All ‘Buddhist Books’ posts

New book with account of the early years of the 8th Karmapa

Sunday, January 9th, 2011
Lives Lived, Lives Imagined

Lives Lived, Lives Imagined

A new book published by Wisdom Publications entitled “Lives Lived, Lives Imagined – Biographies of Awakening” is an impressive collection of cross-traditional accounts of the lives of Buddhist practitioners, with contributions from a range of contemporary authors and scholars. In particular, it contains a fascinating account of the early years of the Eighth Karmapa Mikyö Dorje (1507-1554).

The section of the book in question is “Narratives of Reincarnation, Politics of Power, and the Emergence of a Scholar – The Very Early Years of Mikyö Dorje”, by Jim Rheingans. In it, Rheingans presents a vast range of biographical and historical material on the early years of the Eighth Karmapa Mikyö Dorje, whose recognition and enthronement were overshadowed by attempts to install a rival candidate as the new Karmapa. Rheingans makes clear how the method of establishing spiritual lineages through identifying reincarnations was (and is) embedded into the politics of the day. Biographies and autobiographies reflect this religio-political dimension, and some of the stock elements of such narratives, like the self-recognition of an incarnate young lama or the establishment of the prototypical patron-priest relationship in later years, serve to legitimize the position of the Karmapa and establish the political alliances that were necessary for maintaining a religious legacy.


Heart Advice from a Mahamudra Master

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010
Gendun Rinpoche

Gendun Rinpoche

A new book of Buddhist teachings by Gendun Rinpoche has recently been published in English entitled “Heart Advice from a Mahamudra Master”.


Is it possible to reach enlightenment by practising the Four Foundational Practices?

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Torch of Certainty

The book “Torch of Certainty“, first published by Shambhala in 1977, has become a classic reference material in the English speaking world for all using the Four Foundational Practices (Tib. Ngöndro) of Tibetan Buddhism, especially as taught in the Karma Kagyu school. It is a translation of a text by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye (1813-1899), entitled “The Torch of True Meaning”, which is in turn based on the 9th Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje’s (1556–1603) treatise on the Great Seal (Skt. Mahamudra) entitled “The Ocean of True Meaning”. While the English translation, made in the early days of Tibetan Buddhism’s introduction to the West in the 1970’s now sounds somewhat dated, the book is excellent, and the introduction contains questions and answers about the Four Foundational Practices with three influential lamas who were alive and active in the West when the book was published; Trungpa Rinpoche (1939-1987), Deshung Rinpoche (1906-1987) and Kalu Rinpoche (1905-1989).

In the introducation to the book, Kalu Rinpoche – one of the first teachers of Hannah and Lama Ole Nydahl – summarises the Ngöndro as follows: “Generally speaking, the first practices (refuge and prostrations, Vajrasattva and mandala offering) clear away obscurations and gather the two accumulations. The guru yoga gives you great faith in your guru which leads to your receipt of his blessing and attainment of mahamudra”.


What Happens When We Die?

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010
In connection with Lama Ole Nydahl’s forthcoming teachings in London on “Death and Rebirth“, we reproduce here an article from Time Magazine published two years ago. It is an interview with British scientist Dr. Sam Parnia, an expert on the scientific study of death and author of “What Happens When We Die“.

What Happens When We Die?

By M.J. STEPHEY Thursday, Sep. 18, 2008

Dr. Sam Parnia

Dr. Sam Parnia

A fellow at New York City’s Weill Cornell Medical Center, Dr. Sam Parnia is one of the world’s leading experts on the scientific study of death. Last week Parnia and his colleagues at the Human Consciousness Project announced their first major undertaking: a 3-year exploration of the biology behind “out-of-body” experiences. The study, known as AWARE (AWAreness during REsuscitation), involves the collaboration of 25 major medical centers through Europe, Canada and the U.S. and will examine some 1,500 survivors of cardiac arrest. TIME spoke with Parnia about the project’s origins, its skeptics and the difference between the mind and the brain.

What sort of methods will this project use to try and verify people’s claims of “near-death” experience?

When your heart stops beating, there is no blood getting to your brain. And so what happens is that within about 10 sec., brain activity ceases —as you would imagine. Yet paradoxically, 10% or 20% of people who are then brought back to life from that period, which may be a few minutes or over an hour, will report having consciousness. So the key thing here is, (more…)

Karmapa Prophecies – website for Sylvia Wong’s new book

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Previously we blogged about the new book by Sylvia Wong, “The Karmapa Prophecies“. Now there is a website which contains further information about the book.


New Book: “The Karmapa Prophecies” by Sylvia Wong

Monday, May 17th, 2010

This excellent new book is an extensive study revolving around the current controversy over the recognition of the 17th Karmapa.

Karmapa Prophecies by Sylvia Wong

Karmapa Prophecies by Sylvia Wong


In 1981, the revered 16th Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism, passed away. His death set in motion a process to identify his reincarnated successor that originated 900 years ago with the 1st Karmapa who was the first Tibetan Buddhist master ever to reincarnate.

Since the early 1990s, the identification of the 17th Karmapa has been mired in controversy; causing a schism in the Karma Kagyu sect. two competing factions within the sect have recognized different candidates.

To help sort out the competing claims, Sylvia Wong believes that an unbiased voice can be found in the past – namely, in the prophetic words of previous Karmapas. Not only does she offer the Karmapas’ words, but using a combination of accurate translations, sound interpretation, proper historical research, and investigative reporting, she also marshals new evidence and analysis to show that those predictions have come true in our time.

In addition, the author corrects recent publications’ linguistic and historical errors that contribute to the Karmapa controversy. She believes that an accurate account of Karma Kagyu history ought to be of equal importance to both (more…)

Books in Diamond Way Centres: Recommended reading Pt.2

Monday, April 19th, 2010

In the second of a series of entries, we present Buddhist books from the “recommended reading list” for students of Diamond Way Buddhism by various authors, together with links to a reliable UK-based supplier, Wisdom Books. This group of books includes life stories of great Buddhist practitioners.

Entering the Diamond Way – Tibetan Buddhism Meets the West

Lama Ole Nydahl

This is the genuinely compelling story, and spiritual odyssey, of Ole and Hannah Nydahl, who in 1968 became the first Western students of the great Tibetan master, His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. Their exciting travels on the worn path between the green lowlands of Europe to the peaks of the Himalayas, led them to experience the skilful teachings of numerous Tibetan lamas who helped transform their lives into “limitless clarity and joy.” From their first contact with Tibetan Buddhism in Kathmandu in the form of a lama with extraordinary psychic powers, Ole and Hannah encountered the full spectrum of the Buddhist view. Their real aim in writing this book is “to form a bridge between two worlds, and especially to share with all who are looking for their true being… an introduction to a time-proven way to Enlightenment.”


Books in Diamond Way Centres: Recommended reading Pt.1

Monday, April 12th, 2010

In the first of a series of blog entries, we present Buddhist books from the “recommended reading list” for students of Diamond Way Buddhism by various authors, together with links to a reliable UK-based supplier, Wisdom Books. These books are also available, for example, in the libraries of many of our UK groups and centres. This first group of books cover general topics in Buddhism.

The Way Things Are – A Living Approach to Buddhism for Today’s World

Lama Ole Nydahl

In this new and updated edition, Lama Ole Nydahl asks: What is Buddhism today? How do the Buddha’s teachings utilize the full potential of our being? Through which practices may we experience mind as limitless space and bliss? How can one use the daily joys and difficulties of one’s job, family, or partnerships for spiritual growth? A very good introduction to Buddhism in General and the Diamond Way in particular.

O Books Publishing (2008) ISBN: 978-1-84694-042-2


The Dharma That Illuminates All Beings Impartially

Kalu Rinpoche

A complete manual of the Buddhist path. This collection of teachings by the late renowned Kagyu master Kalu Rinpoche, one of the main teachers of Hannah and Lama Ole Nydahl, were given in America in 1982 and cover a wide range of topics, including the Four Dharmas of Gampopa, accomplishments, women in Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths, the Bardo, mandala offerings, taking refuge, commitments and the levels of (more…)