The so-called “Tibetan Book of the Dead” has been renowned for centuries as a cornerstone of Buddhist wisdom and religious thought. More recently, it has become highly influential in the Western world for its psychological insights into the processes of death and dying—and what they can teach us about the ways we live our lives. It has also been found to be helpful in the grieving process by people who have recently lost their loved ones.
Composed in the eighth century C.E., it is intended to prepare the soul for the trials and transformations of the afterworld. Its profound message is that the art of dying is as important as the art of living. Drawing on Tibetan spiritual traditions, it shows us the workings of the mind in its various manifestations—terrifying and comforting, wrathful and beautiful—which appear more clearly after death in the consciousness of the deceased. By recognizing these manifestations, we can attain a state of enlightenment, both in this existence and in the existence to come.
This authoritative translation preserves the form and spirit of the original and was prepared especially for Western readers by Robert A. F. Thurman, one of the most prominent Tibetan scholars in America and a close associate of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s.
The book devotes an entire chapter of the remarkable life of the Buddha, from his amazing conception to his future appearance. It discusses the sophisticated way in which Buddhism intertwines its complex metaphysics and practical ethics through the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Noble Path, and the doctrine of Dependent Arising, and also devotes detailed attention to such Buddhist basics as the Wheel of Becoming, the mysterious world of Tantra, and the riddles of Zen. Complete with stories, koans, and biography, the book will help readers see how each tradition developed within the larger context of the faith, even as they explore Buddhism's remarkable facility for liberating the mind.
A number of books in the past have explained how to meditate on the stages of the path, but Geshe Lobsang Jampa's volume is unique in showing the reader how to integrate visualizations from highest yoga tantra, guru yoga, and the instructions of the oral tradition within the contemplations of every single stage. From the initial meditations on the precariousness and immense value of human existence, through the contemplations of how we perpetuate the cycle of suffering, to the highest teachings on the practice of universal compassion and the empty nature of phenomena, The Easy Path leads practitioners step by step through the journey to enlightenment.
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.
From a review in Tricycle magazine: For those interested in stepping beyond the realm of ideas into the world of practice, the latest book from Tibetan master Lama Zopa Rinpoche is a helpful guide to one important aspect of the spiritual path. The Heart of the Path explains the importance of guru devotion and Zopa's view of the proper way to develop a student-teacher bond. Lama Zopa has had many teachers, but his unwavering devotion to Lama Thubten Yeshe shines through on every page. Drawing on this experience and the Buddha's teachings, Zopa effectively conveys the value of relationships based on Buddhist ideals.
From a review in Mandala magazine: Although guru devotion is a foundational concept within Tibetan Buddhist thought, for many it remains a bewildering and impenetrable topic. Fortunately for contemporary practitioners, Lama Zopa Rinpoche has spoken extensively on guru devotion, giving teachings and advice about what it really means to have devotion to one’s spiritual friend. Drawing from nearly fifty teachings, this treasure is the result of seven years of painstaking editing by Ven. Ailsa Cameron. Not only does it include teachings on the traditional sub-topics that fall under guru devotion found in Tsongkhapa’s lam-rim, but also a useful outline to guide your reading, several supplementary prayers and teachings from other renowned Tibetan masters, and inspiring images of Lama Zopa, Lama Yeshe and other amazing teachers peppered throughout. A perusal of this masterful work by Lama Zopa Rinpoche will assuage any doubts about the utility or possibility of “seeing the guru as Buddha.”
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The Yogini’s Eye has served as the introductory textbook for the study of Sakya Tantra continuously for over 800 years. Over the centuries, the textbook has been supplemented by a total of fifteen commentaries and study guides written by the most learned scholars of the Sakya tradition, including Lama Dampa Sonam Gyaltsen (1312–1375), Yeshe Gyaltsen (1300’s–1406), Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo (1382–1450), Lowo Khenchen Sonam Lhundrup (1456–1532), Ngorchen Konchok Lhundrup (1497–1547), Amezhap Ngawang Kunga Sonam (1597–1659), and Dezhung Chopel Jamyang Kunga Namgyal (1880’s– mid-1950’s). This first English edition contains the translation of thirteen of these study guides, excluding all repetitive sections, inserted into the original book in the appropriate context.