Lam rim chen mo (roughly, "the great book on stages of the path (to enlightenment") is the abbreviated title of a massive encyclopedic manual written by Tson-kha-pa, the founder of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Calming the Mind and Discerning the Real marks the first appearance in English of the two most important segments of this work.
As translator Alex Wayman notes, "From the beginning of Buddhist literature we find the terms 'calming' and 'discerning' paired, as natures to be cultivated." However, over centuries of religious teaching, the precise connotations of these terms became diffuse, and "calming" and "discerning" came to stand, at different times, for natures to be cultivated in their own right and for categories covering various steps towards spiritual goals. In 1402 Tson-kha-pa completed Lam rim chen mo, the latter portions of which, here translated, reconciled what had long been in philosophical dispute.
Calming the Mind and Discerning the Real constitutes Tson-kha-pa's reform of Tibetan non-tantric Buddhist meditation and its philosophical position. The initial section, Calming the Mind, is a treatise on meditation, following the Buddhist teachings of Asanga. Discerning the Real deals with philosophy, and exhibits the influence of the Buddhist scholar Nagarjuna and his successors. Both sections cover matters that are still controversial in Tibet, and remain of prevalent interest to modern scholars.
About the Author:
Wayman has utilized the original Sanskrit texts for Tson-pa's citations as well as the Tibetan text. He has included a biography of the author, several clarifying essays for the necessary background, and a helpful glossary of terms.
Drawing on both Sanskrit and Tibetan text, Alex Wayman has published twelve books and 150 articles on tantric and non-tantric Buddhism. Since 1991 he has been Professor Emeritus for Sanskrit, Columbia University.
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