Friday, February 9, 2007

Book Review: Way of Tibetan Buddhism; Lama Jampa Thaye (Dr David Stott), 2001

This short book offers a concise introduction to the tenets of Buddhism in general and to Tibetan Buddhism in particular. Beginning with a brief outline of the life of the historical Buddha, English scholar and Tibetan mediatation practitioner Dr David Stott (writing here under his Buddhist name, Lama Jampa Thaye) leads the reader through the historical and philosophical development of Tibetan Buddhism.

Written in unpretentious, everyday English, Stott stays on topic and, except for a lengthy middle section readers already familiar with Buddhism might like to skip, presents in less than 150 pages a succinct outline of what makes Tibetan Buddhism unique as well as to what separates Tibetans in matters of Buddhist philosophy.

Tibetan terms are not overused and are explained as they are introduced. A glossary is provided but unfortunately a guide to pronunciation is not. Also available for your edification are the author's opinions on theism (you cannot practice Buddhism and be a Christian, Jew, Muslim or any other kind of theist), reincarnation (which he claims is the cornerstone of Buddhist philosophy and without which the entire system would collapse), and orthodoxy (anyone wishing to be a Buddhist must accept it whole, the complete 2500 year accretion of study, practice and tradition).



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