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Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines: Or Seven Books of Wisdom of the Great Path, According to the Late Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup's English Rendering Paperback – 1 Jan 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press USA; 3 edition (1 Jan. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195133145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195133141
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 615,051 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Evans-Wents, Jesus College Oxford.

Donald S. Lopez Jr. is the Carl W. Belser Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan. He is the author and editor of many books on Buddhism, including Buddhism in Practice and Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West, and key religious texts by His Holiness the Dalai Lama: The Joy of Living and Dying in Peace, The Way to Freedom, and Awakening the Mind, Lightening the Heart.


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First published in 1935 as a pioneering work on Tibetan Buddhism, the year 2000 edition is enhanced by an incisive foreword by Donald S. Lopez Jr. If you have already read earlier books by Evans-Wentz this edition is worth getting for the foreword alone. Lopez gives ample biographical information about the author of Tibetan Yoga that puts the whole series into context. With this in mind the original 1935 text is clearly not suitable as a practical self-help introduction to Tantric Buddhism but does say plenty about the author and his exotic interests.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book re-translated from English to Greek and I would say that the essence of the Tibetan teachings is still there (and I think would still be there after several re-translations as this is the way it works with the spirit of "wisdom"). Furthermore, I think that reading this book and complaining about the "bad translation" work means you at least kind of miss the whole point. But it seems that some people do have a problem with the translation so I would suggest that if you are looking for a book that will help you learn the Tibetan language perfectly, this one might not do (I'm not sure about this actually). Buy it only if you are looking for a book that contains several techniques and tips that can be used complementary to your own efforts in meditation in order to help you reach states of less and less ego (and into "nirvana" or call it whatever you like, the name doesn't change the essence). The way it works is that many people have took the journey out of their ego for many thousands of years, like you are, and them speaking of things that you also personally find while meditating might help you, working somewhat like a "map" of already discovered territories.
To be practical though, if someone actually has read this book and has also read of a better translation (which I doubt since this is a unique collection of several Tibetan works), then please do suggest of a better translation than this one, otherwise, if there is no better choice of translation, I surely recommend this book for all those modern "yogis" out there. And to be honest, I don't really think that such a book would need a recommendation by me, because even if it had only 1 star it would still sit there from above laughing at our ignorance; I'm just writing this review for those few of you who are looking for a really good book and are about to be discouraged by looking at the reviews here.
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Format: Paperback
The writing style is charmingly old fashioned but unassailably authoritative. I have a vast collection of translations of eastern classics and this ranks very high amongst those that come close to describing my experiences in self taught meditation practice.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first owned this book as a paperback in about 1970 , and it formed part of my introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. At the time it had a great impact but eventually I chose a different path, and passed this and the other books in the series on. Now I am revisiting Buddhism and came across this and the other Evans Wentz titles as e-books and out of curiosity bought this and the Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation. In 1970 it was not clear to me what context the various texts translated in this volume had, EW and others added a lot of commentary, which was useful at the time but which now looks rather dated. Fortunately the books now have a second preface which adds a lot more context. I was surprised to realise just how much the precepts outlined in this book have guided my subsequent life, (in a positive manner). Nowadays there is a much wider range of translated material available and numerous other sources of information on Buddadharma through many traditions and lineages that have propagated to the West and therefore I would not necessarily recommend this as an introductory work. All of the tantric yogas outlined need elaboration and proper foundation practices and initiation if they are to be attempted, but as background information they make interesting reading. I hold this book in kind esteem and pay tribute to the editor and translator who were the first to make these teachings available in the English language. For me its appeal is its historical value and as a personal souvenir.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x91cae258) out of 5 stars 14 reviews
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9184b654) out of 5 stars Ancient but useful. 23 Oct. 2000
By Meryl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
W.Y.Evans-Wentz travelled extensively in the far east and wrote several books about Tibetan Buddhism. He writes with a great combination of scholarship and passion for the religion. Having met 'remarkable men' throughout India and elsewhere, he has a tendency to blend Buddhism and Hinduism together. Those who have travelled to India or Nepal have seen this blending, and a student of history notes Buddhism's firm roots in Hinduism. In this book, Evans Wentz gives good translations of exotic Tibetan Buddhist texts. Anyone looking for the roots of modern mystical fiction like Carlos Castaneda will find them here. Explained are the procedures of producing 'Psychic Heat', projecting consciousness into animals, and being aware of the dream state. This is a great book to inspire the cautious beginner or to come back to after practicing seated meditation for several years, because there is practical advice on how to breath and keep your back straight,as well as deeper meditations. One might ask, "How did the powers that be ever let this kind of information be put into print?", as a lot of it is extremely esoteric and possibly unadvisable for beginning practitioners.
Be sure to read the author's wonderful introduction and extensive footnotes, which help to weave a story about spirituality, both Eastern and Western.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9184b504) out of 5 stars a classic source 20 Sept. 2005
By Hakuyu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Along with the companion volumes making up the Tibetan Series edited by W.Y. Evans-Wentz, this book broke new ground when first published in 1935,effectively placing the first, full length translations of authentic Tibetan Buddhist teachings within our reach. Despite the passage of time and a prolific increase in the number of such translations, the material made available by W.Y. Evans-Wentz and his mentors remains some of the most lucid at our disposal. As W.Y. Evans-Wentz put it: ". . .my aim has been to place on record not only a catena of carefuly made translations of texts . . .but also a body of orally transmitted traditions and teachings relating to the texts, which I received from the late Lama@Kazi Dawa Samdup, who was my Tibetan Guru. . ." - hence, the emphasis throughout is essentially practical. In fact, W.Y. Evans-Wentz hinted that the present volume may well be found to be the most valuable, inasmuch as it gives the very texts of some of the principal yogas and meditations which many of the most illustrious Tibetan and Indian philosophers, including Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa and Milarepa, employed in attaining Right Knowledge " (i.e. samyak sambodhi).

The shortened titles of these seven texts are as follows:

(1) Gampopa's Supreme Path, called 'The Precious Rosary. '

(2) The Epitome of the Great Symbol.

(3) The Epitome of the Six Doctrines

(4) The Transference of Consciousness

(5) The Method of Eradicating the Lower Self.

(6) The Fivefold Wisdom of the Long Hum

(7) The Essence of the Transcendental Wisdom.

Briefly summed up as 'Seven Books of Wisdom of the Great Path' - what we actually find here is a compendium of all the major doctrines and practices known to Tibetan Buddhism, as rooted in the Mahayana- although some practices, such as 'Pho-wa' (transference of consciousness) seem to be peculiarly Tibetan - even though utilised in an orthodox Buddhist context. Special commentaries precede each carefully rendered text, a wealth of information at the reader's disposal.

In recent years, some critics have questioned the approach taken by W.Y. Evans-Wentz. It is worth quoting W.Y. E-W again: " this volume is meant at once for the exact scholar and for the general reader. The former will note that the original textual sources, which are sevenfold, are authentic, and that nothing has been incoporated into the texts or presented in the introductions and annotations which has not had doctrinal sanction. "

Earlier editions of this text had a preface and tribute by Prof Chen Chi Chang, a Chinese Buddhist scholar who not only practiced Tibetan Buddhism with leading Lamas, but also had an honorary Tibetan title bestowed upon him - Cha-gyur Khan-po (Master interpreter/translator). W.Y. Evans Wentz was Rhodes scholar with impeccable qualifications. However, he was no dry-as-dust academic. Something of a scholar-gypsy-cum-pilgrim, W-Y Evans-Wentz wandered around N. India, Sikkhim, Tibetan communities etc., sitting at the feet of genuine Buddhist teachers, before that world was turned upside down by political upheaval. These are valuable sources.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9184b3f0) out of 5 stars The 3rd book in the Tibetan series from W.Y.Evans-Wentz 26 Nov. 2003
By OverTheMoon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is the third book in the Tibetan series from W.Y.Evans-Wentz. Although this book can be used as a stand-alone yoga book it is certainly not best read that way. Basically this is part of a developing series. The first book in the Tibetan series - The Tibetan Book of the Dead, is the fundamental book of the series which describes Buddhist philosophy, psychology and metaphysics. It is the best translation out there and the original! The second book in the series is called Tibets Greatest Yogi Milarepa is the story of a great yogi who puts into practice most of what we learn from The Tibetan Book of the Dead. It is through the story of Milarepa that we learn more about The Tibetan Book of the Dead. In the story of Milarepa the yogi studies the Seven Books of Wisdom of the Great Path as taught to him by his gurus. THIS BOOK is an expansion that explains those wisdoms and describes the yoga that is used to achieve them. When you understand that, then this book becomes invaluable to anybody who is looking for right yoga path. IT IS HERE!
These texts are ancient and old but have served millions since their inception. The work that Evans-Wentz has done here is substantial if not some of the most important yoga concepts ever seen by the occident. You will probably need a guru of some kind to help you get started in any form of yoga but this book is plain sailing once you learn the basics right. Most of the major yoga practices are covered in this book. Most new books on yoga are indebted to this mans work on the subject, all directly brought back from the orient by master gurus whom which Dr. W.Y.Evans-Wentz was a student for years.
There is lots of philosophy to go through and lots of text and this may put a lot of readers off, or those what to get straight into the practice but there is lots of philosophy and mental orientation to get right first. It is all here... all 434 pages of it! Mostly text! There is nothing else like it! The original is here!
*** The other books in the series are - The Tibetan Book of the dead and Tibets Greatest Yogi Milarepa - before this one. The final book in the series is The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation. ***
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9329ce28) out of 5 stars Still impressive after all these years 17 Mar. 2006
By Neal J. Pollock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is a compendium of diverse Tibetan Buddhist works, translated, extensively annotated with footnotes, introductions, & addenda. For most, if not all, this was their original translation & publication in English. Evans-Wentz (E-W) adopted a scientific/anthropological view (per his training); per p. xii: R. R. Marett-"He meant to do his best to look through the window without being baffled by his own reflection in the glass." His critics (Donald Lopez in his preface & John Reynolds in his "Self-Liberation") emphasize E-W's history of Theosophy & Hindu yoga. However, as a scientist, I disagree. As George MacDonald said in "Lilith," "What do they know of England who only England know?" It's like trying to see a polar bear in a snow storm or a black cat in a moonless night! E-W non-dogmatically uses information from many sources e.g. Sufism, Christianity, Greek & modern philosophy, etc. to provide contrast & context with the text. Such background material is essential in order to comprehend meaning (knowledge) vs. mere information (dogma). Interestingly, Chen-Chi Cheng's "Yogic Commentary" points out further correspondences between Mahamudra (MM) & Zen, saying that p. xlii: "A knowledge of Tantric yoga contributes greatly to an understanding of all aspects of Buddhist enlightenment, including difficult & obscure Zen koans." As the "Yogic Precepts" in Book I point out, p. 79: "A philosophy comprehensive enough to embrace the whole of knowledge is indispensable," & per E-W, p. 322 note 1: "The one mind of man in its workings transcends the superficial barriers of clime, & race, & creed." The wide range of these 7 documents & the lack of readers' prior training necessitated very extensive background. Nevertheless, this book, even today, is not for the squeamish; it requires perseverance, reflection, meditation, etc., but can be extremely rewarding to discerning readers. It includes both theory/wisdom & practices: MM, Naropa's 6 yogas, chöd (see Edou's wonderful book on the MM of Machig Labdron), powa (transference of consciousness), the 5 Dyani Buddhas & their wisdoms, & a short Perfection of Wisdom sutra. Some of these topics are addressed in more modern works, but some are not-or not in the detail given here or with the extensive explanatory material in Western terminology & embedded multi-cultural analogies. A few of the book's more interesting/controversial statements include: p. 88: "If the empty nature of the mind be realized, no longer is it necessary to listen to or meditate upon religious teachings," p. 310: "Externally mine our thought-creations which have risen up against me as enemies in the shape of deities & demons," & p. 349: As modern scholars have noted, those great thinkers of ancient India taught, as Kant did 17 centuries afterwards, that the world is will & representation...phenomenal appearances." This is a phenomenal work even today.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x919b1108) out of 5 stars Real Stuff 24 Oct. 2002
By Brian Cheong - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Anyone who is interested in the six yogas of Naropa should read this book. It is skillfully translated from real sources. Some may say that the info is incomplete... but then, there is no single book that provides complete information regarding the practices---which is one of the reasons why looking for a guru who truly in the lineage and received initiations and oral teachings from previous practitioners is essential.
This book is a good look at esoteric Buddhism. One of my favorites.
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