José Ignacio Cabezón is XIVth Dalai Lama Professor of Tibetan Buddhism and Cultural Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. He studied physics as an undergraduate at Caltech, trained as a monk at Sera Monastery in India, translated for the Dalai Lama into Spanish, and in 1987 earned his PhD from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Before coming to Santa Barbara, he was on the faculty of the Iliff School of Theology in Denver from 1989–2001. Cabezón is the author or editor of a dozen books and many more articles on various aspects of Tibetan religion and religious studies, with research interests as diverse as Madhyamaka philosophy, Buddhism and sex, and Tibetan ritual. His latest publication, the Sera Project, is a peer-reviewed database of essays, over 1400 images, and an interactive map of Sera Monastery in Lhasa, Tibet.
“No great university has ever had its history written so beautifully or so authoritatively. Sera Monastic University is one of the “three seats,” the premier academic institutions in Tibet (now continuing in exile in India). It has produced a staggering number of influential scholars, adepts, and national leaders, and its history is densely interwoven with that of Tibet and the Geluk lineage. In this meticulously researched and elegantly written study, José Cabezón and Penpa Dorjee present a history of a great academic and religious institution, but also undertake a powerful investigation of the role of great institutions of higher education in the formation of national and religious identity, and of the role of academic monasteries in the history and present of Tibet. Not only that, the vibrant prose and absorbing narrative make for compelling reading.”—Jay L. Garfield, Doris Silbert Professor in the Humanities, Smith College and the Harvard Divinity School
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.
- 6 x 9 inches
- ISBN 9781614296126
Penpa Dorjee is associate professor and head librarian of Shantarakshita Library of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, India. He received the acharya degree from Sampurnanada Sanskrit University in Varanasi and his PhD from the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies. He has seventeen books to his credit as author, coauthor, translator, or editor.
Beyond Tranquility is an invitation to inner experience. In these pages, one of Buddhism’s most respected scholar-sages creatively distills decades of practice, reflection, and teaching into essential truths. Touching on the full scope of core Buddhist philosophical and meditation traditions, Charles Genoud draws on ancient Buddhist suttas, masters like Nagarjuna and Dogen, and even seers and philosophers such as Eckhart, Nietzsche, and Sartre, as well as the great innovators of the modern novel and modern dance. Weaving together the wisdom of these great minds in a poetic style uniquely his own, Genoud invites you into the heart of Buddhist meditation and practice. Here, with the immediacy and wry humor of haiku, he proves an astute and subtle guide to the pitfalls and paradoxes that eventually confront every meditator, and to the most skillful ways through them.
Genoud’s powerful, experiential language transmits the meditative experience rather than merely describing it—and his style will resonate with the teachings of Zen and Dzogchen, the writings of contemplative philosophers, and with dancers and other artists whose work is built upon a “body of presence.”
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.
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
Beautiful Adornment of Mount Meru
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
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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?
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.
Reasons and Lives in Buddhist Traditions
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.
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.
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.
Tibetan Art Calendar 2020
The Tibetan Art Calendar is a beautiful, affordable way to enjoy authentic, meaningful, and deeply inspiring works of sacred art, year-round.
This calendar features the artwork of Tibetan artist Tashi Dhargyal, who paints traditional subjects in the classical style, from goddesses of compassion to fierce protectors of the Buddha’s teachings. Tashi trained with master painter Venerable Sangye Yeshi at a school established at the behest of the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India. For five years he was the artist-in-residence at Ganden Monastery before coming to the United States to continue his craftsmanship. This calendar features his most striking and powerful pieces, which will be enjoyed by Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.
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.
Tibet’s Buddhist monasteries were deeply embedded in the life of the nation, encompassing the religious, the educational, the political, the economic, and the diplomatic. Their centrality has not been fully explained, until now. In this groundbreaking work, José Cabezón and Penpa Dorjee trace the history of Sera—the great monastery just a few miles from the Potala—from its Indian antecedents, to its founding, to its centuries of influence, to its struggle under Chinese occupation, to its renaissance in exile. There is no other work in a European language that explores Buddhist monastic life in such fascinating detail.
Donald Lopez, Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies, University of Michigan
This wonderful work bears witness to one of the most important aspects of Tibetan tradition, its high monastic culture. By examining in detail Sera Monastery, Cabezón and Dorjee provide a unique perspective on the life and culture of a Tibetan monk in premodern Tibet and an excellent description of a distinctive institution. Their account is all the more convincing in that they locate the remarkable culture of Tibetan scholasticism within the trajectory of the history of Buddhist monasticism, thus providing not just a view of the daily monastic routine but also an in-depth understanding of its singular intellectual achievements. Not limiting themselves to the cultural and intellectual aspects of Sera monastery, they also carefully lay out its history and the place that it has played in the real world of Tibetan politics. A wonderful book to immerse oneself in the world of traditional Tibet.
Georges Dreyfus, Jackson Professor of Religion, Williams College
Sera Monastery is an exceedingly important and authoritative source for both Western and Tibetan students and scholars. Cabezón and Dorjee have long standing personal and professional ties to the monastery, giving them all the necessary credentials to write this important book, which opens up for the reader the world of Tibetan Buddhist higher education both in Tibet and in exile.
Yangsi Rinpoche, president, Maitripa College