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Sunday, 08 March 2015 22:22

Yoga Tantra

Yoga Tantra - coverYoga Tantra - Paths to Magical Feats
— by Tsongkhapa
- with a commentary by Dalai Lama,
translated by Jeffrey Hopkins

This is the third book in a series presenting The Great Exposition of Secret Mantra.  The first two books are Tantra in Tibet  and Deity Yoga.

Tantra in Tibet - part one of The Great Exposition  - describes the differences between the Lesser and Great Vehicles, and between the Sutra and Great Mantra Vehicles.

Deity Yoga  - parts two and three of The Great Exposition  - presents Action Tantra and Performance Tantra.

There follows a translation of the Yoga Tantra  section of Tsongkhapa's The Great Exposition of Secret Mantra  - one of his most important works and a monument of Tibetan Buddhist literature.

Based on the third book in a series of Vajrayana teachings developed by Tsongkhapa - a Tibetan scholar in the late 14th and early 15th centuries - this book explores "paths to magical feats" through a dedicated practice of Yoga Tantra.

This volume builds upon the practice of deity yoga, in which a person "joins one's own body, speech, mind and activities with the exalted body, speech, mind and activities of a supramundane being".

The introduction lays out the features of Yoga Tantra,  drawn from lectures the Dalai Lama gave in India in 1979 and 2002, and is followed by more detailed expositions of the teachings.

Readers who have minimal background in esoteric Buddhism will undoubtedly be confused by how the four mandalas correspond to the four seals and lineages, though even neophytes should be able to use the book to deepen their practice of "calm abiding" and mental focus.

Guhyasamaja & Tsongkhapa

Highly advanced practitioners who have mastered yogic union can eventually attempt magical feats such as revealing treasure and mineral wealth in the ground, walking on water, walking in space, finding lost articles and controlling the mind of another.

The Dalai Lama opens the door to the topic of Yoga Tantra  with an extraordinarily detailed teaching on a classic text. Rarely in the Dalai Lama's lifetime has he given teachings of such a nature on this topic. Jeffrey Hopkins concludes this book with an outline of the steps of Yoga Tantra  practice.

This is an invaluable book for anyone who is practicing or interested in Buddhist tantra in general.

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