Khandro Rinpoche

Khandro Rinpoche

Born in India in 1967, Khandro Rinpoche is the daughter of Tibetan meditation master His Holiness Mindrolling Trichen and is herself a renowned teacher in the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. She is the head of a Tibetan Buddhist nunnery in India and divides her time between teaching in the West, running the nunnery, and supporting charity projects for Tibetan refugees in India.

Khandro Rinpoche

Born in India in 1967, Khandro Rinpoche is the daughter of Tibetan meditation master His Holiness Mindrolling Trichen and is herself a renowned teacher in the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. She is the head of a Tibetan Buddhist nunnery in India and divides her time between teaching in the West, running the nunnery, and supporting charity projects for Tibetan refugees in India.

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Women in Buddhism

Women in Buddhism

Throughout history women have played a vital role in the preservation and presentation of Buddhism. The Buddha himself expressed deep respect for his mother and as several contemporary Buddhist scholars have pointed out, women have played a significant role in helping to shape and preserve Buddhism. That is certainly true for Buddhism in today's world.

Today, contemporary Buddhism is largely shaped by a number of women who play vital roles from translation to teaching, to holding highly influential seats in Buddhist sanghas around the world. We are happy to publish a wide range of Buddhist authors from diverse traditions. This guide is certainly not complete in the sense of presenting each and every example of women in Buddhism today, but hopefully it will give readers a place to begin learning from and celebrating the many women who make Buddhism possible today.

Recent and Upcoming Releases

$24.95 - Paperback

Lifting as They Climb
Black Women Buddhists and Collective Liberation

By Toni Pressley-Sanon

The lives and writings of six leading Black Buddhist women—Jan Willis, bell hooks, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, angel Kyodo williams, Spring Washam, and Faith Adiele—reveal new expressions of Buddhism rooted in ancestry, love, and collective liberation.

Lifting as They Climb is a love letter of freedom and self-expression from six Black women Buddhist teachers, conveyed through the voice of author Toni Pressley-Sanon, one of the innumerable people who have benefitted from their wisdom. She explores their remarkable lives and undertakes deep readings of their work, weaving them into the broader tapestry of the African diaspora and the historical struggle for Black liberation.

Dr. Toni Pressley-Sanon is an associate professor in the Department of Africology & African American Studies at Eastern Michigan University, having previously held positions at the University of Buffalo and Pennsylvania State University. Her work dwells on the intersections of memory, history, and culture in both Africa and the African diaspora. She is the author of four books and numerous journal articles and book chapters on these subjects. Toni has practiced Buddhist meditation and mindfulness for the past ten years.

Available 05/21/2024

$26.95 - Paperback

A Dakini's Counsel
Sera Khandro's Spiritual Advice and Dzogchen Instructions

By Sera Khandro
Translated by Christina Monson

Sera Khandro Dewai Dorje was a modern Tibetan Buddhist teacher who single-pointedly pursued a life of Dharma while balancing family life and public teaching. This collection of her advice, prayers, dreams, prophecies, and treasures (terma) is both biographical and instructional. It comes from within the tradition of Dzogchen, replete with practices for resting in the nature of mind. This lineage forms the bedrock of Christina Monson’s own spiritual path, lending a deep intimacy to the translations, which serve as a window into Sera Khandro’s life, teachings, and rich inner experience.

Sera Khandro (1892–1940) was one of the most prolific Tibetan female authors of the past several centuries. At the age of fifteen, she left her home in Lhasa for eastern Tibet, embarking on a lifetime devoted to her spiritual path—she became a spiritual master, a revealer of ancient hidden teachings, a mystic, a visionary, a writer, a mother, and a vagabond. Her written works and spiritual lineage have been preserved and are now cherished worldwide.

Christina Monson (1969–2023) was a Buddhist practitioner and teacher and Tibetan language translator and interpreter. She had over thirty years of study, translation, and practice experience in Buddhism beginning with an interest in Asian philosophy as an undergraduate student at Brown University.

embodying tara

$22.95 - Paperback

Embodying Tara
Twenty-One Manifestations to Awaken Your Innate Wisdom

By Chandra Easton

Tara, the Buddhist goddess of compassion, can manifest within all of us. In this illustrated introduction to Tara's twenty-one forms, respected female Buddhist teacher and practitioner Dorje Lopön Chandra Easton shows you how to invite Tara’s awakened energy to come alive in yourself through:

  • insight into core Buddhist concepts and teachings;
  • meditations;
  • mantra recitations; and
  • journal exercises.

The relatable stories from Buddhist history and the author’s personal reflections will give you the tools to live a more compassionate life, befriend your fears, and overcome everyday challenges.

Chandra Easton is a Dharma teacher, author, and translator of Tibetan Buddhist texts. She has taught Buddhism and Hatha Yoga since 2001. In 2015, she was given the title of Vajra Teacher, Dorje Lopön, for Tara Mandala Retreat Center by Lama Tsultrim Allione and H. E. Gochen Sang Ngag Rinpoche. Lopön Chandra studied Buddhism and Tibetan language in Dharamsala, India, and at UCSB’s religious studies department. During her studies, she cotranslated with her mentor, B. Alan Wallace, Sublime Dharma: A Compilation of Two Texts on the Great Perfection (Vimala Publishing, 2012).

$21.95 - Paperback

The Buddhist and the Ethicist
Conversations on Effective Altruism, Engaged Buddhism, and How to Build a Better World

By Peter Singer
By Shih Chao-Hwei

An unlikely duo—Professor Peter Singer, a preeminent philosopher and professor of bioethics, and Venerable Shih Chao-Hwei, a Taiwanese Buddhist monastic and social activist—join forces to talk ethics in lively conversations that cross oceans, overcome language barriers, and bridge philosophies. The eye-opening dialogues collected here share unique perspectives on contemporary issues like animal welfare, gender equality, the death penalty, and more. Together, these two deep thinkers explore the foundation of ethics and key Buddhist concepts, and ultimately reveal how we can all move toward making the world a better place.

Shih Chao-Hwei is a Buddhist monastic, social activist, scholar, and recent winner of the Niwano Peace Prize. A leading advocate for animal rights, a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage, and a key figure in the Buddhist gender equality movement, she is also a professor at Hsuan Chuang University and the founder of Hong Shih Buddhist College.
Peter Singer, the “father of the modern animal welfare movement,” was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine. An Australian philosopher and professor of bioethics, he has contributed to more than 50 books in over 30 languages. Singer is founder of The Life You Can Save nonprofit and a professor of bioethics at Princeton University.

$49.95 - Hardcover

Shangpa Kagyu: The Tradition of Khyungpo Naljor, Part Two
Essential Teachings of the Eight Practice Lineages of Tibet, Volume 12 (The Treasury of Precious Instructions)

By Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye
Translated by Sarah Harding

This is the second of two volumes that present teachings and practices from the Shangpa Kagyu practice lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. This tradition derives from two Indian yoginīs, the dākinīs Niguma and Sukhasiddhi, and their disciple, the eleventh-century Tibetan yogi Khyungpo Naljor Tsultrim Gönpo of the Shang region of Tibet. There are forty texts in this volume, beginning with Jonang Tāranātha’s classic commentary and its supplement expounding the Six Dharmas of Niguma. It includes the definitive collection of the tantric bases of the Shangpa Kagyu—the five principal deities of the new translation (sarma) traditions and the Five-Deity Cakrasamvara practice. The source scriptures, liturgies, supplications, empowerment texts, instructions, and practice manuals were composed by Tangtong Gyalpo, Tāranātha, Jamgön Kongtrul, and others.

The first part of this series is also available now.

Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye (1813–1900) was a versatile and prolific scholar and one of the most outstanding writers and teachers of his time in Tibet. He was a pivotal figure in eastern Tibet’s nonsectarian movement and made major contributions to education, politics, and medicine.
Sarah Harding has been a Buddhist practitioner since 1974 and has been teaching and translating since completing a three year retreat in 1980 under the guidance of Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche. Her publications include Zhije and Chöd, respectively the thirteenth and fourteenth volumes of The Treasury of Precious Instructions series. She was an associate professor at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, starting in 1992, and has been a fellow of the Tsadra Foundation since 2000.

Women in Buddhist Research & Academia

The Woman Who Raised the Buddha
The Extraordinary Life of Mahaprajapati

By Wendy Garling

Mahaprajapati was the only mother the Buddha ever knew. His birth mother, Maya, died shortly after childbirth, and her sister Mahaprajapati took the infant to her breast, nurturing and raising him into adulthood. In this first full biography of Mahaprajapati, Wendy Garling presents her life story, with attention to her early years as sister, queen, matriarch, and mother, as well as her later years as a nun. Garling reveals just how exceptional Mahaprajapati’s role was as leader of the first generation of Buddhist women, helping the Buddha establish an equal community of lay and monastic women and men. Mother to the Buddha, mother to early Buddhist women, mother to the Buddhist faith, Mahaprajapati’s journey is finally presented as one interwoven with the founding of Buddhism.

$18.95 - Paperback

Wendy Garling is a writer, mother, gardener, independent scholar, and authorized dharma teacher with a BA from Wellesley College and MA in Sanskrit language and literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Stars at Dawn: Forgotten Stories of Women in the Buddha’s Life (2016, Shambhala Publications), a groundbreaking new biography of the Buddha that relates his journey to awakening through the stories of Buddhism’s first women.

A Guide to the Buddhist Method of No-Method

By Rebecca Li

A modern guide to the transformative practice of silent illumination from Chan Buddhist teacher Rebecca Li.

Silent illumination, a way of penetrating the mind through curious inquiry, is an especially potent, accessible, and portable meditation practice perfectly suited for a time when there is so much fear, upheaval, and sorrow in our world. It is a method of reconnecting with our true nature, which encompasses all that exists and where suffering cannot touch us.

$21.95 - Paperback

Rebecca Li, PhD, is a meditation and Dharma teacher in the lineage of Chan Master Sheng Yen and founder and guiding teacher of Chan Dharma Community. She gives Dharma talks and leads Chan retreats in North America and Europe. She is also a sociology professor and lives with her husband in New Jersey. Her talks, writings, and schedule can be found at

Tales of a Mad Yogi
The Life and Wild Wisdom of Dukpa Kunley

By Elizabeth L Monson

The fifteenth-century Himalayan saint Drukpa Kunley is a beloved figure throughout Tibet, Bhutan, and Nepal, known both for his profound mastery of Buddhist practice as well as his highly unconventional and often humorous behavior. Ever the proverbial trickster and “crazy wisdom” yogi, his outward appearance and conduct of carousing, philandering, and breaking social norms is understood to be a means to rouse ordinary people out of habitual ways of thinking that leads them toward spiritual awakening.

Elizabeth Monson has spent decades traveling throughout the Himalayas, retracing Drukpa Kunley’s steps and translating his works. In this creative telling, she has reimagined his life based on historical accounts, autobiographical sketches, folktales, and first-hand ethnographic research. The result, with flourishes of magical encounters and references to his superhuman capacities, is a poignant narrative of Kunley’s life, revealing to the reader the quintessential example of the capacity of Buddhism to skillfully bring people to liberation.

$19.95 - Paperback

Elizabeth Monson, PhD, is the spiritual codirector of Natural Dharma Fellowship and the managing teacher at Wonderwell Mountain Refuge. She is a Dharma teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, has lectured at the Harvard Divinity School, and teaches meditation throughout New England.

living theravadaLiving Theravada
Demystifying the People, Places, and Practices of a Buddhist Tradition

By Brooke Schedneck

An illuminating introduction to the contemporary world of Theravada Buddhism and its rich culture and practices in modern mainland Southeast Asia.

Theravada translates as “the way of the Elders,” indicating that this Buddhist tradition considers itself to be the most authoritative and pure. Tracing all the way back to the time of the Buddha, Theravada Buddhism is distinguished by canonical literature preserved in the Pali language, beliefs, and practices—and this literature is often specialized and academic in tone. By contrast, this book will serve as a foundational and accessible resource on Theravada Buddhism and the contemporary, lived world of its enduring tradition.

$24.95 - Paperback

Brooke Schedneck, PhD, is an assistant professor in the department of religious studies at Rhodes College. Her work focuses on contemporary Buddhism in Thailand, and she spent years teaching and conducting research in Chiang Mai. She has presented her research internationally, and her work has been featured in academic journals and publications such as TricycleAeon, and The Conversation.

An inspiring and intimate tale set against the turmoil of recent Tibetan history, Inseparable across Lifetimes offers for the first time the translations of love letters between two modern Buddhist visionaries. The letters are poetic, affectionate, and prophetic, articulating a hopeful vision of renewal that drew on their past lives together and led to their twenty-year partnership. This couple played a significant role in restoring Buddhism in the region of Golok once China’s revolutionary fervor gave way to reform. Holly Gayley, who was given their correspondence by Namtrul Rinpoche himself, has translated their lives and letters in order to share their remarkable story with the world.

$24.95 - Paperback

Holly Gayley, Associate Professor of Buddhist Studies, is a scholar and translator of contemporary Buddhist literature in Tibet. She is author of Love Letters from Golok: A Tantric Couple in Modern Tibet, co-editor of A Gathering of Brilliant Moons: Practice Advice from the Rime Masters of Tibet, and translator of Inseparable Across Lifetimes: The Lives and Love Letters of Namtrul Rinpoche and Khandro Tāre Lhamo.

Black and Buddhist
What Buddhism Can Teach Us about Race, Resilience, Transformation, and Freedom

Edited by Cheryl A. Giles and Pamela Ayo Yetunde

Leading African American Buddhist teachers offer lessons on racism, resilience, spiritual freedom, and the possibility of a truly representative American Buddhism.

What does it mean to be Black and Buddhist? In this powerful collection of writings, African American teachers from all the major Buddhist traditions tell their stories of how race and Buddhist practice have intersected in their lives. The resulting explorations display not only the promise of Buddhist teachings to empower those facing racial discrimination but also the way that Black Buddhist voices are enriching the Dharma for all practitioners. As the first anthology comprised solely of writings by African-descended Buddhist practitioners, this book is an important contribution to the development of the Dharma in the West.

With contributions by Acharya Gaylon Ferguson, Cheryl A. Giles, Gyōzan Royce Andrew Johnson, Ruth King, Kamilah Majied, Lama Rod Owens, Lama Dawa Tarchin Phillips, Sebene Selassie, and Pamela Ayo Yetunde.

$19.95 - Paperback

Cheryl A. Giles, Psy.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and the Francis Greenwood Peabody Senior Lecturer on Pastoral Care and Counseling at the Harvard Divinity School. Giles is the author of several articles and co-editor of The Arts of Contemplative Care (Wisdom, 2012).
Pamela Ayo Yetunde, J.D., Th.D. is a Community Dharma Leader in the Insight Meditation tradition. She teaches pastoral care and counseling and has taught at University of the West, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, and Upaya Institute and Zen Center. Ayo has written for BuddhadharmaLion’s RoarReligions, and Buddhist-Christian Studies. She is the author of Object Relations, Buddhism and Relationality in Womanist Practical Theology and Buddhist-Christian Dialogue, U.S. Law, and Womanist Theology for Transgender Spiritual Care.

Red Tara
The Female Buddha of Power and Magnetism

By Rachael Stevens

Tara is one of the most celebrated goddesses in the Buddhist world, representing enlightened activity in the form of the divine feminine. She protects, nurtures, and helps practitioners on the path to enlightenment. Manifesting in many forms and in many colors to help beings, Tara’s red form represents her powers of magnetization, subjugation, and the transformation of desire into enlightened activity. She is considered to be particularly powerful in times of plague and disharmony.

This comprehensive overview focuses on the origins, forms, and practices of Tara, providing the reader with insightful information and inspirations relating to the goddess. Its second part focuses on Red Tara, a powerful and liberating form of Tara that is particularly important to connect with in a time of crisis. These chapters cover various forms of Red Tara found throughout the Tibetan Buddhist world, the particular qualities she represents, and how through prayers and meditation we can embody her principles and truly benefit beings.

$29.95 - Paperback

Rachael Stevens holds a doctorate from Oxford University, is an early education teacher, and is a long-term Buddhist practitioner. Rachael’s research focuses on Red Tara, and she has studied and practiced with Buddhist communities in Europe, Asia, North America, and Brazil.

Dakini's Warm Breath
The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism

by Judith Simmer-Brown

The primary emblem of the feminine in Tibetan Buddhism is the dakini, or "sky-dancer," a semi-wrathful spirit-woman who manifests in visions, dreams, and meditation experiences. Western scholars and interpreters of the dakini, influenced by Jungian psychology and feminist goddess theology, have shaped a contemporary critique of Tibetan Buddhism in which the dakini is seen as a psychological "shadow," a feminine savior, or an objectified product of patriarchal fantasy. According to Judith Simmer-Brown—who writes from the point of view of an experienced practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism—such interpretations are inadequate.

$39.95 - Paperback

Judith Simmer-Brown, Ph.D., is professor and chair of the religious studies department at Naropa University (formerly the Naropa Institute), where she has taught since 1978. She has authored numerous articles on Tibetan Buddhism, Buddhist-Christian dialogue, and Buddhism in America. She is an Acharya (senior teacher) in the lineage of Chögyam Trungpa. A practicing Buddhist since 1971, she lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Art of ListeningThe Art of Listening
A Guide to the Early Teachings of Buddhism

by Sarah Shaw

The Dīghanikāya or Long Discourses of the Buddha is one of the four major collections of teachings from the early period of Buddhism. Its thirty-four suttas (in Sanskrit, sutras) demonstrate remarkable breadth in both content and style, forming a comprehensive collection. The Art of Listening gives an introduction to the Dīghanikāya and demonstrates the historical, cultural, and spiritual insights that emerge when we view the Buddhist suttas as oral literature.

Each sutta of the Dīghanikāya is a paced, rhythmic composition that evolved and passed intergenerationally through chanting. For hundreds of years, these timeless teachings were never written down. Examining twelve suttas of the Dīghanikāya, scholar Sarah Shaw combines a literary approach and a personal one, based on her experiences carefully studying, hearing, and chanting the texts. At once sophisticated and companionable, The Art of Listening will introduce you to the diversity and beauty of the early Buddhist suttas.

$18.95 - Paperback

Sarah Shaw is a faculty member and lecturer at the University of Oxford. She has published numerous works on the history and practices of Buddhism, including Mindfulness and The Art of Listening.

Women in Tibetan Buddhism

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo was raised in London and became a Buddhist while still in her teens. At the age of twenty she traveled to India, becoming one of the first Westerners to be ordained as a Buddhist nun. The international bestseller Cave in the Snow chronicles her twelve years of seclusion in a remote cave. Deeply concerned with the plight of Buddhist nuns, she established Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery in India. In 2008 His Holiness the Twelfth Gyalwang Drukpa, head of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage, gave her the rare title of Jetsunma (Venerable Master).
reflections mt lake cover

$21.95 - Paperback

Khandro RinpocheKhandro Rinpoche - Born in India in 1967, Khandro Rinpoche is the daughter of Tibetan meditation master His Holiness Mindrolling Trichen and is herself a renowned teacher in the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. She is the head of a Tibetan Buddhist nunnery in India and divides her time between teaching in the West, running the nunnery, and supporting charity projects for Tibetan refugees in India.

$22.95 - Paperback

Pema Chödron served as the director of Karma Dzong in Boulder, Colorado, until moving in 1984 to rural Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, to be the director of Gampo Abbey. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche gave her explicit instructions on establishing this monastery for Western monks and nuns. She currently teaches in the United States and Canada and plans for an increased amount of time in solitary retreat under the guidance of Venerable Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. She is interested in helping to establish Tibetan Buddhist monasticism in the West, as well as continuing her work with Western Buddhists of all traditions, sharing ideas and teachings.

$24.95 - Hardcover

Thubten Chodron - Ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun in 1977, Venerable Thubten Chodron is an author, teacher, and the founder and abbess of Sravasti Abbey. Sravasti Abbey is the only Tibetan Buddhist training monastery for Westerners in the US and holds gender equality, social engagement, and care for the environment amongst its core values. Ven. Chodron teaches worldwide and is known for her practical (and humorous!) explanations of how to apply Buddhist teachings in daily life.

$19.95 - Paperback

Lama Tsultrim Allione is an author, internationally known Buddhist teacher, and the founder and resident lama of Tara Mandala Retreat Center. She is the author of Women of Wisdom, the national best-seller Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict, which has been translated into seventeen languages, and Wisdom Rising: Journey into the Mandala of the Empowered Feminine.

$29.95 - Paperback

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel has studied and practiced Mahayana Buddhism, as well as the Vajrayana tradition of the Longchen Nyingthik, for over 30 years under the guidance of her teacher and husband, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. She has been intimately involved with Rinpoche’s work in bringing Buddhist wisdom to the West, in particular the development of Mangala Shri Bhuti, an organization dedicated to the study and practice of the Longchen Nyingthik lineage.
The Logic of Faith

$16.95 - Paperback

Anne Carolyn Klein is Professor and a former Chair of the Department of Religion at Rice University. She is also a cofounding director of the Dawn Mountain Tibetan Temple, Community Center, and Research Institute. Her publications include Path to the Middle (SUNY Press), Unbounded Wholeness, coauthored with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche (Oxford University Press), and Knowledge and Liberation (Snow Lion Publications).

$29.95 - Paperback

Sangye Khandro is an American woman who studied Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan language with Tibetan masters in India and Nepal. She has studied and translated many important Tibetan Buddhist texts. She is a cofounder of Light of Berotsana, a nonprofit organization for translators of Tibetan texts.
Essence of Clear Light

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Carolyn Rose Gimian is a teacher of meditation, mindfulness, and Buddhism, as well as a writer, book editor, and archivist. She edited Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior in close cooperation with Chögyam Trungpa. After his death, she compiled and edited two additional books of his Shambhala teachings: Great Eastern Sun: The Wisdom of Shambhala and Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery. She is also the editor of the ten-volume Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa, Mindfulness in Action, and many other volumes of his work.
Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Women in the Zen Tradition

"By being keen observers of our planet, we are more connected to the world around us and in a better position to prevent harm and improve the health of the earth."
Stephanie Kaza, Mindfully Green

Joanna Macy, PhD, teacher and author, is a scholar of Buddhism, systems thinking, and deep ecology. As the root teacher of the Work That Reconnects, Macy has created a groundbreaking framework for personal and social change that brings a new way of seeing the world as our larger body. Her many books include World as Lover, World as SelfWidening Circles, A MemoirActive Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy; and Coming Back to Life: The Updated Guide to the Work That Reconnects.

$27.95 - Paperback

Stephanie Kaza is Professor Emerita of Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont. A leading voice in Buddhism and ecology, her most recent book is Green Buddhism: Practice and Compassionate Action in Uncertain Times.

$18.95 - Paperback

Joan Halifax, PhD, is a Zen priest and anthropologist who has served on the faculty of Columbia University and the University of Miami School of Medicine. For the past thirty years she has worked with dying people and has lectured on the subject of death and dying at Harvard Divinity School, Harvard Medical School, Georgetown Medical School, and many other academic institutions. In 1990, she founded Upaya Zen Center, a Buddhist study and social action center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1994, she founded the Project on Being with Dying, which has trained hundreds of healthcare professionals in the contemplative care of dying people.

$27.95 - MixedMedia

Natalie Goldbergis the author of fifteen books. Writing Down the Bones, her first, has been translated into nineteen languages. Three Simple Lines: A Writer’s Pilgrimage into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku is her latest book. For the last forty years she has practiced Zen and taught seminars in writing as a spiritual practice. She lives in northern New Mexico.
Writing Down the Bones

$16.95 - Paperback

Paula Arai was raised in Detroit by a Japanese mother and did Zen training in Japan. She obtained her Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Harvard University in 1993 and is now the Eshinni & Kakushinni Professor of Women and Buddhist Studies at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, California. She is the author of Bringing Zen Home: The Healing Heart of Japanese Women’s RitualsWomen Living Zen: Japanese Soto Buddhist Nuns, and Painting Enlightenment: Healing Visions of the Heart Sutra.
little book of zen cover

$19.95 - Hardcover

Jan Chozen Bays, MD, is an ordained Zen teacher and a pediatrician who specializes in the evaluation of children for abuse and neglect. She has trained in Zen for forty-five years with Roshis Taizan Maezumi and Shodo Harada. With her husband she serves as co-abbot of Great Vow Zen Monastery, a residential center for intensive Zen training in Oregon.
Mindful Eating Left

$16.95 - Paperback

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel is an author, poet, and ordained Zen Buddhist priest. She is the author of Deepest PeaceSanctuaryThe Way of TendernessTell Me Something About Buddhism, and Black Angel Cards: 36 Oracles and Messages for Divining Your Life. She compiled and edited Seeds for a Boundless Life: Zen Teachings from the Heart by Zenkei Blanche Hartmann and is a contributing author in Dharma, Color, Culture and The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women.

$18.95 - Paperback

Laura Burges(Ryuko Eitai) is a lay entrusted Buddhist teacher in the Soto Zen tradition. She lectures, offers classes, and leads retreats at the San Francisco Zen Center and at other practice places in Northern California. She is the abiding teacher at Lenox House Meditation Group in Oakland. Laura taught children for 35 years and now mentors other teachers.
Zen Way of Recovery

$21.95 - Paperback

Susan Moon is a writer, editor, and Buddhist teacher in the Soto Zen tradition. For many years she has taught and led Zen retreats nationally and internationally. Her books include This Is Getting Old: Zen Thoughts on Aging with Humor and Dignity; the groundbreaking collection, The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women, with Florence Caplow; and What Is Zen? with Norman Fischer.
alive dead

$17.95 - Paperback

Women in the Insight and Theravada Tradition

Ven. Ayya Khema was born into a Jewish family in Berlin in 1923 and escaped the Nazi regime in 1938. She was ordained a Theravadin Buddhist nun in 1979 and established a forest monastery near Sidney, Australia; a training center for nuns in Colombo, Sri Lanka; and, later, Buddha-Haus, a meditation center in the Allgäu, Germany. Among her books are When the Iron Eagle FliesBeing Nobody, Going NowhereWho Is My Self?; and an autobiography, I Give You My Life. She passed away in 1997.
Path to Peace

$18.95 - Paperback

Sharon Salzberg is one of America's leading spiritual teachers and authors. A practitioner of Buddhist meditation for over thirty years, she is a co-founder of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and the Insight Meditation Society, and she directs meditation retreats throughout the United States and abroad.


$16.95 - Paperback

Christina Feldman - In the early 1970s, Christina Feldman spent several years in Asia, studying and training in the Buddhist meditation tradition. She has led insight meditation retreats in the West since 1974. A cofounder of Gaia House, in Devon, England, she is a regular teacher at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts and at Spirit Rock in Woodacre, California. In addition, she leads retreats in Europe.
Boundless Heart The Buddha’s Path of Kindness, Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity By Christina Feldman

$16.95 - Paperback

Additional Resources on Women in Buddhism

Sera Khandro: A Reader’s Guide

Sera Khandro (1892 - 1940), also known as Kunzang Dekyong Wagmo,  was one of the great masters of the early 20th century and the English speaking world is fortunate now that both her story and her writings have been emerging more and more over the past few years. Her story is at once fascinating, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting. Tulku Thondup Rinpoche, in his remarkable Incarnation: The History and Mysticism of the Tulku Tradition of Tibet gives a superb overview: "This...

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Mandarava Reader’s Guide

This series of blog posts are meant to be resources guides to complement the biographies of the great masters and scholars on the Treasury of Lives site. Mandarava Mandarava Mandarava was one of the great 8th century adepts and was one of the main consorts of Guru Rinpoche. As such a central figure at the time of Guru Rinpoche, she is a focus of many works. A wonderful complete biography was published by our friends at Wisdom Publications as The...

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On Translation: Sarah Harding and Larry MermelsteinIn our second On Translation video series cosponsored with the Tsadra Foundation, we are pleased to share this recording of Sarah Harding (Naropa University and the Tsadra Foundation) & Larry Mermelstein (Nalanda Translation Committee).   This session is for any student, practitioner, or translator of Tibetan Buddhism and is an opportunity to enter the world of translators of the Buddhadharma with two of the most experienced Tibetan translators. Most people encounter the Buddhist teachings through translations of texts, so like...

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The Role of the Teacher in Tibetan Buddhism: A Reader's Guide to the Teacher-Student Relationship

To truly understand Tibetan Buddhism, one must come to grips with the unique role of the teacher, the dynamics of the teacher-student relationship, and the possibilities that having a teacher can open up.

Tibetan Buddhism is composed of the Vajrayana or Tantric teachings on top of a foundation of the Sutrayana (vehicle of the Sutras), the core teachings of what are sometimes called the Sravakayana and the Mahayana. In the context of the Sutrayana, a relationship with a teacher roughly maps to the categories of a pratimoksha master and a master of the bodhisattva vows, but there is a wide scope of possibilities and overlap within these roles. The teacher imparts, for example, important points on shamatha or vipashyana meditation, philosophy, or techniques like mind training (lojong), and these are akin to the role of teachers in other Buddhist traditions.

But in the relationship with a male or female vajra master in the context of tantric teachings, including Mahamudra and Dzogchen, the teacher and student have very specific commitments to each other, which is a very different situation. While this relationship may very well incorporate the elements of the relationship with a Sutrayana teacher, it is important for people to understand that a Vajrayana teacher is not really akin to the role of the Zen priest or the spiritual friend (kalyāṇamitta) of the Pali tradition of Buddhism, let alone the Hindu Guru, therapist, or a modern-day life coach. The practice of Guru Yoga (see sidebar below), whereby the student visualizes their teacher in the form of an enlightened being is one example of how different things are in this context.  The relationship is much more central and is an essential mechanism for making great strides on the path.

That is why traditional texts encourage people to spend up to 12 years carefully considering whether a teacher of Vajrayana is suitable for them. They are not encouraging people to be wishy-washy and put off making a commitment; rather, this number underlines the importance of choosing a teacher very carefully.

Dudjom RInpoche on the Teacher-Student Relationship

The benefits are immeasurable and are not accessible without a teacher. The great 20th-century master Dudjom Rinpoche gives some traditional examples to demonstrate the importance:

Ordinary, childlike beings are incapable of proceeding even vaguely in the same direction as the perfect path by the strength of their own minds, so they need first to examine and then to follow a qualified diamond master. Diamond masters are the root that causes us to correctly engage in the whole Buddhadharma in general and especially to follow the path properly. They are knowledgeable and experienced guides for inexperienced travellers setting out on a journey, powerful escorts for those who are travelling to dangerous places, ferrymen steering the boat for people crossing a river. Without them, nothing is possible. This is reiterated in countless scriptures.

Recently, there has been a lot of news and discussion in the media, Buddhist and otherwise, around the role of the teacher in Buddhism—in particular, Tibetan Buddhism. This mostly relates to a small handful of teachers (including the leader of Shambhala International, an organization totally unaffiliated with Shambhala Publications) against whom there have been serious allegations of abuse of power, some of it sexual. Many of these articles have been read by a younger generation of Westerners curious about Buddhism and other spiritual traditions but suspicious of hierarchy, organized religion, and spiritual leaders with perceived authority. This media attention seems to validate their suspicions.

But however bad some of these cases are—and it should go without saying that someone who is causing harm is acting in complete opposition to the Buddhadharma—a teacher harming or taking advantage of a student is an unacceptable exception to the norm; it is a rare aberration in an incredible system that has benefited millions of people East and West in the most profound and transformative ways.

These aberrations are not new. People are human, and throughout Buddhist history (or any tradition) there has been the occasional charlatan or flawed leader—as the discussion of how to avoid a bad teacher in many of the texts below make plain. But the fact is that there are so many highly educated, spiritually accomplished (typically following many years in retreat), caring, selfless teachers in this tradition, and it is a shame that people who do not know better are being exposed, online and in print, only to the exceptions rather than the norm and the potential.

Specifically, much of the recent coverage and discussion online and in print around the role of the guru or lama has reflected a deep misunderstandings of the role of the teacher in Tibetan Buddhism and has therefore created a lot of confusion. The best way for a student to find the right teacher who can lead them far along the path to enlightenment is to have a solid ground in understanding what the roles are, to be aware of the cultural dynamics at play, and to know which qualities to seek and which to avoid.

So, we are pleased to share this Reader’s Guide to help those interested in understanding the role, importance, and centrality of the guru or lama and the transformative power of the student-teacher relationship. We hope this will better prepare those pursuing this path to understand the choices they are making and set them up for spiritual success and accomplishment.

His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya
His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya {photo by Wonderlane on Flickr}
It probably should not look like this.
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Dzongsar Khyentse on the Teacher-Student Relationship

Perhaps the book that addresses head-on the contemporary concerns and confusion about the role of the teacher—from gender inequality to power dynamics and bad apples—is Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s The Guru Drinks Bourbon. This is a thrilling modern guide to help students understand what they are in for and what is expected of them. It is, after all, a two-way street. He covers many areas and, while acknowledging a checklist is too simple of a model, he does present some helpful guidelines.

“The good guru

  • has realized the ultimate view
  • is open-minded
  • is reluctant to teach
  • is tolerant
  • is learned
  • is disciplined
  • is kind and never denigrates others
  • has a lineage
  • is progressive
  • is humble
  • is not interested in your wallet, thighs, or toes
  • has a living guru and a living tradition
  • is devoted to the three jewels
  • trusts in the laws of karma
  • is generous
  • brings you to virtuous surroundings
  • has tamed the body, speech, and mind
  • is gentle and soothing
  • has pure perception
  • is nonjudgmental
  • abides by the Buddha’s rules of Vinaya, Bodhisattvayana, and, of course, Vajrayana
  • fears wrongdoing
  • is forgiving
  • is skillful"
Dalai Lama and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
The Dalai Lama is a great example of a teacher continuing to receive initiations and teachings
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Another book exploring the student-teacher relationship is Alex Berzin’s Wise Teacher, Wise Student: Tibetan Approaches to a Healthy RelationshipThe work covers many of the traditional topics but also gives a lot of thought to contemporary issues, cultural differences, and Westerner-specific issues like paranoia and vulnerability. He brings in some models from psychology (transference and regression) to explain many of the dynamics Westerners may present and how students can overcome them.

Wise Teacher, Wise Student

$18.95 - Paperback

By: Alexander Berzin

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Sera KhandroThe great early 20th century master Sera Khandro relates over several pages in her Refining Our Perception of Reality the qualities of a guru without whom progress on the path of Vajrayana is not possible:

In general, although it is taught that there are six kinds of masters from whom you receive instruction, the masters who give the pith instructions are your root spiritual masters imbued with threefold kindness. Thus, no discourse or tantra relates a story of the attainment of enlightenment without that individual having relied upon a spiritual master. Each and every one of the highly accomplished masters who appeared in the past relied on material or nonmaterial spiritual masters, and developed all the qualities gained along the paths and stages of awakening; this is a matter of record. Therefore, your lamas have exhausted any flaws and have perfected all qualities: your lamas are the Buddha incarnate. Yet the mind-streams of us ordinary individuals are easily influenced by such things as conditions in our country, our historical period, or our companions. We must thus begin by examining spiritual masters from vantage points both close by and distant, then rely on them having set aside our negative thoughts or attitudes. In the end, having offered service by pleasing the lamas in three ways, and having kept tantric bonds without allowing them to be violated, we train so that our lamas’ wisdom mind and conduct are impressed upon us: our mind and conduct become like a clay image [satsa] emerging from a mold. This is very important.

Refining Our Perception of Reality

$34.95 - Hardcover

By: Sera Khandro

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Dudjom Rinpoche, mentioned above and one of the greatest masters of the 20th century, starts off his magisterial explanation of the foundational practices—A Torch Lighting the Way to Freedom: Complete Instructions on the Preliminary Practices, for those embarking on the path of Vajrayana Buddhism—with a long chapter titled “The Qualifications of Masters.”

He concludes it with:

Sublime teachers who are rid of all the faults just described and who possess all the right qualities are, because of the times, very hard to find—like the udumbara, the king of flowers. Even if they should happen to come across such teachers for just a little while, sentient beings with impure perception see faults in them—as has happened many times, starting with Devadatta who saw faults in the Bhagavan. Moreover, most people nowadays have the same store of negative deeds and misfortune, and so they perceive faults as good qualities and good qualities as faults. They see even those who have not a single ability that accords with the Dharma, whether manifest or hidden, as sublime beings, and so on. Those who know how to check are rare indeed. In particular, with regard to giving the profound teachings on the actual condition of things, teachers who have no realization cannot make the ultimate experience and realization develop in their disciples’ mindstreams. We should therefore take this point as a basis and regard a teacher who has most of the right qualities as the equal of the Buddha. The reason for considering even those in whom six of the above sets of qualities are complete and who have most of the right qualities as sublime beings and for following them is described in the Approach to the Absolute Truth:

Because of the age of strife, teachers have a mixture of faults and virtues:
There are none with no negative aspects at all.
Having carefully checked those who have more qualities,
Disciples should put their trust in them.

On Guru Yoga

Mala for Guru YogaAs mentioned above, Guru Yoga is an essential practice in all the schools of Tibetan Buddhism.  Dudjom Rinpoche gives an overview of it in Torch Lighting the Way to Freedom that gives a sense of how central the teacher is:

Whether our teachers present in person are ordinary beings or emanations of Buddhas or Bodhisattvas, if we are able to pray to them considering them as the Buddha, there is absolutely no difference between them and the Buddha or Bodhisattva or yidam deity in person, because the source of blessings is devotion. So whichever profound practice we are undertaking, whether the generation phase or the perfection phase, we should begin by making the teacher’s blessings the path. There is no more to it than that. But as long as we have not received the blessings, we will not be genuinely on the path. It is said that if disciples who keep the commitments give themselves wholeheartedly, with devotion, to an authentic diamond master, they will obtain the supreme and common accomplishments even if they have no other methods. But without devotion to the teacher, even if we complete the approach and accomplishment practices of the yidams of the six tantra sections, we will never obtain the supreme accomplishment. And we will be unlikely to accomplish many of the ordinary accomplishments either, such as those of long life, wealth, or bringing beings under one’s power. Even if we do manage to achieve a little, it will have necessitated a lot of hardship and will have nothing to do with the profound path. When unmistaken devotion takes birth in us, obstacles on the path will be dispelled and we will make progress, obtaining all the supreme and ordinary accomplishments without depending on anything else. This is what we mean by the profound path of Guru Yoga.

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Khenpo Ngawang PelzangKhenpo Ngawang Pelzang in his famous Guide to the classic Words of My Perfect Teacher, wrote,

“There is one single criterion you should particularly check when examining a teacher: it is whether he has bodhichitta. If he has the bodhichitta, whatever sort of connection one makes with him will be meaningful. A good connection will bring buddhahood in one lifetime, and even a negative connection will eventually bring samsaric existence to an end.”

While one may not be so confident in their bodhicitta detection skills, the point is, after studying and analyzing the teacher, to use your own judgement.

If you wanted more detail, the author presents a more descriptive list of what characteristics to look for.

There are many other traditional overviews that include key instructions for evaluating, committing to, and following a teacher. From the tradition His Holiness the Dalai Lama was first educated in, Tsongkahpa’s The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment covers the subject over several pages. The great 18th-century adept Jigme Lingpa’s Treasury of Precious Qualities beautifully covers this as well.

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One of the most classic treatises on the guru-disciple dynamic is by the great 19th-century scholar and master Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, who wrote The Teacher-Student Relationship. In this work he covers the following facets of the relationship:

  • How to Seek the Wisdom Teacher
  • The Justification for Following the Wisdom Teacher
  • Categories and Characteristics of the Master Who Should Be Followed
  • The Way in Which One Enters into and Goes Astray—Which Follows from the Characteristics of the Master
  • The Characteristics of the Student Who Follows
  • How to Follow
  • The Necessity of Following the Wisdom Teacher in That Way
  • Avoiding Contrary, Harmful Companions
  • Creating Faith as a Favorable Condition
  • The Way That the Wisdom Teacher Should Explain and the Student Should Listen to the Holy Dharma

Kongtrul relies on sutra and tantra sources to explain each of these. The reader will put it down having a much better appreciation for the scope of the Vajra master and student’s responsibilities, neither of which can be taken lightly.

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Dangerous Friend: The Teacher-Student Relationship in Vajrayana Buddhism by Rig’dzin Dorje focuses exclusively on the Vajrayana aspects of the teacher-student relationship.

Dangerous Friend

$24.95 - Paperback

By: Rig'dzin Dorje

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In Secret of the Vajra World, scholar and teacher Reggie Ray includes a chapter on the Vajra Master. His conclusion, which encapsulates much of the above, is as follows:

Many people are suspicious of Buddhism in general and particularly of the Vajrayana because of the intensity of the guru-disciple relationship. They are made uncomfortable by the level of projections that occur in the interaction of teacher and student. They do not like the lack of explicit restrictions, rules, and limitations on the relationship. They would prefer clear expectations and boundaries, without the uncertainty and intimacy that Vajrayana Buddhism implies.

Without denying the dangers in this as in all other intimate human relationships, and acknowledging that there can be no complete guaran­tee against mistakes and abuses, still there would appear something shortsighted in this point of view. As long as human beings live in the realm of samsaric duality, there is the inevitability of projection—in this case the positive projections of seeing something ‘‘out there’’ to which we are attracted and that we feel we need. What is sometimes not sufficiently realized is that no human beings are outside of this cycle.

Moreover, projection of this nature is not an inherently bad or unde­sirable thing. In fact, it is only because we are willing to project, willing to seek our dreams, that we can come up short and begin to integrate the part of ourselves that we had at first seen as outside. People do get ‘‘stuck,’’ but usually not forever. This process always involves vulnera­bility and suffering, but only in a culture that abhors pain and equates it with evil can one fail to see the transformative element.

The Vajrayana operates by eliciting and provoking the projections of our own deepest nature, then forcing us back on ourselves so that we have to integrate and take possession of those projections. This process is seen no more clearly than in the relation of teacher and student that forms the backbone of the path. Trungpa Rinpoche comments that at the beginning of the path, the teacher is seen virtually as a demigod. In the middle, he is experienced as a friend and companion. And at the end, when we have attained the state of realization that we once saw uniquely in him, he becomes inseparable from the inborn, living wis­dom within.

What is sad is not to see this process of projection in Buddhism, where it can lead to something dignified and noble, but to see the way that it operates in the contemporary ‘‘modern’’ world, where it so often leads to an utter dead end. Here, people project their deepest yearnings onto things that have little to do with the human spirit and its matura­tion—new cars, upscale houses, clothes, vacations, credentials, fame, wealth, and power. It is not surprising, for example, that it is often among those who have succeeded most fully in realizing the materialism of the American Dream that one can find the most emptiness, fear, and unacknowledged despair.

Secret of the Vajra World

$39.95 - Paperback

By: Reginald A. Ray

Additional Resources

Another way to approach this is simply to read the stories of great masters and be inspired by their example. Here are a few places to get started:

Khandro Rinpoche

Khandro Rinpoche

Khandro Rinpoche discusses her teachers in her expansive Refuge chapter in This Precious Life: Tibetan Buddhist Teachings on the Path to Enlightenment

The incomparable lamas of the Longchen Nyintig tradition are presented in Tulku Thondup’s Masters of Meditation and Miracles.

The inspiring stories of Patrul Rinpoche are the subject of Matthieu Ricard’s collection of the oral history of this essential figure, Enlightened Vagabond.

The archetype of students, Milarepa, can be read about in many of the books included in our Reader’s Guide on him.

A subsequent article will address the related topic of Guru Yoga, which lies at the heart of the Vajrayana.

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Recognizing Reincarnations for Enthronement

The following article is from the Spring, 1997 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.

Enthronement: The Recognition of the Reincarnate Masters of Tibet and the Himalayas

Tibetan Buddhism, Reincarnate Masters of Tibet and the HimalayasBy Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye
Translated and introduced by Ngawang Zangpo


Tibetan Buddhism, reincarnation, enthronement

Kalu Rinpoche (1905 – 1989)

This book began as an attempt to come to terms with an unusual event in my life: in 1991, the Dalai Lama announced that a child that I have known practically since his birth is the reincarnation of Kalu Rinpoche, the Tibetan meditation teacher and spiritual guide I had studied with from 1972 until his death in 1989. The announcement of his rebirth was good news, joyous news, incredible and wonderful news... but it signaled to me that the time had come to learn more about an aspect of Himalayan tantric Buddhism I had casually ignored — the rebirth of meditation masters who reassume their work — study, meditation, and teaching — and their thrones.

To understand the arrival in my world of a one-and-a-half-year-old little Buddha in diapers... I turned to the writings of Jamgon Kongtrul, a meditation master of the nineteenth century.

To understand the arrival in my world of a one-and-a-half-year-old little Buddha in diapers, who was about to inherit the place once occupied by the eighty-four-year-old man I had known and loved, I turned to the writings of Jamgon Kongtrul, a meditation master of the nineteenth century. His work, always reliable and authoritative, provided the authentic picture I was searching for. It offers a traditional view of the enthronement of reincarnate masters, with not the slightest attempt at interpretation for a modern audience.

Kalu Rinpoche and young Tai Situ Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhism

The young Tai Situ Rinpoche sits with Kalu Rinpoche. Taken by Big Mind Zen Center

I was unable to find any book by Jamgon Kongtrul on the related subject of how such children are recognized as reincarnate masters: I doubt that he wrote such a book or that one exists by any Tibetan writer. To answer some of my questions on that subject, I visited Tai Situpa, a Tibetan meditation master who is often asked by Tibetans of all schools to find reincarnate masters. He is not the only modern master who does this work, but I chose to interview him for two reasons.

TIbetan Buddhism, Tai Situ Rinpoche

His Eminence The Twelfth Tai Situ Rinpoche

First, the present-day Tai Situpa is, in the eyes of Tibetan Buddhists, the same person that we read of in Kongtrul's book. Kongtrul eagerly awaited the enthronement of the reincarnation of his teacher, the tenth Tai Situpa; the Tai Situpa who speaks of his work as a finder of reincarnate masters in the interview is the twelfth of the line. Second, as is mentioned in the course of the interview, Tai Situpa was the master responsible for first suggesting to the Dalai Lama the identity of my teacher's reincarnation. This is a connection that is significant to me personally, and I feel deeply grateful for that act.

Thus, Enthronement focuses on two aspects of the life of reincarnate lamas: their recognition and their enthronement. In making this text available in English, I hope it will contribute to an accurate picture of this crucial aspect of the spiritual life of the Himalayan region as it was and as it continues to be.

While I have wished to be as objective as possible in presenting this information, I cannot pretend to be impartial toward the reincarnate masters of Tibet. Since I began studying under the guidance of Tibetan meditation masters in 1972, I have met close to one hundred men and one woman (the remarkable Khandro Rinpoche) who are acknowledged as reincarnate masters.

The goal of Buddha's teaching and of Himalayan Buddhist culture is to produce not Buddhists but Buddhas, enlightened persons.

Whether one chooses to believe in reincarnation or dismisses the idea as nonsense, I believe anyone would be struck by these individuals. If the outstanding qualities they seem to share — uncommon compassion, patience, vigor, wisdom, humor, loving kindness, goodness, and often genius — are due to a selection system capable of recognizing prodigies before they are able to talk, it is a system that deserves serious study. If these impressive individuals are the results of education and environment alone, these are equally commendable; extraordinary, in fact, and probably unique.

The goal of Buddha's teaching and of Himalayan Buddhist culture is to produce not Buddhists but Buddhas, enlightened persons. It is this goal of enlightenment that I feel Tibet's great masters personify and it is with the wish that their wisdom be added to the sum of enlightenment in the world that this book is written.

It is this goal of enlightenment that I feel Tibet's great masters personify and it is with the wish that their wisdom be added to the sum of enlightenment in the world that this book is written.

The first part of this book contains an interview with Tai Situpa Rinpoche, a contemporary reincarnate master and leader of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, who is often requested to find and recognize other reincarnate masters. He describes the fascinating process of recognizing reincarnations.

The second part contains a translation of a text by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye, one of the most outstanding writers and meditation masters of nineteenth-century Tibet, which offers a traditional view of the enthronement of reincarnate masters.

For more information:

Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye

Jamgön Kongtrül (1813–1899) was a versatile and prolific scholar. He has been characterized as a "Tibetan Leonardo" because of his significant contributions to religion, education, medicine, and politics.

For more information:

Khandro Rinpoche

Born in India in 1967, Khandro Rinpoche is the daughter of Tibetan meditation master His Holiness Mindrolling Trichen and is herself a renowned teacher in the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism.

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Enlightened Journey

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