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A Beginner's Guide to Tibetan Buddhism: Notes from a Practitioner's Journey

This is a ground-level, practice-oriented presentation of Tibetan Buddhism--personal and very accessible. The book begins with the awakening of students' interest in spirituality and the initial... This description may be from another edition of this product.


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i received my book in only 3 days and was quite impressed with the speed. as for the condition...... it may have been listed as used but i consider it a Brand New Book!

A Beginner's Guide makes it seem easy

I have been interested in Tibetan Buddhism for many years, but felt intimidated by its seeming complexity. A Beginner's Guide to Tibetan Buddhism puts it all in order. Bruce Newman writes about the beginnings of his study, the people who inspired him, and his own development through study and practice. He has been practicing and teaching Tibetan Buddhism for many years. He describes his journey from student to teacher simply and logically. I highly recommend this book to anyone else curious about or interested in learning about Tibetan Buddhism

A Beginner's Guide to Tibetan Buddhism

I have been practicing Tibetan Buddhism for over eighteen years. I have found Bruce's frank discussion of the cultural clash most western dharma students face when seriously practicing Tibetan Buddhism to be delightful. His honesty does not put me off at all. Finally, someone has the courage to honestly share his experience of the path with me. He's brave enough to discuss everything in this book. I say, "Bravo!" If you are a new, younger female student, be sure to read the chapter on Dzogrim and the Body. It discusses one of the most important issues facing women lay practitioners. How do we relate to the sexual imagery of tantra? What do we do when older dharma students or lamas hit on us? It could save you a lot of grief to read this chapter carefully if you are seriously interested in dharma practice. I disagree with one reviewer who says the author's lama should've written about Tibetan Buddhism, with the author just sharing his experiences in anecdotal form. This isn't a translation of dharma material. It's an overview of the path for new students. It's a chance for older students to realize that we aren't the only ones who've faced these difficulties when attempting to practice Tibetan Buddhism. Sure, it would have been better if there weren't any typos, but hey, why not cut the author some slack? It's the meaning that is most important, not the words, right? I want to thank the author for writing this wonderful book. It finally discusses in an honest way, many of the problems I've faced over the years. The chapter on ritual is also very important. It cautions western students to not dismiss any aspect of these practices, simply because we consider them unfamiliar and peculiar to Tibetan Buddhism. I can't recommend this book enough. It is a unique and practical guide that is a must read for anyone seriously considering devoting themselves to the path of Tibetan Buddhism.

Words of Advice from an Elder Brother

When I was first studying physics, I found that it was sometimes more illuminating to discuss a problem with a teaching assistant than with a professor: Although the TA's level of understanding was greater than mine, he would consider more alternative approaches, and show more hesitation in deciding among them, than would a professor. Watching a graduate student proceed in this way, I felt validated in my own process of learning by exploring and stumbling around. The author of this book, Bruce Newman, has certainly achieved a higher level of experience and understanding in the Dharma. For thirty years, he has been living the life that most other Dharma students have only day-dreamed about: living as a nearly full-time yogi, with continual guidance from his teachers, both in and out of retreats, in the East and in the West. As a result of his efforts, he has been given authorization, encouragement and continuing support by two highly regarded teachers in the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages to introduce Western students into the Vajrayana and to train them in its meditation. After teaching other Western students for a decade, and reflecting on his own process of coming to terms with and progressing in the Vajrayana, he has now written a guide to Tibetan Buddhism that explores the issues that arise for Westerners encountering this rather complex system. He is able to explain, in a very down-to-earth way, some of the central issues that we confront: how to deal with the lama most straightforwardly, how to relate to the ritualistic aspects, sexuality (what is "tantric" and what is not?), dealing with other students, fitting practice into your life, and so on. He discusses the detailed relationships among the different types of Vajrayana techniques, why they are done in a certain order, and what they are designed to do; and also some of the difficulties that are likely to arise while doing them. One of the most important points he makes is that Westerners often have a difficult time with their relationship with the guru: They tend to believe that the lama is somehow aware of all of their issues and confusions, without their being discussed. This attitude leads to a lack of communication on meditational experiences that makes it difficult for the lama to point out the nature of the mind to the student in a definitive way. He also explores the conceptual difficulties that arise for Westerners: Some of these come from cultural differences with Tibetans, but some are intrinsic to Buddhist thought. Westerners often come to the Dharma with the general idea that Buddhism is a form of super-logic, a kind of science with added spiritual insight; there is then the tendency to disregard aspects that don't fit into this picture. The author explains in specific detail how this conceptual view can limit one's understanding of how the Vajrayana actually works, and therefore one's experience. The author mentions in general terms, but does not go into detail about, his

Excellent practical guide for Westerners

The following review is written by Jan and Linda Derksen. Tibetan Buddhism has a steep learning curve. In this thoughtful, intelligent introduction, Bruce Newman's years of experience as a lama, serious practitioner, and Dharma teacher help us recognize and avoid many of the pitfalls that Western practitioners commonly stumble into. His book is a gem for any newcomer who feels intimidated and overwhelmed by the multitude of details that we need to sift through when we set out on this path. The book is equally helpful to practitioners with years of experience who are confronting increasingly subtle difficulties that are hard to uproot or even to recognize. Bruce's book is not like other books about Buddhism available today. He assumes we have some interest in Buddhism and will seek out lectures or read books about Buddha's life and teachings. He focuses his attention on guiding us through the practical considerations that Western students confront. Let's say we are serious enough to want to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings. Now what? Do we really need a Guru? How can devotion and trust function in the heart and mind of a well educated, scientifically minded Westerner? At the university Bruce's field of study was theoretical chemistry and quantum mechanics. Thus, we can relate to his tough-minded scientific mind and the effort he had to put into learning about devotion and trust first hand with Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche in Nepal and Gyatrul Rinpoche in California. Over the years Bruce also learned about devotion and trust by answering questions from his students. His book gives us many of the details as well as a broad perspective on the Guru-devotion discussion so that if we follow his advice, we won't get hurt, and neither will our Guru. Without the proper understanding, doing 100,000 prostrations looks like an enormous waste of time. Or, what exactly are we trying to do when we sit on our cushions and meditate? Bruce warns us about perfecting our outward performance and entirely missing out on the emotion-changing heart of the practice. He also cautions us about the dangers of getting competitive with our Dharma brothers and sisters. Lets say we've taken the step of volunteering at a Dharma Center and feel like tearing our hair out because our fellow volunteers are so annoying. Bruce spends an entire chapter on all the emotional ups and downs that are inevitable when we practice in a pressured situation with many people, and he shows us how to use the difficulties as part of our spiritual training. Bruce is the only author we've found who thoroughly and clearly explains the various lineages and stages one encounters. For example, he explains that Nyingma style practice has the following stages: (1.) Pointing-out Instructions->Ngondro->Deity Practice->Tsalung->Dzogchen/Mahamudra/Formless Practice, or the alternate possibility (2.) Pointing-out Instructions ->Ngondro->Shinay->Lhagtong->Dzogchen/Mah
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