In How the Mind Works, Gelek Rimpoche explores mind and its functions based on a root text and auto-commentary by Kachen Yeshe Gyaltsen. Rimpoche s accessible approach shows us how to use these principles to take charge of our own minds and become more realistic, capable and resilient in all situations.
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Born in Lhasa, Tibet, in 1939, Kyabje Gelek Rimpoche was recognized as an incarnate lama at the age of four. Carefully tutored from an early age by some of Tibet s greatest living masters, Rimpoche gained renown for his powers of memory, intellectual judgment and penetrating insight. As a small child living in a monk s cell in a country with no electricity or running water, and little news of the outside world, he had scoured the pictures of torn copies of Life Magazine for anything he could gather about America. Now Rimpoche brings his life experience and wisdom to both the east and the west. Among the last generation of lamas educated in Drepung Monastery before the Communist Chinese invasion of Tibet, Gelek Rimpoche was forced to flee to India in 1959. He later edited and printed over 170 volumes of rare Tibetan manuscripts that would have otherwise been lost to humanity, many of them only retrieved due to his memorization as a young man. Rimpoche was also instrumental in forming organizations that would share the great wisdom of Tibet with the outside world. In this and other ways, he has played a crucial role in the survival of Tibetan Buddhism. He was director of Tibet house in Delhi, India and a radio host at All India Radio. He conducted over 1000 interviews in compiling an oral history of the fall of Tibet to the Communist Chinese. In the late 1970 s Rimpoche was directed to teach Western students by his teachers, the Senior and Junior Masters to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Kyabje Ling Rimpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rimpoche. Since that time he has taught Buddhist practitioners around the world. Rimpoche is particularly distinguished for his thorough knowledge of English, familiarity with modern culture, and special effectiveness as a teacher of Western practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. He has brought Buddhism into strong dialogue with science, psychology, medicine, metaphysics, politics and the arts, skillfully addressing the dilemma of living a spiritual life in a material world. In 1989, Rimpoche founded Jewel Heart, a Tibetan Buddhist center. His Collected Works now include close to forty transcripts of his teachings, numerous articles as well as the national bestseller Good Life, Good Death (Riverhead Books, 2001) and The Tara Box: Rituals for Protection and Healing from the Female Buddha (New World Library, 2004).Review:
How the Mind Works is a practical guide to look at our own minds and observe it s way of functioning and malfunctioning, as the case may be, in order to learn how to use it to its best capacity and for our own betterment, in ordinary, everyday life as well as for spiritual development. Gelek Rimpoche, highly trained Tibetan Buddhist meditation master and scholar from a tradition that has been investigating the mind and providing mind training methods for 2500 years, brings to us in simple layman s terms a thoroughly analysis of our mind and mental functions. First he illuminates the general characteristics of mind, it s deeper nature and potential. Then he explores at length the fifty-one mental faculties. These are specialized features and functions of the mind. The first ten are foundational to any human being s functioning and in Rimpoche s own words, If any one of them is missing, you have got a problem. They are called 5 omnipresent and 5 object-ascertaining mental faculties. This is the area of Buddhist psychology and anyone can use this information as guidelines for a healthy mind, irrespective of any spiritual leanings. The remaining 41 identify and explore positive and negative emotions, allowing us to understand how we tick and being able to navigate our human foibles and how to best nurture our positive potential. Finally, even subtle neutral mental faculties are investigates, such as sleep, which can become positive or negative, depending on the preceding state of mind. This books is really useful for anybody wanting to know how the mind works and an essential guide for seekers on the spiritual path. --Hartmut Sagolla
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