Wisdom of the Kadam Masters

Wisdom of the Kadam Masters

by Thupten Jinpa Ph.D.
     
 

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The phrase “Kadam masters” evokes for many Tibetans a sense of a golden age—an idyllic image of a spiritual community of wise monks dedicated to a spiritual life of mental cultivation. These eleventh- and twelfth-century masters were particularly famed for their short, poignant utterances that captured essential teachings in digestible bites. In

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Overview

The phrase “Kadam masters” evokes for many Tibetans a sense of a golden age—an idyllic image of a spiritual community of wise monks dedicated to a spiritual life of mental cultivation. These eleventh- and twelfth-century masters were particularly famed for their short, poignant utterances that captured essential teachings in digestible bites. In these sayings one unmistakably detects an absence of confusion about priorities in life, and a clear understanding of what a truly happy life consists of, all grounded in a deeply felt genuine sense of concern for the welfare of others.This volume offers, in an easy, accessible format, a collection of some of the most beloved teachings of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, a high mark in the long human quest to understand the meaning of life.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Thupten Jinpa shines as an interpreter of classical Buddhism for our times. In Wisdom of the Kadam Masters he shows how these pithy sayings from long ago offer anyone sound principles for living a meaningful, fulfilling, and happy life.”—Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

"Geshe Thupten Jinpa is one of the foremost interpreters of Tibetan Buddhism for the modern world, and each of his translations of Tibetan classics as well as books by His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a jewel. With his classic Buddhist monastic training culminating in his earning the coveted Geshe Lharam degree and his superb Western education culminating in his doctorate in religious studies from Cambridge University, he brings an unparalleled depth of vision to the significance of Buddhism in the modern world. With the greatest respect, I recommend this latest volume of his marvelous translations of the wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism."—B. Alan Wallace, president, Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies

PRAISE FOR ESSENTIAL MIND TRAINING

"Anyone intrigued by the potential to bend our minds in the direction of greater clarity and kindness will find great satisfaction in Essential Mind Training. These gems of the Tibetan tradition are each a guide to wisdom and compassion. Taken together they represent a sophisticated path to an inner transformation that modern contemplative neuroscience now studies to better understand the greater potentials of the human mind and heart."—Daniel Goleman, author Emotional Intelligence

“This volume can break new ground in bridging the ancient wisdom of Buddhism with the cutting-edge positive psychology of happiness.” —B. Alan Wallace, author of The Attention Revolution

“The clarity and raw power of these thousand-year-old teachings of the great Kadampa masters are astonishingly fresh.”—Buddhadharma

Praise for Essential Mind Training:
"The clarity and raw power of these thousand-year-old teachings of the great Kadampa masters are astonishingly fresh." — Buddhadharma

Daniel Goleman
"Thupten Jinpa shines as an interpreter of classical Buddhism for our times. In Wisdom of the Kadam Masters he shows how these pithy sayings from long ago offer anyone sound principles for living a meaningful, fulfilling, and happy life."
B. Alan Wallace
"Geshe Thupten Jinpa is one of the foremost interpreters of Tibetan Buddhism for the modern world, and each of his translations of Tibetan classics as well as books by His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a jewel. With his classic Buddhist monastic training culminating in his earning the coveted Geshe Lharam degree and his superb Western education culminating in his doctorate in religious studies from Cambridge University, he brings an unparalleled depth of vision to the significance of Buddhism in the modern world. With the greatest respect, I recommend this latest volume of his marvelous translations of the wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781614290650
Publisher:
Wisdom Publications MA
Publication date:
01/21/2013
Series:
Tibetan Classics
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
232
Sales rank:
1,047,309
File size:
2 MB

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Read an Excerpt


From chapter 3

Again Shawopa said: “As for us, the desires of this life are what bring the sufferings of this and future lives, so we should shun the things that attachment to this mundane life craves. When the objectives of this life’s desire are extensive, our mind lacks peace; we wander everywhere, and in the course of this, all three factors—negative karma, suffering, and ill fame—strike simultaneously. We must, therefore, relinquish this multipronged mind of desire. When we succeed in turning away the mind of desire, that is when joy and happiness starts.

We seek happiness in this and throughout all lives, and so, as a sign of this, neither crave for anything in your heart nor hoard anything.
When you do not crave for gifts, this is the best gift.
When you do not crave for praise, this is the best praise.
When you do not crave for fame, this is the best fame.
When you do not crave for retinues, this is the best retinue.

“If you would practice the Dharma from your heart, point the tip of your mind to the life of a beggar. Ensure this life of a beggar to the end by being able to enter death.
“If you are able to cultivate this kind of attitude, it is certain you will not be susceptible to distress caused by any of the three—gods, ghosts, and humans. If, on the other hand, you seek to quench the thirst of the desires of this life, things like the following will happen: you will disgrace yourself; you will create your own miseries; others will ridicule you, while you yourself will be miserable; and, in the future, you will depart to the lower realms.
“Therefore, if you abandon broadcasting [your good deeds], adopt humility, relinquish desire, forsake all non-Dharma activities, and strive well in the meditative practices, the following things will happen: you will be happy and others will admire you, and in the future, you will attain enlightenment. In brief, if on our part, we initiate all kinds of endeavors, know all sorts of things, engage in all kinds of deeds, and however much we might say, as long as our thoughts are not turned away from the desires of this life, we have no means of gaining the happiness of both this and future lives. If our thoughts are turned against all forms of desire, we no longer need to search for happiness.”

***

Again, the spiritual mentor Shawopa said:

Be not like those who, while failing to gain autonomy themselves, seek to control others;
not like those who, while lacking higher qualities within their mental continuums, aspire to be others’ master;
not like those who, despite possessing great faith, fail to refrain from negative karma;
not like those who, while admiring emptiness, possess excessive self-grasping;
not like those who, despite having great intelligence, fail to recognize what is Dharma and what is not Dharma;
not like those who, despite having sharp intelligence, fail to understand the teachings;
not like those who, while refraining from slight negative deeds, fail to shy away from grave ones;
not like those who, while having great altruistic motives, fail to avoid harming others;
not like those who cannot live alone and are incapable of being in the company of others;
not like those who, while desiring to be disciplined, have little endurance;
not like those who, while being very generous in the short term, have little flexibility deep down;
not like those whose teachings are high but whose realizations are low;
not like those whose masters are excellent but whose behavior is bad;
not like those who, while delighting in the study of the teachings, dislike implementing them;
not like those who, while desiring solitude, delight in socializing with others;
not like those who, while desiring excellence, remain beset with extreme greed;
not like those who, while aspiring for liberation, have whatever they do slide into the eight mundane concerns.

***

Again, the spiritual mentor Shawopa chastised himself:

You confounded one—who yearns for the high teachings for his inferior mentality!
You old mind—who hopes for improvement to occur while he does not improve himself!
You heartless one—who acts as if the Dharma were important for others and negative karma for himself!
You distorted one—who assigns appropriate acts to others and inappropriate conduct to himself!
You who resembles a steep slope of clumps of earth—who has greater negative growth than positive growth!
You expert in contraction—who is elaborate in his promises but brief in implementation!
You of wrong livelihood—who seeks the afflictions and pretends to apply their remedies!
You who are laden with hopes and fear—who hopes others see his qualities and fears others seeing his faults!
You who seeks victory over Dharma colleagues while accepting loss from relatives!
You who seeks victory over the antidotes while accepting loss from the camp of the afflictions!
You who seeks victory in this life while accepting loss in the future lives!
You who seeks victory from those who perpetrate harm while accepting loss from those who bring benefits!
You who fails to understand that causing harm to others also causes harm to yourself!
You who fails to understand that helping others also helps yourself!
You who fails to understand that harm and suffering are conditions favorable to Dharma practice!
You who fails to understand that desire and happiness are obstacles to Dharma practice!
You who, while proclaiming the importance of Dharma practice to others, does not act in accord with the Dharma yourself!
You who, while despising others for committing negative acts, fails to curtail your own ongoing negative deeds!
You who, while failing to detect your own grave shortcomings, detects even the slightest faults of others!
You who curtails your altruistic deeds when no reward is forthcoming!
You who cannot bear to see other practitioners being offered gifts and honor!
You who loves the high and is hostile toward the weak!
You who dislikes tales pertaining to the next life!
You who loses your temper when others correct your flaws!
You who, while hoping others detect your virtues, do not allow others to become aware of your negative karma!
You who is content when your external behavior is good even when your inner thoughts remain base!
You who regards the pursuit of material things and objects of desire as joy and happiness!
You who, while failing to search for happiness within, searches for it on the outside!
You who, while having pledged to follow in the footsteps of the Buddha, follows after those of the worldly!
You who, while consulting the bodhisattvas, treasures items for sale in the hells!
You who, while dedicating your body, resources, and virtues of the three times to sentient beings, fails to let go “I” and “self”!
You who fails to understand that the affection of negative friends is the precursor of doom!
You who fails to understand that the anger of virtuous friends is a source of benefit—
Because you’ll waste so much time on “what is” and “what is not,” do not indulge in chatter with others.
Because it will lead to the proliferation of craving, do not reign over a kingdom in your mind.
Because there is greater risk than profit, do not delight in making promises.
Because this will necessarily undermine your virtuous activities, give up excessive chores.

Relating these chastisements to his heart, Shawopa offered such counsel.

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