Study and Practice of Meditation: Tibetan Interpretations of the Concentrations and Formless Absorptions
Widely recognized as one of the West's leading scholars of Tibetan Buddhism, Professor Jeffrey Hopkins is renowned for his textual translations and original scholarship. For ten years he served as the principal English translator for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Tantric Distinction is his effort to make accessible the complexities of this highly sophisticated philosophy by sharing his personal, individual experience with Buddhist thought and practice. It lays out the entire Buddhist path as a living experience.
Pointing Out the Great Way is a spiritual manual that describes the Tibetan Buddhist meditation known as mahamudra from the perspective of the 'gradual path.' The gradual path is a progressive process of training that is often contrasted to sudden realization. As such, this book contains a step-by-step description of the ways to practice, precise descriptions of the various stages and their intended realizations, and the typical problems that arise along with their remedies. Simply put, mahamudra meditation involves penetrative focus, free of conceptual elaboration, upon the very nature of conscious awareness.
A unique feature of this book is its integrative approach to the stages of mahamudra meditation. A number of works on Buddhist meditation stages in general and mahamudra meditation in particular are already available in English, yet none, single text or commentary on the stages of mahamudra meditation, captures the inner experience of these stages in sufficient detail to convey its richness. This book represents the needed alternative by integrating material from a variety of root texts, practical manuals,
"Written for both Tibetan and Western readers, Opening the Eye of New Awareness is the Dalai Lama's first religious work. It is not an edited transcript of public lectures, but is His Holliness' own summation of Buddhist doctrine and practice. Completed in 1963, just four years after his escape from Tibet and four years after completing his religious education, it is a work of consummate scholarship by a twenty-seven year-old geshe, wise beyond his years. Nowhere in his many subsequent works does one find a more clear and concise exposition of the essentials of Buddhist thought. Indeed, all of His Holinesss's many publications are in some sense commentaries on this first book."
The original text, beautifully translated and introduced by Sara Harding, is further brought to life by an in-depth commentary by the contemporary master Thrangu Rinpoche. Key Tibetan Buddhist fundamentals are quickly made clear, so that the reader may confidently enter into tantra's oft-misunderstood "creation" and "completion" stages.
In the creation stage, practitioners visualize themselves in the form of buddhas and other enlightened beings in order to break down their ordinary concepts of themselves and the world around them. This meditation practice prepares the mind for engaging in the completion stage, where one has a direct encounter with the ultimate nature of mind and reality.
In fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Tibet there was great ferment about what makes enlightenment possible, since systems of self-liberation must show what factors pre-exist in the mind that allow for transformation into a state of freedom from suffering. This controversy about the nature of mind, which persists to the present day, raises many questions. This book first presents the final exposition of special insight by Tsong-kha-pa, the founder of the Ge-luk-pa order of Tibetan Buddhism, in his medium-length Exposition of the Stages of the Path as well as the sections on the object of negation and on the two truths in his Illumination of the Thought: Extensive Explanation of Chandrakirti's Supplement to Nagarjuna's "Treatise on the Middle." It then details the views of his predecessor Dol-po-pa Shay-rap Gyel-tsen, the seminal author of philosophical treatises of the Jo-nang-pa order, as found in his Mountain Doctrine, followed by an analysis of Tsong-kha-pa's reactions. By contrasting the two systems—Dol-po-pa's doctrine of other-emptiness and Tsong-kha-pa's doctrine of self-emptiness—both views emerge more clearly, contributing to a fuller picture of reality as viewed in Tibetan Buddhism. Tsong-kha-pa's Final Exposition of Wisdom brilliantly explicates ignorance and wisdom, explains the relationship between dependent-arising and emptiness, shows how to meditate on emptiness, and explains what it means to view phenomena as like illusions.