Foundations of Tibetan Buddhism

ISBN 10: 1559392126 / ISBN 13: 9781559392129
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Synopsis: A marvelously clear and accessible presentation of this Buddhist tradition's fundamental training, with special emphasis on the important preliminary practices.

From the Publisher: I bow down in heartfelt devotion to His Eminence Vajradhara Kalu Rinpoche, who is the embodiment of countless Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

This book contains fourteen chapters dealing with aspects of the path to enlightenment as explained by His Eminence Kalu Rinpoche. The perspective is Buddnist in general, with teachings from the scriptures of the Theravadin, Mahayana, and Vajrayana traditions. H.E. Kalu Rinpoche is recognized by the lineage holders of the four major schools in Tibet as a meditation master equal in stature to the great Yogi Milarepa. Since his approach is nonsectarian, the teachings can be of benefit to anyone from any tradition. He has also been recognized by His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa and the Great Khyentse Ilinpoche (Chdkyi Lodb) as the activity emanation of Jamgon Kongtrul the Great, who was also a nonsectarian teacher.

Long ago, an Indian sage said that while Tibetans spent their lives practicing hundreds of traditions and accomplishing none of them, Indian people spent their lives practicing only one but accomplishing them all. The Tibetans learned from this criticism, and H.E. Kalu liinpoche, like Jamgon Kongtrul the Great, His Holiness Karmapa, and other great masters, attained enlightenment through devoting all his energies to the practice of the teachings of one lineag~not through diluting his efforts by practicing a little here and a little there. These teachers were like the mountain climber who sees many paths to the top of the mountain, but gets to the top by one path. From the top, and while standing in one place, they see the validity of all the other paths ascending the mountain.

It is important for the reader to understand what is meant when I say that these great teachers were nonsectarian. It does not mean that the teachings of the various lineages and schools were mixed together, taught, and practiced with disregard for their separate integrity. Rather, it means that each tradition is regarded as a correct, valid, and important path in its own right, and that no preference or favoritism was shown for one over the other. It is similar to driving a car to a distant place. As a "nonsectarian" driver you understand that any car can and will get you to the destination~you don't even have a preference. This does not mean that you will stupidly attempt to drive more than one car at a time, which would surely result in your not attaining the goal.

Since 1974, H.E. Kalu Rinpoche has established hundreds of centers all over the world. These centers are not in existence by name alone, but are actual sources of the tradition, usually by virtue of a resident lama placed there by Rinpoche. Many of the centers are sponsoring traditional Three-Year Retreats where an average of ten men and ten women spend three years following a strict traditional regime of practice and study, with emphasis on the former. A qualified and experienced lama leads each of these retreats.

Finally, I want to add a personal note. These days, the subject of titles and relative rank has been much discussed. In regard to Kalu Rinpoche, we commonly see the title "Venerable" before his name. However, the reader will note that I have used "His Eminence" throughout this book, a fact which springs from my absolute devotion and respect, as well as my conviction that he has attained complete enlightenment. A well-known spiritual leader and disciple of His Eminence Kalu Rinpoche, Yogi Chen, always uses "His Holiness" when referring to Kalu Rinpoche. I respect that, since his devotion is known to be beyond reproach. It is hoped the reader will give me the same consideration. If this explanation is not satisfactory, the reader is invited to raise the matter with me personally

I, the devoted student, am always saved by the blessings of Vajracihara.

Lama Lodo San Francisco

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Title: Foundations of Tibetan Buddhism
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