Ornament of Stainless Light: An Exposition of the Kalachakra Tantra

Ornament of Stainless Light: An Exposition of the Kalachakra Tantra

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by Khedrup Norsang Gyatso, Gavin Kilty, Thupten Jinpa Ph.D., Dalai Lama
     
 

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The premiere volume of Thupten Jinpa's thirty-two-volume Library of Tibetan Classics series, inaugurated to coincide with the Dalai Lama's conferral of the initiation rite of Kalacakra in Toronto in April 2004.

The Kalacakra, or "wheel of time," tantra likely entered Indian Mahayana Buddhism around the tenth century. In expounding the root tantra, the

Overview

The premiere volume of Thupten Jinpa's thirty-two-volume Library of Tibetan Classics series, inaugurated to coincide with the Dalai Lama's conferral of the initiation rite of Kalacakra in Toronto in April 2004.

The Kalacakra, or "wheel of time," tantra likely entered Indian Mahayana Buddhism around the tenth century. In expounding the root tantra, the Indian master Pundarika, one of the legendary Kalki kings of the land of Shambhala, wrote his influential Stainless Light. Ornament of Stainless Light is an authoritative Tibetan exposition of this important text, composed in the fifteenth century by Khedrup Norsang Gyatso, tutor to the Second Dalai Lama.

One of the central projects of Kalacakra literature is a detailed correlation between the human body and the external universe. In working out this complex correspondence, the Kalacakra texts present an amazingly detailed theory of cosmology and astronomy, especially about the movements of the various celestial bodies. The Kalacakra tantra is also a highly complex system of Buddhist theory and practice that employs vital bodily energies, deep meditative mental states, and a penetrative focus on subtle points within the body's key energy conduits known as channels. Ornament of Stainless Light addresses all these topics, elaborating on the external universe, the inner world of the individual, the Kalacakra initiation rites, and the tantric stages of generation and completion, all in a highly readable English translation.

Editorial Reviews

Mandala
"The first published work of the new Library of Tibetan Classics series, initiated and coordinated by renowned translator Geshe Thupten Jinpa, is Ornament of Stainless Light by Khedrup Norsang Gyatso (d. 1513), a commentary on the Kalacakra root text, the Vimalaprabha. His Holiness the Dalai Lama himself selected this text for inclusion in the Library of Tibetan Classics series. Gavin Kilty's translation is scholarly and practical, his lucid introduction demonstrating his excellent grasp of the subject matter. Whether you are a Klacakra practitioner, a student of Tibetan Buddhism, or interested in science from a new angle, this book is worthy of study."
John Newman
"A radiant gem drawn from the vast ocean of Tibetan literature on the Kalackra tantra. It provides a clear, comprehensive summary of the basic structure and essential features of this important system of mysticism. Also, Khedrup Norsang Gyatso's interpretations of controversial issues in the Kalackra contribute to our understanding of the evolution of Tibetan theories of mysticism. Gavin Kilty's faithful translation makes this work easily accessible—it is a fitting inaugural volume for The Library of Tibetan Classics."
Buddhadharma
"When the Dalai Lama performed the Kalackra initation for a crowd of 20,000 at Madison Square Garden in 1991, a page was turned in the history of tantra. It was perhaps because of the popularity of this event and the success of others like it that when he was asked to select a text for the inaugural volume of an important new series, the Dalai Lama chose a commentary on the Kalackra tantra. According to series editor Thupten Jinpa, the Library of Tibetan Classics will total thirty volumes and offer a representative sampling of Tibet's vast literary legacy, from Buddhist philosophy to medical and historical works. The inaugural volume, Ornament of Stainless Light, is an important resource for anyone who has attended or will attend one of the many public performances of the Kalachakra initiation around the world."
E. Gene Smith
"Spectacular."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780861714520
Publisher:
Wisdom Publications MA
Publication date:
08/01/2001
Series:
Library of Tibetan Classics Series , #14
Pages:
736
Sales rank:
895,948
Product dimensions:
6.24(w) x 9.28(h) x 2.10(d)

Meet the Author

Khedrup Norsang Gyatso (1423-1513), a well-known scholar and adept of the fifteenth century, was a student of the First Dalai Lama and a principal teacher of the Second Dalai Lama. Though belonging to the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism, Norsang Gyatso is recognized as a seminal figure in the promotion of a syncretic approach-between the Geluk and Kagyu schools-to the teachings and practices of mahamudra. Along with Phukpa Lhundrup Gyatso, Norsang Gyatso is credited also with the founding of the highly influential Phuk school of Tibetan astronomy and astrology. Because of his dedication to intensive meditative practice for more than four decades as a wandering hermit, Norsang Gyatso came to be revered by the Tibetan tradition as a great meditator and teacher, and he is included among the lineage masters of many important practice traditions, including the lineage of Kalachakra.

Gavin Kilty has been a full-time translator for the Institute of Tibetan Classics since 2001. Before that he lived in Dharamsala, India, for fourteen years, where he spent eight years training in the traditional Geluk monastic curriculum through the medium of class and debate at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics. He also teaches Tibetan language courses in India, Nepal, and elsewhere, and is a translation reviewer for the organization 84000, Translating the Words of the Buddha.

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Ornament of Stainless Light: An Exposition of the Kalachakra Tantra 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
MatthewJ More than 1 year ago
Ornament of Stainless Light is one of the thousands of books painstakingly handprinted by monks in Tibetan lamaseries for centuries, so with that in mind it's exciting to see it in print in English for the first time, no matter what your opinion is of Tibetan Buddhism. Although it's the inaugural volume of Wisdom Publications' Library of Tibetan Classics, this book is definitely not for beginners. If you don't already know what the Kalachakra Tantra is, then it will probably be overwhelming. Khedrup Norsang Gyatso's work is a commentary on the Kalachakra, which thanks to the current Dalai Lama (who also gives an introduction) is one of the most prominent and important tantras in the West today. If one is starting to learn about Tibetan Buddhism, I wouldn't start here. But of course, if you've stumbled upon this review then you're probably versed enough not to be too intimidated by its contents. It's heavy reading, but it has wider appeal to anyone interested in Buddhist cosmology, the history of the mythical city of Shambhala, or the relationship of Buddhism to other religions, like Islam and Hinduism. Most of this is material that's simply not found anyplace else in Buddhist literature. Don't let the plain cover fool you, Wisdom is publishing a top-shelf library with their Tibetan Classics series. It includes helpful appendices and generous--although not always as helpful--notes, which reference the sources of the text's numerous quotations, but not much else. The ribbon marker is the finishing touch of quality (something I wish would have been incorporated into their Teachings of the Buddha series) on an edition with heavy paper and ample margins, for those who can stand to deface a lovely book with their own annotations Although this is the only edition of this work in print, it would be difficult to imagine a better one. Wisdom should be commended for producing an admirable print translation of an obscure book, which despite its limited appeal, will be invaluable to scholars and readers drawn to its subject matter.