Jeffrey Hopkins is Professor Emeritus of Tibetan Buddhist Studies at the University of Virginia, where he taught Tibetan Studies and Tibetan language for more than thirty years. He received a BA magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1963, trained for five years at the Lamaist Buddhist Monastery of America (now the Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center) in New Jersey, and received a PhD in Buddhist Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1973. From 1979 to 1989 he served as His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s chief interpreter into English on lecture tours in the U.S., Canada, Southeast Asia, Great Britain, and Switzerland. He has published more than twenty-five books, including Meditation on Emptiness, a seminal work of English language scholarship on Tibetan Madhyamaka thought, as well as translations of works by Tsongkhapa, Dolpopa, and His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. At the University of Virginia he founded programs in Buddhist Studies and Tibetan Studies and served as Director of the Center for South Asian Studies for twelve years.
Books, Courses & Podcasts
Meditation on Emptiness
In this major work, Jeffrey Hopkins, one of the world’s foremost scholar-practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism, offers a clear exposition of the Prāsaṇgika-Madhyamaka view of emptiness as presented in the Ge-luk-ba tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. In bringing this remarkable and complex philosophy to life, he describes the meditational practices by which emptiness can be realized and shows throughout that, far from being merely abstract, these teachings can be vivid and utterly practical. Presented in six parts, this book is indispensable for those wishing to delve deeply into Buddhist thought.
Meditative States in Tibetan Buddhism
From two great masters comes a detailed description of meditative practices for developing a mind that is alert, powerful, and capable of gaining great insight. Discussing step-by-step the practice of meditation itself, they provide us with practical antidotes to the various obstacles that may arise in meditation. At the same time, they intersperse their presentations with captivating descriptions of the sometimes fantastic and astonishing cosmology that provides the background and context for Buddhist practice.
Associated with the promotion of world peace, the Kalachakra—or “Wheel of Time”—tantra is one of the most detailed and encompassing systems of theory and practice within Tibetan Buddhism. This book contains a complete translation of the Kalachakra initiation ritual as conferred by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, along with his commentary and a comprehensive introduction by Professor Jeffrey Hopkins that explores the Kalachakra’s rich symbolism, meaning, and history. The book also includes the Six-Session Yoga.
The Tantric Distinction
“The ideas, concepts, and methods of various religions must be tried on for size, must be lifted above museum displays, must be confronted and allowed to resonate with one’s own character. It is in this spirit that… I present here a personalized account of central Buddhist practices.”—from the author’s preface
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.
The Wheel of Life
Using the traditional Buddhist allegorical image of the Wheel of Life and the teaching of the twelve links of dependent origination, the Dalai Lama deftly illustrates how our existence, though fleeting and often full of woes, brims with the potential for peace and happiness. We can realize that potential by cultivating a wise appreciation of the interdependency of actions and experience, and by living a kind and compassionate life. A life thus lived, the Dalai Lama teaches, becomes thoroughly meaningful for both oneself and for others.