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Seeing the Sacred in Samsara: Illustrated Guide to the Eighty-Four Mahasiddhas

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Rare paintings set aside life stories of each of the eighty-four wild Buddhist saints of ancient India.

This exquisite full-color presentation of the lives of the eighty-four mahāsiddhas, or “great accomplished ones,” offers a fresh glimpse into the world of the famous tantric yogis of medieval India. The stories of these tantric saints have captured the imagination of Buddhists across Asia for nearly a millennium. Unlike monks and nuns who renounce the world, these saints sought the sacred in the midst of samsara. Some were simple peasants who meditated while doing manual labor. Others were kings and queens who traded the comfort and riches of the palace for the danger and transgression of the charnel ground. Still others were sinners—pimps, drunkards, gamblers, and hunters—who transformed their sins into sanctity.

This book includes striking depictions of each of the mahāsiddhas by a master Tibetan painter, whose work has been preserved in pristine condition. Published here for the first time in its entirety, this collection includes details of the painting elements along with the life stories of the tantric saints, making this one of the most comprehensive works available on the eighty-four mahāsiddhas.

Reviews

“Seeing the Sacred in Samsara is a gem that should adorn the library of every Tibetan Buddhist or that of anyone who has more than a passing interest in Tibetan Buddhism. This book brings to life the stories of the Indian mahāsiddhas, hugely important figures in the imagination of the
Tibetan Vajrayana tradition.”—Thupten Jinpa, Principal English Translator to His Holiness the Dalai Lama

“Commissioned from an artist in eastern Tibet by a senior member of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama’s government but never displayed or published before, these remarkable paintings offer fresh insight into the workings of a master painter and the conversion of religious concepts into images. Written with his characteristic clarity and elegance, Professor Lopez has produced a book that will be a delight for admirers of Tibetan painting and a wonderful resource for students of Tibetan Buddhism.”—Clare Harris, Professor of Visual Anthropology, University of Oxford

“This book makes available for the first time a beautiful set of paintings of the Indian siddhas from early twentieth century Tibet. Lopez’s introduction provides the reader with a marvelous overview of the siddhas, their social context, the tantric tradition to which they belonged, their doctrines, and their depiction in Tibetan art history. A feast for both the eye and the mind, Seeing the Sacred in Samsara is a superb primer on one of the most important and fascinating saintly confederations in all of Buddhist history.”—José Cabezón, Dalai Lama Professor of Tibetan Buddhism and Cultural Studies, University of California Santa Barbara

Seeing the Sacred in Samsara is a wonder, a one-of-a-kind collection… It will serve as a timeless inspiration for all wisdom seekers for generations to come.”—New York Journal of Books

About the Author

Donald S. Lopez Jr. is the Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan. He specializes in late Indian Mahāyāna Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism. His recent books include Gendun Chopel: Tibet’s Modern Visionary and Hyecho’s Journey: The World of Buddhism.

Book Details

  • ASIN: B07JD1Q2Y7
  • Publisher: Shambhala (May 28, 2019)
  • Publication date: May 28, 2019
  • Print length: 229 pages

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Medicine Buddha Akshobhya as Guhyasamaja

Guhyasamaja (Skt. Guhyasamāja; Tib. གསང་བ་འདུས་པ་sangwa düpaWyl. gsang ba ‘dus pa) is a manifestation of Buddha Akshobhya.” (RgWik)

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Guhyasamaja Tantra of 32 Deities of Medicine Buddha Akshobhya

“The Guhyasamaja Tantra (Skt. Guhyasamāja-tantra; Tib. གསང་བ་འདུས་པ་sangwa düpaWyl. gsang ba ‘dus pa) is the main Guhyasamaja tantra of the Desire Class of Father Tantras. According to the Blue Annals, it was first taught by Buddha Shakyamuni to King Indrabodhi of Oddiyana.” (RgWik)

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Further Reading
  • A Critical Study of the Guhyasamāja Tantra, Fremantle, Francesca, Ph.D. dissertation, University of London (1971).
  • A Lamp to Illuminate the Five Stages
  • Āryadeva’s Lamp that Integrates the Practices (Caryāmelāpakapradīpa): The Gradual Path of Vajrayāna Buddhism according to the Esoteric Community Noble Tradition, edited and translated by Christian K. Wedemeyer (New York: American Institute of Buddhist Studies/Columbia University Press, 2007), ISBN 978-0975373453
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Lamp to Illuminate the Five Stages Guhyasamaja Tantra (Tib. རིམ་ལྔ་རབ་ཏོ་གསལ་བའི་སྒྲོན་མེ་, rim lnga rab to gsal ba’i sgron me) by Tsongkhapa

A Lamp to Illuminate the Five Stages (Tib. རིམ་ལྔ་རབ་ཏོ་གསལ་བའི་སྒྲོན་མེ་, Wyl. rim lnga rab to gsal ba’i sgron me) by Tsongkhapa Lobzang Drakpa is a presentation of the five stages (pancakrama) of the Guhyasamaja tantric system.” (RgWik)

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List of Classic Buddhist Texts

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Category:Texts

This category includes information about all the most important Buddhist texts.

Subcategories

This category has the following 23 subcategories, out of 23 total.

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Pages in category “Texts”

The following 449 pages are in this category

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Council of Rājagṛha – The First Buddhist Tripitaka Council

“Council of Rājagṛha. The Council of *Rājagṛha, often called the ‘First Council’, is reported to have been held at Rājagṛha in the year of the *Buddha’s death with the objective of establishing the canon or at least two of its three divisions or ‘baskets’ (pi-taka). These include the collection of the Buddha’s discourses or sermons (sūtra/sutta) and the material relating to the organization and history of the order (Vinaya). A senior *monk, Kaśyapa, was charged with supervising the convocation made up of 500 *Arhats. He called upon *Ānanda (who gained *enlightenment during the proceedings of the council) to recite the Buddha’ discourses, and *Upāli to recite the rules of the Vinaya. Their utterances were accepted as accurate and decreed as constituting the content of the orthodox canon from that time on. It may be noted that the word translated as ‘council’ in this context is the Pāli word saṅgīti, which in fact means a ‘communal recitation’ of the kind that took place here. The early Buddhist ‘councils’, accordingly, should not be thought of as similar to their early Christian counterparts, which were usually convened to settle dogma. Modern research has cast serious doubts on the historicity of the traditional account of the First Council. In particular it is clear from internal evidence that the canon did not receive its final form until many years later, so it could not have been fixed at the early date the report claims. Most probably this claim was a device to retrospectively legitimize certain later literature as canonical.” (PDoB)

See Buddha’s Ten Great Disciples and Tripitaka

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See Buddha’s Ten Great Disciples and Tripitaka

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Kanjur (bka’-gyur). Tibetan Buddhist Canon of Sutras and Tantras

“Kanjur (Tib., bka’-gyur). The Tibetan *canon of the translated (gyur) instructions (bka’) of the *Buddha, it comprises around 100 volumes containing over 1,000 *sutras and *tantras, mainly translated from *Sanskrit and other Indic languages with a few texts from Chinese. This collection is of great value to scholars since it preserves faithful translations of many Indic texts lost in the original Sanskrit. See also Tenjur” (PDoB)

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Chanting the Names of Manjushri – Mañjuśrī Nāma Saṃgīti

Chanting the Names of Manjushri (Skt. Manjushri Nama Samgiti – Mañjuśrīnāmasaṃgīti) Tib. འཇམ་དཔལ་མཚན་བརྗོད་Wyl.‘jam dpal mtshan brjod) (Toh. 360) — a famous praise of Manjushri, sometimes known as the ‘king of all tantras‘. Taught directly by Buddha Shakyamuni, the tantra lists names that praise Manjushri, who is here to be understood not as a bodhisattva but as the embodiment of the primordial wisdom of all buddhas. It consists of 160 verses and mantra sentences. In spite of the text’s length and difficulty, Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö famously memorized it after reading it only once.[1]

Chanting the Names of Manjushri consists of 160 verses and mantra sentences of praise to Manjushri, the bodhisattva of transcendent wisdom. 15 Pages. 2003 Edition. (B00WHAJK02)

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Buddhism A to Z by Ron Epstein, Buddhist Text Translation Society, 2012

See also Buddhist Encyclopedias, Buddhist Bibliography.

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Ronald Epstein received his BA from Harvard University and his PhD from University of California, Berkeley in Buddhism. He collaborated in the translation of the Heart Sutra and the Shurangama Sutra under the direction of Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua. He has been teaching philosophy and religion at San Francisco State University for 30 years and is also a research professor at the Institute for World Religions in Berkeley.

Have you confused karma with dharma? Amida with Gautama? The Five Desires with the Eightfold Path? Then Ronald Epstein’s Buddhism A to Z can provide a little enlightenment. Geared for English-speaking Westerners who want to know more about Buddhism, this alphabetical dictionary covers everything from the role of an abbot to the contributions of Zen. The format is very user-friendly, with a dual-column layout, 100 illustrations, and explanatory quotes from Buddhist masters.

  • Publisher: Buddhist Text Translation Society
  • Print Length: 284 pages
  • ASIN: B007JWL3CQ
  • Publication Date: March 12, 2012

List of Introductory Readings

For a general understanding of basic Buddhist teachings, start with the entries in Group I, then move on to Group II, and so forth. If you want information on a particular topic, read the specific entry that most closely approximates your topic, then check the entries listed after the “SEE ALSO” at the end of the entry, then check the sources listed for that entry in Appendix A: Additional Reference Material for Entries.

  1. Five Moral Precepts
    “I Take Refuge in the Triple Jewel (Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha)”
    karma
    rebirth
    enlightenment
    Buddha – see also Shakyamuni Buddha Siddhartha Gautama – “The Buddha
    Thus Come One – Tathagata
    Dharma/dharma
  2. Arhat
    Four Holy Truths
    Noble Eightfold Path
    Twelvefold Conditioned Arising – 12 Links of Dependent Origination
    Bodhisattva
    pāramitā – Paramita – Perfection
    Six Pāramitās
  3. Six Spiritual Powers
    Six Paths of Rebirth
    Ten Dharma Realms
    Five Skandhas
    Eighteen Realms
  4. meditation
    mindfulness
    Four Applications of Mindfulness
    lotus posture
    samadhi – dhyāna-samadhi
    Chan School – Zen
    Four Dhyānas
    Four Formless Realms
  5. Five Types of Buddhist Study and Practice
    Mahayana and Hinayana Compared
    Pure Land
    Buddha Recitation
    Eight Consciousnesses
    One Hundred Dharmas
    emptiness – Shunyata – Prajna – Maha Prajna Paramita – “Merely labelled”
  6. demon
    lineage – traditions, sects, schools of Buddhism

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Catalogue of the Taisho Tripitaka – Taisho Shinshu Daizokyo

Catalogue of the Taisho Tripitaka (Taishô Shinshu Daizôkyô) 《大正藏》經錄

Takakusu and Watanabe, eds. Taisho shinshu Daizokyo. (T. nnnn)

The Taisho Tripitaka, full name Taisho Edition Tripitaka, was compiled in 1924 by Takakusu Junjirou and Watanabe Kaikyoku and published in 1934, the Taisho Era in Japan. Comprised of 100 volumes, the Taisho edition can be divided into three parts: main works 55 volumes, sequels 30 volumes, and supplement 15 volumes (12 on Buddhist iconography and 3 on indexes). It contains the most number of Buddhist canons collected and is distinctive for its organization of canons.

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City of 10,000 Buddhas Recitation Handbook Buddhist Text (RH)

City of 10,000 Buddhas Recitation Handbook Buddhist Text (RH)

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Shurangama Mantra Commentary Buddhist Text (SM)

Shurangama Mantra Commentary Buddhist Text (SM)

See also Śūraṅgama Sutra – Shurangama Sutra (SS)

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