Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism

John Powers

Language: English

Pages: 592

ISBN: 1559392827

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This is the most comprehensive and authoritative introduction to Tibetan Buddhism available to date, covering a wide range of topics, including history, doctrines, meditation, practices, schools, religious festivals, and major figures. The revised edition contains expanded discussions of recent Tibetan history and tantra and incorporates important new publications in the field. Beginning with a summary of the Indian origins of Tibetan Buddhism and how it eventually was brought to Tibet, it explores Tibetan Mahayana philosophy and tantric methods for personal transformation. The four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism, as well as Bön, are explored in depth from a nonsectarian point of view. This new and expanded edition is a systematic and wonderfully clear presentation of Tibetan Buddhist views and practices.

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prince had developed the manly qualities required of a good k˝atriya, particularly martial skills and the strength of character needed to rule. In order to assuage his doubts, ⁄uddhodana arranged a contest among the young men of the kingdom, confident that his son would win. The victor in the contest would receive YaŸodhar›’s hand in marriage. As expected, Siddh›rtha defeated all his competitors in wrestling, and he also surpassed them in mathematics and linguistics. He was the finest horseman in

that consciousness is limitless as peaceful. This mainly involves stabilizing meditation, and in the absorption the meditator perceives everything as just pure, undifferentiated consciousness. In the absorption of nothingness, even viewing everything as limitless consciousness appears as gross, and the meditator cultivates a mental state in which only nothingness appears to the mind. In his commentary on the Compendium of the Mah›y›na, Vasubandhu states that this is a sphere of lucid

and his early successors followed his example.55 As time went on, however, their influence grew, with the result that they eventually came out on top of the power hierarchy. At first the new order won the respect of the older schools, mostly because of its strict observance of monastic discipline, its strong emphasis on study and meditation, and its disinterest in political involvements. However, during the lifetime of Gendün Gyatso (who was considered to be the reincarnation of Tsong Khapa’s

a religious tradition often leaves a void in the community because there is no longer the possibility of daily guidance and personal inspiration. A common response is to develop a biography and regularly recount the paradigmatic deeds of the founder, whose life story is presented as a model for emulation by the faithful. In the case of the early Buddhist community, the memory of the Buddha was preserved by his disciples, who passed on their recollections of his words and deeds to others who had

continue to be popular throughout the cultural area influenced by Tibetan Buddhism.3 Taken together, they encapsulate the aspects of this shared paradigm that reflect the core assumptions, values, and goals of Tibetan Buddhists. Who or what the “real” historical Buddha was or what he did will be left for others to discover. buddhism in india / 33 The Buddha’s Dates Among Buddhist historians, there is a wide range of opinions concerning when the Buddha lived and died. These generally focus on

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