King of the Empty Plain: The Tibetan Iron-Bridge Builder Tangtong Gyalpo

Overview

King of the Empty Plain is familiar to every Tibetan yet nearly unknown in the rest of the world. Tangtong Gyalpo's incredible lifespan, profound teachings, unprecedented engineering feats, eccentric deeds, and creation of Tibetan opera have earned this fascinating figure a unique status in Tibetan culture. Believed to be the great Indian master Padmasambhava appearing again in the world to benefit living beings, he discovered techniques for achieving longevity that are still held in highest esteem and are ...
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King of the Empty Plain: The Tibetan Iron-Bridge Builder Tangtong Gyalpo (PagePerfect NOOK Book)

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Overview

King of the Empty Plain is familiar to every Tibetan yet nearly unknown in the rest of the world. Tangtong Gyalpo's incredible lifespan, profound teachings, unprecedented engineering feats, eccentric deeds, and creation of Tibetan opera have earned this fascinating figure a unique status in Tibetan culture. Believed to be the great Indian master Padmasambhava appearing again in the world to benefit living beings, he discovered techniques for achieving longevity that are still held in highest esteem and are frequently taught six hundred years later. His construction of fifty-eight iron suspension bridges, sixty wooden bridges, 118 ferries, 111 stupa monuments, and countless temples and monasteries in Tibet and Bhutan remains an awe-inspiring accomplishment.

This book is a detailed study of the life and legacy of this great master. An extensive introduction discusses Tangtong Gyalpo's Dharma traditions, the question of his amazing longevity, his "crazy" activities manifested to enhance his own realization and to benefit others, and his astonishing engineering and architectural achievements. The book includes a complete translation of the most famous Tibetan biography of Tangtong Gyalpo, as well as the Tibetan text and English translation of a unique early manuscript describing his miraculous death. The text is further enriched with ten color plates and seventy-seven black-and-white illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Stearns, one of the most respected translators of classical Tibetan texts, beautifully brings to life the story of one of Tibet's most inspiring and loved personalities. This book is a must for anyone who is interested in Tibetan culture and history, as well as those who wish to see how the altruistic ideals of the bodhisattva path can be concretely applied in socioeconomic and humanitarian action."—Thupten Jinpa, translator to H.H. the Dalai Lama and author of Self, Reality, and Reason in Tibetan Philosophy

"This represents the culmination of many years of patient scholarship and contemplation of the problems of meaningful translation into English. . . . The author has selected a figure of enormous importance for the cultural context of Tibetan Buddhism. This is a book that will last."—E. Gene Smith,  executive director of the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559392754
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/28/2007
  • Series: Tsadra Foundation Series
  • Pages: 682
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Cyrus Stearns has been a student of Tibetan Buddhism for over thirty-five years. His main Tibetan teachers were Dezhung Rinpoche Chogye Trichen Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. He received a PhD in Buddhist Studies from the University of Washington and is the author of several books including Taking the Result As the Path and King of the Empty Plain. He is currently a fellow at the Tsadra Foundation and lives in the woods on Whidbey Island north of Seattle Washington.
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Table of Contents


Preface     ix
List of Illustrations     xiii
List of Plates     xix
Introduction
The Life and the Lifespan     1
King of the Empty Plain     14
Iron-Bridge Man     33
Madman of the Empty Valley     58
A Jewel Mirror in Which All Is Clear   Lochen Gyurme Dechen     81
Prologue     83
Hundreds of Thousands of Lifetimes     87
A Mental Emanation of Padmasambhava     95
Crazy Tsondru Is Insane     103
The White Light of Profound and Vast Instructions     133
Five Names of Suitable Meaning     149
Uddiyana, the Land of Dakinis     169
Appearances Are Like Dream and Illusion     191
A Situation in Which a Yogin Needs Iron     215
Fine Pathways of Precious Iron     243
A Relic of the Buddha Blazing with Light     277
Five-Peaked Mount Wutai     309
A Geomantic Focal-Point to Suppress the Mongol Armies     333
The Auspicious Stupa of Many Doors     363
To the Palace of the King of Kamata in India     391
A Yogin Departs into the Basic Space of Phenomena     421
Colophon     439
The FinalStory Concerning the Nirvana of the Great Adept   Kunga Sonam Drakpa Palsang     441
Notes     465
Bibliography
Sources in Tibetan Language     587
Sources in European Languages     607
Index     615
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