Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism

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9781559390286: Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism

For a comprehensive and eminently comprehensible overview of Tibetan Buddhism, look to Power's substantial Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism.Booklist

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From the Publisher:

This book is intended to meet a growing need for an introduction to Tibetan Buddhism written specifically for people with little or no previous exposure to the tradition. Its scope is broad, encompassing history/ philosophy, ritual, architecture, and a range of other subjects, but It still only scratches the surface, of this ancient and rich culture. The first part of the book explores the Indian background in which Buddhism arose. It focuses on the figure of the Buddha, some important doctrines attributed to him, the practice and theory of Buddhist meditation, and the main distinctions between the Mahayana and Hinayana schools. Part two is concerned with the history and culture of Tibet find examines its early religious history, the present day situation of Tibetan Buddhism, and some important aspects of the daily religious life of Tibetan Buddhists. Part three looks at the tantra system at the most influential teaching lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, focusing on their histories, important figures, and distinctive practices. The scope of the project lies beyond the expertise of any researcher, and would like to acknowledge my thanks to the many people who aided in the process of writing, editing, and correcting the various stages of the manuscript. Sidney Piburn of Snow Lion Publications deserves credit for initiating the project and for his help throughout, and Joe Wilson's comments and corrections of the first section made me think some of my initial assumptions. Thanks are also due to William Magee for his careful reading of the manuscript and for his comments; I would like to acknowledge the numerous suggestions of my students at Grinnell College, who helped me understand how to present Tibetan Buddhism in ways that make sense to an undergraduate audience. Ronald Davidson's critique of the Sakya chapter greatly contributed to significant changes in the final version and filled in some important technical details. I would thank Paul Hackett, South Asian Bibliographer at the University of Virginia, for valuable information on sources. Sylvia Gretchen’s contributions in proofreading the Nyingma chapter and suggesting corrections are deeply appreciated. A special debt or gratitude is owed to Jeffrey Hopkins, my graduate advisor, whose unstinting help and advice provided me with a paradigm for an academic mentor. My wife Cindy has also made significant contributions to this project, both in terms of material support and through her help and encouragement. Her explanations of contemporary Western psychology and counseling techniques were very helpful in reaching an understanding of how they differ from Buddhist meditation practices. A number of Tibetan scholars have contributed significantly to this book, among them the late Kensur Yeshe Thubten of Loseling Monastic College, with whom I studied in graduate school and during a year in India. Throughout my time in graduate school, Geshe Jambel Thardo patiently answered questions and provided oral instructions on a wide range of subjects, and much of my understanding of the Gelukpa scholastic systems due to him. Thanks are also due to Geshe Palden Dragpa of Tibet House in Delhi and Georges Dreyfus of Williams College, who Initiated me into the subtleties of Tibetan oral debate. While in India in 1988, many productive hours were spent discussing Buddhist philosophy with Professor Yeshe Thabkhe of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies. I would also like to thank H.H. the Dalai Lama for making time in his busy schedule to talk with me and for the insights provided by his public lectures. The patient explanations of Khamtrul Rinpoche concerning the preliminary practices of Nyingma and. Slanngpo Rinpoche's classes on tantric practice were crucial factors in my developing understanding of the Nyingma tradition. Thanks are also due to Khenpo Konchok Gyeltsen for his many helpful talks on the Kagyu school and his making time to answer questions. During the years I have studied Tibetan Buddhism and lived with Tibetans, it has become clear to me that this tradition is one of the richest shared legacies of humankind. It is my hope that this book will help make Tibetan Buddhism more accessible to interested students and that it will benefit sentient beings everywhere.

From the Back Cover:

"The best single-volume introduction to Tibetan Buddhist practice and culture."--Library Journal

"For a comprehensive and eminently comprehensible overview of Tibetan Buddhism, look to Power's substantial Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism."--Booklist, the American Library Association

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