Klaus-Dieter Mathes earned his doctorate at Marburg University, and is a Professor of Tibetology and Buddhist Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria. He previously worked as a research fellow and lecturer at the Asia Africa Institute at the University of Hamburg, Germany. His research in progress deals with the Indian origins of Tibetan Mahāmudrā traditions. He is also a regular contributor to the Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies.
“Klaus-Dieter Mathes has rendered an extraordinary service to students of Tibetan intellectual and contemplative traditions by editing this singular work in full, and now here providing us with a clear and meticulous English translation of its key sections. His thorough introduction and annotations resolve the many difficult points found herein and place Gö Lotsāwa’s contribution in its proper context in the history of the tradition. In A Direct Path to the Buddha Within, Mathes sets a lasting standard for the presentation of Tibetan Buddhist doctrinal writings.”—Matthew T. Kapstein, author of Reason’s Traces: Identity and Interpretation in Indian and Tibetan Buddhist Thought
A DIRECT PATH TO THE BUDDHA WITHIN
Gö Lotsāwa’s Mahāmudrā Interpretation of the Ratnagotravibhāga
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.
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- Read Go Lotsawa’s biography at the Treasury of Lives.
- 624 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 inches
- ISBN 9780861715282
- 624 pages
- ISBN 9780861719150
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.
Manjushri’s Innermost Secret
Highly informative and deeply moving, Manjushri’s Innermost Secret contains the entire path to enlightenment that was transmitted in direct communication with Lama Tsongkhapa by the wisdom-buddha Manjushri. This invaluable commentary provides an authoritative illumination of the Lama Chöpa ritual text for practitioners and is widely revered and commented upon in its own right. Designed for those who have received the highest yoga tantra empowerment, these texts swiftly guide the spiritual practitioner to the state of complete enlightenment through the full spectrum of teachings on the lamrim and mind training (lojong). It also covers the generation and completion stages of highest yoga tantra, all of which are grounded in deep, heartfelt faith and devotion for one’s spiritual guide.
His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok was a prominent teacher in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. He was recognized as a tertön and renowned for his mastery of Dzokchen and his visionary activities, including the establishment of the nonsectarian Buddhist community of Larung Gar, one of the largest monastic settlements in the world and a vibrant Buddhist teaching center that has contributed enormously to the resurgence of Buddhism in Tibet and China.
In memory of the thirteenth anniversary of Rinpoche’s passing, this memorial book was compiled based on audio recordings of his precious and renowned teachings. It includes stories of the lives of great masters and the four great Dharma gatherings at Larung Gar, as well as teachings on the principle of cause and effect, keeping an open mind toward all religious traditions, spreading the Dharma and benefiting sentient beings, and mastering what to adopt and what to abandon.
Readers will also learn about Tibetan culture, customs, and the many kinds of Tibetan tulkus. His Holiness Jigme Phuntsok’s heartfelt advice on how to improve interpersonal relationships enables us to live with more ease and joy. Five poems by Jigme Phuntsok in both Tibetan and English translation enrich the teachings with His Holiness’s poetic voice.
The Essence of Tsongkhapa’s Teachings
His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s commentary on Tsongkhapa’s Three Principal Aspects of the Path helps us integrate the full Buddhist path into our own practice. His Holiness offers a beautiful elucidation of the three aspects of the path: true renunciation and the wish for freedom, the altruistic awakening mind (bodhichitta), and the correct view of emptiness. These three aspects of the path are the foundation of all the sutric and tantric practices, and encapsulate Tsongkhapa’s vision of the Buddhist path in its entirety.
Practitioners will find The Three Principal Aspects of the Path invaluable as a manual for daily meditation. The universal and timeless insights of this text speak to contemporary spiritual aspirants, East and West. The root verses are presented in both Tibetan and fluid English translation to accompany these profound teachings.
An accessible, inspiring book on one of the most important topics in Tibetan Buddhism—bodhichitta, or compassion—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.
Dear Lama Zopa
Unconventional wisdom, affirmation, and advice from one of Tibetan Buddhism’s most influential living teachers.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche is a master at explaining Buddhism’s radical but effective methods for transforming suffering into happiness, which have been practiced and taught by Tibetans for a thousand years. It’s a challenging way to think—how can it be that the things that cause us pain are actually blessings?
In Dear Lama Zopa, Rinpoche applies that challenge to our everyday, real-life problems—from the littlest to the biggest. Every year he receives thousands of letters from people around the world asking for advice—on coping with everything from addiction, grief, and depression, to war, terrorism, and death.
In his detailed and deeply caring responses to these letters, reproduced here, Rinpoche shows again and again that the best method for solving our problems is to radically change the way we perceive them; that by emphasizing their inner causes we can even change the resulting outer circumstances.
Even people familiar with notions like karma and reincarnation, which imply that we are the creators of our own experiences, may find the advice difficult. Yet uncountable thousands of people of all backgrounds have put Rinpoche’s loving guidance into practice—and have seen real and positive change in their lives. Now, with Dear Lama Zopa, you can see for yourself…
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.
Creation and Completion
Creation and Completion represents some of the most profound teachings of Jamgön Kongtrul (1813-99), one of the true spiritual and literary giants of Tibetan history. Though brief, it offers a lifetime of advice for all who wish to engage in-and deepen-the practice of tantric Buddhist meditation.
The original text, beautifully translated and introduced by Sara Harding, is further brought to life by an in-depth commentary by the contemporary master Thrangu Rinpoche. Key Tibetan Buddhist fundamentals are quickly made clear, so that the reader may confidently enter into tantra’s oft-misunderstood “creation” and “completion” stages.
In the creation stage, practitioners visualize themselves in the form of buddhas and other enlightened beings in order to break down their ordinary concepts of themselves and the world around them. This meditation practice prepares the mind for engaging in the completion stage, where one has a direct encounter with the ultimate nature of mind and reality.
The Compassionate Life
“The key to a happier and more successful world is the growth of compassion.”—His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Giving and receiving affection is the key to happiness, and compassion is the key that opens our hearts to affection. Illuminating themes touched upon in The Good Heart and The Art of Happiness, this generous and gentle book contains some of the most beloved teachings on compassion that the Dalai Lama has ever offered. Touching and transformative, The Compassionate Life is a personal invitation from one of the world’s most gifted teachers to live a life of happiness, joy, and true prosperity.
Collected here for the first time are four of the Dalai Lama’s most accessible and inspiring teachings on compassion. The purpose of life is to be happy, His Holiness reminds us. To be happy, we should devote ourselves to developing our own peace of mind; the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own peace of mind. Therefore, we must develop compassion for others in order to be truly happy.
In these four teachings—imbued with the gentle humor and extraordinary kindness of this incomparable teacher—His Holiness explores altruism and the need for compassion on an individual as well as a global scale. He offers specific practices for developing loving-kindness and compassion in even the most difficult situations.
Buddhist Symbols in Tibetan Culture
In this fascinating study, Dagyab Rinpoche not only explains the nine best-known groups of Tibetan Buddhist symbols but also shows how they serve as bridges between our inner and outer worlds. As such, they can be used to point the way to ultimate reality and to transmit a reservoir of deep knowledge formed over thousands of years.
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.
This new volume from the Foundation of Buddhist Thought series, provides a stand-alone and systematic—but accessible—entry into how Buddhism understands the mind. Geshe Tashi, an English-speaking Tibetan monk who lives in London, was trained from boyhood in a traditional Tibetan monastery and is adept in communicating this classical training to a modern Western audience.
Buddhist Psychology addresses both the nature of the mind and how we know what we know. Just as scientists observe and catalog the material world, Buddhists for centuries have been observing and cataloging the components of inner experience. The result is a rich and subtle knowledge that can be harnessed to the goal of increasing human well-being.
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.
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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.
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A fundamental issue for religion in general is how to understand the presence of the sacred in the profane. In Buddhist terms this becomes a question of how to understand the buddha nature that inheres in all sentient beings. Dr. Mathes’ study of this issue as dealt with in a late-fifteenth-century Tibetan work is a truly outstanding contribution to this important branch of Buddhist philosophy. He lucidly historicizes a good number of fundamental treatises—their authors, Indian and Tibetan, and their ideas. Mathes’ diction is also first rate, rendering his exemplary work easily accessible.
Leonard W.J. van der Kuijp, Harvard University
One of the notable achievements of Tibetan Buddhist thinkers was their remarkable synthesis of speculations from the Mahāyāna sūtras concerning buddha nature—the inherent potential of beings for awakening—with the esoteric teachings of the mahāmudrā, the ‘great seal’ of realization, inherited from the tantric adepts of India. And no single work embodies this synthesis more fully than does Gö Lotsāwa’s unparalleled commentary on the Ratnagotravibhāga, a text so highly esteemed that its authorship was attributed to the bodhisattva Maitreya. Klaus-Dieter Mathes has rendered an extraordinary service to students of Tibetan intellectual and contemplative traditions by editing this singular work in full, and now here providing us with a clear and meticulous English translation of its key sections. His thorough introduction and annotations resolve the many difficult points found herein and place Gö Lotsāwa’s contribution in its proper context in the history of the tradition. In A Direct Path to the Buddha Within, Mathes sets a lasting standard for the presentation of Tibetan Buddhist doctrinal writings.
Matthew T. Kapstein, The University of Chicago and the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris; author of Reason’s Traces: Identity and Interpretation in Indian and Tibetan Buddhist Thought