Many have found a practical answer to that question in the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. Here at last is an organized overview of these teachings, beginning with the basic themes of the sutras--the general discourses of the Buddha--and continuing through the esoteric concepts and advanced practices of Tantra. Unlike other introductions to Tibetan Buddhism, this accessible, enjoyable work doesn't stop with theory and history, but relates timeless spiritual principles to the pressing issues of modern life, both in terms of our daily experience and our uniquely Western world view.
This fascinating, highly readable book asks neither unquestioning faith nor blind obedience to abstract concepts or religious beliefs. Rather, it challenges us to question and investigate life's issues for ourselves in the light of an ancient and effective approach to the sufferings and joys of the human condition.
The science of consciousness introduces first-person methods of investigating the mind through Buddhist contemplative techniques, such as samatha, an organized, detailed system of training the attention. Just as scientists make observations and conduct experiments with the aid of technology, contemplatives have long tested their own theories with the help of highly developed meditative skills of observation and experimentation. Contemplative science allows for a deeper knowledge of mental phenomena, including a wide range of states of consciousness, and its emphasis on strict mental discipline counteracts the effects of conative (intention and desire), attentional, cognitive, and affective imbalances.
Just as behaviorism, psychology, and neuroscience have all shed light on the cognitive processes that enable us to survive and flourish, contemplative science offers a groundbreaking perspective for expanding our capacity to realize genuine well-being. It also forges a link between the material world and the realm of the subconscious that transcends the traditional science-based understanding of the self.