Cultivating a Compassionate Heart
Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara / Kuan Yin) is not only Tibet’s patron deity, he also is the embodiment of the compassion of all the Buddhas and as such is deemed the best possible contemplative gateway to the cultivation of compassion.
In this book, which has received high praise from monastics and lay Buddhist scholars alike, the American-born nun Ven. Thubten Chodron lucidly and engagingly elucidates the Tibetan Buddhist yoga of Chenrezig. Her explanations are based not only on scriptural but also oral teachings, which makes them eminently authoritative and practical.
Essentially, Cultivating a Compassionate Heart is a knowledgeable, highly practical, and fairly extensive commentary on the Chenrezig sadhana. The book starts with the Thousand-Armed Chenrezig visualization and the preliminary prayers found in most sadhanas and the long mantra of Chenrezig. Only then does the author proceed to explaining the various concepts that make up the theoretical underpinnings of this extraordinary practice.
"With her usual clarity and humor, Venerable Thubten Chodron delivers a first-rate exposition of the theory and practice of Action Tantra, basing herself on the sadhana of the 1,000-armed Chenrezig. Her clear and helpful explanation are certainly of great benefit for all of us on the Vajrayana path." —Ven. Tenzin Palmo, author of Reflections on a Mountain Lake
"Ven. Thubten Chodron is someone whose life embodies the virtues of kindness, simplicity, and a clarity of vision which lie at the heart of the Buddha's teaching. It is these perennial qualities that shine through her writings and touch the hearts of readers all over the world." —Thupten Jinpa, translator for H.H. the Dalai Lama
"In her latest Dharma offering, Thubten Chodron draws on a wealth of oral teachings and years of practice as she insightfully applies the profound methods of Vajrayana to everyday life. She skillfully shows how we can break through our ordinary perceptions of ourselves, other beings, and our environment, through the cultivation of 'pure appearances' and other tantric practices, in ways that open the heart to empathy and compassion. This is a book to be cherished." —B. Alan Wallace, author of Genuine Happiness: Meditation as the Path to Fulfillment
"For serious practitioners who wish to engage in Chenrezig meditation, this book is an invaluable resource. By providing a sadhana recitation text with full instructions clearly explained, particularly on how to incorporate the understanding of voidness into the practice of tantra, Ven. Thubten Chodron has made this precious meditation available to all who would seek an authentic tradition." —Alexander Berzin, author of Taking the Kalachakra Initiation and Relating to a Spiritual Teacher
"Another engaging offering from the kind, clear heart and mind of Thubten Chodron. . . . You want to develop compassion and wisdom? Here's how." —Mandala Magazine
"Once again Ven. Thubten Chodron does what she has done so brilliantly before. She takes a lofty spiritual ideal-in this case, the cultivation of universal compassion—and presents it in a clear, accessible manner that the reader finds both eminently practical and sublimely inspiring." —Jonathan Landaw, author of Images of Enlightenment
"Among the 50 best spiritual books of 2006." —Spirituality & Health
"The crux and spirit of the Chenrezig sadhana could not be more beautifully epitomized than in the response the late Lama Yeshe gave to a student who had asked him whether Mao Tse-tung was an evil being. Lama Yeshe, who had been personally affected by Mao Tse-tung’s brand of communism, simply said: 'He meant well, dear.' This remark shows a level of forgiveness and understanding that is possible only when there is genuine compassion. What better way is there to cultivate compassion than by contemplating Chenrezig?" —Georg Feuerstein, PhD, Traditional Yoga Studies
"This engaging book on the traditional 'Meditation on the Thousand-Arm Chenrezig' is less a guide to practice than a full explication of it for a contemporary audience." —Library Journal
"Another in her series of eminently practical and sublimely inspiring teachings. . . . The rituals and visualizations are brought directly into our everyday lives. . . . As she says, 'We don't just go poof! and become a Buddha. But her insight and humor, her skillful way of translating the profound into mundane reality, has the potential to open our hearts and minds to more compassion." —Turning Wheel