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Essential Tibetan Buddhism
ISBN 0062510517 / 9780062510518 / 0-06-251051-7
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In this highly readable collection, Robert Thurman brings together the jewels of Tibetan literature that have made their own distinctive contribution to "the great river of Buddhism." He introduces the selection with an overview of essential Buddhist thought, orienting the reader with a history of Buddhism's development, from its origins in India, expansion across Asia, and flowering on Tibetan soil. Explaining the distinctive attainment of Tibetan Buddhist civilization as "the vivid sense of Buddhas in ordinary, daily reality," Thurman guides readers through selections that speak to the possibility of liberation for all beings. Stressing also the importance of the teacher or mentor figure in Tibetan Buddhist practice, he presents key texts from teachers whose words serve as inspiration to those seeking the path toward enlightenment. Excerpts culled from the vastness of the Tibetan canon include the hymns to the liberator goddess Tara, pieces from The Tibetan Book of the Dead, writings on mentor worship from the first Panchen Lama, and selections from esoteric tantric practice texts. The volume ends with the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize lecture by Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, illustrating the enduring relevance of this ancient wisdom for modern life. --Uma Kukathas [via]