Echoes, The Boudhanath Teachings by Thinley Norbu
Buddha’s Echoes in this world
How does one review a book like this? Well, obviously one has to read it first, but then again there are so many reviews out there that are based on misreading or surrounding issues, I myself am guilty of having written a few like that. Now, why would I go into this discussion here? Because this book if read by a wider circle of readers has potential to be quite controversial. From the opening pages where Kyabje Thinley Norbu Rinpoche describes the types of people to be met in the West, both ones that have met the Dharma and ones that have not. To the very direct, non descriptive points made through out the book. As in something along the lines of “According to the Buddha Shakyamuni, the fundamental quality of the Dharma is directness”. And / or a description of how Mahasiddha Saraha became a pure monk through realization that arose through his relationship with the arrowsmith’s daughter. And then a recounting of that point by telling us that realization is the point and in the same time that we do not have to try to all be like Saraha…
And back to the opening pages where there is a description of meeting many people getting confused through the introduction to the Dharma and also many people that try to guide their life through regular common sense who are direct, simple and have good minds…
What I see here through my subjective understanding is direct answers to (sometimes heated, back and forth discussion) personal and general questions. These answers come without any agenda from the mind of one of the greatest exponents of the Dharma of recent times.
While this book can confuse any one with a degree of fixed opinion, either a beginner or person that knows a bit, it is for sure to be very clear and easy to understand if approached with an open mind and motivation of obtainment of the result of direct wisdom teaching.
As is remembered:
Shakyamuni Buddha final words: ‟Impermanence is inherent in all things. Work out your own freedom with diligence”
Most amazing, may it be of benefit.
Guru Rinpoche, His Life and Times by Ngawang Zangpo
An Important introduction to Guru Rinpoche in the contemporary times and translation of Prayer in 7 chapters
This is an important volume of work. Now, just because I said “work” i personally do not feel that it is overly scholarly or in anyway unapproachable. Whenever important books like this, written, compiled, with translations added to, somehow we gain a number of people without Guru Rinpoche as primary interest writing nearly discouraging reviews all about scholarship of the volume. Why? Because it is clear to most that this is a well researched and very well put together book.
Yet, skipping the point of the beautiful hardcover, later issued with amazing dust jacket and going to the actual subject. If you happen to be somewhat familiar with the towering figure of Guru Rinpoche the Padmasambhava also often called The second Buddha. It is an easy and informative read.
With the subject front and center, this one of the important books on the Guru Rinpoche because it includes very well made translations of what is known as the Prayer in seven chapters or the Seven Chapters of Supplications all with brief notes on origin and discovery. Followed directly by the translation of unique to the Tibetan Buddhism type of text where it is explained how to meditate on these. That instruction comes from the lineage of non sectarian King-like scholar Jamgon Kongtrul the great.
All of the texts above are meant to be short and to the point, very easy reading.
An idea of interest and degree of familiarity with Guru Rinpoche would help and where to get that but not from several inspirational sections presiding the translations. All are worth a read for the landscape covered in these just over 100 pages covers India, Tibet and flow of timeless Buddha wisdom, all towards us here, today. Again, it is in my opinion, although is based on scholarship, however is an easy read that is also informative.
A Treasure Trove of Blessings and Protection, the Seven Chapter Prayer of the Great Teacher Padmasambhava translated by Mike Dickman
An Important Translation
Culmination of Guru Rinpoche’s speech, the seven chapters of prayers of supplication.
It is said that all of Guru Rinpoche practice instructions, all of Guru Rinpoche life story and all of transmissions of these can be summed up and connected to through these supplications.
These “7 supplications” come with huge traditional place within lives of many followers of Guru Rinpoche. Both historically and currently.
A very important translation that was waiting to happen. Alas this review is 10 years late, but the importance of this project is not diminished by passage of time, rather it has grown, for many people now can get transmissions and teachings on these with the aid of this translation.
Thank you Mike Dickman.
The Lion’s Roar:
An Introduction to Tantra by Chogyam Trungpa
Nine Yana (path) system of classification of Buddhist Teachings
Within Buddhism of Tibet we encounter a whole range of complete transmissions of Buddhist teachings, a complete set “from top to bottom”. That very “set” is so complete that various parts if compared can be thought to be in conflict!
Actually there was and still is a persistent discussion on how one could integrate these so called paths into one’s understanding and practice. The So called Hinayana, Mahayana and the Vajrayana, all have to work in that short moment you call life and all too often that even sorter moment we call application of Buddhist teachings, practice.
In this book this very traditional to Nyinma and Kagyu framework is explained one by one and in relation to one another, with a brilliant paragraph titled: “The Crazy Wisdom Holder and the Student”, it places student – teacher connection on the path.
The book is based on the two teaching seminars and includes live question answer that are quite unfailingly good.
Cover is of a painting by the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa of Guru Rinpoche the Padmasambhava encountered in a vision.
Crazy Wisdom by Chogyam Trungpa
8 Emanations of Guru Rinpoche the Padmasambhava
Is there a choice, crazy wisdom or not crazy, is wisdom always crazy? Why is this book that contains two, both a week long, seminar transcripts is called thus?
Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa in that life has affected change to the Buddhist landscape of North America more then any other master, even up to now well into the twenty first century.
To summarize topic covered in the original lectures and this book. It is an explanation of what is known as eight emanation of Guru Rinpoche the Padmasambhava and the representation of one known as Dorje Drolo is actually on the cover. And Guru Rinpoche is credited to be the founder of Tibetan Buddhism.
The book covers a life story of Guru Rinpoche through these emanations, activities and names he was known by.
And possibly Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa, just so “fresh-off-the-boat” (two years into his American experience) contemplating the undertaking, of what teacher has to do to lead perspective students away from the neurosis of everyday persistence of that, the meaningless everyday. And onto the path of freedom, path of wisdom, possibly crazy, because it is all-encompassing.
With great, traditional for these books questions and answers.
Gypsy Gossip and Other Advice,
by Kyabje Thinley Norbu
Famous book, a part of which was published several decades ago and I have heard was circulated in a form of photo copies. In many ways the original 67 pages are still too honest and there will be always some people connecting to the text and wandering why it does not attempt to flatter no one. A work requiring high degree of open mindedness because questions are asked (it is in a form of an interview) and Rinpoche gives long careful answers that are like poems, but are answers to real questions not presentations of wishful thinking.
Anyone looking for something that their narrow mind requires to feel good, could feel disappointed because this book comes from simple, sky-like mind and such a vastness looking back at us from the mirror like teacher could unsettle your comfort zones.
A legendary publication reissues by Shambhala with addition of three more parts that make for a hefty volume. A must read for all that consider Kyabje Thinley Norbu Rinpoche work important.
Lama of the Gobi:
How Mongolia’s Mystic Monk Spread Tibetan Buddhism in the World’s Harshest Desert
by Michael Kohn
Mongolia’s Devine Madman
A very good attempt to write a colorful book by someone with the very best motivation.
Danzan Ravjaa was something of a bigger then life figure, a Mongolian Gendun Chophel “divine madman” and highly revered Tulku. Book is very small and an easy read.
Found it it by sitting down on a floor of B&N and landing right in front of it, very happy.