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Penetrating Wisdom: The Aspiration of Samantabhadra Hardcover – October 6, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Snow Lion (October 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559392665
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559392662
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,242,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"One of the most brilliant Tibetan Buddhist teachers of his generation."—Sogyal Rinpoche

"Ponlop Rinpoche’s lively commentary, grounded in his own experience and profound learning, can awaken in the attentive reader something of the Naked Awareness that in any given moment is available behind the theater of the conceptual mind and ego-driven emotions. We can discover Naked Awareness by overcoming duality-based doubt and attachment. Everything else, as Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche would say, is sour grapes."—Georg Feuerstein, author of The Deeper Dimension of Yoga

"Inspiringly presents the powerful aspiration which makes it impossible for all beings not to attain buddhahood. . . . Rinpoche makes difficult concepts understandable and assisted me to situate Dzogchen in the Vajrayana tradition. The inclusion of question-and-answer sessions between Rinpoche and his students also helped me to grapple with new ideas."—Thar Lam

From the Back Cover

Penetrating Wisdom is a book of teachings on the Buddhist paths of Dzogchen and Tantra by an innovative Tibetan master who is both authoritative and modern. Basing himself on The Aspiration of Samantabhadra, a proclamation in the Buddhist tantras of the Buddha Samantabhadra, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche illuminates the philosophy and meditation practices of Dzogchen, the highest and most profound teaching of all of Tibetan Buddhism. With precision that does not intimidate the uninitiated, Rinpoche explains the basic nature of our very own mind--complete enlightenment--and how we may go about making this nature of mind manifest through making profound aspirations and through relying on the skillful methods of the Vajrayana, Tibetan Buddhism's "indestructible" path of insight.

While the author is a traditionally trained master in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, he has won great appreciation in the West for his humor, familiarity with Western culture, and his unique talent for using examples that are drawn directly from Western metropolitan lifestyles. The readers are served with the most profound ancient wisdom of the highest order at the same time that they are entertained and intrigued by the humor and colloquial street smarts of a master who, in every sentence, brings together the best of East and West. Since these teachings were originally given in English, the book gives an intimate connection to the feeling the author evokes in person.

"One of the most brilliant Tibetan Buddhist Teachers of his generation."--Sogyal Rinpoche

Customer Reviews

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I highly recommendable this practice and commentary.
John Bass
He is a true Vajra Master and his commentary explains the text in terms we can understand, putting the symbolism of The Tibetan Book of the Dead into practical terms.
John S. Klingler
A commentary on a root text called "The Aspiration of Samantabhadra," the book provides a good, clear overview of the complete Dzogchen path.
Richard Darsie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Richard Darsie on January 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
Ponlop Rinpoche remains a rarity in the pantheon of high Tibetan lamas: one who can teach in idiomatic English. This, combined with his deep understanding of both the Mahamudra and Dzogchen paths, makes it possible for us to have the wonderful teaching he presents in this book. A commentary on a root text called "The Aspiration of Samantabhadra," the book provides a good, clear overview of the complete Dzogchen path. As one who has entered that stream of teaching and practice, I found this book to be incredibly valuable, and will be re-reading it again and again.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Dozogchen Ponlop Rinpoche's Penetrating Wisdom: The Aspiration of Samantabhadra should be required reading for any student of Buddhist belief and Eastern religions: it blends observation, metaphor and a sharp analysis of faith to present 'The Aspiration of Samantabhadra' for new and experienced Buddhists alike, offering up a prayer which explores spiritual awareness in daily living and pairing this understanding with a set of instructions for refining beliefs. It's an eye-opening survey for any already practicing Buddhism.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By John S. Klingler on March 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Many years ago I was a studying for my BS in mathematics. I had never heard of Buddhism, meditation or mysticism. I had rejected my upbringing in the Christian faith as so much mumbo-jumbo, I was an atheist. Nonetheless a confluence of events induced an awakening to the nature of my own mind, an indescribably intense epiphany. I thought I had been demented all my life and everyone else perceived reality in this way. I soon found out that was not the case.

Suddenly, the scriptures I had learned in my Christian upbringing held real meaning, of someone who had this experience and tried to communicate it to others. But where are they now? My reading widened to Sufism, Mysticism, Carl Jung, Gurdjieff and so on. Finally I encountered the Evans-Wentz books about Tibetan Buddhism which spoke directly about this experience of awakening: The Tibetan Book of the Dead, The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation and so on.

The problem I faced with this was where would one find an accomplished teacher? Then, as if by magic, Chogyam Trunpa appeared in the west bringing the Vajrayana. Do you not sometimes marvel at the flow of events in your life, as if they are not random but intelligent responses to your receptivity?

The Aspiration of Samantabhadra is the highest Tantric teaching and The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, who is nominally my teacher, is the holder of this lineage. He is a true Vajra Master and his commentary explains the text in terms we can understand, putting the symbolism of The Tibetan Book of the Dead into practical terms.

Whether or not you are an adherent or practitioner of Vajrayana Buddhism, this book will stretch your mind to that which is truly inconceivable and right in front of you at all times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Bass on April 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
An amazing and lucid text shared by one of the most intelligent, compassionate and insightful Buddhist teachers of today, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpiche. The Aspiration of Samantabhadra is commentary, practice and wisdom presented in clear and penetrating detail. For the scholar and the lay person, Penetrating Wisdom can be picked up and applied for the benefit of all. I highly recommendable this practice and commentary.
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By applewood on January 27, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Buddhism has several versions of its 'creation myth' - told for the benefit of different aptitudes of beings. The myth told in 'The Aspiration of Samantabhadra' is specifically from the Dzogchen (Great Perfection) lineage of teachings, and as such is intended for those of highest acumen - although in practice this isn't always the case, and so a clear and helpful explanation is required to at least get us on the right track. That is what this teaching by Ponlop Rinpoche provides.

Like all creation myths (to continue that metaphor), what is being described is what is happening now - accessible through this present moment as creation continually unfolds (or in the buddhist context, as we create and enter into samsara - cyclic conditioned existence - as deluded beings). This prayer of Samantabhadra's (the primordial buddha "All Good" who never lacks recognition of his true nature, and so never enters into samsara) spells out the steps of this samsaric creation in clear (if poetic) language and imagery. It is short, just six pages, but powerfully concentrated. And in beautifully evocative language explains the process of becoming in a way specifically designed to lead meditators back to the moment of creation, and so back to Samantabhadra through direct recognition.

Ponlop Rinpoche's lucid commentary (edited from two talks in '96 and '98) fills out the book and our understanding. Following the original prayer line by line he covers the general teachings on the tantric path right up to the pinnacle of Dzogchen realization. The effect is a gentle yet profound introduction to the specific and unique Dzogchen approach - for both the beginner and experienced meditator.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jackson Kennard on January 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Samantabhadra prayer practice helps clear away any obstructions to your meditation practice and understanding emptiness. What makes this book so unique is Dozogchen Ponlop Rinpoche's explanation and insight of each line of the prayer.
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