LUMINOUS LIVES: The Story of the Early Masters of the Lam 'bras tradition in Tibet by Cyrus Stearns
The Tantric Buddhist tradition of the Lam 'bras, the "Path with the Result," has been practiced in Tibet for almost a thousand years, most prominently within the Sa skya lineage. "Luminous Lives" is the first in depth study of the literature and history of the Lam 'bras in Tibet. The central focus of the work is a rare Tibetan history that brings alive the story of the earliest men and women practitioners of the Lam 'bras. This text, recording the words of the great Sa skya Pandita (1182-1251), was a major source for all later histories of the tradition. Recently rediscovered, it has been reproduced here along with Cyrus Stearns' excellent translation, introduction, and annotations. "Luminous Lives" opens a window into the world of one of the great traditions of tantric Buddhism in Tibet.
THE DOUBLE MIRROR: A Skeptical Journey into Buddhist Tantra by Steven T. Butterfield
The Double Mirror explores the effects of Buddhist practice on personality, autonomy, perception, and health, and discusses what Buddhism has to offer Americans. With skeptical intelligence, Butterfield illuminates the stages, teachings, and assumptions of the Tibetan Buddhist path, offering a frank and insightful portrayal of the ideal and reality of spiritual life.
The Aim of the Buddhist path is to free ourselves from the confusion of the ego. Tibetan tantric, or Vajrayana, Buddhism seeks to accelerate this process through practices that bring about a total involvement of body, speech, and mind. Vajrayana Buddhism has in recent history taken root strongly in the West, carrying with it the imprint of Tibetan sociopolitical and cultural elements.
LIGHT OF WISDOM, Vol. 1 by Padmasambhava & Jamgon Kongtrul
This is a combination of three texts: The Gradual Path of the Wisdom Essence (Lamrim Yeshe Nyingpo) are instructions of Padmasambhava as recorded by Yeshe Tsogyal. The Light of Wisdom by Jamgon Kongtrul is an extensive commentary on this sacred terma scripture. Entering the Path of Wisdom consists of annotations on the commentary by Jamyang Drakpa, a student of Jamgon Kongtrul--plus an introductory discourse by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. These explanations of the Vajrajana Buddhist perspective begin with the buddha nature present in all beings, and continue with the teachings that are common to all vehicles, concludes with the Mahayana and the link to Vajrayana.
LIGHT OF WISDOM, Vol. 2 by Padmasambhava & Jamgon Kongtrul
The Light of Wisdom Vol. II contains the root terma - hidden treasure text - of Padmasambhava, The Gradual Path of the Wisdom Essence and its commentary The Light of Wisdom by Jamgon Kongtrul the Great. Annotations on the commentary Entering the Path of Wisdom spoken by Jamyang Drakpa and recorded by Jokyah Rinpoche are included as well as clarifications from other masters.
Volume II presents in-depth explanations of the Vajrayana Buddhist perspective. It begins with the nature of empowerment and the tantric commitments followed by clarification of the development stage.
THE TREASURY OF KNOWLEDGE, Book One: Myriad Worlds by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye, trans. by the Kalu Rinpoche Translation Group, under the direction of Ven. Bokar Rinpoche
Buddhist Cosmology in Abhidarma, Kalachakra and Dzog-chen
Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye ( 1813-99), a pivotal figure in eastem Tibet's nonsectarian movement, was one of the most outstanding writers and teachers of his time. In his monumental Encyclopedia of Buddhism he presents a complete account of the major lines of thought and practice that comprise Tibetart Buddhism. Myriad Worlds is the first part of that work.
As a prelude to Kongtrul's survey of the entire range of Buddhist teachings, Myriad Worlds describes four major cosmological systems found in the Tibetan tradition-those associated with the Hinayana, Mahayana, Kalacakra and Dzog-chen teachings. To suit the capacities of different grades of beings, Buddha taught four levels of cosmology: the numerically definite cosmology of the individual way; the cosmology of infinite buddhafields of the universal way; the special cosmological system of the Kalacakra Tantra; and the dazzling non-cosmology of the Dzog-chen system, which dispenses with the dualistic perspectives revealing the creative principle to be awareness alone.
Each of these cosmologies shows how the world arises from mind, whether through the accumulated results of past actions or from the constant striving of awareness to know itself.
This detailed and thorough account of worldviews that present conceptions of space and time which differ significantly from Western ideas is at once illuminating and challenging.
THE TREASURY OF KNOWLEDGE, Book Five: Buddhist Ethics trans. by the Kalu Rinpoche Translation Group, under the direction of Ven. Bokar Rinpoche
Jamgon Kongtrul's monumental Encyclopedia of Buddhism (Treasury of Knowledge) contains a complete account of the major lines of thought and practice that comprise Tibetan Buddhism. Buddhist Ethics is the fifth part of that work and considered by many scholars to be its heart.
Spiritual growth in a Buddhist context is a process of discovering a perfect quality that is already within ourselves. Ethical discipline-the essence of which is the commitment to a life of nonviolence and service to others-is regarded as the indispensable foundation for this process. Buddhist ethics are not regarded as prohibitory rules, but rather the source of freedom.
This text presents the three major systems of ethics found in the Tibetan tradition. Widely known simply as the "three vows," these are the vows of personal liberation (pratimoksa), universal liberation (bodhisattva), and secret mantra (tantra).
Jamgon Kongtrul explains the need for and nature of an authentic teacher-student relationship as the support for one's training in each system. He then provides the complete code of personal liberation as it applies to both monastic and lay persons, the precepts for those aspiring to the life of a bodhisattva, and the exceptional pledges for practitioners on the tantric path of pure perception.
THE TREASURY OF KNOWLEDGE, Book Six (Part Four): Systems of Buddhist Tantra by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye, trans. by Ingrid McLeod and Elio Guarisco
The Indestructible Way of Secret Mantra In Tibetan religious literature, Jamgon Kongtrul's Treasury of Knowledge in ten books stands out as a unique encyclopedic masterpiece embodying the entire range of Buddhist teachings as they were preserved in Tibet.
The tantric path is often referred to as "the indestructible way of secret mantra," the essence of which is the indestructible union of wisdom (the understanding of emptiness) and method (immutable great bliss). This volume sets forth the various systems that constitute this path, both those of the ancient tantra tradition and of the new tradition.
Rinpoche describes the path of inner Tantra in fresh, creative, contemporary language. We are offered a direct revelation of visionary transformation, from the radical perspective of Dzogchen, in which the practice of envsionment is illuminated. The three spheres of being are brought to life as the dance of spacious passion and passionate space as he exposes the heart-essence of the most dramatic paradigm: the vajra relationship with the Lama; the iridescent nature of transmission; and the non-dual fire of empowerment.
MANUAL OF RITUAL FIRE OFFERINGS by Sharpa Tulku & Michael Perrott
The Ritual Fire Offering, which is derived from Indian tradition, plays an important part in Buddhist Tantric practice. The Ritual Fire Offering for Peace is commonly performed at the conclusion of the prescribed meditation retreats associated with specific meditational deities in order to compensate for any errors that may have occurred during the practice. It can also be done to pacify hindrances such as illness. The Ritual Fire Offering for Increase may be performed to increase merit, wealth, life span and so forth.
This manual contains translations of texts required to perform the Ritual Fire Offering for Peace associated with six meditational deities: Thirteen Deity Vajrabhairava, Solitary Hero Vajrabhairava, Guhyasamaja, Heruka, Vajra Yogini, and Cittamani Tara, according to the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. It further includes a description of the changes required to convert the ritual for peace to the ritual for increase in association with Guhyasamaja.
The texts have been clearly presented in English to enable people who are qualified by initiation, but who do not know Tibetan, to understand the stages and procedures of Ritual Fire Offerings so that they may perform them effectively.
ENLIGHTENMENT OF VAIROCANA by Alex Wayman / R. Tajima
The Enlightenment of Vairocana is a covering for two books that study a famous Buddhist scripture with given Sanskrit titles of Vairocanabhisambodhitantra or Mahavairocanasutra. The first book, by Alex Wayman, translates the second chapter, which contains the body mandala of Vairocana s Compassion, copiously using Buddhaguhya s commentary, study of some other chapters such as the final one on fire lineage, and includes much introductory material, stressing the Indo-Tibetan approach, on such topics as the Dharmadhatu and the deities of the second chapter. The second book, by Ryujun Tajima, translates the first chapter, with the scripture s theory of becoming a Buddha in one life, copiously using Subhakarasimha s commentary, summary of the remaining chapters, and includes introductory material stressing the Sino-Japanese approach, especially introducing the reader to the positions of the Shingon sect.