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Journey to Certainty: The Quintessence of the Dzogchen View: An Exploration of Ju Mipham's Beacon of Certainty [Paperback]

Anyen Rinpoche
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

12 July 2012
Approachable yet sophisticated, this book takes the reader on a gently guided tour of one of the most important texts Tibetan Buddhism has to offer. Certainty in this context refers to the unshakeable trust that develops as meditators discover for themselves the true root of reality. In this authoritative presentation, master teacher Anyen Rinpoche opens wide the storehouse of this richly philosophical text in a way that lets readers of all backgrounds easily benefit.

Product details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications,U.S.; Tra edition (12 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1614290091
  • ISBN-13: 978-1614290094
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,425,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Pedagogic 7 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Tibetan master and his translator and spouse seem to have developed a very effectfull pedagogic explanation of the Great Mipham's unique presentation of buddhist philosophy
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5.0 out of 5 stars I don't rate books that i still haven't read!! 6 Jun 2014
By Tiago
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I don't rate books that i still haven't read!! So the stars are mainly for what i already know about the author and the quality of the book and delivery!
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Journey to Certainty and Clarity 18 May 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've read many Dharma books and this one ranks with the best. Many books that deal with Buddhist philosophy tend to be either written in a way that is very hard to follow or are over simplified for our western minds. Anyen Rinpoche has the unique talent of combining traditional eastern philosophy with more western style of writing that brings complete clarity to his writing. While reading Journey to Certainty I felt that Anyen Rinpoche was teaching directly to me, almost like he was in front of me. The commentary in this book made many of the complexities of Buddhism much clearer to me, while at the same time brought up new questions and encouraged me to find my own answers. An ideal way to learn. I can't recommend this book highly enough. It will always have a prominent position on my bookshelf.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding in every way 7 Sep 2012
By Barbara - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is difficult to add anything to the 4 excellent reviews on this book, but I wanted to add another five star review to show my appreciation. Like others, I have struggled with Mipham's "Precious Beacon of Certainty" for many years. Much of this has to do with the English translation, I fear. This great book made everything crystal clear. In the chapter "The Water Moon as Metaphor for why Extrinsic Emptiness is Unsuitable", the writer states: "On the other hand, if we understand
dependent arising properly, we know that as things appear they are also empty; from the moment things are empty, they also appear. That is truly marvelous."

When one day appearance and emptiness arise as one expression, then one has realized the teachings of this fine book.

This is a marvelous book and Anyen Rinpoche stands out even in a field of great Tibetan masters and realized beings.
2.0 out of 5 stars Journey to Awfulness 9 Sep 2014
By L. Ron Gardner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This text, by considering Mipham's renowned "Beacon of Uncertainty," purports to provide a bridge between Buddhist sutra and tantra. To this end, the text explores Mipham's analysis of the philosophical views of the four lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, as well as those of the shreavaka and pratyeka arhats.

Mipham's "Beacon of Uncertainty" is considered a canonical Tibetan text, and Mipham himself is revered by Tibetan Buddhists as a polymathic genius and brilliant spiritual scholar - but not by me. And as unimpressed as I am by Mipham, I'm even less impressed by Anyen Rinpoche. He has next to zero real understanding of Dzogchen - and his writing, in a word, is awful.

First off, "sutra" means Nagarjuna's Madhyamika, and I have little regard for Nagarjuna (see my two-star reviews of Jay Garfield's "The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way" and David Ross Komito's "Nagarjuna's Seventy Stanzas"). I have consummate understanding of Dzogchen, and in no way do I see any need to provide a bridge between Nagarjuna's illogic (see my five- star review of "Buddhist Illogic" by Avi Sion) and Dzogchen teachings. From my perspective, the doctrine of emptiness is entirely superfluous to Dzogchen.

I could write a thick text deconstructing all the illogic displayed by Mipham and the schools of Tibetan Buddhism he analyzes - and I will gladly do so if someone offers me a sizeable grant. But since this is just a book review and not a book, and since this book purports to be a Dzogchen text - its subtitle is "The Quintessence of the Dzogchen View" - I will instead focus on Anyen Rinpoche's limited understanding, and awful presentation, of Dzogchen.

Here are some examples of his writing, followed by my analysis:

"Bodhichitta means conventional bodhichitta and also ultimate bodhichitta, which is the nature of mind itself."

Ultimate Bodhichitta is the union of of one's consciousness (chitta) with Light (Bodhi, the Sambhogakaya), and this union "produces," or unveils Conscious Light, or Mind. To call ultimate Bodhicitta the nature of mind itself is wrong. The nature of the mind is cognition. If Anyen Rinpoche and his fellow foggy Buddhist authors could grasp Buddhadharma and write clearly, they'd, properly, define Bodhicitta as En-Light-ened Consciousness, as the True Nature of one's consciousness.

"For example, the "semde" is the series of mind transmissions in which all phenomena are recognized as the union of the conventional and ultimate truths, or synonymously, the union of method and wisdom."

What wordy nonsense! "Semde" is simply the first series of Ati Yoga, or Dzogchen teachings, which focuses on direct abiding in, and as, Mind, or Awareness itself. Phenomena are not the union of conventional and ultimate truths; they are simply ephemeral manifestations, or modifications, of Mind itself.

"Mipham Rinpoche defines the perfectly pure path for us. All teachings in the sutra and tantra can be condensed into the ground, the path, and the result. The ground is defined as the indivisibility of the two truths, or the two eyes of valid cognition. The path is defined as the two accumulations, or methods and wisdom. The result is defined as the manifestation of the two kayas (Skt.; enlightened body). It is important that we see that all of these contain a piece of the others. We can never separate the ground, the path, and the result."

Again, this is wordy nonsense. Compare this to contemporary Dzogchen master Namkhai Norbu's description of the ground, the path, and the result (or fruit): "Although unrecocognized, the Trikaya is already, from the very beginning, fully manifest as the Essence, Nature, and Energy of the mind. Thus we can say of Dzogchen that the Foundation is the Trikaya, the Path is the Trikaya, and the Fruit is the Trikaya."

Anyen Rinpoche writes, "Inseparable rigpa and emptiness is realized through resting in the view of trekchod in union with todgyal. In order to abide in the essence of primordial great emptiness, we need to know the view of trekchod. In order to completely realize the aspect of clarity, one needs to abide in todgyal."

This is a very poor description of trekchod and todgyal. One doesn't rest in the views of or abide in trekchod and todgyal. Trekchod is simply the practice of direct, immediate awareness, which enables one to "cut through spiritual materialism" and connect with Clear-Light Energy, the Sambhogakaya. Todgyal is simply the practice of channeling Clear-Light Energy.

If you want to know if a Tibetan Buddhist teacher truly groks Dzogchen, check out his definitions of the kayas (or bodies). According to Anyen Rinpoche, "The unobstructed, uncontrived empty aspect is the Dharmakaya. The aspect of clarity is the Sambogakaya. The all-pervasive or omnipresent compassion is the Nirmanakaya."

It'd hard for me to imagine worse definitions of the kayas. The Dharmakaya is not the "empty aspect"; it is timeless Awareness. The Sambhogakaya is not the "aspect of clarity"; it is Clear-Light Blessing/Blissing Energy, the radiant, dynamic expression of the Dharmakaya. The Nirmankaya is not "omnipresent compassion"; it is the incarnational body in which the Dharmakaya and the Sambhogakaya are unobstructedly united in and expressed through.

In summary, this book is bad, but because those interested in Mipham's views on the metaphysics and epistemology of the four lineages of Tibetan Buddhism may find this text useful, I have decided to give it two stars rather than one.
5.0 out of 5 stars a precious exposition of truth 19 May 2014
By Steven - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A masterpiece of spiritual guidance, this interpretation of Mipham Rinpoche's Beacon of Certainty provides practical information on view, path, and result. More rare and valuable, even, is the integration it provides regarding the roles of intellect and non-conceptual abiding. Urgently recommended to all who have interest in the Buddhist approach.
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Teacher 12 Feb 2014
By Shellie J. Repka - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is over my practice head at this time, but I have complete confidence in Anyen Rinpoche as a writer and teacher!
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