Guru Rinpoche His Life & Times by Ngawang Zangpo (Hardcover)

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To Tibetan Buddhists, Guru Rinpoche is a Buddha. This book recounts Guru Rinpoche's historic visit to Tibet and explains his continuing significance to Buddhists. In doing so, it illustrates how a country whose powerful armies overran the capital of China and installed a puppet emperor came to abandon its aggressive military campaigns: this transformation was due to Guru Rinpoche, who tamed and converted Tibet to Buddhism and thereby changed the course of Asian history.

Four very different Tibetan accounts of his story are presented: one by Jamgon Kongtrul; one according to the pre-Buddhist Tibetan religion Bön, by Jamyang Kyentse Wongpo; one based on Indian and early Tibetan historical documents, by Taranata; and one by Dorje Tso. In addition, there are supplications by Guru Rinpoche and visualizations to accompany them by Jamgon Kongtrul.

Guru Rinpoche is part of The Tsadra Foundation series published by Snow Lion Publications. The Tsadra Foundation takes its inspiration from the nineteenth-century nonsectarian Tibetan scholar and meditation master Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye, and is named after his hermitage in eastern Tibet, Tsadra Rinchen Drak. The Foundation's programs reflect his values of excellence in both scholarship and contemplative practice, and a recognition of their mutual complementarity.

A selection of translations and commentary by Zangpo (the Tibetan name of Hugh Leslie Thompson), the translator of other key Buddhist texts, this book attempts to afford Westerners some glimpse of the importance of Guru Rinpoch to Tibetan Buddhist practitioners. Guru Rinpoche is revered by many as a Buddha and is credited with bringing from India the form of Buddhism that flourished and became Tibetan Buddhism as it is known today. The core of the book is a translation of four separate historical works dealing with the life of Guru Rinpoche. Zangpo outlines the historical context in which Guru Rinpoche's Buddhism was functioning and prepares the Western reader for the nature of the writings, which move freely between the concrete and the fantastic. The book also offers translations of supplications, a series of visualizations, and useful appendixes. Readers expecting a straightforward biography will be puzzled by the various texts, but the book will find an enthusiastic audience in those with some background and a demonstrated interest in Tibetan Buddhism. An important contribution to the understanding of a central figure, this volume is recommended primarily for academic libraries supporting the study of religion and Asian studies and for larger public libraries.


"The presence of Guru Rinpoche, a figure so important to Tibetan Buddhists he is called simply 'The Precious Master,' can be felt still in each of these liberating stories translated here. Read side-by-side, they reveal an even wider picture, deftly highlighted by Ngawang Zangpo's introduction of how history and culture interact with the inner spirituality that is beyond time and place."—Sarah Harding, author of Creation and Completion

"With a thought-provoking introduction and stimulating cultural, religious, and literary insights, . . . this new work will certainly be enjoyed by everyone interested in the vast spiritual legacy of the 'Second Buddha' in Tibet."—Cyrus Stearns
  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ 155939174X
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Snow Lion (Sept. 16 2002)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 360 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9781559391740
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1559391740
  • Item weight ‏ : ‎ 680 g
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 16 x 3.15 x 23.62 cm