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Buddhism Books: Tibetan Buddhism

The following books are recommended reading on the subject of Tibetan Buddhism.
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How To Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life
by The Dalai Lama

Editorial Review: As a primer on living the good life, few books compete with How to Practice, another profound offering from the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Westerners may be confused by the book's title, assuming that it focuses solely on Buddhist meditation and prayer techniques. Though it does address meditation and prayer, at its core this is a book that demonstrates how day-to-day living can be a spiritual practice.

    There are two ways to create happiness:
  • The first is external. By obtaining better clothes, better shelter, and better friends we can find a certain measure of happiness and satisfaction.
  • The second is through mental development, which yields inner happiness. However, these two approaches are not equally viable. External happiness cannot last long without its counterpart.... However, if you have peace of mind you can find happiness even under the most difficult circumstances.
As he has in previous books (An Open Heart, The Art of Happiness), the Dalai Lama reminds us that developing peace of mind means paying attention to our daily attitudes and choices as well as taking the time to meditate and be prayerful. The six-part book covers Buddhist meditation techniques and visualization exercises as well as daily thoughts and actions that foster morality and wisdom.

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Indestructible Truth: The Living Spirituality of Tibetan Buddhism
by Archayra Ray

Reader Review: If you are seriously interested in learning about Tibetan Buddhism, at more than a History or Travel Channel level, this book is a good place to start. Ray has a done good job boiling things down to essentials without sacrificing the breadth and depth of the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual dispensation. This is a "big picture" text, but much more than merely an outline or "Tibetan Buddhism For Dummies" kind of book. Clearly, Ray is in love with his subject, and obviously more than qualified to explain anything a beginner or even a moderately well acquainted devotee might need to know.

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Secret of the Vajra World: The Tantric Buddhism of Tibet
by Archayra Ray

Review: This book goes well with its companion volume, Indestructible Truth. Archayra Ray has a knack for relating the sometimes complex ideas of Tibetan Buddhism. He has provided a wonderful framework by which a westerner new to Tibetan Buddhism can understand the esoteric aspects of the Dharma. This book provides valuable insight into creating a sense of spirituality in our fast paced society.

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The Tibetan Book Of The Dead
by Padma Sambhava, Robert A. Thurman

Reader Review: The remarkable Bob Thurman offers us a new translation of the 'Tibetan Book of the Dead'. It surpasses by far the previous translation by Chogyam Trungpa and Frances Fremantle. As a text for practical use, as a source of spiritual inspiration, and as literature, this book shines. As well as the translation of the text and commentary, Professor Thurman has written an introduction which stands on its own as an introduction to Buddhism and Tibetan spirituality. If you have an interest in Buddhism, Tibet, or a concern about the after-death states, this book is essential.

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Tibetan Book Of Living and Dying
by Sogyal Rinpoche

This book gives you a spiritual, personal and intimate understanding of death and dying. More than that, it compels you to stop and take a deep and serious look at your own life and your own death. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying helps to salivate your own fear of dying and helps you take the responsibility to prepare for your death. At the same time, it gently helps you prepare yourself for the death and dying of a loved one. The teachings and personal experiences of Sogyal are simple to understand and interpret and incorporate into your personal life. I wholeheartedly recommend this book for every introspective person as well as for those facing the death of a loved one.

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The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs
by Robert Beer

From the outstanding artist who provided the illustrations for the book Buddhist Masters of Enchantment, this book is not only an incredible collection of art, it is also wonderfully explanatory. R. Beer tells the mythos and history behind each set of images in a logical and easy to read format. Exquisitely detailed line drawings (using fine-pointed traditional brushes) with descriptions of the religious significance of the symbols as well as their sources and development in Tibetan art.

Reader review: Indispensable resource for all people interested in Tibetan culture. Hats off to Robert Beer for presenting this detailed excursion into the symbols and motifs of Tibet. Everything in this book is priceless from an information point of view.There is not another book in this area that is as detailed as this one is. I cannot thank Robert Beer enough, this is truly a modern 'terma' (hidden treasure).

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