Books for beginner Gelug students

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Stiphan
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Books for beginner Gelug students

Post by Stiphan » Mon May 01, 2017 8:00 pm

Hello friends,

Yesterday, I bought "Indestructible Truth: The Living Spirituality of Tibetan Buddhism" by Reginald A. Ray. I am thinking of buying "Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand" by Pabongka Rinpoche, edited by Trijang Rinpoche, and translated by Michael Richards.

The one I bought, which I perused at the Triratna Centre days ago, before deciding to buy it yesterday, seems more Kagyu/Nyingma, but got my interest and I shall now read it first, unless instructed otherwise by you.

Which books should I buy and read first as a newcomer to Gelug and Tibetan Buddhism?

Thank you!

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Ayu
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Re: Books for beginner Gelug students

Post by Ayu » Mon May 01, 2017 8:31 pm

I think, it depends on you. "Beginners" are different persons and characters.
When I was brandnew to Buddhism, I liked the writings of Jeffrey Hopkins very much.
But you can try to guide yourself, i.e. allow "The Force" to guide you. For me the most important books were those I found by accident.
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Re: Books for beginner Gelug students

Post by DGA » Mon May 01, 2017 8:35 pm

Stiphan wrote:Hello friends,

Yesterday, I bought "Indestructible Truth: The Living Spirituality of Tibetan Buddhism" by Reginald A. Ray. I am thinking of buying "Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand" by Pabongka Rinpoche, edited by Trijang Rinpoche, and translated by Michael Richards.

The one I bought, which I perused at the Triratna Centre days ago, before deciding to buy it yesterday, seems more Kagyu/Nyingma, but got my interest and I shall now read it first, unless instructed otherwise by you.

Which books should I buy and read first as a newcomer to Gelug and Tibetan Buddhism?

Thank you!
I think most users of this site would advise you to avoid the Pabonka material.

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Lobsang Chojor
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Re: Books for beginner Gelug students

Post by Lobsang Chojor » Mon May 01, 2017 8:46 pm

DGA wrote:I think most users of this site would advise you to avoid the Pabonka material.
I would hesitate ​to say don't read it, HHDL says it is one of the great Lam Rim commentaries and quite a few FPMT teachers teach from it.
Stiphan wrote:Which books should I buy and read first as a newcomer to Gelug and Tibetan Buddhism?
But above Pabongkha Rinpoche's book I'd recommend Lam Rim Chenmo by Je Tsongkhapa instead. Also, the Foundation of Buddhist Thought series by Geshe Tashi Tsering is very useful and the language is suitable for beginners (Geshe-la doesn't teach these texts in Leeds or Liverpool but I think he does teach the topics in London, the recordings are available on the Jamyang London website).
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Re: Books for beginner Gelug students

Post by Fortyeightvows » Mon May 01, 2017 10:49 pm

DGA wrote:I think most users of this site would advise you to avoid the Pabonka material.
Is that a thing now? Lama Zopa cites it all the time.
I've never heard of any geluk lama that who wasn't at least a student of a student of Pabongka. Hhdl's teachers were students of his. The last if the lamas trained in Tibet. There are still a few of those old lamas around and that whole generation was trained by Pabongka .

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Re: Books for beginner Gelug students

Post by Fortyeightvows » Mon May 01, 2017 10:55 pm

Lobsang Chojor wrote:the Foundation of Buddhist Thought series by Geshe Tashi Tsering
Yes! :good: absolutely !
these very well may be the Pabongka texts of the next generation.

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Re: Books for beginner Gelug students

Post by Konchog1 » Tue May 02, 2017 5:46 am

Stiphan wrote:The one I bought, which I perused at the Triratna Centre days ago, before deciding to buy it yesterday, seems more Kagyu/Nyingma, but got my interest and I shall now read it first, unless instructed otherwise by you.
Just looking at the Table of Contents, it looks like a good overview of Tibetan Buddhism and Buddhism in general. Give it a read!
Stiphan wrote:Which books should I buy and read first as a newcomer to Gelug
Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand is incomparable. It was the second Tibetan Buddhism book I bought and a decade later I still learn from it.

Of course, Lama Tsongkhapa's The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment which is as well known as the sun and the moon, is the heart of the Gelug tradition and is must study, must practice. You can start now even if it's difficult. Just post your questions here.

The Foundation of Buddhist Thought series by Geshe Tashi Tsering is excellent.
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smcj
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Re: Books for beginner Gelug students

Post by smcj » Tue May 02, 2017 1:34 pm

"Indestructible Truth" is good as an overview for putting TB into a context of Buddhism overall. It does have a Kagyu/Nyingma emphasis but the overview is helpful for all TB.

"Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand" is very good, but has some sectarian passages that make it politically incorrect these days. I suggest that you just self-edit those out and take what is good from it.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
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Re: Books for beginner Gelug students

Post by Brunelleschi » Tue May 02, 2017 1:47 pm

DGA wrote:I think most users of this site would advise you to avoid the Pabonka material.
Well I disagree actually, at least when it comes to this book. It's a great book and a thorough exposition of Lam-Rim. Besides, Pabongkha Rinpoche is still held in high regards. I have heard Lama Zopa Rinpoche refer to Pabongkha Rinpoche as Heruka.
smcj wrote:"Indestructible Truth" is good as an overview for putting TB into a context of Buddhism overall. It does have a Kagyu/Nyingma emphasis but the overview is helpful for all TB.
I agree.
smcj wrote:"Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand" is very good, but has some sectarian passages that make it politically incorrect these days. I suggest that you just self-edit those out and take what is good from it.
Really? I don't recall there being secterian passages. Are you certain it is not from some other work? The only thing I recall is a quote from Sakya Pandita warning about the incorrect practice of Mahamudra (althought I could be wrong...)

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Re: Books for beginner Gelug students

Post by DGA » Tue May 02, 2017 2:13 pm

Brunelleschi wrote:
DGA wrote:I think most users of this site would advise you to avoid the Pabonka material.
Well I disagree actually, at least when it comes to this book. It's a great book and a thorough exposition of Lam-Rim.
Read my post again. I didn't say it was a good or bad book, but that most users of this site (myself included) would advise a beginner to avoid it.
Besides, Pabongkha Rinpoche is still held in high regards.
Debatable.
I have heard Lama Zopa Rinpoche refer to Pabongkha Rinpoche as Heruka.
I wonder if the Lawudo Lama would agree with him.
smcj wrote:"Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand" is very good, but has some sectarian passages that make it politically incorrect these days. I suggest that you just self-edit those out and take what is good from it.
Politically incorrect? That's a peculiar euphemism for this situation.
Lobsang Chojor wrote:But above Pabongkha Rinpoche's book I'd recommend Lam Rim Chenmo by Je Tsongkhapa instead.
Good call.

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Re: Books for beginner Gelug students

Post by Brunelleschi » Tue May 02, 2017 2:49 pm

DGA wrote:Read my post again. I didn't say it was a good or bad book, but that most users of this site (myself included) would advise a beginner to avoid it.
If one wants to deepen their knowledge of the Lamrim I think it's an excellent choice. In fact I was at a Lamrim course two years ago and it was frequently quoted. Therefore I think one ought to listen to respectable representatives of the FPMT and not anonymous persons on the internet.
DGA wrote:
Brunelleschi wrote:Besides, Pabongkha Rinpoche is still held in high regards.
Debatable.
Representatives of the Gelug school supports the use of the work as teaching material to beginners at Lamrim courses, and venerated lamas like LZR refer to the man as Heruka.
DGA wrote:
Brunelleschi wrote:I have heard Lama Zopa Rinpoche refer to Pabongkha Rinpoche as Heruka.
I wonder if the Lawudo Lama would agree with him.
Whatever your personal opinion on the subject matter at hand, he still did. From a Gelug POV I'd say it's highly relevant.



Main point is this: What happened in Tibet 50-100 years ago is still unclear, and it's hard to get correct information. What one choses to believe will no be based so much on facts (as they are unclear), but rather to one's preexisting preferences. I don't think it's necessarily the most relevant point.

However, from a Gelug POV, since the book is still used for teaching, quoted, e.t.c., I think it's an excellent book, beginner or not. It changed my life.

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Re: Books for beginner Gelug students

Post by Fortyeightvows » Tue May 02, 2017 7:49 pm

Brunelleschi wrote:Really? I don't recall
there being secterian passages. Are you certain it is not from some other work? [/quote]
Maybe not in Liberation, or maybe it has been edited out. But certainly in some of his other commentaries he makes it know that he is not a big fan of the terma stuff.
Brunelleschi wrote:Besides, Pabongkha Rinpoche is still held in high regards. I have heard Lama Zopa Rinpoche refer to Pabongkha Rinpoche as Heruka.
Yes, exactly! How many geluks do you know that don't trace themselves back to Pabongkha?

Here's a quote from Berzin:
Now, you find some practitioners within the Gelugpa tradition put a great deal of emphasis on Vajrayogini. Vajrayogini is the female partner of the male Chakrasamvara major deity. But now I will quote His Holiness the Dalai Lama concerning that, from this discourse on Tsongkhapa’s commentary to the abbreviated Chakrasamvara tantra. His Holiness said, “Of the eighteen volumes of Tsongkhapa’s works, five volumes are on Guhyasamaja. That’s the largest topic that he wrote about. But he wrote only three pages on Vajrayogini. And in his commentary on this abbreviated Chakrasamvara tantra, there are very few words on Vajrayogini.” His Holiness said, “If you have a special connection with the Sakya lineage and Vajrayogini” – the Gelugpa practice of Vajrayogini, by the way, was borrowed into Gelugpa from Sakya centuries after Tsongkhapa – “then it’s okay to do that practice. But if you are a Gelugpa practitioner” – mind you, he’s speaking to an audience of the monks of Ganden, Sera, Drepung, and the tantric colleges, and Namgyal monastery – “you must do Guhyasamaja, Chakrasamvara, and Yamantaka and follow Tsongkhapa’s works.”
It was Pabongkha who is credited with popularizing VY among the geluks which shows his level of influence. FPMT even uses the sadhana's he wrote.

In fact all of Lama Zopa's teachers were student of Pabongkha. Zong Rinpoche officiated Lama's funeral.
Ribur Rinpoche even said that:
I have had some success as a scholar, and as a lama I am somebody, but these things are not important. The only thing that matters to me is that I was a disciple of Pabongka Rinpoche.
Source: http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/liberati ... selections.

All of those old geluk lamas were the last of the generation trained in tibet, there are still a few around and they were all students of Pabonkha. This includes Choden Rinpoche, etc.

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Re: Books for beginner Gelug students

Post by smcj » Wed May 03, 2017 1:36 am

Politically incorrect? That's a peculiar euphemism for this situation.
I wasn't thinking of it as a euphemism. Sectarianism is politically incorrect, and rightly so. Minus all the hyperbole, drama, and hysteria, that is the issue.

I'm a big big supporter of HHDL in this btw. Everyone please do not direct any drama or hysteria at me on this issue. You'd be preaching to the choir.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
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Re: Books for beginner Gelug students

Post by crazy-man » Wed May 03, 2017 3:12 am

"As the Gelug agent of the Tibetan government in Kham (Khams) (Eastern Tibet), and in response to the Rimed movement that had originated and was flowering in that region, Phabongkha Rinpoche and his disciples employed repressive measures against non-Gelug sects. Religious artefacts associated with Padmasambhava – who is revered as a ‘second Buddha’ by Nyingma practitioners – were destroyed, and non-Gelug, and particularly Nyingma, monasteries were forcibly converted to the Gelug position. A key element of Phabongkha Rinpoche’s outlook was the cult of the protective deity Dorje Shugden, which he married to the idea of Gelug exclusivism and employed against other traditions as well as against those within the Gelug who had eclectic tendencies."
"His teaching tour of Kham in 1938 was a seminal phase, leading to a hardening of his exclusivism and the adoption of a militantly sectarian stance. In reaction to the flourishing Rimed movement and the perceived decline of Gelug monasteries in that region, Phabongkha and his disciples spearheaded a revival movement, promoting the supremacy of the Gelug as the only pure tradition. He now regarded the inclusivism of Gelug monks who practised according to the teachings of other schools as a threat to the integrity of the Gelug tradition, and he aggressively opposed the influence of other traditions, particularly the Nyingma, whose teachings were deemed mistaken and deceptive. A key element of Phabongkha’s revival movement was the practice of relying upon Dorje Shugden, the main function of the deity now being presented as ‘the protection of the Ge-luk tradition through violent means, even including the killing of its enemies’."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pabongkha ... je_Shugden

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Re: Books for beginner Gelug students

Post by Fortyeightvows » Wed May 03, 2017 4:33 am

DGA wrote:
Brunelleschi wrote:
I have heard Lama Zopa Rinpoche refer to Pabongkha Rinpoche as Heruka.
I wonder if the Lawudo Lama would agree with him.
What is that supposed to mean?

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Re: Books for beginner Gelug students

Post by Brunelleschi » Wed May 03, 2017 9:36 am

crazy-man wrote:...
1. This is certainly not news. Besides, it is still highly debatable whether Pabonkha Rinpoche himself actually ordered some of these acts. Aggressive rethorics or not (That is my impression anyway, although I of course could be wrong).
2. Isn't this a sort of weird appropriation of Tibetan culture? We weren't there, we don't know. So is this really the best use of one's focus. We (I) live in a western culture that's nothing like Tibet, so I don't think one should overestimate its importance.
3. The topic of the thread is books for novice students of the Gelug tradition. Lamrim is key concept in this schoo. Liberation in the Palm of your Hand is an excellent book on Lamrim. Widely used in teaching and recommended by prominent Gelug teachers.

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Re: Books for beginner Gelug students

Post by Ayu » Wed May 03, 2017 10:51 am

http://www.lamayeshe.com/teacher/pabongka-rinpoche
From there:
Pabongka Rinpoche's book Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand is one of the primary lam-rim texts in the Gelugpa tradition, and is often recommended by Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
A closer look at the book:
http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/liberati ... -your-hand
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Re: Books for beginner Gelug students

Post by smcj » Wed May 03, 2017 11:06 am

LitPoYH is a good book.
We should not import sectarianism.
Keep that in mind as you read it and the book is just fine.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
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Re: Books for beginner Gelug students

Post by Karma_Yeshe » Wed May 03, 2017 11:52 am

smcj wrote:LitPoYH is a good book.
We should not import sectarianism.
Keep that in mind as you read it and the book is just fine.
We should not import it, but buying it is ok for you :shrug:
I highly recommend to read Je Tsongkhapa himself if you want to know the source of the whole Geluk tradition.

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Re: Books for beginner Gelug students

Post by Ayu » Wed May 03, 2017 12:27 pm

Karma_Yeshe wrote:
smcj wrote:LitPoYH is a good book.
We should not import sectarianism.
Keep that in mind as you read it and the book is just fine.
We should not import it, but buying it is ok for you :shrug:
I highly recommend to read Je Tsongkhapa himself if you want to know the source of the whole Geluk tradition.
Okay, you recommend this and Lama Zopa recommends reading the Pabonka book. :shrug: Who is the authority here?
Maybe you should mention that Gelug is not your lineage.
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