Jan Westerhoff is University Lecturer in Religious Ethics at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, and a Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Originally trained as a philosopher and orientalist, his research concentrates on philosopohical aspects of the religious traditions of ancient India. His publications include Nagarjuna’s Madhyamaka: An Introduction (2009), The Dispeller of Disputes: Nagarjuna’s Vigrahavyavartani (2010), Reality: A Very Short Introduction (2011), and Madhyamaka and Yogacara: Allies or Rivals? (2015).
CRUSHING THE CATEGORIES
The Vaidalyaprakaraṇa 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 Nāgārjuna’s philosophical works known as the yukti-corpus, the Vaidalyaprakaraṇa is noteworthy for its close engagement with the Hindu philosophers. It refutes the sixteen categories of the Nyāya school, which formed the logical and epistemological framework for many of the debates between Buddhist and Hindu philosophers.
The Sanskrit original of the Vaidalyaprakaraṇa 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 Nāgārjuna’s arguments that refute the Naiyāyika categories are essential to the Madhyamika path in general.
- 346 pages, 8.25 x 9.25 inches
- ISBN 9781949163001
- 346 pages
- ISBN 9781949163018
The Reason Sixty
Coming soon! This book will be available in August 2024. Enter your name and email below to be notified when this book is available for purchase.
The Reason Sixty: Second Edition presents two key Indian Buddhist philosophical masterpieces that integrate the Buddhist ethos of wisdom and compassion, with their profound relevance to contemporary thought clarified by a renowned scholar of contemplative science.
This volume contains English translations of two critical treatises of the Middle Way (Madhyamaka) Buddhist philosophical school: the Reason Sixty, by the most important of Indian thinkers Nāgārjuna (2nd century CE), and the commentary by his most influential successor, Chandrakīrti (7th century CE). These two treatises emphasize the non-foundationalist reasoning for which Madhyamaka thought is famed, here within the context of that quintessential Buddhist topic, universal compassion, thereby illuminating the nondual nature of these two fundamental components of Indian Buddhist thought. The full import of Nāgārjuna’s verses are brought to life by Chandrakīrti, whose influence in Tibetan Buddhist educational institutions remains profound to the present. Translator Joseph Loizzo, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and Columbia-trained Buddhologist, elucidates the relevance of these two treatises to the linguistic turn in contemporary philosophy and emphasizes their practical, therapeutic possibilities. Comparing in particular the deep resonances between Chandrakīrti’s commentary and Wittgenstein’s later work, Loizzo presents a masterful analysis in cross-cultural thought that highlights the transformative potential of philosophy.
This volume is part of the Treasury of the Buddhist Sciences series, copublished by the American Institute of Buddhist Studies (AIBS) and Wisdom Publications in association with the Columbia University Center for Buddhist Studies and Tibet House US. You can learn more about the series here.
Saraha’s Spontaneous Songs
This is the first volume in over six decades to bring to light new original material on Saraha’s Treasury of Spontaneous Songs (Dohākoṣa).
“Completely abandon thought and no-thought, and abide in the natural way of a small child.” —Saraha
To find liberation and realize the true nature of reality, the Indian Buddhist master Saraha says we must leave behind any conceptual assessment of reality, since no model of it has ever been known to withstand critical analysis. Saraha’s spontaneous songs, or dohās, represent the Buddhist art of expressing the inexpressible. The most important collection of Saraha’s songs is the Dohākoṣa, the Treasury of Spontaneous Songs, better known in Tibet as the Songs for the People, better known in Tibet as the Songs for the People, and the Tibetan mahāmudrā tradition, especially within the Kagyü school, has done the most to preserve the lineage of Saraha’s instructions to the present day.
But Saraha was also widely cited in Indian sources starting around the eleventh century, and one Indic commentary, by the Newar scholar Advayavajra, still exists in Sanskrit. In addition, we have independent root texts of Saraha’s songs in the vernacular Apabhraṃśa in which they were recorded. These Indian texts, together with their Tibetan translations, are here presented in masterful new critical editions, along with the Tibetan translation of the commentary no longer extant in Sanskrit by Mokṣākaragupta. Finally, both commentaries are rendered in elegant English, and the authors offer a brisk but comprehensive introduction.
Saraha’s Spontaneous Songs provides the reader with everything needed for a serious study of one of the most important works in the Indian Buddhist canon.
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The Kālachakra Mandala
A detailed, beautifully illustrated presentation of the construction and symbolism of the famed Kālachakra mandala, the crown jewel of the Indo-Tibetan tantric traditions.
This volume contains an extensive analysis of the construction and symbolism of the mandala of the Kālachakra tantric system, the most intricate and explicit of the Indian Buddhist unexcelled yoga tantras, the most advanced teachings within the Indo-Tibetan tradition. Indo-Tibetan tantric traditions, particularly the unexcelled category, depend on imagery and visualization for the processes of purifying cyclic existence, and Kālachakra is the most detailed. The late scholar-practitioner Edward Henning, one of the earliest Western specialists on this material, offers this labor of love as a testament to the genius of the Tibetan tradition in preserving and transmitting these teachings over a thousand years. Well known internationally now due to the Dalai Lama’s many public initiations, the Kālachakra mandala serves as a primary focal point for meditators both new and seasoned. Henning draws primarily from the Jonang tradition of Kālachakra practice, particularly the modern master Banda Gelek, to elucidate and clarify inconsistencies across traditions and literature, including the authoritative Indian commentary Stainless Light (Vimalaprabhā), regarding the construction and visualization of the three-tiered mandala with its hundreds of deities. In addition to providing detailed information on the images to be visualized, Henning provides in the final chapter a clear and extensive explanation of the symbolism of the habitat and inhabitants that are to be animated during the meditation session. An excellent companion to the translations of the Kālachakra Tantra and Stainless Light chapters co-published by the American Institute of Buddhist Studies and Wisdom Publications, this beautifully illustrated volume is a must-have for scholars and practitioners alike.
The Power of Mantra
Energize your practice with the potent energy of mantra.
In this book, beloved teacher Lama Zopa Rinpoche guides us through the most popular mantras in Tibetan Buddhism: Shakyamuni Buddha, Chenrezig, Manjushri, Tara, Medicine Buddha, Vajrasattva, and more.
A mantra—literally “that which protects the mind”—is a series of Sanskrit syllables that evoke the energy of a particular buddha or bodhisattva. It works as a sacred sound that brings blessings to ourself and others, and as a tool to transform our mind into one that is more compassionate and wise.
In clear and succinct teachings, Lama Zopa shows us why we need different mantras and how each mantra works. He also explains their importance and power, giving specific instructions for practicing them. The exquisite, full-color illustrations of the deities that accompany the text make this book a beautiful guide, one suitable for both beginners and experienced practitioners.
The Wisdom Culture Series, published under the guidance of Lama Zopa Rinpoche, features translations of key works by masters of the Geluk tradition. Also available in the Wisdom Culture Series are Tsongkhapa’s Middle-Length Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment and The Swift Path, translated by Szegee Toh.
Now in Paperback!
An accessible, inspiring book on one of the most important topics in Tibetan Buddhism, written by one of its renowned masters who has an international following of thousands.
Bodhichitta is a Sanskrit word meaning “the mind of enlightenment” or “the awakening mind”—the mind that wishes to achieve enlightenment in order to lead all other beings into that same state. It is the attitude of the bodhisattva, of the person who makes the compassionate vow to save others from suffering. In this book, the renowned teacher Lama Zopa Rinpoche shows us how to achieve it.
First, Lama Zopa gives a clear and comprehensive explanation of bodhichitta, its benefits, and its importance to the path. Then, he walks us through the two main methods for achieving bodhichitta: the seven points of cause and effect, and equalizing and exchanging self and others. Finally, the book closes with meditation instructions to guide and strengthen our practice.
Readers will find Bodhichitta to be a comprehensive guide to this core Buddhist principle, one rich in both accessible philosophical explanation and concrete advice for practitioners.
The sixth chapter of Shantideva’s classic A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life is a beacon of inspiration that shows what patience—one of the essential actions of the bodhisattvas—can really mean, leading us to profound self-realization and a heightened determination for awakened action in the world.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche—a teacher whose very name means “patience”—explores Shantideva’s teachings verse by verse, unpacking their lessons for the modern reader, including:
- overcoming anger,
- accepting suffering,
- and respecting others and finding happiness in their happiness.
In explaining this quintessential quality of a bodhisattva, Rinpoche shows us ordinary beings the profundity of the practice of patience and the relevance it has in our everyday lives.
“Shantideva was like us, but he worked on his mind until he became completely free from delusions . . . A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life has inspired countless people since it was written over thirteen hundred years ago. It tells us that we too can develop our mind to the levels of realizations that the great masters have attained—and it shows us how to do it.”—Lama Zopa Rinpoche
The Six Perfections
The six perfections are the actions of the bodhisattvas—holy beings who have transcended selfless concerns. But they’re also skills we can and should develop right now, in our messy, ordinary lives.
In this clear, comprehensive guide to the backbone of Mahayana Buddhist practice, Lama Zopa Rinpoche walks us through each of the six perfections:
As he carefully describes each perfection, he not only reveals the depth of its meaning and how it intertwines with each other perfection, but he also explains how to practice it fully in our everyday lives—offering concrete ways for us to be more generous, more patient, more wise. With the guidance he gives us, we can progress in our practice of the perfections until we, like the bodhisattvas, learn to cherish others above ourselves.
“The perfections are the practices of bodhisattvas, holy beings who have completely renounced the self; they have transcended selfish concerns and cherish only others. Each perfection is perfect, flawless. Each arises from bodhichitta and is supported by the other perfections, including the wisdom of emptiness. Because of that, a bodhisattva generates infinite merit every moment, whether outwardly engaged in working for others or not. A bodhisattva’s bodhichitta never stops.”
—Lama Zopa Rinpoche
We experience illness on a physical level, but in order to be healed, we must understand where true healing begins: within our hearts and minds. In Ultimate Healing, internationally renowned meditation master Lama Zopa Rinpoche helps us to recognize the root of illness and gives us the tools to create our future happiness. Beginning with stories of people who have recovered from disease through meditation, Rinpoche addresses the central role played by karma and by the mental habit of “labeling” in causing illness, and shows how meditation and other thought techniques for developing compassion and insight can eliminate the ultimate cause of all disease.
Ultimate Healing shows us that by transforming our minds, especially through the development of compassion, we can eliminate the ultimate cause of all disease. In addition to relating stories of people who have recovered from disease through meditation, Lama Zopa presents practical healing meditations, including white-light healing, compassion meditation, “taking and giving”, and techniques to cure depression.
The Sublime Continuum and Its Explanatory Commentary
The original Sublime Continuum Explanatory Commentary was written by Noble Asanga to explain the verses received from the bodhisattva Maitreya in the late fourth century CE in northern India. Here it is introduced and presented in an original translation from Sanskrit and Tibetan, with the translation of an extensive Tibetan Supercommentary by Gyaltsap Darma Rinchen (1364–1432), whose work closely followed the view of his teacher, Tsong Khapa (1357–1419).
Contemporary scholars have widely misunderstood the Buddhist Centrist (Madhyamaka) teaching of emptiness, or selflessness, as either a form of nihilism or a radical skepticism. Yet Buddhist philosophers from Nagarjuna on have shown that the negation of intrinsic reality, when accurately understood, affirms the supreme value of relative realities. Gyaltsap Darma Rinchen, in his Supercommentary, elucidates a highly positive theory of buddha nature, showing how the wisdom of emptiness empowers the compassionate life of the enlightened, as it is touched by its oneness with the truth body of all buddhas. With his clear study of Gyaltsap’s insight and his original English translation, Bo Jiang completes his historic project of studying and presenting these works from Sanskrit and Tibetan in both Chinese and, now, English translations, in linked publications.
Stages of the Path and the Oral Transmission
A major contribution to the literature on Buddhist practice according to the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism from its foremost interpreter.
Although it was the last major school to emerge in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the Geluk school has left an indelible mark on Buddhist thought and practice. The intellectual and spiritual brilliance of its founder, the great Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), has inspired generations of scholars and tantric yogis to place him at the heart of their daily meditative practice. The Geluk tradition’s close ties to the Dalai Lamas have also afforded it an outsized influence in all aspects of Tibetan life for centuries. At its peak, its combined monasteries boasted a population in the tens of thousands, and its sway encompassed the religious landscape of Mongolia and much of Central Asia.
This widespread religious activity fostered a rich literary tradition, and fifteen seminal works are featured here representing four genres of that tradition. The first are works on the stages of the path, or lamrim, the genre for which the Geluk is most renowned. Second are works on guru yoga, centered around the core Geluk ritual Offering to the Guru (Lama Chöpa). Third are teachings from the unique oral transmission of Geluk mahāmudrā, meditation on the nature of mind. Fourth are the “guide to the view” (tatri) instructions. The volume features well-known authors like Tsongkhapa, the First Panchen Lama, and the Fifth Dalai Lama, but also important works from lesser-known figures like Gomchen Ngawang Drakpa’s stages of the path in verse and Gyalrong Tsultrim Nyima’s extensive commentary on the Lama Chöpa that interweaves precious explanations from the Ensa Oral Tradition he received from his own teacher.
Your guide to these riches, Thupten Jinpa, maps out their historical context and spiritual significance in his extensive introduction.
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The Source of Supreme Bliss
The Source of Supreme Bliss contains the first English translations of important commentaries on the Highest Yoga Tantra system of the Heruka Chakrasamvara five deity practice.
Included is a lucid, practical, and deeply profound explanation of the generation stage by Ngulchu Dharmabhadra. This is followed by an extremely rare and profound commentary by the First Panchen Lama Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen on the completion stage, along with a commentary on how to perform a proper Chakrasamvara retreat. The second half of the book comprises translations of the ritual texts associated with the commentaries.
Indispensable for anyone who undertakes this practice, The Source of Supreme Bliss will also provide rich and profound insights for those interested in Highest Yoga Tantra.
The Dechen Ling Practice Series from Wisdom Publications is committed to furthering the vision of David Gonsalez (Venerable Losang Tsering) and the Dechen Ling Press of bringing the sacred literature of Tibet to the West by making available many never-before-translated texts.
A History of Buddhism in India and Tibet
The first complete English translation of an important thirteenth-century history that sheds light on Tibet’s imperial past and on the transmission of the Buddhadharma into Central Asia.
Translated here into English for the first time in its entirety by perhaps the foremost living expert on Tibetan histories, this engaging translation, along with its ample annotation, is a must-have for serious readers and scholars of Buddhist studies. In this history, discover the first extensive biography of the Buddha composed in the Tibetan language, along with an account of subsequent Indian Buddhist history, particularly the writing of Buddhist treatises. The story then moves to Tibet, with an emphasis on the rulers of the Tibetan empire, the translators of Buddhist texts, and the lineages that transmitted doctrine and meditative practice. It concludes with an account of the demise of the monastic order followed by a look forward to the advent of the future Buddha Maitreya.
The composer of this remarkably ecumenical Buddhist history compiled some of the most important early sources on the Tibetan imperial period preserved in his time, and his work may be the best record we have of those sources today. Dan Martin has rendered the richness of this history an accessible part of the world’s literary heritage.
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The mind can be a potent tool, used to guide extraordinary achievements, inspire good works, and incline your spiritual path toward peace and awakening. But the mind can also produce thoughts that lead to suffering. For many people, thoughts run rampant and seem to oppress or control their lives. Even the Buddha tells us that before his enlightenment, he sometimes found his mind preoccupied by thoughts connected with sensual desire, ill will, and harm. But he figured out how to respond to thoughts skillfully and developed a step-by-step approach to calm the restless mind. Now, Insight Meditation teacher Shaila Catherine offers an accessible approach to training the mind that is guided by the Buddha’s pragmatic instructions on removing distracting thoughts. Drawing on two scriptures in the Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, Shaila shows you how to overcome habitual modes of thinking, develop deeper concentration, and discover the insights into emptiness that are vital for a liberating spiritual path.
Following the Buddha’s pragmatic approach, Shaila guides you through five steps for overcoming distraction and focusing the mind:
- Replace unwholesome thoughts with wholesome thoughts.
- Examine the dangers of distracting thoughts.
- Avoid it, ignore it, forget it.
- Investigate the causes of distraction.
- Apply determination and resolve.
Each chapter includes exercises and reflections to help you cultivate the five steps to deeper concentration. You’ll learn about your mind and develop your ability to direct your attention more skillfully in meditation and daily activities. And ultimately, you’ll discover for yourself how these five steps boil down to one key realization: In the moment you recognize that a thought is just a thought, you will find yourself on the path to a life of remarkable freedom.
Ratnakīrti’s Proof of Momentariness by Positive Correlation (Kṣaṇabhaṇgasiddhi Anvayātmikā)
The Kṣaṇabhaṇgasiddhi is a masterpiece of skillful reasoning by the eleventh-century Indian Buddhist philosopher Ratnakīrti. This renowned scholar taught at the great Buddhist University of Vikramaśīla and was a master of almost every classical philosophical school that preceded him.
The present work is informed by centuries of debate between Buddhist advocates of momentariness and archrival Nyāya philosophers who believed that both selves and things endure.
This book is the first published translation of Ratnakīrti’s proof based on positive correlations, and includes a commentary explaining each step of his reasoning.
Liberation from Samsara
This rare teaching by Rinpoché is a uniquely concise volume of the teachings of the path to liberation that is authentic, authoritative, and complete.
In Liberation from Samsara, the Fourth Kyabjé Dodrupchen Rinpoché presents the Longchen Nyingthik preliminary teachings, with a special focus on guru yoga. These teachings, from the innermost secret instruction of Dzogchen, constitute a complete path to enlightenment.
After discussing the ways to turn our mind toward Dharma and the trainings, Rinpoché provides guru yoga instruction as he turns to the main tantric practice: meditations on unifying one’s mind with Guru Rinpoché’s wisdom mind. This rare teaching by Rinpoché, though intentionally succinct to accommodate the needs of contemporary Western practitioners, presents a complete path to enlightenment. It contrasts three different paths to liberation: Shravakayana (the way of the disciple), Pratyekabuddhayana (the way of the self-enlightened buddha), and Mahāyāna (the way of the bodhisattva), which is our way, our boundless intention to seek refuge in order to free all sentient beings from samsaric suffering.
The Universal Vehicle Discourse Literature (Mahāyānasūtrālaṁkāra)
The Universal Vehicle Discourse Literature (Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra) was transmitted from the bodhisattva Maitreyanātha to Āryā Āsaṅga, the fourth-century Indian Buddhist scholar-adept. The most foundational of the set of the famous Five Teachings of Maitreya, the Discourse Literature is considered the wellspring of what the Tibetans call the “magnificent deeds trend of the path,” the compassion side, which balances the “profound view trend of the path,” the wisdom side. The Discourse Literature is also considered to be metaphysically aligned with and foundational for the Idealist (Vijñānavādin) school of Mahāyāna thought. Translated from Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Chinese by Lobsang Jamspal, Robert Thurman, and the AIBS team, the present work contains a fully annotated, critical English rendition of the Discourse Literature along with its commentary (bhāṣya) by Āsaṅga’s brother, Vasubandhu. It also includes an introduction covering essential historical and philosophical topics, a bibliography, and a detailed index. This long-awaited work is the founding cornerstone of the AIBS Treasury of the Buddhist Sciences series.
Sounds of Innate Freedom, Volume 4
Sounds of Innate Freedom: The Indian Texts of Mahāmudrā are historic volumes containing many of the first English translations of classic mahamudra literature. The texts and songs in these volumes constitute the large compendium called The Indian Texts of the Mahāmudrā of Definitive Meaning, compiled by the Seventh Karmapa, Chötra Gyatso (1456–1539). The collection offers a brilliant window into the richness of the vast ocean of Indian mahamudra texts cherished in all Tibetan lineages, particularly in the Kagyü tradition, giving us a clear view of the sources of one of the world’s great contemplative traditions.
Besides the individual dohās (couplets), vajragītis (vajra songs), and caryāgītis (conduct songs) in this second volume in publication, the three extensive commentaries it contains brilliantly unravel enigmas and bring clarity not only to the specific songs they comment on but to many other, often cryptic, songs of realization in this collection. These expressive songs of the inexpressible offer readers a feast of profound and powerful pith instructions uttered by numerous male and female mahāsiddhas, yogis, and ḍākinīs, often in the context of ritual gaṇacakras and initially kept in their secret treasury. Displaying a vast range of themes, styles, and metaphors, they all point to the single true nature of the mind—mahāmudrā—in inspiring ways and from different angles, using a dazzling array of skillful means to penetrate the sole vital point of buddhahood being found nowhere but within our own mind. Reading and singing these songs of mystical wonder, bliss, and ecstatic freedom, and contemplating their meaning, will open doors to spiritual experience for us today just as it has for countless practitioners in the past.
In Vimalakīrti’s House
Over the course of nearly half a century, Robert A. F. Thurman has left an indelible mark on numerous fields of study, including Buddhist literature, Tantric Buddhism, Tibetan studies, and the comparative sciences of mind. To celebrate his seventieth birthday, Thurman’s students and colleagues have come together to pay tribute to these contributions and to Thurman’s ongoing leadership in these fields by assembling a collection of essays of their own that extend and supplement his groundbreaking research.
In Vimalakīrti’s House is the result of this collaboration and represents a broad spectrum of cutting edge studies in areas central to Thurman’s own scholarly project. The resulting volume is itself a kind of “treasury of the Buddhist sciences,” insofar as its authors explore wide-ranging problems in art, literature, epistemology, history, ritual, buddhology, and lexicography.