This fourteenth-century Tibetan classic serves as an excellent introduction to basic Buddhism as practiced throughout India and Tibet and describes the process of entering the Buddhist path through study and reflection.
It begins with setting forth the structure of Buddhist education and the range of its subjects, and we’re treated to a rousing litany of the merits of such instruction. We’re then introduced to the buddhas of our world and eon—three of whom have already lived, taught, and passed into transcendence—before examining in detail the fourth, our own Buddha Shakyamuni. Butön tells the story of Shakyamuni’s past lives and then presents the path the Buddha followed (the same that all buddhas must follow). After the Buddha’s story, Butön recounts three compilations of Buddhist scriptures and then quotes from sacred texts that foretell the lives and contributions of great Indian Buddhist masters, which he then relates, concluding with the tale of the eventual demise and disappearance of the Buddhist doctrine. The text ends with an account of the inception and spread of Buddhism in Tibet, focused mainly on the country’s kings and early adopters of the foreign faith. An afterword by Ngawang Zangpo, one of the translators, discusses and contextualizes Butön’s exemplary life, his turbulent times, and his prolific works.
Jamgön Kongtrul the Great (1813–1899) is a giant in Tibetan history, renowned for his scholarly and meditative achievements, but also for his energetic yet evenhanded work to unify and strengthen the different lineages of Buddhism. The Ri-me movement, led by Kongtrul and several other leading scholars of the time, was a unifying effort to cut through interscholastic divisions and disputes that were occurring between the different lineages. These leaders sought appreciation of the differences and acknowledgment of the importance of variety in benefiting practitioners with different needs. The Ri-me teachers also took great care that the teachings and practices of the different schools and lineages, and their unique styles, did not become confused with one another. This lucid survey of the Ri-me movement will be of interest to serious scholars and practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism.
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.
Indestructible Truth is one of the most thorough introductions to the Tibetan Buddhist world view ever published; at the same time it is also one of the most accessible. The author presents complex and sophisticated teachings and practices in nontechnical language, using engaging stories and personal anecdotes to illustrate his points. Indestructible Truth presents Tibetan Buddhism in its traditional form but also shows how the Tibetan traditions are applicable to the problems and challenges of modern life in the West.
In Indestructible Truth, Tibetan Buddhism is introduced not as an exotic religion, but rather as an expression of human spirituality that is having a profound impact on the modern world. In addition, it presents the point of view of meditation and the practice of the spiritual life, paying special attention to contemplative practice and meditation as taught in the Kagyu and Nyingma schools.