Openness Mind (Nyingma Psychology Series) Paperback – 1 Dec 1978
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The book is very much a devotional piece of work about the Buddhist practices and traditions. I think it is aimed at people who are already Buddhists by way of belief or pursuit; I say this because the author uses Buddhist expressions without actually defining them, and he also addresses the reader as though he or she is already embarked upon the Buddhist path. The book was a useful read in that it reminded me that one needs to draw a clear distinction between, on the one hand, the teachings of the Buddha and, on the other hand, the "bells and whistles" that have grown up around those teachings over the last 2500 years. This book lacks the "granular" clarity that one finds in more objective writers on the subject of non-dualism, meditation and enlightenment etc. (e.g. writers such as Alan Watts, Ken Wilber, Steve Hagen, Wei Wu Wei and Stephen Batchelor). I wouldn't recommend the book.
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"I think Westerners can automatically understand many of Buddha's beginning teachings because there is a lot of frustration here. We can understand a great deal just by studying our own life experience." The author lets us know as Westerners that we can use our own culture and background as a powerful way to access the Dharma. Buddha didn't teach for the benefit of Asians only; Buddhism and the Dharma is meant for everybody willing to step on the path.
"Our senses are nourished when we become quiet and relaxed. We can experience each sense, savoring its essence. To do this, touch on one aspect of the senses, and then allow the feeling to go farther. As we go to an even deeper level, we can intensify and enjoy the values and the satisfaction to be found there."..."We can explore the creamy texture of our deeper feelings, and contact an ever subtler level of beauty within our bodies and senses. Within the open space of meditation we can find infinite joy and perfect bliss." You can read and study dozens, maybe hundreds, of texts in Western philosophy and religion going back to Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, and Aquinas, but you will not find anything in any of those ancient and medieval texts like what Tarthang Tulku has written here.
"When you realize that everything is like a dream, you attain pure awareness. And the way to attain this awareness is to realize that all experience is like a dream." The author presents the teaching of dream yoga in such an approachable and easy-to-understand way. This will be a unique experience for Westerners, since, sadly, we lack comparable teachings within our Western tradition.
Tarthang Tulku relates a number of unforgettable stories about old Tibet. This is one I recall in my own words: One young lama bragged about his fearlessness in doing the Chod practice of calling out to demons while sitting alone is a spooky cemetery at night. The other lamas got tired of his bragging and one night they smeared their bodies with sulphur paste so they glowed. When the young lama called out to the demons that night, all the glowing lamas came out from hiding and moved toward him. Seeing this sight, the young lama took to his heels, fast! The next morning at breakfast, the lamas didn't have to listen to all his bragging about his Chod practice and fearlessness. Rather, he ate in silence.
What a wonderful book! Thank you Tarthang Tulku.
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