In 1402 Tson-kha-pa, the founder of the Gelupa sect of
Tibetan Buddhism, completed ' Lam Rim Chenmo.'
Lama Tson-kha-pa's famous Lam Rim Chenmo is perhaps the most elaborate and elegant presentation of the Buddhist path and is one of the most renowned Tibetan Buddhist classics. The work falls into the Lam-rim genre which stemmed from the Kadampa school of Tibetan Buddhism. Its main structure is based on the division of three levels of spiritual beings, which Atisha puts forth in The Lamp for the Path, and the three principles of the path.
The ' Lam Rim Chenmo' shows that the entire range of exoteric Buddhist teachings is to be seen as descriptions of a coherent structure of the Buddhist path. Like a repository of Buddhist scriptures, it extensively draws from such sources as Sutras, Indian treatises, and sayings of earlier Tibetan masters, and it demonstrates that they collectively elucidate the progressive stages of an individual's spiritual training.
'Calming the Mind and Discerning the Real' marks the
first appearance in English of the two most important segments of 'Lam Rim
Chenmo.' As translator Alex Wayman notes, "From the beginning of Buddhist literature we find the terms 'calming' and 'discerning' paired, as natures to be cultivated."
Over centuries of
religious teaching, however the precise connotations of these terms have become
diffuse, and "calming" and "discerning" came to stand, at different times, for
natures to be cultivated in their own right and for categories covering various
steps towards spiritual goals. In 1402 Tson-kha-pa completed ' Lam Rim Chenmo,'
the latter portions of which, here translated, reconciled what had long been in
'Calming the Mind and Discerning the Real' constitutes Tson-kha-pa's reform of Tibetan non-tantric Buddhist meditation and its philosophical position. The initial section, Calming the Mind, is a treatise on meditation, following the Buddhist teachings of Asanga. Discerning the Real deals with philosophy, and exhibits the influence of the Buddhist scholar Nagarjuna and his successors. Both sections cover matters that are still controversial in Tibet, and remain of prevalent interest to modern scholars.
Wayman has utilized the original Sanskrit texts for Tson-pa's citations as well as the Tibetan text. He has included a biography of the author, several clarifying essays for the necessary background, and a helpful glossary of terms.
About the Author:
Drawing on both Sanskrit and Tibetan text, Alex Wayman has published twelve
books and 150 articles on tantric and non-tantric Buddhism. Since 1991 he has
been Professor Emeritus for Sanskrit, Columbia University.