using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Winter 2006
buddhadharma| 69 |winter 2006 this life. Thinley Norbu calls them “the most pitiful of human beings.” The middle way is not a position between these two extremes, nor is it a third, neutral state. It goes entirely beyond them both. Such a view is “always based on the state of immeasurable stainless space,” while at the same time it “never denies phenomena.” The two extreme views are not just positions held by extremists; they are habitual tendencies within us, which also deceive the mind and lead it astray. For example, Thinley Norbu mentions the danger of falling into nihilism between meditation sessions, believing only in the evidence of the senses as we go about daily life. In commenting on the mandala offer- ing, in which one visualizes the cosmic mandala of Mount Meru surrounded by the four continents, he describes as nihil- ists those who reject Buddhist cosmology and “only believe in a small part of mate- rial existence.” He is horrified to learn that even some Buddhists harbor doubts (“this ... causes goose bumps”!). He states emphatically that in Buddhism “worlds that exist beyond the perception of beings with obscured karmic senses cannot be denied,” and that “being spiritual means believing in what is sacred and beyond the ordinary.” Indeed, he regards those who do not believe in any spiritual reality as animal-like, “not actually completely human.” Thinley Norbu does not appear to acknowledge that, for many people, belief in only one life actually gives life value and motivates them to make great contribu- tions to the welfare of others. But to him such considerations would be irrelevant, since these benefits remain solely within the material realm, which is always decep- tive. His strength of feeling is clear in his lengthy and fascinating discussion of the limitations of materialism, contrasted with the richness and immense positive benefits of belief. His argument is accompanied by wonderfully lyrical descriptions of the Buddhist view of the universe, based on the continual appearance and disappear- ance of phenomena within space. He does not reject the scientific view but puts it firmly in its place, as relative and tempo- rary, while the explanations found in Bud- dhist cosmology are “maps of the basis of mind, drawn by mind.” In absolute truth there is no contradiction between them and science “because phenomena are the unending circling of wisdom.” Thinley Norbu does not make any con- cessions to Western expectations or sen- sibilities; his presentation is thoroughly traditional, and he does not hesitate to express strong opinions or to make his points at great length. The commentary is well named, for plunged into this cas- cade of undiluted pure nectar the reader may occasionally feel shocked, yet also refreshed, by such an uncompromising approach. The second commentary, called The Light Rays of the Youthful Sun, is on a prayer composed by Dudjom Rinpoche. This beautiful short text, seemingly simple and easy to understand, is rich in allu- sions, which Thinley Norbu explains at length and illuminates with many quota- tions from the great masters of the past. At the same time, he takes the opportunity to clarify several of the more contentious aspects of tantra, which people may find disturbing, such as eating meat, drinking alcohol, the practice of union with a con- sort, and the seemingly violent appearance and actions of wrathful deities. Finally, I will take issue with the author on one small matter. He mentions the dif- ficulty of expressing profound dharma teachings in correct or proper English and says that he has made some new words for this purpose. I am not sure what he means by this, as I have not noticed any particularly unusual translations, nor can I find anything incorrect or improper. English is an extremely flexible language, and in my opinion, he uses it most skill- fully. He is a genuine master who is also a poet and an inspired communicator of dharma. This commentary is upadesha, which means “pith instructions from the guru” – the kind of instructions that go directly to the heart of the matter, con- tinually pointing out to us the true nature of our mind and the ever-present reality of the awakened state. By his use of lan- guage, he constantly expresses his thought in such a way that the conceptual mind is circumvented. If one relaxes into the flow of the words, after a while it seems to carry the mind into a realm of spa- ciousness and clarity, where theories and conceptualization dissolve in the “immea- surable stainless sky” and one catches a glimpse of the inconceivable splendor of truth. May countless beings be blessed by reading this book. Membership in the Buddhist Peace Fellowship includes subscription to Turning Wheel PO Box 3470, Berkeley, CA 94703 Ph: 510/655-6169 • Fax: 510/655-1369 • www.bpf.org TURNING WHEEL The Journal of Socially Engaged Buddhism The award- winning mag- azine of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship is looking for essays on socially engaged Buddhism by emerging writ- ers. Turning Wheel is a quarterly that publishes nonfiction, art, and poetry.Deadline for Spring 2007 issue: March 5, 2007. Visit website for submission guidelines and themes www.bpf.org. Submit to Turning Wheel