Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines: Or, Seven Books of Wisdom of the Great Path, According to the Late Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup's English Rendering

Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines: Or, Seven Books of Wisdom of the Great Path, According to the Late Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup's English Rendering

Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines: Or, Seven Books of Wisdom of the Great Path, According to the Late Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup's English Rendering

Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines: Or, Seven Books of Wisdom of the Great Path, According to the Late Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup's English Rendering

Synopsis

Books, audiotapes, and classes about yoga are today as familiar as they are widespread, but we in the West have only recently become engaged in the meditative doctrines of the East--only in the last 70 or 80 years, in fact. In the early part of the 20th century, it was the pioneering efforts of keen scholars like W. Y. Evans-Wentz, the late editor of this volume, that triggered our ongoing occidental fascination with such phenomena as yoga, Zen, and meditation. Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines--a companion to the popular Tibetan Book of the Dead, which is also published by Oxford in an authoritative Evans-Wentz edition--is a collection of seven authentic Tibetan yoga texts that first appeared in English in 1935. In these pages, amid useful photographs and reproductions of yoga paintings and manuscripts, readers will encounter some of the principal meditations used by Hindu and Tibetan gurus and philosophers throughout the ages in the attainment of Right Knowledge and Enlightenment. Special commentaries precede each translated text, and a comprehensive introduction contrasts the tenets of Buddhism with European notions of religion, philosophy, and science. Evans-Wentz has also included a body of orally transmitted traditions and teachings that he received firsthand during his fifteen-plus years of study in the Orient, findings that will interest any student of anthropology, psychology, comparative religion, or applied Mahayana Yoga. These seven distinct but intimately related texts will grant any reader a full and complete view of the spiritual teachings that still inform the life and culture of the East. As with Evans-Wentz's other three Oxford titles on Tibetan religion, which are also appearing in new editions, this third edition of Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines features a new foreword by Donald S. Lopez, author of the recent Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West.

Excerpt

A certain trepidation attends the decision to accept an invitation to write a foreword to new editions, published in 2000, of the four books of W. Y. Evans-Wentz: The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Tibet's Great Yogī Milarepa, Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines, and The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation. The four books in their old editions are already burdened with numerous prefaces, commentaries, and introductions, causing one to wonder what another preface could possibly add. It seems inevitable that the four books of Evans-Wentz will continue to outlive yet another generation of commentators, such that anything that a scholar might add today will only serve as material for a scholar some fifty years from now, who will demonstrate the biases and misunderstandings of a preface written fifty years ago, a preface that merely offers evidence of the fin de siècle zeitgeist of those who once called themselves postmoderns.

The four books of Evans-Wentz are surely ground-breaking works, the first to bring translations of Tibetan Buddhist texts to the English-speaking public. Evans-Wentz was equally avant garde in his method, collaborating closely with Tibetan scholars, a practice that would not become common for another four decades, after the Tibetan diaspora began in 1959. Yet, for the scholar of the present day, looking back now more than seventy years to the publication of the first volume of the series, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, in 1927, the Tibetan tetralogy ofW. Y. Evans-Wentz , although a product of our century, seems to have originated in another age. All four books assume the undifferentiated dichotomy of the materialist West and the mystic East, an East that holds the secret to the West's redemption. Few of the concerns of scholars--such as language or culture or history--are to be found in the books. Instead, the volumes are presented as repositories of a timeless wisdom preserved by the East, a wisdom . . .

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