Tag: Tibetan Buddhism

Books on the Karmapa Controversy

Two rival candidates currently claim the position of Karmapa, leader of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. The controversy has split the school and prompted a flurry of books describing the conflict. But what is really going on in this dispute, and why have westerners been caught up in it? Here’s a review of three of those books and another exploring western responses to Tibetan Buddhism

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This Precious Opportunity: Four Reminders (1)

The Four Reminders are guided reflections on what Buddhism considers the basic facts of life. Turning them over is a way of reminding ourselves of what we know, but forget and jolting ourselves into activity. Here’s my version of the first of those reflections on the precious opportunity this life offers us

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‘Compassion for My Torturer’: A Meeting With Palden Gyatso

Tibetan Buddhist monk, Palden Gyatso, spent 33 years imprisoned by the Chinese and drew deep on his Buddhist practice to survive his brutal treatment. He escaped to the West to tell his story, and when I met him in London he told me about his experiences and reflections. ‘I never regretted what I did. I did not put up the posters to alleviate my own suffering, but for the good of Tibet. The whole country was in prison, so it was not important what happened to me’.

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Don’t Rely on Lineage

Many Buddhist traditions claim that they are reliable and authoritative because they inherit a lineage of realised masters dating back to prestigious teachers of the ancient past. That sounds impressive and appealing but the Buddha advised us to check out the truth of a teaching in our own experience. Perhaps the whole notion of lineage is a beguiling diversion from what Buddhist practice is really about.

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