This work is a compilation of Geshe Palden Drakpa's four essays on Buddhist philosophy and practice. The first two essays are on Buddhist philosophy and the rest are on Buddhist practice.
Dependent origination is the foundation of Buddhist philosophy and the theory is relevant to every aspect of existence, including that of our own. The essays on Buddhist philosophy also include an analysis of what creates sentient beings and the environments in which they live, and what protects sentient beings from different dangers. The remaining essays are on Buddhist practices of generating love and compassion for the benefit of others, engaging in virtuous practices for the benefit of all, and undertaking ritual practices such as offering prostrations and seeking audience of spiritual masters to cleanse oneself of the cognitive and afflictive obscurations.
These explanatory essays are intended for those who are new to Buddhist philosophy and who may doubt the benefits one can gain from simple practices such as circumambulation, offering water and lighting lamps.
Geshe Palden Drakpa is a distinguished teacher from Drepung Loseling Monastery and can be counted as one of the greatest Buddhist scholars living today in exile.
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The compilation here can be categorized into two parts. The first is dealing more with the philosophical aspects like the concept of 'creator and protector', and the nature of existence. The second part deals more with the practical features, such as generation of love and compassion, engagement in virtuous practices and abandonment of non-virtuous action, and the purposes behind undertaking practices of circumambulation and offering prostrations.
In Buddhism the main focus is for inner transformation, and the way to achieve that is through proper understanding of reality, the way thing are, rather than through prayers and blessings from some external agent. As one Tibetan master has aptly said:
There is no one who will catch hold of your hand and throw you into heaven.
There is no one who will catch hold of your leg and pull you into hell.
Your wellbeing and happiness are in your own hands.
It is extremely important that you do not deceive yourself.
The best way of helping oneself is to become more independent and free as opposed to depending upon superficial and fleeting sources of happiness and peace.
This book will help the readers understand both the philosophical and practical aspects of the fundamental teachings of the Buddha.
— From back cover