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Beginner's Guide to Tibetan Buddhism: practice, community, and progress on the path
A real-world guide to the seemingly other-worldly tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Millions outside of Asia become curious about Tibetan Buddhism through hearing and being touched by the words of the Dalai Lama, reading a book about Tibet, seeing images, or watching films.
Many who are curious about Buddhist ideas eventually find themselves reaching a point where they are exposed to aspects of Tibetan Buddhism but are unsure what participating in the tradition and its practices entails. In this warm, candid, and practical guide from a longtime practitioner, Bruce Newman offers guidance on the role of a teacher and finding one that is a good match; a clear explanation of what initiation means; how to approach practice in community; and a comprehensive outline of Tibetan Buddhist practices done both on and off the cushion. Special emphasis is placed on the potential pitfalls—and the marvelous benefits—of the guru-disciple relationship.
BRUCE NEWMAN has studied and practiced Tibetan Buddhism, mostly in the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions, for almost forty-five years. He spent eleven years in India and Nepal studying under his primary teacher, Venerable Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche. Mr. Newman also completed a four-year retreat at Kagyu Samye Ling in Scotland. For the past ten years, he has been practicing and teaching under the guidance of Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche in Ashland, Oregon.
As Tibetan Buddhism extends its reach in the West, many practitioners are making strong commitments to this path. The Vajrayana tradition still being new to our culture, however, there remains significant gaps in Western students' education and understanding. These can lead to practical difficulties for new or intermediate students. This book begins with the very awakening of students' interest in spirituality and their initial encounter with Tibetan Buddhism and then leads them through the steps necessary for successful practice in the West. A Beginner's Guide to Tibetan Buddhism speaks powerfully and directly to the Western student who is working to integrate this incredibly vast tradition into the realities of daily life. Drawing on his many years of practice and teaching, the author skillfully addresses obstacles, doubts, and confusions that every reader will recognize. Bruce Newman has been my close student for almost thirty years. I am confident that he will be able to share his insights with others and help them on the Buddhist Path.--Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist teacher and meditation master
Lama Bruce Newman, my old dharma friend, writes openly and honestly about his love for Buddhism and what the path of dharma has brought to his life as a Westerner. This book is an enjoyable, practical read that will inspire interested seekers and encourage them to bring out their best.--Sangye Khandro, Light of Berotsana Translation Group
Bruce your friendly Dharma Pal takes the beginner by the hand to walk through the intricacies of the path, making complex ideas and terminology plain and simple. A solid, down-to-earth book.--Erik Schmidt, Rangjung Yeshe Publications
This is a book that every new student of Tibetan Buddhism should read.--Thar Lam, author of The Path of Liberation
Bruce Newman, a longtime student of Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche, relays his own experiences with finding a teacher and establishing a practice front and center in A Beginner's Guide to Tibetan Buddhism: Notes from a Practitioner's Journey. Written by a Westerner for Westerners, this how-to overview contains everything from charts explaining the different schools and lineages of Tibetan Buddhism to explicit advice on discipline, guru devotion, and pitfalls like 'emotional enthrallment' (detailed in an absorbing chapter called 'Getting it Wrong').'-- Tricycle: The Buddhist Review