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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chew slowly
I come back to this book regularly as my meditation practice grows. Geshe Kelsang writes books that are meant to be used in practice rather than academic works, which might sound like an approach that lends itself to light reading. In practice it means that things are stated accurately and lucidly but space is left for the practitioner to grow into. A topic like this (the...
Published on 10 July 2011 by Graeme

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
This book is part of the New Kadampa Tradition teaching programme (I believe) it's not just going to explain things you'll need to really think about what is being said. A book to meditate on and find your own way.
Published 16 months ago by Feeling_charmed


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chew slowly, 10 July 2011
This review is from: Understanding the Mind: The Nature and Power of the Mind (Paperback)
I come back to this book regularly as my meditation practice grows. Geshe Kelsang writes books that are meant to be used in practice rather than academic works, which might sound like an approach that lends itself to light reading. In practice it means that things are stated accurately and lucidly but space is left for the practitioner to grow into. A topic like this (the mind itself) could easily be over explained so that the reader feels the final word has been given and there is nothing left to say. Geshe Kelsang's approach is confident, carefully thought out and certainly not 'wordy', the reader is meant to find the truth of these teachings through careful checking in their own mind. Practical advice is given throughout on how to apply these sometimes technical teachings practically which helps the practitioner to breathe while exploring these very profound areas. I'm not sure whether this book can be fully understood without guidance from a teacher and certainly if this is your first book on Buddhism you're in for an interesting time, but personally I think that if you've got an open mind and some interest in exploring that mind you're in for a fun ride!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 29 Mar 2013
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This book is part of the New Kadampa Tradition teaching programme (I believe) it's not just going to explain things you'll need to really think about what is being said. A book to meditate on and find your own way.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent presentation of a difficult subject, 20 Jan 2001
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso explains the nature of mind from the point of view of his tradition. The book is divided into two main parts. The first deals with specific types of mind and how they function. The second is a more practical account of which states of mind bring happiness and peace. Throughout the text the author suggests how knowledge of this particular system may be used to bring greater peace of mind. A splendid guide to the mind from the buddhist point of view. Be warned this is a difficult subject!
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good start but there are better books on this topic, 1 Feb 2009
By 
M. Jaeckel - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Understanding the Mind: The Nature and Power of the Mind (Paperback)
This book offers an understanding about what is known in Tibetan Buddhism as Lorig - the teachings on the mind and its function.

The author in general follows the classic Tibetan Buddhist teachings on this subject although in some points he differs, and it is not clear who is the author - what is the origin Buddhist source - of the given definitions or if the definitions were made by the author himself. Especially the definition on 'faith' or 'non-faith' are rather fuzzy and not very practical. Therefore other texts should be consulted to deepen one's understanding, to verify or to refine what the author states.

The book is - like all of the author's books are - highly self-referential. This means the author suggests always his own books for further English readings and there is no bibliography of works by other authors than himself nor is there any suggestion or reference to a translated origin Buddhist text on this subject of mind and its function.

The author offers also some of his personal views which form the basis of the religious and study approach within his own organisation the New Kadampa Tradition - IKBU (also advertised nowadays by him as 'Kadampa Buddhism'). Kelsang Gyatso states on page 162:

"The practices taught by one Teacher will differ from those taught by another, and if we try to combine them we shall become confused, develop doubts, and lose direction. If we try to create a synthesis of different traditions we shall destroy the special power of each and be left only with a mishmash of our own making that will be a source of confusion and doubt. Having chosen our tradition and our daily practices we should rely upon them single-pointedly, never allowing dissatisfaction to arise. At the same time as cherishing our own tradition we should respect all other traditions and the right of each individual to follow the tradition of their choosing. This approach leads to harmony and tolerance. It is mixing different religious traditions that causes sectarianism. This is why it is said that studying non-religious subjects is less of an obstacle to our spiritual progress than studying religions of different traditions."

That "mixing different religious traditions causes sectarianism" is not tenable and the complete passage should be understood with respect to what he urges his followers to do: not to read books by other authors than him and to keep his personal school of thought 'pure' by not 'mixing' it with views or practices by other authors, not even from his own school the Gelugpas.

Books I can recommend without hesitation on that subject of mind and its function (Lorig) include:

- Mind in Buddhist Psycology: Neklace of Clear Understanding by Yeshe Gyaltsen (Tibetan Translation Series) by Yeshe Gyaltsen (Tibetan Translation Series), translated by Herbert V. Guenther
- Cutting Through Appearances by Geshe Lhundup Sopa
- Mind in Tibetan Buddhism by Lati Rinbochay
- The Mind and Its Functions by Geshe Rabten, translated by Stephen Batchelor

Although I use all of them my favourite is Mind in Buddhist Psycology: Neklace of Clear Understanding by Yeshe Gyaltsen (Ye-shes rgyal-mtshan') because it is one of the most clear and precise presentation I read and it is based on the Abhidharma, the teachings of Asanga, and Je Tsongkhapa and includes proper referenced citations, as well as charts, tables of reference, terms, index to sources cited, and general index. This book is also much used at different universities.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Book, 29 Dec 2008
This review is from: Understanding the Mind: The Nature and Power of the Mind (Paperback)
This book explains the nature and functions of the mind. As Geshe Kelsang says, normally we only have a vague (and probably wrong!) idea of what our mind is and what it does. Buddha taught that the mind is the key to both happiness and suffering and that by realizing our own mind, through meditation, we can become permanently free from suffering. This book explains how to do that.

However, I have to temper my enthusiasm with a warning: The subject of this book is very profound and it's difficult to realize without a solid background in Buddhist teachings. This is not a book I would recommend for beginners, but for those who have already some experience of Buddha's teachings, it's a unique, invaluable and challenging read.

I'd have to go as far as to say there isn't another book like this in the world because it explains how the mind works from the point of the view of Buddha's highest philosophical view, something that's not normally done, and it also explains how to apply this knowledge practically. It's rare to find this blend of scholarship and practical advice. It's a book to come back to again and again and every time I read it I learn something new!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Profund Ancient Subject Written in a way modern people will understand, 14 Aug 2011
This review is from: Understanding the Mind: The Nature and Power of the Mind (Paperback)
Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso is a fully qualified Buddhist Master, and this becomes immediately obvious when reading his books.
Understanding the Mind tackles an extremely complex subject area, which is alien to most of us westerners, in a very clear and logical way. Not for the beginner, but essential reading if you wish to progress down the spiritual path (in my view)
No one, in my experience, explains the wonderful intricacies of Buddhist Philosophy in such a clear and simple way. This is a truly a masterful book that I feel very fortunate to have encountered.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, 5 Jan 2011
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This review is from: Understanding the Mind: The Nature and Power of the Mind (Paperback)
An in-depth look at Buddhist beliefs about the mind. As usual, it's logical and makes perfect sense even to a complete novice like me. Heavy reading but worth a read :)
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lorig is important, 6 Aug 2009
By 
Michelle (York, NorthYorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Essential traditional buddhist teaching on lorig. These are the outlines & definitions that tibetan buddhist monks spend all day debating in monasteries. Its very technical but thats what they do. I met a non NKT monk who recited these exact same outline & he learnt them growing up at a monastery in the tibetan community in India
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7 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A turgid Text, 18 Sep 2008
This review is from: Understanding the Mind: The Nature and Power of the Mind (Paperback)
A difficult subject says a previous reviewer...and one that is not well explained in this book. Found it dry and uninspiring 2/10.
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Understanding the Mind: The Nature and Power of the Mind
Understanding the Mind: The Nature and Power of the Mind by Kelsang Gyatso Geshe (Paperback - 1 Aug 2002)
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