Cutting through Appearances: The Practice and Theory of Tibetan Buddhism / Edition 1

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Overview

This book presents the practice and theory of Tibetan Buddhism. First is a meditation manual written by the Fourth Pan-chen Lama (1781–1852), based on Tsongkhapa's Three Principal Aspects of the Path, which covers the daily practice of Tibetan monks and yogis. It details how to properly conduct a meditation session that contains the entire scope of the Buddhist path. Next is the Presentation of Tenets, written by Gon-chok-jik-may-wang-bo. It covers Indian Buddhist schools, as viewed in Tibet, and provides a solid introduction to the Buddhist theory animating the practice. Topics include the two truths, consciousness, hindrances to enlightenment, paths to freedom, and fruits of practice.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780937938812
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/1989
  • Edition description: 2nd ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 359
  • Sales rank: 1,444,040
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Hopkins, PhD, served for a decade as the interpreter for the Dalai Lama. A Buddhist scholar and the author of more than thirty-five books, he is Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia, where he founded the largest academic program in Tibetan Buddhist studies in the West.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Preparation for a Session
of Meditation


Om svasti. I bow down and go for refuge to the feet of the excellent holy lamas who have great compassion. I pray to be taken care of by them at all times with great mercy.

    This is a book of practices concerning the instructions on the three principal aspects of the path, extraordinary precepts actually bestowed by the protector Mañjughosha on the great Dzong-ka-ba, the King of Doctrine of the three realms. It contains the essential meanings of all the scriptures of the Conqueror Buddha with commentary, collected in stages of practice for individuals. It details the two systems: how to act in the actual session of meditation and how to act between sessions.


PREPARATION

Perform, for instance, the six practices of preparation. First, clean well the room where you are practicing. Second, beautifully arrange offerings [procured] without deceit. Third, on a comfortable cushion assume a posture having the seven features of Vairochana['s way of sitting]. Then, with respect to generating an attitude of refuge and so forth from within a special, virtuous attitude, the objects of refuge should first be set clearly [in front of you in visualization]:

Directly in front of you there is a high and broad throne of jewels raised up by eight great lions. On that, on cushions of the spheres of variegated lotus and sun and moon, is your kind, fundamental lama in actuality but in the form of the Conqueror Shakyamuni with pure gold body, his head having the crown protrusion. His righthand presses the earth [in the gesture of calling the goddess of the earth to witness his achievement]. His left hand, in the pose of meditative equipoise, carries a bowl filled with ambrosia. He is wearing the saffron religious robes. A mass of light is generated from his body, which is adorned with the major and minor marks and has a nature of pure, clear light. In the middle of the mass of light he sits with his two legs in the adamantine posture. Surrounding him, collections of your actual and indirect lamas, deities, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Heroes, Sky-Goers, and Protectors of Doctrine are seated. On marvellous tables in front of each of them are the verbal doctrines taught by each in the form of books having the nature of light.

The members of the field of assembly are pleased with you. Abiding in the greatest faith, mindful of the virtues and kindness of the field of assembly, think:

I and all sentient beings, my mothers, from beginningless time until now have undergone various sufferings of cyclic existence in general and of the three bad transmigrations in particular. However, it is still difficult to comprehend the depth and limits of suffering.
Now I have attained the special body of a human that has leisure and fortune, is difficult to find, and, if found, is extremely meaningful. If at this time of meeting with Buddha's precious teaching I do not attain the state of completely perfect Buddhahood, the supreme liberation that eradicates all suffering, I must again undergo the suffering at least of cyclic existence in general and perhaps also of the three bad transmigrations in particular.
The power of protection from these sufferings exists in the lamas and the Three Jewels, who are sitting in front of me. I will attain the state of perfect Buddhahood for the sake of all sentient beings, my mothers. In order to do so, I will go for refuge to the lamas and the Three Jewels.
I go for refuge to the Lamas. I go for refuge to the Buddhas. I go for refuge to the Doctrine. I go for refuge to the Spiritual Community.

Recite the abridged refuge:

I go for refuge until perfect enlightenment to Buddha, the Doctrine, and the Supreme Community.

Think:

From the bodies of all the objects of refuge, a stream of the five kinds of ambrosia [white, red, blue, yellow, and green] together with rays of light is falling and entering the bodies and minds of all sentient beings, myself and others. It is purifying all sickness, possession [i.e. madness], ill deeds, and obstructions with their latencies beginninglessly accumulated. It is developing and furthering merit, life-span, and all the qualities of verbal and cognitive understanding. In particular, it also is purifying the ill deeds, obstructions, and discordant conditions together with their latencies which are in relation to lamas and the Three Jewels. May all sentient beings, myself and others, enter under' the refuge of the lamas and the Three Jewels.

Believe that all have entered under the refuge of the Three Jewels.

Then, to [generate] an aspiration to enlightenment
for all sentient beings, say:
By whatever merit I have done, my gifts and so forth, may I accomplish Buddhahood for the sake of all beings.

Think at this time:

By the roots of virtue arising from giving, ethics, and meditation, which I perform, or I ask others to perform, or which are done by others with my sympathy, may I attain the state of completely perfect Buddhahood for the sake of all sentient beings. I will attain the state of completely perfect Buddhahood for the sake of all sentient beings. For the sake of achieving Buddhahood I will learn according to Buddha's way the [compassionate] deeds of the Children of the Conqueror Buddha. I pray for transformative blessings from the lamas and gods to enable me to do this.

Make the prayer with strong force. Thereby the gatherings of lamas and gods [visualized in space in front of you] are pleased; a duplicate separates from each of their bodies and dissolves into you. Thus, your body momentarily changes into the body of lama and Buddha. Rays of light emanate from your body transformed into lama and Buddha. By striking all the sentient beings living around you, the rays of light purify their ill deeds and obstructions. Think that they have been established in the state of lama and Buddha. This is said to be the extraordinary precept of the oral lineage of En-sa, meditation in which one actualizes while on the path the result of the generation of the altruistic aspiration to enlightenment.

    Then think:

What causes the wandering of all sentient beings, my old mothers, in cyclic existence without independence?
By the power of the two, desire and hatred [which are apprehensions of other beings as] intimate or alien, they wander in cyclic existence and thereby undergo suffering.
Therefore, if all sentient beings were to abide in the immeasurable equanimity that is free of desire and hatred, intimacy and alienness, how nice it would be! May they come to have these. I will cause them to have these. I pray for transformative blessings from the lamas and gods to enable me to do this.
If all sentient beings had happiness and the causes of happiness, how nice it would be! May they come to have these. I will cause them to have these. I pray for transformative blessings from the lamas and gods to enable me to do this.
If all sentient beings were free from suffering and the causes of suffering, how nice it would be! May they come to be free from these. I will cause them to be free from these. I pray for transformative blessings from the lamas and gods to enable me to do this.
If all sentient beings did not lack high status [as humans and gods] and the excellent bliss of liberation, how nice it would be! May they come not to lack these. I will cause them not to lack these. I pray for transformative blessings from the lamas and gods to enable me to do this.

Make the supplication with strong force and imagine the purification of all sentient beings through the falling ambrosia.

    [The generation of the aspiration to enlightenment in general is the development of the thought:] `I must attain, regardless of anything, the precious state of a completely perfect Buddha, quickly, quickly for the sake of all sentient beings, my mothers.' The generation of the attitude of altruistic enlightenment in particular [in this book is the development of the thought]: `For the sake of attaining Buddhahood I will begin meditation on the instructions of the three principal aspects of the path.' Mentally promise firm adherence to this, and also say it many times.

    Then, the objects of refuge [which are visualized in space in front of you] melt into light by stages from the outside [to the inside of the group] and dissolve into the Foremost Lama in the center, [Dzong-ka-ba]. The Foremost Lama also melts into light and dissolves into your forehead between the eyebrows. Consider this as transformative blessing for your mental continuum.

    [The fourth of the six practices of preparation is] the clear setting of the field of accumulation [of merit] in visualization in front of you:

There is the broad and extensive trunk of a wish-granting tree in the space directly in front of you. The top has leaves, flowers, and fruit. On its top of one hundred thousand petals, eight great lions are supporting a high and broad throne of jewels. On that, on cushions of variegated lotus and sun and moon is your kind fundamental lama in actuality but in the form of the great Dzong-kaba, King of Doctrine, with clear white body and mouth smiling with pleasure. He is wearing the three religious robes and the golden pandita's hat. His two hands are performing the gesture of the wheel of doctrine at his heart and hold stems of lotuses which extend over his shoulders.
On the blossoming lotus above his right shoulder, the wisdom of all the Buddhas shines forth in the form of a sword. The light fills all worlds. All the collections of the darkness of ignorance [particularly the apprehension of inherently existing entities] are consumed by the fire burning forth from its point.
On the blossoming lotus above his left shoulder is a volume of the Perfection of Wisdom of One Hundred Thousand Stanzas, the sole mother of all the Buddhas of the three times [past, present, and future]. Letters of melted gold shine from the sapphire pages; the emanation of rays of light from the letters clears away the darkness of sentient beings' ignorance. Also, the letters are not just shapes; they clearly proclaim the initial process of generating the aspiration to enlightenment through to finally bringing about the welfare of transmigrators in cyclic existence through the twenty-seven activities of a Buddha—together with the grounds, paths, and fruits. Think that potentialities predisposing you to the Great Vehicle path can be established just by the sound's coming to the mind.
The Conqueror Shakyamuni Buddha is sitting in the heart of the Foremost Lama. The Conqueror Vajradhara is sitting in the heart of Sakyamuni Buddha. In each of the hair pores of the Foremost Lama's body there are numberless Buddha fields. Rays of light emanate from all parts of his body in the ten directions. At the points of these rays inconceivable magical creations, equal in number to sentient beings, emanate and perform actions for the sake of those transmigrators.
The Foremost Lama sits encircled by a five-colored rainbow, his legs crossed in the adamantine posture. On a ray of light that has emanated upward from his heart, the beings—from the Conqueror Vajradhara through to the fundamental lama who actually bestowed this teaching on you—sit one above the other. Not including the Conqueror Vajradhara, all from Mañjushri through to your own fundamental lama are each in actuality the lama himself in the form of an orange Mañjushri. His right hand holds aloft a sword; his left hand holds a volume at his heart. Meditate on these as having completely a nature of light.
On the point of a ray of light emanating to the right from the heart of the Foremost Lama, the lamas of the lineage of the extensive [compassionate] deeds sit on cushions of lotus and moon. On the point of a ray of light emanating to the left from the heart of the Foremost Lama, the lamas of the lineage of the deep view [that phenomena do not exist by way of their own being] sit on cushions of lotus and moon. On the point of a ray of light emanating to the front from the heart of the Foremost Lama, the lamas who have actual doctrinal relationship to you sit on cushions of lotus and moon.
Surrounding the Foremost Lama, collections of deities, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Heroes, Sky-Goers, and Protectors of Doctrine sit on lion thrones. On marvellous tables in front of each of the members of the field of assembly are the verbal doctrines taught by each of them in the form of books having a nature of light. At the crown of the head of each of the members of the field of assembly appears a white om; at the throat a red ah; at the heart a blue hum. Rays of light emanate in the ten directions from the hum at the heart.

[You have been imagining beings of wisdom in the sky in front of you]. Now invite the actual wisdom-beings, who are like those imagined, from their usual places [such as Amitabha from Sukhavati]. All come and dissolve into each of the imagined beings. Thus, firmly consider each as an entity which includes all three refuges [Buddha, Doctrine, and Spiritual Community].

    Then, generate [visualize, feel, and so forth] yourself as a deity, and offer ritual ablution, clothing, and so forth [to the beings of wisdom]. If these are done, it makes a great difference with respect to clarifying the mind for cultivating the path and for pacifying uncleanliness, defilements, and so forth. Yet, even if the ablution is not done, it is said there is no fault which would nullify [the practice].

Produce a bath-house:

In a bath-house of very pleasant fragrance,
With a base of crystal, clear and sparkling clean,
With attractive, flaming pillars of precious stone,
And covered with a canopy of shining pearls.

Offer ablution:

Just as the gods offered ablution
[To Buddha] just after his birth,
So with pure divine water
I also offer ablution.
Om sarva-tathagata-abhisekata-samaye sriye ah hum.
I offer ablution to the Vajradhara, King of Conquerors,
Whose body is formed from tens of millions of
perfect, good virtues,
Whose speech fulfils the hopes of limitless transmigrators,
Whose mind sees all to be known just as it is.
Om sarva-tathagata-abhisekata-samaye sriye ah hum.
I offer ablution to the lineage of extensive deeds.
I offer ablution to the lineage of the profound
view.
I offer ablution to the lineage empowering practice.
I offer ablution to the lineaged lamas.
Om sarva-tathagata-abhisekata-samaye sriye ah hum.
I offer ablution to the teachers, the Buddhas.
I offer ablution to the protection, the Doctrine.
I offer ablution to the leaders, the Spiritual Community.
I offer ablution to the sources of refuge, the
Three Jewels.
Om sarva-tathagata-abhisekata-samaye sriye ah hum.

Wipe their bodies:

I wipe their bodies with a clean cloth, infused
with fragrance, unequalled.
Om hum tram hrih ah kaya-visodhanaye svaha.

Anoint their bodies:

Just as a goldsmith polishes pure gold,
So I anoint the shining bodies of these Kings
Of Conquerors with the best of fragrances,
strong perfumes
Suffusing all the billion [worlds of this world system].

Offer clothing:

With indestructible faith I offer
Fine, soft, light, divine clothing to those
Who have attained an indestructible adamantine
body.
Thereby, may I too attain an adamantine body.

Offer ornaments:

Because the Conquerors possess the natural ornaments
of [a Buddha's] major and minor
marks,
They cannot be decorated with other ornaments.
Still, through my offering the best of precious ornaments
May all transmigrators attain a body adorned
with the major and minor marks.

Petition them to remain:

O Conquerors, because you love me and all
transmigrators,
I petition you to remain here
Through your magical emanations
As long as I make offerings.

In order to pacify ill deeds and infractions, which are conditions opposed to cultivating the path, and in order to increase merits, which are conditions concordant with cultivating the path, perform the seven branches of practice together with offering mandalas [the fifth practice of preparation]. These seven include the essentials for the accumulation of merit and purification of obstructions.

    Doing it in the long way, bow down and say whatever names of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and lineaged lamas you know. In the short form, say:

I bow down respectfully to the spiritual guides,
The eyes that see all the countless scriptures,
The best fords for the fortunate progressing to
liberation.
They clearly act through skill in means aroused
by love.

1. Obeisance

I bow down with pure body, speech, and mind
To all without exception of all
The lions of humans, the Tathagatas of the three
times
In the worlds of the ten directions.
By the power of my aspirations for good deeds
I bow down to all the Conquerors with extreme
respect,
Myself adopting forms as numerous as the particles
of the worlds,
And with all the Conquerors vivid before my
mind. I consider that in one particle are Buddhas as numerous
As the particles of the worlds, sitting in the midst
Of Bodhisattvas, and that the Conquerors fill all
Without exception of the entities of phenomena.
I praise all the Sugatas and express
The qualities of all the Conquerors with all
The oceans of sounds of the melodious intoner
[the tongue],
Inexhaustible oceans of praise.

2. Offering

I offer to all the Conquerors
Excellent flowers, excellent garlands,
Pleasant sounds, fragrant oils,
Superior umbrellas, superior lamps, and excellent
incense.
I offer to all the Conquerors
Excellent clothing, superior fragrances,
Fragrant powders, and mounds of incense equal
to Mount Meru,
And all specially arrayed marvels.
I also consider all extensive, unequalled acts
Of offering to be for all the Conquerors.
By the powers of faith in good deeds
I bow down and revere all the Conquerors.

Say that softly with visualization of the field of assembly and bow down.

    At this interval confess each of the three vows [the vow of individual liberation, the Bodhisattva vow, and the tantric vow], and in particular recite the Confession of Infractions and bow down as much as possible.

    Say softly, with visualization of the field of assembly and of the falling ambrosia, the following prayer.

3. Confession

I confess individually all ill deeds
Done by me with body, speech,
Or mind through the power
Of desire, hatred, and ignorance.

4. Admiration

I admire and will emulate the meritorious actions
Of all the Conqueror Buddhas of the ten directions,
The Buddha Children, the Solitary Realizers,
those still learning,
Those with no more learning, and all transmigrators.

5. Entreaty

I entreat all the protectors, who have found nonattachment
And progressively awakened into enlightenment
And are the lights of the world systems of the
ten directions,
To turn the unsurpassed wheel [of doctrine].

6. Supplication

With pressed palms I supplicate those planning
To show nirvana to the world to dwell here
Even as many aeons as the particles in the realms
To help and bring happiness to all transmigrators.

7. Dedication

I dedicate toward perfect enlightenment
All the little virtue I have accumulated
Through obeisance, offering, confession,
Admiration, entreaty, and supplication.

Then, offer mandala [the purified world system] extensively:

Om vajra-bhumi ah hum. Ground of most powerful
gold. Om vajra-rekhe ah hum. In the center surrounded
by an outer rim of iron mountains, the
king of mountains, Meru. To the east, Videha
with Deha and Videha. To the south, Jambudvipa
with Chamara and Aparachamara. To the west,
Godaniya with Satha and Uttaramantrina to the
north, Kuru with Kurava and Kaurava. Mountains
of jewels, wish-granting trees, wish-granting
cows, naturally grown maize, precious chariots,
precious jewels, precious consorts, precious
ministers, precious elephants, precious horses,
precious generals, vessels of great treasure, goddess
of beauty, goddess of garlands, goddess of
song, goddess of dance, goddess of flowers, goddess
of incense, goddess of light, goddess of perfume,
suns, moons, precious umbrellas, banners
of victory, and in the center all the marvellous
wealth of gods and humans. I offer these to the
glorious excellent lamas—the kind fundamental
lamas and their lineages—and to the divine company
of Dzong-ka-ba, the King of Subduers
Shakyamuni Buddha, and Vajradhara together
with their retinues. Please accept these through
your compassion for the sake of transmigrators.
Having taken them, please empower me with
transformative blessings.

(Continues...)


Excerpted from CUTTING THROUGH APPEARANCES by Geshe Lhundup Sopa Jeffrey Hopkins. Copyright © 1989 by Geshe Lhundup Sopa and Jeffrey Hopkins. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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Table of Contents

Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama 7
Preface 9
Technical Note 11
Part One PRACTICE: MEDITATION 13
Introduction 15
Annotated translation of the Fourth Pan-chen Lama's
Instructions on the Three Principal Aspects of the Path 41
Guide to the Text 43
1 Preparation for a Session of Meditation 45
2 Understanding the Path and Promising to Cultivate It 65
3 The First Principal Aspect: Developing an Intention to
Leave Cyclic Existence 71
4 The Second Principal Aspect: Cultivating an Altruistic
Aspiration to Highest Enlightenment 81
5 The Third Principal Aspect: Cultivating the Correct View 95
6 Finishing the Session 103
Part Two THEORY: SYSTEMS OF TENETS 109
Introduction 111
Annotated translation ofGön-chok-jik-may-wang-bo's
Precious Garland of Tenets 139
Guide to the Text 141
Prologue 145
1 Tenets inGeneral 149
2 Short Explanation of Non-Buddhist Tenets 155
3 General Exposition of Buddhist Tenets 171
4 The Great Exposition School 179
5 The Sutra School 221
6 The Mind Only School 249
7 The Autonomy School 279
8 The Consequence School 301
Appendix: Collation with the Stages of the Path 325
Glossary 327
Bibliography 337
Index 349
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