FROM THE PUBLISHER
"Using a revered, once-secret text of a seventeenth-century Tibetan master, along with a thorough explanation for contemporary Westerners, The Jewel Tree of Tibet immerses you fully in the mysteries of Tibetan spiritual wisdom. A retreat in book from as well as a spiritual and philosophical teaching, it offers a practical system of understanding yourself and the world, of developing your learning and thought processes, and of gaining deep, transforming insight." One of the most explicit teachings of the steps to the path of enlightenment available, explained by a skilled Western teacher, The Jewel Tree of Tibet will enable you to honor the full subtlety and hidden depths of the Tibetan Buddhist path and realize as last its deeper mysteries and rewards - for yourself and others.
Based on Thurman's six-lesson retreat on Tibetan Buddhism, this accessible book guides readers through the process of enlightenment. Throughout, Thurman (Inner Revolutions) draws from the Fourth Panchen Lama's text Mentor Devotion to ground his teachings, a surprising choice given that it's an advanced dharma that he concedes is "semiesoteric." Thurman successfully spins the text's interpretation so that it becomes more transparent to a Western audience. He describes Buddhist karma, for example, as "Darwinian evolution with an individual twist," and also cautions readers not to adopt some blissed-out, mind-emptying idea of Buddhism just because they imagine that it's Eastern and therefore superior. "When we seek to enter the path of enlightenment, we have to engage with society." On the other hand, he notes, we also need to embrace ascetics like monks and nuns, and invest generously in their work toward liberation. The book has some truly beautiful moments, as when Thurman encourages readers to meditate on the loving-kindness of their mothers (even the bad mothers, he says, made sacrifices to keep their children alive and fed), or when he offers 11 steps to compassion, love and happiness. Although there are a few hiccups-moments when it becomes obvious that the "root text" of Mentor Devotion is a tricky one indeed-this is a fine tool on the road to enlightenment. (Feb. 10) Forecast: A nine-city author tour will help promote this title, which is a One Spirit Book Club alternate selection. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.