In Tibetan religious literature, Jamgon Kongtrul's Treasury of Knowledge in ten volumes stands out as a unique encyclopedic masterpiece embodying the entire range of Buddhist teachings as they were preserved in Tibet.
Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye (1813-1899) - a pivotal figure in eastern Tibet's nonsectarian movement - was one of the most outstanding writers and teachers of his time.
In his monumental Treasury of Knowledge , Jamgon Kongtrul presents a complete account of the major lines of thought and practice that comprise Tibetan Buddhism.
The first book of the Treasury, which serves as a prelude to Kongtrul's survey, describes four major cosmological systems found in the Tibetan tradition - those associated with the Hinayana, Mahayana, Kalachakra and Dzogchen teachings - each more subtle and profound than the last.
To suit the capacities of different grades of beings, Buddha taught four levels of cosmology:
- the numerically definite cosmology of the individual way or Hinayana
- the cosmology of infinite Buddha fields of the universal way or Mahayana
- the special cosmological system of the Kalachakra tantra
- and the dazzling non-cosmological system of Dzogchen - which dispenses with the dualistic perspective, revealing the creative principle to be awareness alone.
Each of these cosmologies shows how the world arises from mind, whether through the accumulated results of past actions or from the constant striving of awareness to know itself.
This detailed and thorough account of worldviews that present conceptions of space and time which differ significantly from Western ideas is at once illuminating and challenging.