An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and by Peter Harvey

By Peter Harvey

This booklet is a accomplished creation to Buddhist culture because it has built in 3 significant cultural components in Asia, and to Buddhism because it is now constructing within the West. it truly is meant to be a textbook for college kids of spiritual and Asian stories, however it may also be of curiosity to those that need a normal survey of Buddhism and its ideals. in contrast to many different common books approximately Buddhism, it not just explores the area perspectives of the faith but additionally makes an attempt to teach how Buddhism capabilities as a suite of practices. It therefore comprises chapters on devotion, ethics, monastic practices and meditation. Such practices are on the topic of Buddhist teachings and old advancements. Emphasizing because it does the variety stumbled on inside varied Buddhist traditions, the ebook goals all through to underline universal threads of trust, perform and ancient continuities which unify the Buddhist international. Dr. Harvey solutions questions which are usually requested through humans on first assembly the culture, and in his part on Nirvana deals a singular interpretation of this final, transcendent secret.

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Sample text

To all Tibetans, the future seemed happy and secure. THE QUEST FOR ENLIGHTENMENT My education began when I was six, and as I was taught en­ tirely by the traditional system of Tibet, I must explain its methods and purposes. Our system has proved effective, so far, in maintaining a fairly high moral and intellectual standard among Tibetans, although it was established many centuries ago. By modern standards, it has the defect of entirely ignor­ ing the scientific knowledge of recent centuries, but the reason for that, of course, is that Tibet remained entirely isolated until very recent times.

It had five square cushions on it, each covered in brocade of a different color, so that its height was six or seven feet, A table in front of it carried all the seals of office of the Dalai Lama. The ceremony began with the chanting of special prayers by a group of the monks who lived in the Potala and were spe­ cially charged with attendance on the Dalai Lama at all reli­ gious ceremonies. They also offered symbols of auspiciousness, chanting prayers indicating their significance. Then the Regent came forward and presented the Mendel Tensum to me.

The one which I used most often was about 25 feet square, and its walls were entirely covered by paintings depicting the life of the fifth Dalai Lama, so detailed that the individual portraits were not more than an inch high. When I grew tired of my reading, I often used to sit and follow the story told by this great and elaborate mural which surrounded me. But apart from its use as office, temple, school, and habita­ tion, the Potala was also an enormous storehouse. Here were rooms full of thousands of priceless scrolls, some a thousand years old.

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