Vessantara. Meeting the Buddhas: A Guide to Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Tantric Deities. Birmingham, England: Windhorse Publications, rev. ed. 2003. Paperback, 356 pages.
Vessantara (born Tony McMahon), a senior member of the Western Buddhist Order, is a long-term meditator and popular Buddhist teacher in England. He is the author of several books, includingFemale Deities in Buddhism, and the present work is again informed not only by his diligent study of the Buddhist teachings but also by his experience of teaching others how to meditate and visualize the archetypal Buddhist deities.
After a nicely crafted Introduction and four chapters on Buddhist doctrine and the history and practice of visualization, the author delves straight into a description of the Mandala of the Five Buddhas and their complex symbolism. Next he furnishes very helpful descriptions of the major transcendental Bodhisattvas together with their various implements and often also along with their respective spiritual disciplines ( sadhanas). Finally, he covers important Tantric protector deities without which a sadhana cannot succeed.
To aid with one’s visualization of these diverse beings, Vessantara has included twenty-five color plates and 36 black-and-white illustrations.
This well-structured book is a fairly comprehensive guide to Mahayana and Vajrayana visualization and is written in straightforward language that even a beginning practitioner can understand. It makes an excellent addition to any public or personal library of Buddhist books.
Copyright ©2006 by Georg Feuerstein. All rights reserved.
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