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Buddhadharma : Winter 2005
winter 2005| 78 |buddhadharma this fascinating figure and his contempo- raries. There are many intriguing teasers inter- spersed in this section of Tibetan Treasure Literature. For example, Doctor offers a paragraph on how Chokgyur Lingpa viewed the values of the Rimé movement and the role of terma within it, which is discussed at length in his autobiogra- phy. It is unfortunate that Doctor did not elaborate on this topic, which warrants more attention and would have made a valuable chapter of its own. We also learn that in mid-career – after receiving assis- tance and recognition from Kongtrul and Khyentse – Chokgyur Lingpa’s treasure discoveries shifted from being secret to public in nature. This shift is significant, yet Doctor mentions it only in passing. It shows that in Chokgyur Lingpa’s case public recognition for his revelations came only after he was sanctioned as a genuine tertön by established religious figures. Part 3 of Tibetan Treasure Literature contains translations of two texts from Chokgyur Lingpa’s collection of treasure teachings concerning the tantric deity Vajrakilaya. The first is a liturgy, con- sidered to be terma, and the second is a commentary on it written by a disciple of Chokgyur Lingpa. In introducing these texts, Doctor describes how the root text of a treasure cycle is often expanded in the form of commentaries and ritual elabo- rations by later disciples or incarnations. These supplementary texts are sometimes amalgamated into the original treasure cycle, so that the collection of a particular tertön continues to grow over time. The translations will likely only be of interest to those already familiar with the deity Vajrakilaya. The novice reader will be totally unprepared to grapple with the charnel ground imagery or the meaning of wrathful activity in tantra. Doctor pro- vides a scant five pages to introduce the translations, so readers will need to fall back on prior knowledge to make sense of them. The latter of the two texts provides some general instructions on kyerim, or “generation stage,” which may be of interest to those engaged in visualization practice. Doctor covers a lot of terrain in Tibetan Treasure Literature, and the breadth of his research is impressive. By presenting distinct topics in each of the book’s three main parts, however, he fails to treat any one of them to the extent that each subject warrants. Doctor has left much out that could have enriched this book. For example, his chapter on Chokgyur Lingpa’s terma says little about the pro- cess of treasure revelation and its con- nection to the sacred landscape. Is this due to Doctor’s own discomfort (or the discomfort he anticipates in his audience) with the miraculous accounts associated with earth treasures? By emphasizing the abstract features of terma – whether its ahistorical origins or the category of mind treasures – Doctor misses out on the important ways that terma is tied to particular places and times. Treasure sites occupy a landscape richly layered in meaning, including the matrix of local deities that inhabit it, and past-life gene- alogies of individual tertöns link them to the past as disciples and incarnations of great masters. By abstracting terma from its local context and the more fantastic elements of its revelation, we risk effacing what is distinctive (and distinctively Tibetan) in visionary Buddhism. If, instead, we explore its idiosyncratic contours further, what treasures might we find? Main House at Zen Mountain Monastery in upstate New York “Home of the Eight Gates Training Matrix” Abbot: John Daido Loori, Roshi Fire Lotus City Temple – Zen Center of New York City “Because the fire burns, the lotus blooms.” Resident Teacher: Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei Dharma Communications “Support for your spiritual practice.” Media support for spiritual practice at home Society of Mountains and Rivers “World-wide spiritual community.” Network of affiliate groups from New Jersey to New Zealand National Buddhist Prison Sangha “Finding the freedom within.” Director: Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei Zen Environmental Studies Institute “On behalf of wilderness.” Retreat sites in the Catskills and Adirondack Mountains For information, contact us at: Zen Mountain Monastery P.O. Box 197SS · Mt.Tremper, NY 12457 (845) 688-2228 · firstname.lastname@example.org See our award-winning web site at www.mro.org for a comprehensive overview of the MRO. Mountains and Rivers Order of Zen Buddhism Nichiren Shu Namu Myoho Renge Kyo www.nichiren-shu.org Resources for Study & Practice for Groups and Individuals • Library Facility • Reference Materials and Study Guides in Japanese and English NBIC Nichiren Buddhist International Center 29490 Mission Blvd • Hayward, CA 94544 510-690-1222 email: NBIC@nichiren-shu.org North America 323-262-7886 Hawaii 808-595 -3517 London 44-20-8349-1433