The Fourteen Dalai Lamas: A Sacred Legacy of Reincarnation

The Fourteen Dalai Lamas: A Sacred Legacy of Reincarnation

by Glenn H. Mullin
     
 

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In The Fourteen Dalai Lamas, author Glenn H. Mullin vividly brings to life the myth and succession of all 14 Dalai Lamas in one volume for the first time. The book contains a chapter on each Dalai Lama (except Dalai Lamas 9-12, who are covered in one chapter). Each chapter opening features an illustration of the Dalai Lama who is the subject of that chapter.

Overview

In The Fourteen Dalai Lamas, author Glenn H. Mullin vividly brings to life the myth and succession of all 14 Dalai Lamas in one volume for the first time. The book contains a chapter on each Dalai Lama (except Dalai Lamas 9-12, who are covered in one chapter). Each chapter opening features an illustration of the Dalai Lama who is the subject of that chapter. Mullin has also included characteristic excerpts from the Dalai Lamas' teachings, poetry, and other writings that illuminate the principles of Tibetan Buddhism expressed in their lives.

The 14th Dalai Lama, spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetans in exile, is well-known, but the 600-year tradition to which he is heir is less familiar. From the birth of the first Dalai Lama in a cowshed in 1391, each subsequent Dalai Lama has been the reincarnation of his predecessor, choosing to take up the burdens of a human life for the benefit of the Tibetan people. For almost six centuries, the Dalai Lamas have served as the Tibetans' spiritual leader and have held secular power for almost half that time. All the Dalai Lamas are revered as incarnations of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddhist deity of compassion, but each has been a unique individual with different abilities and temperaments.

Over the ages, various Dalai Lamas have been poets, statesmen, builders, philosophers; most have been disciplined monastics, but one was a lover of women. The potential of some was tragically lost when their lives were cut short, possibly the victims of political intrigue, while others lived long enough to shape entire eras of Tibetan history. CHAPTER The qualities of a Buddha are vast as the sky,
How could one possibly describe them all?
Ah, but how fortunate I am
To be able to express a few of them. (The First Dalai Lama)

The Bodhisattva way is as vast as the sky,
And final reality is more subtle than an atom.
For someone like me to attempt
To describe these subjects
Is like trying to measure the ocean with a mango seed.

An image of a kingly eagle gliding high in space:
Were one's mind to glide without grasping
In the space of truth itself, clear and void,
How excellent. (The Fifth Dalai Lama)

Dream objects in the mind of one drunk with sleep,
The horses and elephants conjured up by a magician:
Only appearances; on those foundations,
Nothing real; merely mental imputations.

Similarly, all things in the world and beyond
Are simply projections of names and thoughts.
Not even the tiniest atom exists by itself,
Independently and in its own right.

During meditation, keep the mind
Unobstructed as space;
After meditation, regard the flow of events as a rainbow;
Sounds are like one's own voice echoed in a cave;
Those who grasp at these things are mindless children.
May this song on meditation upon the perfect view
Be a dragon's roar to awaken living beings
From the beginningless sleep of ignorance;
May it help fulfill the endless needs of the world. (The Seventh Dalai Lama)

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal
With the growing interest in the current Dalai Lama, as evidenced by the media coverage and by the number of his books currently available, this volume will be welcomed by readers. Mullin's thorough knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism and the lives of the Dalai Lamas is clearly evident here (the publisher claims that he has been studying the subject his entire life), and his coverage of the lives of all 14 Dalai Lamas in one volume makes it especially informative. In addition to biographical details, Mullin quotes from their writings, giving us insight into their teachings as well. The first chapter reviews details and legends concerning the previous lives of the first Dalai Lama, born in 1391. Mullin then devotes a chapter each to the lives of the 14 incarnations of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddhist deity of compassion. In his introduction, Mullin discusses important issues such as why he confined himself almost exclusively to Tibetan sources. The book ends with a thorough bibliography of primary and secondary sources. A substantial and very important contribution; highly recommended for any library. David Bourquin, California State Univ., San Bernardino Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781574160925
Publisher:
Clear Light Publishers
Publication date:
01/28/2008
Pages:
554
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

Glenn H. Mullin is one of the world's foremost Tibetologists. He has published approximately twenty books on Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism, including a series on the lives and teachings of the early Dalai Lamas. He is an internationally renowned Buddhist scholar, an acclaimed translator of Tibetan classics, a well-known speaker on the international lecture circuit and a popular teacher of Tantric Buddhist meditation.

As a youth he studied engineering at Mt. Allison University, Canada, and then traveled to the Himalayas to join the Tibetan Studies Program at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, a small college for Western students that had been established by the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. Mullin remained in Dharamsala for twelve years, where he completed the rigorous training in Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and meditation, first at the LTWA and then at the Tsennyi Labtra Monastery. After this he joined the Research and Translation Bureau of the LTWA.

His books include Death and Dying: The Tibetan Tradition, Mystical Verses of a Mad Dalai Lama, and Tsongkhapa's Six Yogas of Naropa.

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