David B. Gray is Bernard J. Hanley Professor of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University. He is the author of The Cakrasamvara Tantra (The Discourse of Sri Heruka): A Study and Annotated Translation (AIBS 2007); The Cakrasamvara Tantra (The Discourse of Sri Heruka): Editions of the Sanskrit and Tibetan Texts (AIBS 2009); Tsong Khapa’s Illumination of the Hidden Meaning: Mandala, Mantra, and the Cult of the Yoginis (Chapters 1–24) (AIBS 2015); Tsong Khapa’s Illumination of the Hidden Meaning: Yogic Vows, Conduct, and Ritual Praxis (Chapters 25–51) (AIBS/WP 2019).
THE CAKRASAMVARA TANTRA (THE DISCOURSE OF SRI HERUKA)
A Study and Annotated Translation
Composed in India during the late eighth or early ninth century, this text is a foundational scripture of one of the most important Indian Buddhist tantric traditions, as evidenced by the vast number of commentaries and ritual literature associated with it. Along with the Hevajra Tantra, it is one of the earliest and most influential of the Yogini Tantras, a genre of tantric Buddhist scripture that emphasizes female deities, particularly the often fiercely depicted yoginis and dakinis.
The author’s introductory essay provides an analysis of the historical and intellectual contexts in which the tantra was composed, including its complex interrelationship with Hindu Saiva traditions, and investigates the history of its adaptation by Buddhists. The translation was made on the basis of the surviving Sanskrit manuscripts of the tantra and its commentaries, as well as parallel passages in related explanatory tantras (vyakhyatantra). It is also takes into consideration two different Tibetan translations of the root text, and several Tibetan commentaries. The translation itself is heavily annotated, with extensive translations from the Indian and Tibetan commentaries on the text. Includes a trilingual glossary and index.
The author has now also translated the commentary on this tantra by the great Tibetan scholar Tsong Khapa (1357–1419), which appears in two volumes as Illumination of the Hidden Meaning. Taken together, these three volumes provide the reader with the first full study in English of this pivotal tantra.
- 472 pages
- 472 pages, 1.2 x 6 inches
Tales from the Tibetan Operas
Coming July 2019
In Tales from the Tibetan Operas, timeless Buddhist ideas are brought to life through enchanting myths and vivid stories. Poetically vibrant, these eight classic lhamo stories have continued to delight and edify Tibetan audiences of all backgrounds, from village children to learned scholar-monks and Dalai Lamas.
Western readers can now get a glimpse into ancient Indian and Tibetan mythology through the cultural touchstone of eight classic lhamo stories. On visual display are the human and nonhuman characters of history and folklore — kings, queens, conniving ministers, ordinary folk, yogis, monks, and powerful beings from other realms such as gods and nāgas — engaged in plotting, kidnapping, fighting, journeys to faraway lands, separation, and reconciliation, often with a quest for seemingly impossible treasure. The suspenseful tales have many dramatic plot twists, but they all end in happiness, where the good achieve their goals and the bad receive their just desserts. The operas thus bring to the people the fundamental ethical laws of behavior and teachings of natural justice based on Buddhist doctrine.
The book features more than 50 gorgeous photos of the operas performed on location in Tibet and India.
Brilliantly Illuminating Lamp of the Five Stages
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.
Illumination of the Hidden Meaning, Vol. 2
This is the second of two volumes presenting Dr. David Gray’s study and translation of the Illumination of the Hidden Meaning (sbas don kun gsal) by the Tibetan Buddhist scholar-yogi Tsong Khapa Losang Drakpa (1357–1419). The Illumination contains Tsong Khapa’s magnificent commentary on the Indian Buddhist Cakrasamvara Tantra, one of the earliest and most influential of the yoginī tantras, a genre of tantric Buddhist scripture that emphasizes female deities, particularly the often fiercely depicted yoginīs and ḍākinīs. Together with the first volume, this contains the first English translation of this important work that marks a milestone in the history of the Tibetan assimilation of the Indian Buddhist tantras.
This second volume, which includes Tsong Khapa’s detailed introduction to chapters 25–51 of the 51-chapter Cakrasamvara root tantra, covers the vows, observances, and conduct of the initiated yogī, particularly in relation to the yoginīs, whose favor he must cultivate. It describes in great detail the rites of the tradition, including homa fire sacrifice and the uses of the mantras of the maṇḍala’s main deities. The author provides a trilingual English–Tibetan–Sanskrit glossary.
Together with the author’s related publications in this series—including translations of the root Cakrasamvara Tantra (2007, 2010, 2019); the critically edited Sanskrit and Tibetan texts of the root tantra (2012); and the first volume of this master Tibetan commentary (chapters 1–24), subtitled Maṇḍala, Mantra, and the Cult of the Yoginīs (2017)—the reader will have the first full study of this important tantra available in English.
Illumination of the Hidden Meaning, Vol. 1
This is the first volume of the annotated translation of Tsong Khapa’s Illumination of the Hidden Meaning (sbas don kun gsal), a magnificent commentary on the Cakrasamvara Tantra. This is the first English translation of this important work, which marked a milestone in the history of the Tibetan understanding and practice of the Indian Buddhist tantras.
This first volume, which includes Tsong Khapa’s detailed introduction to chapters 1–24 of the 51-chapter Cakrasamvara root tantra, covers the history of the tradition, its interpretation, and a wide range of topics including the construction of the maṇḍala, the consecration therein, the decoding of mantras and their ritual applications, and details concerning the clans of the yoginīs.
The author situates the work in context, and explores in depth the sources used by Tsong Khapa in composing this commentary. He also provides detailed notes, a trilingual English–Tibetan–Sanskrit glossary, and an appendix that includes a translation of Sumatikīrti’s synopsis of the Cakrasamvara Tantra entitled the Laghusaṃvaratantrapaṭalābhisandhi, which is quoted by Tsong Khapa in its entirety in his commentary.
Together with the author’s related publications in this series—including translations of the root Cakrasamvara Tantra (2007, 2010, 2019); the critically edited Sanskrit and Tibetan texts of the root tantra (2012); and the second volume of this master Tibetan commentary (chapters 25–51), subtitled Yogic Vows, Conduct, and Ritual Praxis (2019)—the reader will have the first full study of this important tantra available in English.
The concept of nonduality lies at the very heart of Mahayana Buddhism. In the West, it’s usually associated with various kinds of absolute idealism in the West, or mystical traditions in the East—and as a result, many modern philosophers are poorly informed on the topic. Increasingly, however, nonduality is finding its way into Western philosophical debates. In this “scholarly but leisurely and very readable” (Spectrum Review) analysis of the philosophies of nondualism of (Hindu) Vedanta, Mahayana Buddhism, and Taoism, renowned thinker David R. Loy extracts what he calls “a core doctrine” of nonduality. Loy clarifies this easily misunderstood topic with thorough, subtle, and understandable analysis.
The Theravada Abhidhamma
Coming this August!
The renowned Sri Lankan scholar Y. Karunadasa examines Abhidhamma perspectives on the nature of phenomenal existence. He begins with a discussion of dhamma theory, which describes the bare phenomena that form the world of experience. He then explains the Abhidhamma view that only dhammas are real, and that anything other than these basic phenomena are conceptual constructs. This, he argues, is Abhidhamma’s answer to common-sense realism—the mistaken view that the world as it appears to us is ultimately real.
Among the other topics discussed are
- the theory of double truth (ultimate and conceptual truth),
- the analysis of mind,
- the theory of cognition,
- the analysis of matter,
- the nature of time and space,
- the theory of momentary being, and
- conditional relations.
The volume concludes with an appendix that examines why the Theravada came to be known as Vibhajjavada, “the doctrine of analysis.”
Not limiting himself to abstract analysis, Karunadasa draws out the Abhidhamma’s underlying premises and purposes. The Abhidhamma provides a detailed description of reality in order to identify the sources of suffering and their antidotes—and in doing so, to free oneself.
The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems
The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems, by Thuken Losang Chökyi Nyima (1737–1802), is arguably the widest-ranging account of religious philosophies ever written in pre-modern Tibet. Like most Tibetan texts on philosophical systems, this work covers the major schools of India, both Buddhist and non-Buddhist, but then goes on to discuss in detail the entire range of Tibetan traditions as well, with separate chapters on the Nyingma, Kadam, Kagyü, Shijé, Sakya, Jonang, Geluk, and Bön schools. Not resting there, Thuken goes on to describe the major traditions of China—Confucian, Daoist, and the multiple varieties of Buddhist—as well as those of Mongolia, Khotan, and even Shambhala. The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems is unusual, too, in its concern not just to describe and analyze doctrines, but to trace the historical development of the various traditions. The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems is an eloquent and erudite presentation exploring the religious history and philosophical systems of an array of Asian Cultures—and offering evidence that the serious and sympathetic study of the history of religions has not been a monopoly of Western scholarship.
Buddhist Teaching in India
The earliest records we have today of what the Buddha said were written down several centuries after his death, and the body of teachings attributed to him continued to evolve in India for centuries afterward across a shifting cultural and political landscape. As one tradition within a diverse religious milieu that included even the Greek kingdoms of northwestern India, Buddhism had many opportunities to both influence and be influenced by competing schools of thought. Even within Buddhism, a proliferation of interpretive traditions produced a dynamic intellectual climate. Johannes Bronkhorst here tracks the development of Buddhist teachings both within the larger Indian context and among Buddhism’s many schools, shedding light on the sources and trajectory of such ideas as dharma theory, emptiness, the bodhisattva ideal, buddha nature, formal logic, and idealism. In these pages, we discover the roots of the doctrinal debates that have animated the Buddhist tradition up until the present day.
The Buddhist Philosophy of the Middle
Madhyamaka, the “philosophy of the middle,” systematized the Buddha’s fundamental teaching on no-self with its profound non-essentialist reading of reality. Founded in India by Nāgārjuna in about the second century CE, Madhyamaka philosophy went on to become the dominant strain of Buddhist thought in Tibet and exerted a profound influence on all the cultures of East Asia. Within the extensive Western scholarship inspired by this school of thought, David Seyfort Ruegg’s work is unparalleled in its incisiveness, diligence, and scope. The Buddhist Philosophy of the Middle brings together Ruegg’s greatest essays on Madhyamaka, expert writings which have and will continue to contribute to our progressing understanding of this rich tradition.
Buddhism Between Tibet and China
Exploring the long history of cultural exchange between ‘the Roof of the World’ and ‘the Middle Kingdom,’ Buddhism Between Tibet and China features a collection of noteworthy essays that probe the nature of their relationship, spanning from the Tang Dynasty (618–907 CE) to the present day. Annotated and contextualized by noted scholar Matthew Kapstein and others, the historical accounts that comprise this volume display the rich dialogue between Tibet and China in the areas of scholarship, the fine arts, politics, philosophy, and religion. This thoughtful book provides insight into the surprisingly complex history behind the relationship from a variety of geographical regions.
Includes contributions from Rob Linrothe, Karl Debreczeny, Elliot Sperling, Paul Nietupski, Carmen Meinert, Gray Tuttle, Zhihua Yao, Ester Bianchi, Fabienne Jagou, Abraham Zablocki, and Matthew Kapstein.
- Click here to see more from the Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism series.
- Learn more about the thirteenth Dalai Lama and the Ninth Gangkar Lama, Karma Shedrub Chokyi Sengge at the Treasury of Lives.
The Book of Kadam
The Kadam school of Tibetan Buddhism emerged in the eleventh century from the teachings of the Indian master Atiśa and his principal Tibetan student, Dromtönpa. Although it no longer exists as an independent school, Kadam’s teachings were incorporated into the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism and are still prized today for their unique practical application of the bodhisattva’s altruistic ideal in everyday life. One of the most cherished teachings stemming from Atiśa and Dromtönpa is the collection of esoteric oral transmissions enshrined in The Book of Kadam. This volume includes the core texts of the Book of Kadam, notably the twenty-three-chapter dialogue between Atiśa and Dromtönpa that is woven around Atiśa’s Bodhisattva’s Jewel Garland, as well as complementary texts that illuminate the history and practices of the Kadam tradition.
- Learn more about the Library of Tibetan Classics.
- View all the available Library of Tibetan Classics volumes.
- Learn about becoming a benefactor of the Library of Tibetan Classics.
- Read the biographies of the following masters at the Treasury of Lives:
Approaching the Great Perfection
Dzogchen, the Great Perfection, is the highest meditative practice of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. Approaching the Great Perfection looks at a seminal figure of this lineage, Jigme Lingpa, an eighteenth-century scholar and meditation master whose cycle of teachings, the Longchen Nyingtig, has been handed down through generations as a complete path to enlightenment. Ten of Jigme Lingpa’s texts are presented here, along with extensive analysis by van Schaik of a core tension within Buddhism: Does enlightenment develop gradually, or does it come all at once? Though these two positions are often portrayed by modern scholars as entrenched polemical views, van Schaik explains that both tendencies are present within each of the Tibetan Buddhist schools. He demonstrates how Jigme Lingpa is a great illustration of this balancing act, using the rhetoric of both sides to propel his students along the path of the Great Perfection.
- Click here to return to the Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism series.
- Read Jigme Lingpa’s biography at the Treasury of Lives.
A Direct Path to the Buddha Within
Maitreya’s Ratnagotravibhāga, also known as the Uttaratantra, is the main Indian treatise on buddha nature, a concept that is heavily debated in Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. In A Direct Path to the Buddha Within, Klaus-Dieter Mathes looks at a pivotal Tibetan commentary on this text by Gö Lotsāwa Zhönu Pal, best known as the author of the Blue Annals. Gö Lotsāwa, whose teachers spanned the spectrum of Tibetan schools, developed a highly nuanced understanding of buddha nature, tying it in with mainstream Mahāyāna thought while avoiding contested aspects of the so-called empty-of-other (zhentong) approach. In addition to translating key portions of Gö Lotsāwa’s commentary, Mathes provides an in-depth historical context, evaluating Gö’s position against those of other Kagyü, Nyingma, and Jonang masters and examining how Gö Lotsāwa’s view affects his understanding of the buddha qualities, the concept of emptiness, and the practice of mahāmudrā.
- Click here to return to the Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism series.
- Read Go Lotsawa’s biography at the Treasury of Lives.
Crushing the Categories
The Vaidalyaprakarana provides a rare glimpse of the sophisticated philosophical exchange between Buddhist and non-Buddhist schools at an early stage and will be of interest to scholars of Buddhist thought, classical Indian Philosophy, and the history of Asian thought.
Belonging to a set of Nagarjuna’s philosophical works known as the yukti-corpus, the Vaidalyaprakarana is noteworthy for its close engagement with the Hindu philosophers. It refutes the sixteen categories of the Nyaya school, which formed the logical and epistemological framework for many of the debates between Buddhist and Hindu philosophers.
The Sanskrit original of the Vaidalyaprakarana long lost, the author translates the text from Tibetan, giving it an extensive analytical commentary. The aim is twofold: to investigate the interaction of the founder of the Madhyamika school with this influential school of Hindu thought; and to make sense of how Nagarjuna’s arguments that refute the Naiyayika categories are essential to the Madhyamika path in general.
The Tibetan Book of Everyday Wisdom
The Tibetan Book of Everyday Wisdom: A Thousand Years of Sage Advice presents a genre of Tibetan works known as “wise sayings” (lekshé). While most Tibetan literature focuses on the Buddhist path, wise sayings literature has traditionally been a centerpiece of secular education in Tibet and in the cultivation of social mores and an honorable way of life. Drawing inspiration from classical Indian literature on human virtue and governance (nitisastra), including the folktales in the Pañcatantra, the authors of these Tibetan works strove to educate young minds in the ways of the civilized world, especially by distinguishing the conduct of the wise from that of the foolish.
This anthology includes some of the best-loved classics of Tibetan literature, such as Sakya Pandita’s Jewel Treasury of Wise Sayings, Panchen Sönam Drakpa’s Ganden Wise Sayings, and Gungthang’s Treatise on Trees and Treatise on Water. The final work is the intriguing Kaché Phalu’s Advice. Ostensibly written by a wise Tibetan Muslim, this versified text enjoys great popularity within Tibetan-speaking communities, such that many Tibetans are able to recite at least a few verses from memory.
The Long Discourses of the Buddha
This book offers a complete translation of the Dīgha Nikaya, the long discourses of the Buddha, one of the major collections of texts in the Pali Canon, the authorized scriptures of Theravada Buddhism. This collection—among the oldest records of the historical Buddha’s original teachings, given in India two and a half thousand years ago—consists of thirty-four longer-length suttas, or discourses, distinguished as such from the middle-length and shorter suttas of the other collections.
These suttas reveal the gentleness, compassion, power, and penetrating wisdom of the Buddha. Included are teachings on mindfulness (Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta); on morality, concentration, and wisdom (Subha Sutta); on dependent origination (Mahānidrāna Sutta); on the roots and causes of wrong views (Brahmajāla Sutta); and a long description of the Buddha’s last days and passing away (Mahāparinibbāna Sutta); along with a wealth of practical advice and insight for all those travelling along the spiritual path.
Venerable Sumedho Thera writes in his foreword: “[These suttas] are not meant to be ‘sacred scriptures’ that tell us what to believe. One should read them, listen to them, think about them, contemplate them, and investigate the present reality, the present experience, with them. Then, and only then, can one insightfully know the truth beyond words.”
Introduced with a vivid account of the Buddha’s life and times and a short survey of his teachings, The Long Discourses of the Buddha brings us closer in every way to the wise and compassionate presence of Gotama Buddha and his path of truth.
The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha
Like the River Ganges flowing down from the Himalayas, the entire Buddhist tradition flows down to us from the teachings and deeds of the historical Buddha, who lived and taught in India during the fifth century B.C.E. To ensure that his legacy would survive the ravages of time, his direct disciples compiled records of the Buddha’s teachings soon after his passing. In the Theravāda Buddhist tradition, which prevails in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, these records are regarded as the definitive “word of the Buddha.” Preserved in Pāli, an ancient Indian language closely related to the language that the Buddha spoke, this full compilation of texts is known as the Pāli Canon.
At the heart of the Buddha’s teaching were the suttas (Sanskrit sūtras), his discourses and dialogues. If we want to find out what the Buddha himself actually said, these are the most ancient sources available to us. The suttas were compiled into collections called “Nikāyas,” of which there are four, each organized according to a different principle. The Dīgha Nikāya consists of longer discourses; the Majjhima Nikāya of middle-length discourses; the Saṃyutta Nikāya of thematically connected discourses; and the Aṅguttara Nikāya of numerically patterned discourses.
The present volume, which continues Wisdom’s famous Teachings of the Buddha series, contains a full translation of the Aṅguttara Nikāya. The Aṅguttara arranges the Buddha’s discourses in accordance with a numerical scheme intended to promote retention and easy comprehension. In an age when writing was still in its infancy, this proved to be the most effective way to ensure that the disciples could grasp and replicate the structure of a teaching.
In 2013, Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi was awarded the 2013 Khyentse Foundation Prize for Outstanding Translation.
The Connected Discourses of the Buddha
This volume offers a complete translation of the Saṃyutta Nikāya, The Connected Discourses of the Buddha, the third of the four great collections in the Sutta Piṭaka of the Pāli Canon. The Saṃyutta Nikāya consists of fifty-six chapters, each governed by a unifying theme that binds together the Buddha’s suttas or discourses. The chapters are organized into five major parts.
The first, The Book with Verses, is a compilation of suttas composed largely in verse. This book ranks as one of the most inspiring compilations in the Buddhist canon, showing the Buddha in his full grandeur as the peerless “teacher of gods and humans.” The other four books deal in depth with the philosophical principles and meditative structures of early Buddhism. They combine into orderly chapters all the important short discourses of the Buddha on such major topics as dependent origination, the five aggregates, the six sense bases, the seven factors of enlightenment, the Noble Eightfold Path, and the Four Noble Truths.
Among the four large Nikāyas belonging to the Pali Canon, the Saṃyutta Nikāya serves as the repository for the many shorter suttas of the Buddha where he discloses his radical insights into the nature of reality and his unique path to spiritual emancipation. This collection, it seems, was directed mainly at those disciples who were capable of grasping the deepest dimensions of wisdom and of clarifying them for others, and also provided guidance to meditators intent on consummating their efforts with the direct realization of the ultimate truth.
The present work begins with an insightful general introduction to the Saṃyutta Nikāya as a whole. Each of the five parts is also provided with its own introduction, intended to guide the reader through this vast, ocean-like collection of suttas.
To further assist the reader, the translator has provided an extensive body of notes clarifying various problems concerning both the language and the meaning of the texts.
Distinguished by its lucidity and technical precision, this new translation makes this ancient collection of the Buddha’s discourses accessible and comprehensible to the thoughtful reader of today. Like its two predecessors in this series,
The Connected Discourses of the Buddha is sure to merit a place of honour in the library of every serious student of Buddhism.