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Becoming Vajrasattva: The Tantric Path of Purification Paperback – June 15, 2004

4.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Lama Yeshe was capable of translating Tibetan Buddhist thought not only through language, but by his presence, gestures, and way of life." (Gehlek Rimpoche, author of Good Life, Good Death)

"One of the great teachers of our time." (Sogyal Rinpoche, author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying)

"Many years ago I heard a Dharma talk by Lama Yeshe. I was very impressed with his ability to communicate deep truths in very ordinary language, with a hilarious sense of humor that helped deliver such wisdom. But he died, so my attention eventually went elsewhere. Recently, I discovered his books--some very technical Tantra; some down-to-earth wisdom. Lama Yeshe's same gift was present in both modes. Although, my many years of Dharma training is in Theravadin Buddhism, especially the practice of vipassana meditation, I found his teaching once again to be of great value--so direct, so clear. Granted, some of his technical Tantra seemed to me, at first, of limited relevance to my interests. But upon closer reading, and in his hands, these teachings proved equally valuable. Lama Yeshe has given us a body of teaching of immense signifciance for practitioners of all schools of Buddhadharma." (Larry Rosenberg, senior teacher and founder of Cambridge Insight Meditation Center; Senior and guiding teacher, Insight Meditation Society, and author of Living in the Light of Death and Breath by Breath)

"[FOUR STARS] Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935-84), one of the best loved and most highly accomplished lamas teaching Westerners, has gifted us with a number of very important books based on his talks to students. Among his superb publications, all released by Wisdom Publications, are Introduction to Tantra, The Bliss of Inner Fire, and Becoming Compassion Buddha: Tantric Mahamudra for Everyday Life. Becoming Vajrasattva has the same direct quality as Lama Yeshe's other works, allowing the reader to sense and enjoy some of the immediacy of receiving oral instructions from a highly realized teacher. As the founder of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), with over 100 centers around the world, he has created a lasting legacy. This book is the first full-length treatment of the Vajrasattva meditation/visualization practice, which is considered very important by all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. We are very generously given a close-up view of how the meditation is to be done, including its associated rituals, and also of the minutiae of an actual Vajrasattva retreat. Lama Yeshe's accompanying instructional talks are, as always, precious and enormously clarifying and encouraging." (Georg Feuerstein, Traditional Yoga Studies Interactive)

About the Author

Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935-1984) was born in Tibet and educated at the great Sera Monastic University. He fled the Chinese oppression in 1959 and in the late 1960s, with his chief disciple, Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, began teaching Buddhism to Westerners at their Kopan Monastery, Kathmandu, Nepal. In 1975 they founded the international Buddhist organization, the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), which now has more than 160 centers, projects and services worldwide.

Nicholas Ribush is the founding director since 1996 of the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive, dedicated to preserving the teachings of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. He graduated from Melbourne University Medical School in 1964 and first encountered Buddhism at Kopan Monastery in 1972. He was an ordained monk from 1974 to 1986. He helped establish Wisdom Publications with Lama Yeshe in 1976, established Tushita Mahayana Meditation Centre in New Delhi in 1977, and Kurukulla Center in Boston in 1989. Ribush was a member of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) board of directors from 1983 until 2002. He lives in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche is the Spiritual Director of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a worldwide network of Buddhist centers, monasteries, and affiliated projects, including Wisdom Publications. Rinpoche was born in 1946 in the village of Thami in the Solo Khumbu region of Nepal near Mount Everest. His books include Transforming Problems into Happiness, How to Be Happy, and Ultimate Healing. He lives in Aptos, California.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications; 2nd edition (April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0861713893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861713899
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #492,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John S. Baker on October 24, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an advanced work for experienced Buddhist practitioners in the Tibetan tradition. I doubt that other readers would get much out of it. It is like a cookbook, you have to do what it says if you want to satisfy yourself. And if you want to cook, you need the utensils. In this case you need to be studying with a lama, have received initiation and have some experience practicing in order to work with this book.

The teacher of the text is in the Gelug tradition. I am a Kagyu, so that colors what I say. The author is very formal and rigorous. He makes much of what I perceive as minor matters (don't move your meditation cushion, keep it in the same place throughout your retreat). So I filter out some of what he says as not essential.

I was practicing Vajrasattva when I bought this book and I wanted something to keep the practice fresh. This provided it.

If you are practicing Vajrasattva, this book will be very helpful. There are also some things in this book that could be helpful to other practitioners.
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Although not a household name among American Buddhists, Lama Yeshe should really go down in history as one of the chief teachers responsible for transmitting Buddhism to the West. He managed to find a voice for this ancient tradition of Tibetan Buddhism that makes it accessible, inspiring, and transformational to contemporary Westerners. This is evident in the several excellent volumes that have been put forth by his student, Nick Ribush, and Wisdom Publications, including this book on Vajrasattva practice.

Purification practice is essential for students of Tibetan Buddhism, and one of the most important tantric practices for this is that of Vajrasattva. This book contains excellent teachings on this very important practice. (It will probably not be very useful to those who have not received empowerment into this practice, or who are not practicising tantra). The emphasis of the book is actually on Heruka Vajrasattva, but I believe it can be of benefit to anyone practising Vajrasattva.

Readers who enjoy this book should also pick up a copy of Lama Yeshe's "Introduction to Tantra", which is phenomenal.
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This along with with a few of the other of the Vajrayana sadhanas like the Medicine Buddha sadhana do NOT require empowerment to be able to use. I have verified this with several monks and ngakpas.

With that being said, receiving the empowerment will drastically improve the benefits associated with this particular sadhana.

If you are interested in taking a proactive role in your spiritual and mundane well being I highly suggest the practice of Vajrasattva to burn up and eliminate negative karma that causes us to suffer spiritually and materially.

All of use have done wrong things in this life and in the past incarnations, this is a wonderful and powerful practice to be able to handle our negative karmic debt in a responsible way.

Vajrasattva is like catholic confession on steroids! I recommend everyone Buddhist or not (I am not) to practice karmic purification as a way to help avoid unnecessary suffering in our lives.
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I wanted to let folks know that I have not read this book (yet). The preface provides a clear and specific warning that the material is only for those that have completed Highest Yoga Tantra Initiation and I was able to confirm this with the nun at my local FPMT center. In typcial Buddhist fashion she didn't really provide a "rule" but did offer "it would be best if you waited..." sort of advice. As such I now have a ribbon around this book that says "read me when highest yoga tantra completed". I think this would be a good book for the generally curious and Lama Yeshe's writings that I have read are just amazing, but if you are making a purchase as part of your journey on the path it may be useful to you to be aware of the request Lama Yeshe makes in the preface.
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I wish I had discovered Lama Yeshe when he was still alive. However, I am benefiting from his teachings through his writings. He seemed to understand the "pressing" needs of Westerners...(I have to know it NOW.)...and gently laughed at our needs until we realized our true path.
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What can one say about a book by Lama Yeshe? They are all extremely helpful to any Dharma pratitioner. I am nonsectarian in the sense that I study with teachers of several tradition such as Sakya, Gelugpa, some Kagyu...but basically I'm a Gelugpa. ALL I read is Dharma related.
Lama Yeshe's style is clear and always easy to follow.
Whether you are a beginner or advance practitioner, you can always find the right book among those of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche's).
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