Yael Bentor received her PhD in Tibetan Studies from Indiana University in 1991. Since then she has been teaching Classical Tibetan language as well as classes on Tibetan Buddhism and culture, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Among her publications are Consecration of Images and Stūpas in Indo-Tibetan Tantric Buddhism (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1996); A Classical Tibetan Reader: Excerpts from Renowned Works with Custom Glossaries (Wisdom Publications); The Essence of the Ocean of Attainments: The Creation Stage of the Guhyasamāja Tantra According to Paṇchen Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen, translated with Penpa Dorjee (Wisdom Publications).
Books, Courses & Podcasts
A Classical Tibetan Reader
A Classical Tibetan Reader answers a long-standing need for well chosen readings to accompany courses in classical Tibetan language. Professor Bentor has built her Tibetan reader out of time-tested selections from texts that she has worked with while teaching classical Tibetan over the past twenty years. She has assembled here a selection of Tibetan narratives, organized to introduce students of the language to complex material gradually, and to arm them with ample reference materials in the form of glossaries customized to individual readings.
Instructors will find this reader an invaluable tool for preparing lesson plans and providing high-quality reading material to their students. Students, too, will find the selections contained in the reader engaging. Even novice readers of Tibetan will feel welcomed and encouraged, thanks to the author’s astute judgment of student capacity.
The Essence of the Ocean of Attainments
A comprehensive guide to the creation stage of the Guhyasamāja.
The Essence of the Ocean of Attainments (Dngos grub rgya mtsho’i snying po) is a commentary on the creation stage of the Guhyasamaja Tantra written by the illustrious Panchen Lama, Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen (1570–1662). The practice of Guhyasamaja, one of the earliest and most influential of the highest Tantras, along with its remarkable hermeneutic system, created a framework that was applied to other so-called unexcelled Tantras. Still very much a living tradition, in our time the Fourteenth Dalai Lama confers its empowerment every year. In this work, the Panchen Lama not only clarifies each step of the sadhana meditation ritual, but he also offers general insights into the practice and its workings. It is an Essence because it distills the much longer Ocean of Attainments commentary on the practice composed by Khedrup Jé (1385–1438), one of two key disciples of Tsongkhapa, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism’s Geluk school. The Panchen Lama identifies core elements of sadhana and with unparalleled precision clarifies many seminal points.
In her introduction, Yael Bentor surveys the creation stage of unexcelled Tantra as presented by the founding fathers of the Geluk school and unpacks the contents of The Essence of the Ocean of Attainments for readers. The translation features both explanatory annotations for practitioners and ample references for scholars.
Learn more about the Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism series.