Thursday, 6 December 2012

Tibetan Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism[1] is the body of Buddhist religious doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet and certain regions of the Himalayas, including northern Nepal, Bhutan, and India (particularly in Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Dharamsala, Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, and Sikkim). It is the state religion of Bhutan.[2] It is also practiced in Mongolia and parts of Russia (Kalmykia, Buryatia, and Tuva) and Northeast China. Texts recognized as scripture and commentary are contained in the Tibetan Buddhist canon, such that Tibetan is a spiritual language of these areas.
A Tibetan diaspora has spread Tibetan Buddhism to many Western countries, where the tradition has gained popularity.[3] Among its prominent exponents is the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. The number of its adherents is estimated to be between ten and twenty million.[4]



[edit] Buddhahood

Bodhnath Stūpa in Kathmandu, Nepal; stupas symbolize the mind of a Buddha
Tibetan Buddhism comprises the teachings of the three vehicles of Buddhism: the Foundational Vehicle, Mahāyāna, and Vajrayāna. The Mahāyāna goal of spiritual development is to achieve the enlightenment of Buddhahood in order to most efficiently help all other sentient beings attain this state.[5] The motivation in it is the bodhicitta mind of enlightenment — an altruistic intention to become enlightened for the sake of all sentient beings.[6] Bodhisattvas are revered beings who have conceived the will and vow to dedicate their lives with bodhicitta for the sake of all beings. Tibetan Buddhism teaches methods for achieving Buddhahood more quickly by including the Vajrayāna path in Mahāyāna.[7]
Buddhahood is defined as a state free of the obstructions to liberation as well as those to omniscience.[8] When, in Buddhahood, one is freed from all mental obscurations,[9] one is said to attain a state of continuous bliss mixed with a simultaneous cognition of emptiness,[10] the true nature of reality.[11] In this state, all limitations on one's ability to help other living beings are removed.[12]
It is said that there are countless beings who have attained Buddhahood.[13] Buddhas spontaneously, naturally and continuously perform activities to benefit all sentient beings.[14] However it is believed that one's karma could limit the ability of the Buddhas to help them. Thus, although Buddhas possess no limitation from their side on their ability to help others, sentient beings continue to experience suffering as a result of the limitations of their own former negative actions.[15]

[edit] General methods of practice

Buddhist monk Geshe Konchog Wangdu reads Mahayana sutras from an old woodblock copy of the Tibetan Kanjur

[edit] Transmission and realization

There is a long history of oral transmission of teachings in Tibetan Buddhism. Oral transmissions by lineage holders traditionally can take place in small groups or mass gatherings of listeners and may last for seconds (in the case of a mantra, for example) or months (as in the case of a section of the canon). A transmission can even occur without actually hearing, as in Asaṅga's visions of Maitreya.
An emphasis on oral transmission as more important than the printed word derives from the earliest period of Indian Buddhism, when it allowed teachings to be kept from those who should not hear them.[16] Hearing a teaching (transmission) readies the hearer for realization based on it. The person from whom one hears the teaching should have heard it as one link in a succession of listeners going back to the original speaker: the Buddha in the case of a sutra or the author in the case of a book. Then the hearing constitutes an authentic lineage of transmission. Authenticity of the oral lineage is a prerequisite for realization, hence the importance of lineages.
The teaching of buddha.

[edit] Analytic meditation and fixation meditation

Spontaneous realization on the basis of transmission is possible but rare. Normally an intermediate step is needed in the form of analytic meditation, i.e., thinking about what one has heard. As part of this process, entertaining doubts and engaging in internal debate over them is encouraged in some traditions.[17]
Analytic meditation is just one of two general methods of meditation. When it achieves the quality of realization, one is encouraged to switch to "focused" or "fixation" meditation. In this the mind is stabilized on that realization for periods long enough to gradually habituate it to it.
A person's capacity for analytic meditation can be trained with logic. The capacity for successful focused meditation can be trained through calm abiding. A meditation routine may involve alternating sessions of analytic meditation to achieve deeper levels of realization, and focused meditation to consolidate them.[11] The deepest level of realization is Buddhahood itself.

[edit] Devotion to a Guru

As in other Buddhist traditions, an attitude of reverence for the teacher, or guru, is also highly prized.[18] At the beginning of a public teaching, a lama will do prostrations to the throne on which he will teach due to its symbolism, or to an image of the Buddha behind that throne, then students will do prostrations to the lama after he is seated. Merit accrues when one's interactions with the teacher are imbued with such reverence in the form of guru devotion, a code of practices governing them that derives from Indian sources.[19] By such things as avoiding disturbance to the peace of mind of one's teacher, and wholeheartedly following his prescriptions, much merit accrues and this can significantly help improve one's practice.
There is a general sense in which any Tibetan Buddhist teacher is called a lama. A student may have taken teachings from many authorities and revere them all as lamas in this general sense. However, he will typically have one held in special esteem as his own root guru and is encouraged to view the other teachers who are less dear to him, however more exalted their status, as embodied in and subsumed by the root guru.[20] Often the teacher the student sees as root guru is simply the one who first introduced him to Buddhism, but a student may also change his personal view of which particular teacher is his root guru any number of times.

[edit] Skepticism

Skepticism is an important aspect of Tibetan Buddhism, an attitude of critical skepticism is encouraged to promote abilities in analytic meditation. In favour of skepticism towards Buddhist doctrines in general, Tibetans are fond of quoting sutra to the effect that one should test the Buddha's words as one would the quality of gold.[21]
The opposing principles of skepticism and guru devotion are reconciled with the Tibetan injunction to scrutinise a prospective guru thoroughly before finally adopting him as such without reservation. A Buddhist may study with a lama for decades before finally accepting him as his own guru.

[edit] Preliminary practices and approach to Vajrayāna

The Vajrayāna deity, Vajrasattva
Vajrayāna is acknowledged to be the fastest method for attaining Buddhahood but for unqualified practitioners it can be dangerous.[22] To engage in it one must receive an appropriate initiation (also known as an "empowerment") from a lama who is fully qualified to give it. From the time one has resolved to accept such an initiation, the utmost sustained effort in guru devotion is essential.
The aim of preliminary practices (ngöndro) is to start the student on the correct path for such higher teachings.[23] Just as Sutrayāna preceded Vajrayāna historically in India, so sutra practices constitute those that are preliminary to tantric ones. Preliminary practices include all Sutrayāna activities that yield merit like hearing teachings, prostrations, offerings, prayers and acts of kindness and compassion, but chief among the preliminary practices are realizations through meditation on the three principle stages of the path: renunciation, the altruistic bodhicitta wish to attain enlightenment and the wisdom realizing emptiness. For a person without the basis of these three in particular to practice Vajrayāna can be like a small child trying to ride an unbroken horse.[24]
While the practices of Vajrayāna are not known in Sutrayāna, all Sutrayāna practices are common to Vajrayāna. Without training in the preliminary practices, the ubiquity of allusions to them in Vajrayāna is meaningless and even successful Vajrayāna initiation becomes impossible.
The merit acquired in the preliminary practices facilitates progress in Vajrayāna. While many Buddhists may spend a lifetime exclusively on sutra practices, however, an amalgam of the two to some degree is common. For example, in order to train in calm abiding, one might use a tantric visualisation as the meditation object.

[edit] Esotericism

In Vajrayāna particularly, Tibetan Buddhists subscribe to a voluntary code of self-censorship, whereby the uninitiated do not seek and are not provided with information about it. This self-censorship may be applied more or less strictly depending on circumstances such as the material involved. A depiction of a mandala may be less public than that of a deity. That of a higher tantric deity may be less public than that of a lower. The degree to which information on Vajrayāna is now public in western languages is controversial among Tibetan Buddhists.
Buddhism has always had a taste for esotericism since its earliest period in India.[25] Tibetans today maintain greater or lesser degrees of confidentiality also with information on the vinaya and emptiness specifically. In Buddhist teachings generally, too, there is caution about revealing information to people who may be unready for it. Esoteric values in Buddhism have made it at odds with the values of Christian missionary activity, for example in contemporary Mongolia.

[edit] Wrathful bodhisattvas

The most distinctive point in Tibetan Buddhism is the concept of the Wrathful (or Terrifying) bodhisattvas. Coming from the concept of Vajyarana that "Everything" is Voidness, and thus in Vajrayana monks not only work with concepts of "Good"; but they also work with concepts of "Evil". In Vajrayana Buddhism both "good" and "evil" aspects are mixed together, and people and lamas work and study with all of them. The most important consequence from this; is that from now and then many lamas are involved in scandals, corruption or crimes, because they just act as Wrathful bodhisattvas like Mahakala, Yamantaka, Dorje Phagmo, Vajrapani and others. Wrathful in Tibetan is said Dragpo or Drakpo.[26]
The symbol of these Terrifying boddhisattvas is the kapala: a half skull filled with blood.

[edit] Reincarnating lamas: the Tulkus

Another important point in Tibetan Buddhism, is the famous concept of the Tulku or Trulku, which means that lamas make a "reincarnation", and the disciples look for the child as the new "body" of their old master. The word "tulku" literally means Body of Emanation; in Sanskrit is Nirmanakaya.

[edit] Native Tibetan developments

Some commentators have emphasised Tibetan innovations such as the system of incarnate lamas,[27] but such genuine innovations have been few.[28] True to its roots in the Pāla system of North India, however, Tibetan Buddhism carried on a tradition of eclectic accumulation and systematisation of diverse Buddhist elements, and pursued their synthesis. Prominent among these achievements are the Stages of the Path and motivational training.

[edit] Study of tenet systems

Monks debating in Drepung Monastery
Tibetan Buddhists practice one or more understandings of the true nature of reality, the emptiness of inherent existence of all things. Emptiness is propounded according to four classical Indian schools of philosophical tenets.
Two belong to the older path of the Foundation Vehicle:
The primary source for the former is the Abhidharma-kośa by Vasubandhu and its commentaries. The Abhidharmakośa is also an important source for the Sautrāntikas. Dignāga and Dharmakīrti are the most prominent exponents.
The other two are Mahayana (Skt. Greater Vehicle) (Tib. theg-chen):
Yogacārins base their views on texts from Maitreya, Asaṅga and Vasubandhu, Madhyamakas on Nāgārjuna and Āryadeva. There is a further classification of Madhyamaka into Svatantrika-Madhyamaka and Prasaṅgika-Madhyamaka. The former stems from Bhavaviveka, Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla, and the latter from Buddhapālita and Candrakīrti.
The tenet system is used in the monasteries and colleges to teach Buddhist philosophy in a systematic and progressive fashion, each philosophical view being more subtle than its predecessor. Therefore the four schools can be seen as a gradual path from a rather easy-to-grasp, "realistic" philosophical point of view, to more and more complex and subtle views on the ultimate nature of reality, that is on emptiness and dependent arising, culminating in the philosophy of the Mādhyamikas, which is widely believed to present the most sophisticated point of view.[29]

[edit] The termas

A surprising development of the text study is the Terma texts. Termas (Treasury Texts) are texts composed by great Lamas; but which are hidden away and occulted to everybody, because that is not the time for the text to be revealed. When the appropriate time will come (often many years), the monks will discover the hidden text; when the world is ready for it.

[edit] History

[edit] Early history

In the reign of King Thothori Nyantsen (5th century CE),[30] a basket of Buddhist scriptures arrived in Tibet from India.[31] Written in Sanskrit, they were not translated into Tibetan until the reign of king Songtsän Gampo (618-649).[32] While there is doubt about the level of Songtsän Gampo's interest in Buddhism, it is known that he married a Chinese Tang Dynasty Buddhist princess, Wencheng, who came to Tibet with a statue of Shakyamuni Buddha. It is however clear from Tibetan sources that some of his successors became ardent Buddhists. The records show that Chinese Buddhists were actively involved in missionary activity in Tibet, they did not have the same level of imperial support as Indian Buddhists, with tantric lineages from Bihar and Bengal.[33]
According to a Tibetan legendary tradition, Songtsän Gampo also married a Nepalese Buddhist princess, Bhrikuti. By the second half of the 8th century he was already regarded as an embodiment of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara.[34]
The successors of Songtsän Gampo were less enthusiastic about the propagation of Buddhism but in the 8th century, King Trisong Detsen (755-797) established it as the official religion of the state.[35] He invited Indian Buddhist scholars to his court. In his age the famous tantric mystic Padmasambhāva arrived in Tibet according to the Tibetan tradition. In addition to writing a number of important scriptures, some of which he hid for future tertons to find, Padmasambhāva, along with Śāntarakṣita, established the Nyingma school.
The outlines of the history of Buddhism in Tibet from this time are well-known.[36] At this early time also, from the south came the influence of scholars under the Pāla dynasty in the Indian state of Magadha. They had achieved a blend of Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna that has come to characterize all forms of Tibetan Buddhism. Their teaching in sutra centered on the Abhisamayālankāra, a 4th century Yogācārin text, but prominent among them were the Mādhyamika scholars Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla.
A third influence was that of the Sarvāstivādins from Kashmir in the south west[37] and Khotan in the north west.[38] Although they did not succeed in maintaining a presence in Tibet, their texts found their way into the Tibetan Buddhist canon, providing the Tibetans with almost all of their primary sources about the Foundation Vehicle. A subsect of this school, Mūlasarvāstivāda was the source of the Tibetan vinaya.[39]

[edit] The Chinese princess Jincheng (Kon-co) and the Khotanese monks

The Chinese princess Jincheng Gongzhu (zh:金城公主) (?-739), the "real daughter" of the king of Yong, and an adoptive daughter of Emperor Zhongzong of Tang (r. 705-710),[40] was sent to Tibet in 710 where, according to most sources, she married Mes-ag-tshoms, who would have been only six or seven years old at the time.[41] She was known in Tibet as Gyim shang Ong co, or, simply, Kim-sheng or Kong-co, and was a devout Buddhist.
Five Buddhist temples were built at: 'Ching bu nam ra, Kwa chu in Brag dmar, 'Gran bzang, 'Khar brag and sMas gong.[42]
Buddhist monks from Khotan (Li), fleeing the persecutions of an anti-Buddhist king, were given refuge by Kim-sheng about 737. The story of these Khotanese monks is recorded the Li yul lung-btsan-pa or 'Prophecy of the Li Country', a Buddhist history of Khotan which has been preserved as part of the Tibetan Tanjur.
Kim-sheng died during an outbreak of smallpox sometime between 739 and 741. The rise of anti-Buddhist factions in Tibet following the death of the Chinese princess began to blame the epidemic on the support of Buddhism by the king and queen.[43] This forced the monks to flee once again; first to Gandhara, and then to Kosambi in central India where the monks apparently ended up quarrelling and slaughtering each other.[44]
Padmasambhāva, founder of the Nyingmapa, the earliest school of Tibetan Buddhism; note the wide-open eyes, characteristic of a particular method of meditation[45]

[edit] Chan Influence

Tibetan king Khri srong lde btsan (742–797) invited the Chan master Mo Ho Yen (和尚摩訶衍) (whose name consists of the same Chinese characters used to transliterate “Mahayana”) (Tibetan: Hwa shang Mahayana) to transmit the Dharma at Samye Monastery. Mo-ho-yen had been disseminating Dharma in the Tun-huang locale, but, according to Tibetan sources, lost an important philosophical debate on the nature of emptiness with the Indian master Kamalaśīla, and the king declared Kamalaśīla's philosophy should form the basis for Tibetan Buddhism.[46][47] Kamalaśīla wrote the three Bhāvanākrama texts (修習次第三篇) after that. However, a Chinese source found in Dunhuang written by Mo-ho-yen says their side won, and some scholars conclude that the entire episode is fictitious.[48][49] Pioneering Buddhologist Giuseppe Tucci speculated that Hwashang's ideas were preserved by the Nyingmapas in the form of dzogchen teachings.[50] According to A. W. Barber of the University of Calgary,[51] Chan Buddhism was introduced to the Nyingmapa in three principal streams: the teachings of Korean Master Kim, Kim Ho-shang, (Chin ho shang) 金和尚 transmitted by Sang Shi[52] in ca. 750 AD; the lineage of Master Wu Chu (無住禪師) of the Pao T'ang School was transmitted within Tibet by Ye-shes Wangpo; and the teaching from Mo-ho-yen, that were a synthesis of the Northern School of Chan and the Pao T'ang School.[53] John Myrdhin Reynolds and Sam van Schaik hold a very different point of view. Reynolds states "Except for a brief flirtation with Ch'an in the early days of Buddhism in Tibet in the eighth century, the Tibetans exhibited almost no interest at all in Chinese Buddhism, except for translating a few Sutras from Chinese for which they did not possess Indian originals."[54] Schaik emphasises that Chan and Dzogchen are based on two different classes of scripture, Chan being based on sutras, while Dzogchen being based on tantras.[55] Schaik further states "apparent similarities can be misleading."[55]
Whichever may be the case, Tibetan Buddhists today trace their spiritual roots to Indian masters such as Padmasambhāva, Atiśa, Tilopa, Naropa and their later Tibetan students.

[edit] Later history

From the outset Buddhism was opposed by the native shamanistic Bön religion, which had the support of the aristocracy, but with royal patronage it thrived to a peak under King Rälpachän (817-836). Terminology in translation was standardised around 825, enabling a translation methodology that was highly literal. Despite a reversal in Buddhist influence which began under King Langdarma (836-842), the following centuries saw a colossal effort in collecting available Indian sources, many of which are now extant only in Tibetan translation.
Tibetan Buddhism exerted a strong influence from the 11th century AD among the peoples of Inner Asia, especially the Mongols. It was adopted as an official state religion by the Mongol Yuan dynasty and the Manchu Qing dynasty that ruled China. The Mongols may have been attracted to the Lamaist tradition and responded the way they did due to the Lamaist's superficial culture similarities with the Mongol's shamanist culture. Even with this attraction, however, the Mongols "paid little attention to the fine points of Buddhist doctrine."[56] Coinciding with the early discoveries of "hidden treasures" (terma),[57] the 11th century saw a revival of Buddhist influence originating in the far east and far west of Tibet.[58] In the west, Rinchen Zangpo (958-1055) was active as a translator and founded temples and monasteries. Prominent scholars and teachers were again invited from India. In 1042 Atiśa arrived in Tibet at the invitation of a west Tibetan king. This renowned exponent of the Pāla form of Buddhism from the Indian university of Vikramaśīla later moved to central Tibet. There his chief disciple, Dromtonpa founded the Kadampa school of Tibetan Buddhism, under whose influence the New Translation schools of today evolved.

[edit] Schools

Genealogy of Tibetan Buddhist schools
Kalu Rinpoche (right) and Lama Denys at Karma Ling Institute in Savoy
Tibetan Buddhism has four main traditions:
  • Kagyu(pa), “Lineage of the (Buddha's) Word”. This is an oral tradition which is very much concerned with the experiential dimension of meditation. Its most famous exponent was Milarepa, an 11th century mystic. It contains one major and one minor subsect. The first, the Dagpo Kagyu, encompasses those Kagyu schools that trace back to the Indian master Naropa via Marpa, Milarepa and Gampopa[60] and consists of four major sub-sects: the Karma Kagyu, headed by a Karmapa, the Tsalpa Kagyu, the Barom Kagyu, and Pagtru Kagyu. There are a further eight minor sub-sects, all of which trace their root to Pagtru Kagyu and the most notable of which are the Drikung Kagyu and the Drukpa Kagyu. The once-obscure Shangpa Kagyu, which was famously represented by the 20th century teacher Kalu Rinpoche, traces its history back to the Indian master Naropa via Niguma, Sukhasiddhi and Kyungpo Neljor.[60]
  • Sakya(pa), “Grey Earth”. This school very much represents the scholarly tradition. Headed by the Sakya Trizin, this tradition was founded by Khon Konchog Gyalpo, a disciple of the great translator Drokmi Lotsawa and traces its lineage to the Indian master Virupa.[60] A renowned exponent, Sakya Pandita 1182–1251CE was the great grandson of Khon Konchog Gyalpo.
  • Gelug(pa), “Way of Virtue”. Originally a reformist movement, this tradition is particularly known for its emphasis on logic and debate. Its spiritual head is the Ganden Tripa and its temporal one the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama is regarded as the embodiment of the Bodhisattva of Compassion.[62] Successive Dalai Lamas ruled Tibet from the mid-17th to mid-20th centuries. The order was founded in the 14th to 15th century by Je Tsongkhapa, renowned for both his scholasticism and his virtue.
These major schools are sometimes said to constitute the ”Old Translation” and ”New Translation” traditions, the latter following from the historical Kadampa lineage of translations and tantric lineages. Another common differentiation is into "Red Hat" and "Yellow Hat" schools. The correspondences are as follows:
Old TranslationNew TranslationNew TranslationNew Translation
Red HatRed HatRed HatYellow Hat

Besides these major schools, there is a minor one, the Jonang. The Jonangpa were suppressed by the rival Gelugpa in the 17th century and were once thought extinct, but are now known to survive in Eastern Tibet. It has been recognized by the Dalai Lama as fifth living Buddhist tradition of Tibet.
Thuken Chökyi Nyima's Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems is a classic history of the different schools provides broad and useful historical information.[63]
The pre-Buddhist religion of Bön has also been recognized by Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama, as a principal spiritual school of Tibet.[64]
There is also an ecumenical movement known as Rimé.[65]

[edit] Monasticism

Lamayuru monastery
Although there were many householder-yogis in Tibet, monasticism was the foundation of Buddhism in Tibet. There were over 6,000 monasteries in Tibet, however nearly all of these were ransacked and destroyed by Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution.[66] Most of the major monasteries have been at least partially re-established while, many other ones remain in ruins.
In Mongolia during the 1920s, approximately one third of the male population were monks, though many lived outside monasteries. By the beginning of the 20th century about 750 monasteries were functioning in Mongolia.[67] These monasteries were largely dismantled during Communist rule, but many have been reestablished during the Buddhist revival in Mongolia[citation needed] which followed the fall of Communism.
Monasteries generally adhere to one particular school. Some of the major centers in each tradition are as follows:

[edit] Nyingma

The Nyingma lineage is said to have "six mother monasteries," although the composition of the six has changed over time:
Also of note is

[edit] Kagyu

Many Kagyu monasteries are in Kham, eastern Tibet. Tsurphu, one of the most important, is in central Tibet, as is Ralung and Drikung.

[edit] Sakya

[edit] Gelug

The three most important centers of the Gelugpa lineage which are also called 'great three' Gelukpa university monasteries of Tibet, are Ganden, Sera and Drepung Monasteries, near Lhasa:
Three other monasteries have particularly important regional influence:
Great spiritual and historical importance is also placed on:
The statue of Buddha in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

[edit] Tibetan Buddhism in the contemporary world

Today, Tibetan Buddhism is adhered to widely in the Tibetan Plateau, Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia, Kalmykia (on the north-west shore of the Caspian), Siberia and Russian Far East (Tuva and Buryatia). The Indian regions of Sikkim and Ladakh, both formerly independent kingdoms, are also home to significant Tibetan Buddhist populations. In the wake of the Tibetan diaspora, Tibetan Buddhism has gained adherents in the West and throughout the world. Celebrity practitioners include Brandon Boyd, Richard Gere, Adam Yauch, Jet Li, Sharon Stone, Allen Ginsberg, Philip Glass, Mike Barson and Steven Seagal (who has been proclaimed the reincarnation of the tulku Chungdrag Dorje).[68]
In his classic work Buddhism in China (Princeton University Press, 1965), Kenneth Chen proposed the idea that Buddhism adapts itself to its host culture. Adaptations of Buddhism to contemporary Western culture include Tricycle magazine, the modern notion of a dharma center, and Celtic Buddhism.

[edit] Glossary of terms used

Englishspoken TibetanWylie TibetanSanskrit transliteration
analytic meditationjegomdpyad-sgomyauktika dhyāna
calm abidingshinézhi-gnasśamatha
devotion to the gurulama-la tenpabla-ma-la bsten-paguruparyupāsati
fixation meditationjoggom'jog-sgomnibandhita dhyāna
foundational vehiclet’ek mäntheg smanhīnayāna
incarnate lamatülkusprul-skunirmānakāya
inherent existencerangzhingi drubparang-bzhin-gyi grub-pasvabhāvasiddha
mind of enlightenmentchangchub sembyang-chhub semsbodhicitta
motivational traininglojongblo-sbyongautsukya dhyāna
omnisciencet’amcé k’yempathams-cad mkhyen-pasarvajña
preliminary practicesngöndosngon-'groprārambhika kriyāni
root guruzawé lamartsa-ba'i bla-mamūlaguru
stages of the pathlamrimlam-rimpātheya
transmission and realisationlungtoklung-rtogsāgamādhigama

[edit] See also

Tibetan letter "A", the symbol of rainbow body

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ An alternative term, "lamaism", apparently derives from Nepal lama jiao and was used to distinguish Tibetan Buddhism from other buddhism. The term was taken up by western scholars including Hegel, as early as 1822 (Lopez, Donald S. Jr. (1999). Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 6, 19f. ISBN 0-226-49311-3.). Insofar as it implies a discontinuity between Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, the term has been discredited (Conze, 1993).
  2. ^ The 2007 U.S. State Department report on religious freedom in Bhutan notes that "Mahayana Buddhism is the state religion..." and that the Bhutanese government supports both the Kagyu and Nyingma sects.
  3. ^ Statistics on Religion in America Report -- The 2007 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Survey estimates that although Tibetan Buddhism adherents are less than 0.3 percent of the population, Buddhism has had a 0.5 net increase in reported adherents.
  4. ^ estimates twenty million for Lamaism (Vajrayana/Tibetan/Tantric).
  5. ^ Cf. Dhargyey (1978), 111; Pabongka Rinpoche, 533f; Tsong-kha-pa II: 48-9
  6. ^ Thurman, Robert (1997). Essential Tibetan Buddhism. Castle Books: 291
  7. ^ Thurman, Robert (1997): 2-3
  8. ^ Cf. Dhargyey (1978), 64f; Dhargyey (1982), 257f, etc; Pabongka Rinpoche, 364f; Tsong-kha-pa II: 183f. The former are the afflictions, negative states of mind, and the three poisons – desire, anger, and ignorance. The latter are subtle imprints, traces or "stains" of delusion that involves the imagination of inherent existence.
  9. ^ Pabongka Rinpoche, 152f
  10. ^ Pabongka Rinpoche, 243, 258
  11. ^ a b Hopkins (1996)
  12. ^ Dhargyey (1978), 61f; Dhargyey (1982), 242-266; Pabongka Rinpoche, 365
  13. ^ Pabongka Rinpoche, 252f
  14. ^ Pabongka Rinpoche, 367
  15. ^ Dhargyey (1978), 74; Dhargyey (1982), 3, 303f; Pabongka Rinpoche, 13f, 280f; Berzin, Alexander (2002). Introductory Comparison of Hinayana and Mahayana
  16. ^ Conze (1993): 26
  17. ^ Cf.Pabongka Rinpoche, 66, 212f
  18. ^ Lama is the literal Tibetan translation of the Sanskrit guru. For a traditional perspective on devotion to the guru, see Tsong-ka-pa I, 77-87. For a current perspective on the guru-disciple relationship in Tibetan Buddhism, see Berzin, Alexander. Relating to a Spiritual Teacher: Building a Healthy Relationship
  19. ^ notably, Gurupancasika, Tib.: Lama Ngachupa, Wylie: bla-ma lnga-bcu-pa, “Fifty Verses of Guru-Devotion” by Aśvaghoṣa
  20. ^ Indian tradition (Cf. Saddharmapundarika Sutra II, 124) encourages the student to view the guru as representative of the Buddha himself.
  21. ^ "Do not accept my Dharma merely out of respect for me, but analyze and check it the way a goldsmith analyzes gold, by rubbing, cutting and melting it." (Ghanavyuhasutra; sTug-po bkod-pa'i mdo); A Sutra [on Pure Realms] Spread Out in a Dense Array, as quoted in translation in The Berzin Archives. On the same need for skepticism in the satipatthāna tradition of Theravada Buddhism, cf. Nyanaponika Thera (1965), 83. Further on skepticism in Buddhism generally, see the article, Buddhist philosophy.
  22. ^ Pabonka, p.649
  23. ^ Kalu Rinpoche (1986), The Gem Ornament of Manifold Instructions. Snow Lion, p. 21.
  24. ^ Pabongka Rinpoche, 649
  25. ^ Cf. Conze (1993), 26 and 52f.
  26. ^ see for example in The Guardian
  27. ^ Tib.: tulku, Wylie: sprul-ku
  28. ^ Conze (1993). Moreover, that even this is a distinctly Tibetan development is disputable. Two centuries before Buddhism was introduced to Tibet, in the fifth century CE, the Abhidharma teacher Buddhaghoṣa was declared by Sri Lankan elders to be a reincarnation of the bodhisattva Maitreya. Berzin, Alexander (2002). Introductory Comparison of Hinayana and Mahayana
  29. ^ Sopa & Hopkins (1977), 67-69; Hopkins (1996). Non-Tibetan scholars have suggested that historically, Madhyamaka predates Cittamātra, however. Cf. Conze (1993).
  30. ^ On this date, see Richardson, Hugh: "The Origin of the Tibetan Kingdom", in: The History of Tibet, ed. Alex McKay, Vol. 1, London 2003, p. 159. Traditional Tibetan sources state that this event occurred rather in 233 CE.
  31. ^ According to a Tibetan legendary tradition, they fell from the sky and included Kāraṇḍavyūhasūtra: Studholme, Alexander: The Origins of Om Manipadme Hum, Albany, NY 2002, pp. 13-14.
  32. ^ Berzin, Alexander, A Survey of Tibetan History
  33. ^ Powers 2004, pp. 38-39
  34. ^ Macdonald, Alexander: Religion in Tibet at the time of Srong-btsan sgam-po: myth as history, in: The History of Tibet, ed. Alex McKay, Vol. 1, London 2003, p. 354-363 (for the queens see p. 355); Dargyay, Eva: Srong-btsan sgam-po of Tibet: Bodhisattva and king, in: The History of Tibet, ed. Alex McKay, Vol. 1, London 2003, p. 364-378 (for the queens see p. 373).
  35. ^ Beckwith, C.I.: The revolt of 755 in Tibet, in: The History of Tibet, ed. Alex McKay, Vol. 1, London 2003, p. 273-285 (discusses the political background and the motives of the ruler).
  36. ^ Conze, 1993. For more detail, see Berzin, Alexander (1996). The History of the Early Period of Buddhism and Bon in Tibet
  37. ^ Conze, 1993, 106
  38. ^ Berzin, Alexander (2000). Introductory History of the Five Tibetan Traditions of Buddhism and Bon; Berzin, Alexander (1996). The Spread of Buddhism in Asia
  39. ^ Berzin, Alexander, as above
  40. ^ Lee, Don Y. The History of Early Relations between China and Tibet: From Chiu t'ang-shu, a documentary survey, p. 29. (1981). Eastern Press, Bloomington, Indiana. ISBN 0-939758-00-8.
  41. ^ Wangdu and Diemberger (2000), pp. 33-34 and n. 56.
  42. ^ Wangdu and Diemberger (2000), pp. 33-35 and n. 56.
  43. ^ Ancient Tibet, p. 253.
  44. ^ Hill (1988), pp. 179-180
  45. ^ Wallace, 1999: 183.
  46. ^ 定解宝灯论新月释
  47. ^ Yamaguchi, Zuihō (undated). The Core Elements of Indian Buddhism Introduced into Tibet: A Contrast with Japanese Buddhism. Source: (accessed: October 20, 2007)
  48. ^ 敦煌唐代写本顿悟大乘正理决
  49. ^ Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism (Volume One), page 70
  50. ^ Masao Ichishima, "Sources of Tibetan Buddhist Meditation." Buddhist-Christian Studies, Vol. 2, (1982), pp. 121-122, published by University of Hawai'i Press.
  51. ^ A.W. Barber
  52. ^ Sang Shi later became an abbot of Samye Monastery.
  53. ^ Barber, A. W. (1990). "The Unifying of Rdzogs Pa Chen Po and Ch'an". Chung-Hwa Buddhist Journal 3, 04.1990: 301–317.. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  54. ^ Reynolds, John. (accessed: November 18, 2010)
  55. ^ a b RSchaik, Sam van. (accessed: February 27, 2011)
  56. ^ Jerry Bentley, Old World Encounters: Cross-Cultural Contacts and Exchanges in Pre-Modern Times (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 142.
  57. ^ Berzin, Alexander. The Four Traditions of Tibetan Buddhism: Personal Experience, History, and Comparisons
  58. ^ Conze, 1993, 104ff
  59. ^ The Tibetan adjectival suffix -pa is translatable as "-ist" in English.
  60. ^ a b c d Berzin. Alexander (2000). Introductory History of the Five Tibetan Traditions of Buddhism and Bon:
  61. ^ See section: The Nine Yana Journey
  62. ^ Sanskrit: Avalokiteśvara, Tibetan: Chenrezig.
  63. ^ 土觀宗派源流
  64. ^ "In 1978 the Dalai Lama acknowledged the Bon religion as a school with its own practices after visiting the newly built Bon monastery in Dolanji." Tapriza Projects Switzerland [1]
  65. ^ Wylie: ris-med
  66. ^ "Tibetan monks: A controlled life". BBC News. March 20, 2008.
  67. ^ "Mongolia: The Bhudda and the Khan". Orient Magazine.
  68. ^ Statement by H.H. Penor Rinpoche Regarding the Recognition of Steven Seagal as a Reincarnation of the Treasure Revealer Chungdrag Dorje of Palyul Monastery

[edit] References

  • Ancient Tibet: Research Materials from The Yeshe De Project. Dharma Publishing, Berkeley, California. ISBN 0-89800-146-3.
  • Coleman, Graham, ed. (1993). A Handbook of Tibetan Culture. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc.. ISBN 1-57062-002-4.
  • Conze, Edward (1993). A Short History of Buddhism (2nd ed.). Oneworld. ISBN 1-85168-066-7.
  • Dhargyey, Geshe Ngawang; ed. Alexander Berzin, based on oral trans. by Sharpa Tulku (3rd edn, 1978). Tibetan Tradition of Mental Development. Dharmsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. [A pithy lam-rim by a geshe appointed in 1973 by the Dalai Lama as head of the translation team at the Tibetan Library.]
  • Dhargyey, Geshe Ngawang; ed. Alexander Berzin, based on oral trans. by Sharpa Tulku (1982). An Anthology of Well-Spoken Advice on the Graded Paths of the Mind, Vol. I. Dharmsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. ISBN 81-86470-29-8. [The first part of a more extensive lam-rim by a geshe appointed in 1973 by the Dalai Lama as head of the translation team at the Tibetan Library. The language of this publication is very different from that of the 1978 work by the same lama due to widespread changes in choice of English terminology by the translators.]
  • Hill, John E. "Notes on the Dating of Khotanese History." Indo-Iranian Journal, Vol. 13, No. 3 July 1988. To purchase this article see: [2]. An updated version of this article is available for free download (with registration) at: [3]
  • Hopkins, Jeffrey (1996). Meditation on Emptiness. Boston: Wisdom. ISBN 0-86171-110-6. [Definitive treatment of emptiness according to the Prasaṅgika-Madhyamaka school.]
  • Lati Rinpoche; trans. & ed.: Elizabeth Napper (1980). Mind in Tibetan Buddhism: Oral Commentary on Ge-shay Jam-bel-sam-pel’s "Presentation of Awareness and Knowledge Composite of All the Important Points Opener of the Eye of New Intelligence. Valois, NY: Snow Lion. ISBN 0-937938-02-5.
  • Mullin, Glenn H. (1998). Living in the Face of Death: The Tibetan Tradition. 2008 reprint: Snow Lion Publications, Ithica, New York. ISBN 978-1-55939-310-2.
  • Nyanaponika Thera (1965). The Heart of Buddhist Meditation. Boston: Weiser. ISBN 0-87728-073-8.
  • Pabongka Rinpoche; Ed. Trijang Rinpoche, transl. Michael Richards (3rd edn. 2006). Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, A Concise Discourse on the Path to Enlightenment. Somerville, MA: Wisdom. ISBN 0-86171-500-4. [This famous lam-rim text was written from notes on an extended discourse by the Gelugpa geshe, Pabongka Rinpoche in 1921 and translated through extensive consultation with Achok Rinpoche (Library of Tibetan Works and Archives).]
  • Powers, John. History as Propaganda: Tibetan Exiles versus the People's Republic of China (2004) Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-517426-7
  • Ringu Tulku. The Ri-Me Philosophy of Jamgon Kongtrul the Great: A Study of the Buddhist Lineages of Tibet. Shambhala. ISBN 1-59030-286-9.
  • Smith, E. Gene (2001). Among Tibetan Texts: History and Literature of the Himalayan Plateau. Boston: Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-179-3
  • Sopa, Geshe Lhundup; Jeffrey Hopkins (1977). Practice and Theory of Tibetan Buddhism. New Delhi: B.I. Publications. ISBN 0-09-125621-6. [Part Two of this book, ‘’Theory: Systems of Tenets’’ is an annotated translation of ‘’Precious Garland of Tenets (Grub-mtha’ rin-chhen phreng-ba)’’ by Kön-chok-jik-may-wang-po (1728-1791).]
  • The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment
    • Tsong-kha-pa; the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee; Joshua Cutler, ed. in chief; Guy Newland, ed. (2000). The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, Volume I. Canada: Snow Lion. ISBN 1-55939-152-9.
    • Tsong-kha-pa; the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee; Joshua Cutler, ed. in chief; Guy Newland, ed. (2002). The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, Volume II. Canada: Snow Lion. ISBN 1-55939-168-5.
    • Tsong-kha-pa; the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee; Joshua Cutler, ed. in chief; Guy Newland, ed. (2004). The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, Volume III. Canada: Snow Lion. ISBN 1-55939-166-9.
  • Wallace, B. Alan (1999), "The Buddhist Tradition of Samatha: Methods for Refining and Examining Consciousness", Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (2-3): 175-187 .

[edit] Further reading

Introductory books
Other books
  • Coleman, Graham, ed. (1993). A Handbook of Tibetan Culture. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc.. ISBN 1-57062-002-4.
  • Lati Rinpoche; trans. & ed.: Elizabeth Napper (1980). Mind in Tibetan Buddhism: Oral Commentary on Ge-shay Jam-bel-sam-pel’s "Presentation of Awareness and Knowledge Composite of All the Important Points Opener of the Eye of New Intelligence. Valois, NY: Snow Lion. ISBN 0-937938-02-5.
  • Ringu Tulku. The Ri-Me Philosophy of Jamgon Kongtrul the Great: A Study of the Buddhist Lineages of Tibet. Shambhala. ISBN 1-59030-286-9.
  • Smith, E. Gene (2001). Among Tibetan Texts: History and Literature of the Himalayan Plateau. Boston: Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-179-3

[edit] External links

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