Brilliantly Illuminating Lamp of the Five Stages

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"Thurman’s excellent translation of Tsongkhapa’s brilliantly nuanced and sophisticated explication of the Guhyasamājatantra through contextualization and conversation with other philosophical and tantric sources makes a significant contribution to the growing field of Buddhist tantric studies…. This clear introduction and lucid translation will be of great value and interest to students and scholars committed to the study of Buddhist tantras."—Vesna Wallace, University of California, Santa Barbara


Practical Instruction in the King of Tantras, The Glorious Esoteric Community

Tsongkhapa Robert Thurman

The Brilliantly Illuminating Lamp of the Five Stages (rim lnga rab tu gsal ba’i sgron me) is Tsong Khapa’s master commentary on the perfection-stage practices of the Esoteric Community (Guhyasamāja), the tantra he considered fundamental for the “father tantra” class of unexcelled yoga tantras, as the primary source for the development of the “magic body” technique for attaining buddhahood. Based on Nāgārjuna’s Five Stages (Pañcakrama) and Āryadeva’s Lamp That Integrates the Practices (Caryāmelāpakapradīpa), as well as a vast range of other works by Indian and Tibetan scholars and adepts, it also reveals openly the experiences of the author, himself a master practitioner.

This blockbuster work of Jey Tsong Khapa opens a window on one of the most amazing, incredibly advanced attainments ever claimed to be possible for a human being within a single lifetime. The author explains in detail the relation between exoteric and esoteric teachings and practices on the path to complete enlightenment, with its seemingly superhuman awarenesses and abilities. He clarifies the interconnections between the various categories of secret tantras, inspires by showing how far-reaching are the systematic methods of positive personal transformation developed and taught in India and Tibet, and openly shows what this tradition considered possible, giving us a whole new vision of life’s meaning and a strengthened confidence in our horizon of opportunities. This bold and well-reasoned work presents a fascinating new way to understand our own body and mind, to manage more confidently our own life and death trajectories, and to rejoice in the sense of the extreme value of our human lifetime as a platform for realizing our personal evolutionary potential.

book information
  • Hardcover
  • 760 pages, 6.25 x 9.25 inches
  • $69.95
  • ISBN 9781949163087
  • Hardcover
  • 760 pages
  • $40
  • ISBN 9781949163087
about the author
Brilliantly Illuminating Lamp of the Five Stages

Tsongkhapa Losang Dragpa (1357–1419) was one of the finest scholar-practitioners in Tibetan Buddhism. Renowned for both his written works and his meditative accomplishments, he founded the Gelug school, which produced the lineage of the Dalai Lamas.

Other books by Tsongkhapa:
Great Treatise on the Stages of Mantra (Sngags rim chen mo)
The Middle-Length Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment
Illuminating the Intent
Illumination of the Hidden Meaning, Vol. 2
Illumination of the Hidden Meaning, Vol. 1
The Splendor of an Autumn Moon
Tantric Ethics
A Lamp to Illuminate the Five Stages
Tsongkhapa’s Praise for Dependent Relativity

Brilliantly Illuminating Lamp of the Five Stages

Robert Thurman is an American Buddhist author and academic who has written, edited, and translated several books on Tibetan Buddhism. He was the Je Tsongkhapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, before retiring in June 2019. He held the first endowed chair in Buddhist Studies in the West. After education at Philips Exeter and Harvard, he studied Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism for almost thirty years as a personal student of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He has written both scholarly and popular books, and has lectured widely all over the world. As President of the American Institute for Buddhist Studies, he convened the First Inner Science Conference with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Amherst College in 1984. He is also a founding trustee of Tibet House New York.

Other books by Robert Thurman:
The Universal Vehicle Discourse Literature (Mahāyānasūtrālaṁkāra)
The Esoteric Community Tantra with The Illuminating Lamp
The Life and Teachings of Tsongkhapa

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