The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems

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“An impressive translation of a fascinating and vitally important book. Its broad scope and keen observation makes it an invaluable resource.”—Guy Newland, Central Michigan University, author of Introduction to Emptiness


A Tibetan Study of Asian Religious Thought

Thuken Losang Chökyi Nyima Geshe Lhundub Sopa Roger Jackson

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.

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book information
  • Hardcover
  • 696 pages, 6.25 x 9.25 inches
  • $59.95
  • ISBN 9780861714643
  • ebook
  • 696 pages
  • $34.99
  • ISBN 9780861717866
about the author
The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems

Thuken Losang Chökyi Nyima (1737–1802) was among the most cosmopolitan and prolific Tibetan Buddhist masters of the late eighteenth century. Hailing from the “melting pot” region of Amdo, he was Mongol by heritage, and educated in Gelukpa monasteries. Throughout his life, he traveled widely in east and inner Asia, spending significant time in Central Tibet, Amdo, inner Mongolia, and at the Qing court in Beijing. He served as abbot of several important monasteries, and wrote hundreds of texts on Buddhist thought and practice, the most enduring and influential of which is the Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems.

The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems

Born in the Tsang region of Tibet in 1923, Geshe Lhundub Sopa was both a spiritual master and a respected academic. He rose from a humble background to complete his geshe studies at Sera Je Monastic University in Lhasa with highest honors and was privileged to serve as a debate opponent for the Dalai Lama’s own geshe examination in 1959. He moved to New Jersey in the United States in 1963 and in 1967 began teaching in the Buddhist Studies Program at University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he was professor emeritus. In 1975, he founded the Deer Park Buddhist Center in Oregon, Wisconsin, site of the Dalai Lama’s first Kalachakra initiation granted in the West. He is the author of several books in English, including the five-volume comprehensive teaching, Steps on the Path to Enlightenment.

Geshe Lhundub Sopa passed away on August 28, 2014, at the age of 91. His Holiness the Dalai Lama composed a prayer of request for the swift return of Geshe Sopa.

Other books by Geshe Lhundub Sopa:
Nāgārjuna’s Advice for Buddhists
Steps on the Path to Enlightenment, Vol. 5
Peacock in the Poison Grove
Like a Waking Dream
Steps on the Path to Enlightenment, Vol. 3
Steps on the Path to Enlightenment, Vol. 2
Steps on the Path to Enlightenment, Vol. 1
Steps on the Path to Enlightenment, Vol. 4

The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems

Roger R. Jackson is the author of the Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism series book Mind Seeing Mind. He is the John W. Nason Professor of Asian Studies and Religion, Emeritus, at Carleton College in Minnesota and visiting  professor of Buddhist Studies at Maitripa College in Portland, OR. He has published many articles on the philosophy, ritual, meditative practices, and poetry of Indian, Tibetan Buddhism, and modern Buddhism, and has written or co-edited ten books, including Is Enlightenment Possible?Tibetan LiteratureBuddhist TheologyTantric TreasuresMind Seeing Mind: Mahāmudrā and the Geluk Tradition of Tibetan Buddhismand, most recently, Rebirth: A Guide to Mind, Karma, and Cosmos in the Buddhist World. He is a past editor of the Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies and the Indian International Journal of Buddhist Studies.

Other books by Roger Jackson:
Mind Seeing Mind

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