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The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems: A Tibetan Study of Asian Religious Thought (Library of Tibetan Classics) Hardcover – April 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Library of Tibetan Classics (Book 25)
  • Hardcover: 696 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (April 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0861714644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861714643
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,502,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An impressive translation of a fascinating and vitally important book. This will be of great interest to students of Tibetan Buddhism. Its broad scope and keen observation makes it an invaluable resource. And for scholars interested in the history of comparative religion, it shows how sophisticated, eighteenth-century Tibetan Buddhists could come to terms with diverse world religious traditions." (Guy Newland, Central Michigan University, author of Introduction to Emptiness)

"Thuken's Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems is a unique work, seeking to document the full range of philosophical traditions known in Tibet, including Indian, Chinese and, above all, indigenous Tibetan traditions. This translation is precise and a pleasure to read." (Matthew T. Kapstein, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and the University of Chicago, editor of Buddhism Between Tibet and China)

"This notable work, completed at the beginning of the nineteenth century, presents an in-depth treatment of the key schools of Tibetan Buddhism--Nyingma, Kadam, Sakya, Kagyu, Gelug, and Jonang, as well as Bon. The reader-friendly translations introduce the texts to the general reader, making this a valuable contribution to our understanding of the richness of Tibetan Buddhism." (Mandala)

About the Author

Thuken Losang Chokyi Nyima (1737-1802) was among the most cosmopolitan and prolific Tibetan Buddhist masters of the late eighteenth century. Hailing from the "melting pot" region of Amdo, he was Mongol by heritage, and educated in Gelukpa monasteries. Throughout his life, he traveled widely in east and inner Asia, spending significant time in Central Tibet, Amdo, inner Mongolia, and at the Qing court in Beijing. He served as abbot of several important monasteries, and wrote hundreds of texts on Buddhist thought and practice, the most enduring and influential of which is the Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems.

Born in the Tsang region of Tibet in 1923, Geshe Lhundub Sopa is both a spiritual master and a respected academic. He rose from a humble background to complete his geshe studies at Sera Je Monastic University in Lhasa with highest honors and was privileged to serve as a debate opponent for the Dalai Lama's own geshe examination in 1959. He moved to New Jersey in the United States in 1963 and in 1967 began teaching in the Buddhist Studies Program at University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is now professor emeritus. In 1975, he founded the Deer Park Buddhist Center in Oregon, Wisconsin, site of the Dalai Lama's first Kalachakra initiation granted in the West. He is the author of several books in English, including the five-volume comprehensive teaching, Steps on the Path to Englightenment.

Roger R. Jackson is the John W. Nason Professor of Asian Studies and Religion at Carleton College in Minnesota, where he teaches the religions of South Asia and Tibet. He has published many articles on the philosophy, ritual, meditative practices, and poetry of Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, and has written or co-edited several books, including Is Enlightenment Possible?, Tibetan Literature, Buddhist Theology, Tantric Treasures, and Mahamudra and the Bka' brgyud Tradition. He is a past editor of the Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, and is currently co-editor of the Indian International Journal of Buddhist Studies.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John S. Baker on May 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is another wonderful addition to this translation project. I have two other volumes in this series: Mind Training & The Book of Kadam (see links below). None of these books is the kind I can read right through. Mind Training is a compilation of teachings on Exchanging Self and Other. This is lifetime practice, so the book is not something to read, but an anthology of practices.

The Crystal Mirror is an 18th Century encyclopedic guide to Tibetan and other Asian philosophies. It has a lot of information I'm not interested in as well as a great deal I want to know. It is well produced. It has an excellent index. I have used it to look into areas where I have questions - Mahamudra, for instance. It is clear and concise. I found out why Amulet Mahamudra has that name. Its two parts fit together like the front and back of an amulet box (gau). I have had instruction that did not include this explanation. I also found out that Mahamudra includes a range of things and is not just one teaching.

This is a book I already treasure and I am sure its value to me will grow over the years.

Mind Training: The Great Collection (Library of Tibetan Classics)

The Book of Kadam: The Core Texts (Library of Tibetan Classics)
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mariano Ramos on October 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The library of tibetan classics has put together a commendable collection of texts. The cristal mirror of philosophical systems offers a thorough view of buddhism in Asia with particualr emphasis in the tibetans shcools of buddhism. It is a must for any serious student of buddhism in general and tibetan buddhism in particualar. I find it particularly useful for a person deciding which school of buddhism to join. It has ample notes, a rich glossary and a fair analytical index. It is most auspicious that the Hersey family foundation is supporting this effort and making the tibetan classics available to a wider audience.
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By KayNu Huff on December 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With a clear path, the ways of eastern philosophy are explained form a tibetan perspective. I found the description to be consist and well backed.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Neal J. King on September 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
but somehow he concludes that:
- The Jonangpas are crypto-Hindus (Samkhya), not really Buddhist
- The Kagyus are in decline
- The Sakyas have been great, but are in decline
- The Nyingmas have had great practitioners in the past, but their methods may not be so suitable for today's lesser people...

In other words, only the Gelugpas have the fully unerring system for the Dharma in Tibet. Guess what? He's a Gelugpa.

Of course, this is a snapshot as of about 1800; but still, I think his descriptions are highly flavored by his opinion as to the best school for presenting the Dharma.

I got this book mostly for a Tibetan view of how the Dharma spread in the rest of Asia. It's interesting to get that view.

It's an interesting book, I'm sure it's written with great sincerity, and I don't regret buying it. But don't expect a fair comparison of the different schools of Tibetan Buddhism. If you want to understand the different traditions, read further and visit centers from the different lineages.
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The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems: A Tibetan Study of Asian Religious Thought (Library of Tibetan Classics)
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