Tarthang Tulku. Tibetan Meditation: Practical Teachings and Step-by-Step Exercises on How to Live in Harmony, Peace, and Happiness. Berkeley, Calif.: Dharma Publishing, 2006. Paperback, 160 pp.
Mind training is at the core of Tibetan Buddhism, and meditation is a principal practice in attaining a focused and peaceful mind. “Until we are able to actually understand our minds,” writes Nyingma meditation master Lama Tarthang Tulku, “we remain strangers to ourselves, unconscious of our true potential.” He compares the mind to a versatile artist, but his versatility is typically spent in “creating confusion, delusion, and suffering.” Yet, when duly disciplines, the mind is capable of creating “great order and surpassing beauty.” For over three decades, Tarthang Tulku and his students have amply demonstrated the latter capacity through their publishing activities, artistic creations, and other noteworthy efforts in bringing the Dharma to the West.
The author explains meditative awareness as being similar to “completely open space.” As he puts it:
This space is neither outside the body nor inside the mind. It is not mental or physical, and yet, at the same time, it is a deep, integrated sense of stillness, openness, and balance—which is the experience of meditation itself. (p. 12)
The materials are organized into four chapters as follows: Understanding Meditation (principles, theoy, and aims); Attitudes for Meditation (preparatory measures such as opening the heart, accepting change, balancing the emotions, seeing through self-image, practicing patience, letting go of attachment, transcending the illusion of now); Approaches to Meditation (instructions on proper meditation posture, breath, mantra, mindfulness, relaxation, sensory awareness, dream work, employment of a mandala, visualization); Teaching and Enlightenment (finding a teacher, being a student, enlightenment).
Tibetan Meditation is brimful of practical advice. It combines clear and simple instructions with edifying stories and beautiful artwork and design. It is impossible not to be inspired by its straightforward but important message.
Copyright ©2006 by Georg Feuerstein. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in any form requires prior permission from Traditional Yoga Studies.