Essential Teachings presents the first English translation of a series of talks given in 1974 by the Dalai Lama in Bodh Gaya, India—the site of the Buddha's enlightenment—to a gathering of Tibetan refugees and Western Buddhists. His precise and eloquent commentary on the "Path of the Bodhisattva," one of the most important teaching texts of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, offers a step-by-step guide to thirty-seven practices designed to help cultivate the spirit of compassion for all life and service to others that is at the heart of Buddhism.
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His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual leader of Tibet. He was born on July 6, 1935, to a farming family, in a small hamlet located in Taktser, Amdo, in northeastern Tibet. At the age two, the child, then named Lhamo Dhondup, was recognized as the reincarnation of the previous 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. He was formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama at a public declaration near the town of Bumchen in 1939. His enthronement ceremony as the Dalai Lama was held in Lhasa on February 22, 1940, and he eventually assumed full temporal (political) duties on November 17, 1950, at the age of fifteen, after the People's Republic of China's invasion of Tibet.
During the 1959 Tibetan uprising, the Dalai Lama fled to India, where he currently lives as a refugee. The 14th Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. He has traveled the world and has spoken about the welfare of Tibetans, environment, economics, women's rights, non-violence, interfaith dialogue, physics, astronomy, Buddhism and science, cognitive neuroscience, reproductive health, and sexuality, along with various Mahayana and Vajrayana topics.
"In one book you have marvelous representations of what the Tibetans call the two interpenetrating aspects of the enlightened mind: its boundless compassion and its "empty" wisdom. On whether we learn how to unite compassion with the 'wisdom of emptiness,' how both to care enough to work with enough selfless detachment in the middle of raging and devouring chaos, depends the future. To that future, this book is a wonderful gift, the gift of a wonderful man whose heart and mind are as spacious as the universe, and whose life is that of an authentic and humble hero of truth."
-from the Introduction by Andrew Harvey
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