Dan Arnold is a University of Chicago scholar of Indian Buddhist philosophy and author of the award-winning Brains, Buddhas, and Believing: The Problem of Intentionality in Classical Buddhist and Cognitive-Scientific Philosophy of Mind (Columbia University Press, 2012).
“Reasons and Lives in Buddhist Traditions reflects the towering position Matthew Kapstein has claimed in the fields of Buddhist and Tibetan studies. The collection records a snapshot of the most important contemporary research on the intellectual traditions of India, Tibet, and the wider Himalayan region.” —Andrew Quintman, associate professor of Religion, Wesleyan University
REASONS AND LIVES IN BUDDHIST TRADITIONS
Tibetan and Buddhist Studies in Honor of Matthew Kapstein
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Available December 2019
Particularly known for his groundbreaking and influential work in Tibetan studies, Matthew Kapstein is a true polymath in Buddhist and Asian studies more generally; possessing unsurpassed knowledge of Tibetan culture and civilization, he is also deeply grounded in Sanskrit and Indology, and his highly accomplished work in these cultural and civilizational areas has exemplified a whole range of disciplinary perspectives.
Reflecting something of the astonishing range of Matthew Kapstein’s work and interests, this collection of essays pays tribute to a luminary in the field by exemplifying some of the diverse work in Buddhist and Asian studies that has been impacted by his scholarship and teaching. Engaging matters as diverse as the legal foundations of Tibetan religious thought, the teaching careers of modern Chinese Buddhists, the history of Bhutan, and the hermeneutical insights of Vasubandhu, these essays by students and colleagues of Matthew Kapstein are offered as testament to a singular scholar and teacher whose wide-ranging work is unified by a rare intellectual selflessness.
Cécile Ducher is a research fellow at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris. She is the winner of the 2019 Khyentse Foundation Award for Outstanding PhD Dissertation in Buddhist Studies for her work on the history of the Ngokpa Kagyü lineage.
Presented here for the first time in English is a collection of dohās, or songs of realization, carefully and thoughtfully selected and translated from the large compendium the Indian Texts of the Mahāmudrā of Definitive Meaning, which was compiled by the Seventh Karmapa and drawn primarily from the Tengyur.
Beautiful, profound, and often outrageous, these verses were frequently composed spontaneously and thus have a moving sense of freedom, openness, and bliss. They range from summaries of the entire path of Mahāmudrā to pithy four-liners that point directly to the buddha within us. The authors include famous masters such as Saraha and Nāropā, ḍākinīs, kings, and also courtesans and cobblers—showing that realization is accessible to all of us, right here in our lives.
The Essence of the Vast and Profound
The Essence of the Vast and Profound will soon find its place as one of the greatest lamrim commentaries ever given.
Drawn from teachings by Pabongkha Rinpoche, which were given over the course of thirty-six days in 1934 in Tibet’s capital city of Lhasa, The Essence of the Vast and Profound masterfully weaves together Tsongkhapa’s Middle-Length Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, the Second Panchen Lama’s Swift Path, and the Third Dalai Lama’s Essence of Refined Gold. Rinpoche offers wise and compassionate guidance on such crucial subjects as how to rely on a spiritual teacher, how to develop certainty on the path, what it means to take refuge, how to understand karma, and the importance of compassion—explaining the entire spectrum of the Buddhist path, and also inspiring the reader to follow it.
The definitive history of Sera Monastery, one of the great monastic universities of Tibet, from its founding to the present.
Founded in 1419, Sera Monastery was one of the three densas, the great seats of learning of the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism. With over 9,000 monks in residence in 1959, it was the second largest monastery in the world. Throughout its history, Sera has produced some of Tibet’s most important saints, scholars, and political leaders.
The scholars José Cabezón and Penpa Dorjee begin Sera Monastery with the history of monasticism from the time of the Buddha through its early development in Tibet and then tell the 600-year story of Sera from its founding to the present. They recount how the monastery grew and evolved during the centuries, how it has fared under Chinese rule, and how it was transplanted in the Tibetan refugee camps of South India. We are introduced to some of Sera’s most important lamas and hermits, as well as its curriculum, yearly calendar, the daily life of scholar monks, and the role Sera monks played in the political history of Tibet.
Former Sera monks themselves, Cabezón and Dorjee demonstrate their firsthand knowledge of the monastery, its traditions, and daily life on every page. Scrupulously researched over decades, Sera Monastery is the most comprehensive history of a Tibetan monastery ever written in a Western language.
Creativity, Spirituality, and Making a Buck
“How do I make a living doing what I love?”
“Am I a sellout as an artist if I want to be successful?”
“How do I integrate my spiritual principles with the art of running a business? And actually, um, how do I run a business?”
Are you struggling to reconcile your calling with your need to make a living wage? Are you wondering what to do once your art starts selling, or how to achieve success in your field, or what it even means to be successful?
In Creativity, Spirituality, and Making a Buck, David Nichtern—a beloved Buddhist teacher and successful musician, composer, and producer who has worked with the likes of Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Jerry Garcia, and Lana Del Rey—offers his lived, learned experience as an entrepreneur, musician, and Buddhist teacher to first help you figure out what “success” means to you and then show you how to get there. If you’re trying to align your spiritual, creative, and financial pursuits and discover what it means to truly live well, this book is for you.
“Everybody has a hungry heart. We are hungry for so many different kinds of food. The table is set and the meal is laid out for us…but how do we put that food into our mouths and TASTE IT? In this book, David Nichtern guides us with wisdom, joy, and humor to make our whole lives a tasty meal to be enjoyed and shared with others.”—Krishna Das, author of Chants of a Lifetime and Grammy-nominated kirtan artist
Sculpting the Buddha Within
Sculpting the Buddha Within is the first major biography of Shinjo Ito, the founder of the Shinnyo-en tradition of Buddhism and one of the twentieth century’s most innovative spiritual teachers. Ito was schooled in Shingon, the millennium-old esoteric Buddhism of Japan, and used that as the basis for developing a unique lay practice grounded in the principles and concepts of the Mahayana version of the Nirvana Sutra.
Ito’s wish was to help his practitioners see their own potential for goodness so that they, too, would be inspired to work diligently to shape and give form to their inner buddha. Rather than encouraging his followers to believe in a fixed system of practice or beliefs, Ito taught how to live life in accordance with one’s buddha nature—and the gratitude, creativity, and happiness latent within it.
Beautiful Adornment of Mount Meru
Coming December 2019
The lucid literary style of Beautiful Adornment of Mount Meru has made it a classic in the study of Indian philosophical thought, both in Tibetan monasteries and contemporary academic circles.
Beautiful Adornment of Mount Meru is a work of doxography, presenting the distinctive philosophical tenets of the Indian Buddhist and non-Buddhist schools in a systematic manner that ascends through increasingly more subtle views. It is a Tibetan corollary to contemporary histories of philosophy. The “Mount Meru” of the title is the Buddha’s teachings, and Changkya’s work excels in particular in its treatment of the two Mahayana Buddhist schools, the Yogācāra (here called the Vijñaptimātra) and the Madhyamaka. Beautiful Adornment is often praised for the clarity of its prose and its economical use of citations from Indian texts. It skillfully examines core philosophical issues, supplemented with several intriguing ancillary discussions, and draws heavily on the works of Tsongkhapa and his disciples in the Geluk tradition he founded.
Mind Seeing Mind
A definitive study of one of the most important practice lineages in Tibetan Buddhism, with translations of its key texts.
Mahāmudrā, the “great seal,” refers to the ultimate nature of mind and reality, to a meditative practice for realizing that ultimate reality, and to the final fruition of buddhahood. It is especially prominent in the Kagyü tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, so it sometimes comes as a surprise that mahāmudrā has played an important role in the Geluk school, where it is part of a special transmission received in a vision by the tradition’s founder, Tsongkhapa. Mahāmudrā is a significant component of Geluk ritual and meditative life, widely studied and taught by contemporary masters such as the Dalai Lama.
Roger Jackson’s Mind Seeing Mind offers us both a definitive scholarly study of the history, texts, and doctrines of Geluk mahāmudrā and masterful translations of its seminal texts. It provides a skillful survey of the Indian sources of the teaching, illuminates the place of mahāmudrā among Tibetan Buddhist schools, and details the history and major textual sources of Geluk mahāmudrā. Jackson also addresses critical questions, such as the relation between Geluk and Kagyü mahāmudrā, and places mahāmudrā in the context of contemporary religious studies. The translation portion of Mind Seeing Mind includes ten texts on mahāmudrā history, ritual, and practice.
Mind Seeing Mind adds considerably to our understanding of Tibetan Buddhist spirituality and shows how mahāmudrā came to be woven throughout the fabric of the Geluk tradition.
What Makes You So Busy?
Coming December 2019
Khenpo Sodargye, a world-famous Tibetan Buddhist lama and scholar, offers guidance on an issue that troubles so many of us in the modern world: What is true happiness, and how do we achieve it?
Bombarded with information, endlessly pursuing possessions—we look for happiness in all the wrong places. Khenpo Sodargye, one of the busiest Buddhist teachers in the world, shows us how to redirect our attention away from such distractions and instead calm our minds and find true contentment.
The Faults of Meat
Should all Buddhists be vegetarian?
Vegetarianism is an important topic of debate in Buddhist circles—some argue that Buddhists should avoid meat entirely while others suggest that it is acceptable. For the most part, however, this ethical query has been conducted in the West without consulting traditional literature on the subject. The Faults of Meat brings together for the first time a collection of rich and intricate explorations of authoritative Tibetan views on eating meat. These fourteen nuanced texts, ranging from scholastic treatises to poetic verse, reveal vegetarianism as a significant, ongoing issue of debate for Tibetans across time and traditions, with a wide variety of voices marshaled against meat, and a few in favor. Authors include many important Tibetan teachers:
Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen (1292–1361)
Khedrup Jé (1385–1438)
The eighth Karmapa, Mikyö Dorjé (1507–1554)
Shabkar Tsokdrük Rangdröl (1781–1851)
Khenpo Tsultrim Lodrö (1961– )
and many more.
These Buddhist teachers recognize both the ethical problems that surround meat eating and the practical challenges of maintaining a vegetarian diet; their skilled arguments are illuminated further by the translators’ introductions to each work.
The perspectives in The Faults of Meat are strikingly relevant to our discussions of vegetarianism today; they introduce us to new approaches and solutions to a contentious issue for Buddhists.
The Illustrated Lotus Sutra
The Lotus Sutra is regarded as one of the world’s great religious scriptures and most influential texts. It’s a seminal work in the development of Buddhism throughout East Asia and, by extension, in the development of Mahayana Buddhism throughout the world. Taking place in a vast and fantastical cosmic setting, the Lotus Sutra places emphasis on skillfully doing whatever is needed to serve and compassionately care for others, on breaking down distinctions between the fully enlightened buddha and the bodhisattva who vows to postpone salvation until all beings may share it, and especially on each and every being’s innate capacity to become a buddha.
This illustrated edition features more than 110 full-page and two-page illustrations by a world-renowned and award-winning artist, and brings the fantastical and image-filled world of the Lotus Sutra vividly to life. Demi’s illustrations are both classical and contemporary in feel, perfectly complementing Reeves’s masterful and modern translation.
Following in the Buddha’s Footsteps
Delve into the substance of spiritual practice in this fourth volume of the Dalai Lama’s definitive series on the path to awakening, Following in the Buddha’s Footsteps. You’ll first hear His Holiness’s explanation of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, why they are reliable guides on the path, and how to relate to them. His Holiness then describes the three essential trainings common to all Buddhist traditions: the higher trainings in ethical conduct, concentration, and wisdom. These chapters show us how to live a life free of harm to self or others and give us detailed instructions on how to develop single-pointed concentration as well as the higher states of concentration available to an earnest practitioner. In addition, the chapters on wisdom contain in-depth teachings on the noble eightfold path and the four establishments of mindfulness for developing greater awareness and understanding of our body, feelings, mind, and other phenomena. Together, these topics form the core of Buddhist practice.
This is a book to treasure and refer to repeatedly as you begin the path, progress on it, and near the final goal of nirvāṇa.
Tales from the Tibetan Operas
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.
This fine volume, filled with gems of scholarship and imagination to engross and reward readers, students, and scholars alike, is a fitting tribute to one of the brightest leading lights of contemporary Buddhology and Tibetology.
—Janet Gyatso, Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies, Harvard Divinity School
Generations of scholars honor one whose work will influence many generations to come.
—Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Frances Myers Ball Professor of Religion and chair of the Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Keyed to Kapstein’s wide-ranging and deeply informed writings on Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, the pieces collected here form a brilliant constellation of contemporary perspectives on the history, philosophy, and practice of Buddhism in South and Inner Asia. They illuminate both high-relief issues—such as debates about the nature of the self and the meaning of Buddhist “wisdom”—and vital but lesser-known topics in areas like Tibetan art history, the evolution of spiritual lineages, and tantric theory and practice. The reader who delves into this book emerges with a profound appreciation for Matthew Kapstein, whose matchless contributions to the field have inspired so many scholars to such excellence.
—Roger Jackson, John W. Nason Professor of Asian Studies and Religion, emeritus, Carleton College
Reasons and Lives is a celebration of the life and achievements by a star of Tibetan studies in our generation. It is a true gift to all scholars in the field.
—Yael Bentor, professor emerita, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem