." Because the path to enlightenment requires more than sitting in meditation, The Jewel Tree of Tibet offers a rich, intellectually riveting course with many specific spiritual practices, including: eleven steps to create the spirit of enlightenment, here and now; the truths and stories of the ancient Indian and Tibetan sages; and guided meditations to experience the blessings of the wish-fulfilling jewel tree. You can do these practices with others or on your own, while living your daily life. And as you travel this road to deeper self-realization, self-understanding, and infectious happiness, you will also learn how the principles of Tibetan Tantra can open the doors to "infinite compassion and continuity," and how to discover states of consciousness that transcend even death. One of the most explicit teachings of the steps to the path of enlightenment available, explained by a skilled Western teacher, The Jewel Tree of Tibet will enable you to honor the full subtlety and hidden depths of the Tibetan Buddhist path and realize at last its deeper mysteries and rewards -- for yourself and others.
The "golden yoke" of Buddhist Tibet was the last medieval legal system still in existence in the middle of the twentieth century. This book reconstructs that system as a series of layered narratives from the memories of people who participated in the daily operation of law in the houses and courtyards, the offices and courts of Tibet prior to 1959. The practice of law in this unique legal world, which lacked most of our familiar signposts, ranged from the fantastic use of oracles in the search for evidence to the more mundane presentation of cases in court. Buddhism and law, two topics rarely intertwined in Western consciousness, are at the center of this work. The Tibetan legal system was based on Buddhist philosophy and reflected Buddhist thought in legal practice and decision making. For Tibetans, law is a cosmology, a kaleidoscopic patterning of relations which is constantly changing, recycling, and re-forming even as it integrates the universe and the individual into a timeless mandalic whole. The Golden Yoke causes us to rethink American legal culture. It argues that in the United States legal matters are segregated into a separate space with rigidly defined categories. The legal cosmology of Buddhist Tibet brings into question both this autonomous framework and most of the presumptions we have about the very nature of law, from precedent and res judicata to rule formation and closure.
The myth of Shangri-la originates in Tibetan Buddhist beliefs in beyul, or hidden lands, sacred sanctuaries that reveal themselves to devout pilgrims and in times of crisis. The more remote and inaccessible the beyul, the vaster its reputed qualities. Ancient Tibetan prophecies declare that the greatest of all hidden lands lies at the heart of the forbidding Tsangpo Gorge, deep in the Himalayas and veiled by a colossal waterfall. Nineteenth-century accounts of this fabled waterfall inspired a series of ill-fated European expeditions that ended prematurely in 1925 when the intrepid British plant collector Frank Kingdon-Ward penetrated all but a five-mile section of the Tsangpo’s innermost gorge and declared that the falls were no more than a “religious myth” and a “romance of geography.” The heart of the Tsangpo Gorge remained a blank spot on the map of world exploration until world-class climber and Buddhist scholar Ian Baker delved into the legends. Whatever cryptic Tibetan scrolls or past explorers had said about the Tsangpo’s innermost gorge, Baker determined, could be verified only by exploring the uncharted five-mile gap. After several years of encountering sheer cliffs, maelstroms of impassable white water, and dense leech-infested jungles, on the last of a series of extraordinary expeditions, Baker and his National Geographic–sponsored team reached the depths of the Tsangpo Gorge. They made news worldwide by finding there a 108-foot-high waterfall, the legendary grail of Western explorers and Tibetan seekers alike. The Heart of the World is one of the most captivating stories of exploration and discovery in recent memory—an extraordinary journey to one of the wildest and most inaccessible places on earth and a pilgrimage to the heart of the Tibetan Buddhist faith.
Explores the significance and symbolism of the sacred and secular ritual dances of Tibetan Buddhism, with lavish color and rare historic photographs depicting the dances, costumes, and masks. Original.
In Tibetan, the word for Buddhist means “insider”—someone who looks not to the world but to themselves for peace and happiness. The basic premise of Buddhism is that all suffering, however real it may seem, is the product of our own minds.Rebecca Novick’s concise history of Buddhism and her explanations of the Four Noble Truths, Wheel of Life, Karma, the path of the Bodhisattva, and the four schools help us understand Tibetan Buddhism as a religion or philosophy, and more important, as a way of experiencing the world. From the Trade Paperback edition.