Biographies.

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Biographies.

Postby Jikan » Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:27 am

I like biographies that give the life history of siddhas. Even better when written by the siddha in question, in the form of a diary or some cognate. Example: I have in my possession a photocopy of Edwin O. Reischauer's translation of _Ennin's Diary_ (shame the thing's out of print). It's fantastic reading. Ennin (Jikaku Daishi) is a great master whose significance is not always appreciated in the world of English-speaking Buddhism, but I digress. I think these narratives are of great value to the practitioner as they motivate & inspire, they suggest ways in which it can be done, throw sparks, and so on.

I propose this thread as a space in which to discuss good reads, particularly biographies of masters we admire. I put it in the free-for-all as an open invitation (for those who may wish to do so) to take a critical stance on these documents and their historical veracity or value to the practitioner.

What are some biographies you like? Which ones have helped you? Which ones have been recommended to you?
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Re: Biographies.

Postby kirtu » Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:31 am

Jikan wrote:I like biographies that give the life history of siddhas. ....
What are some biographies you like? Which ones have helped you? Which ones have been recommended to you?


Me too. I tend to like all the biographies of highly accomplished Buddhist masters.

My favorites are Xu Yun's bio (I read this twice as a Zen student, both times at a friend's apartment in Manhattan), Chagdud Tulku's ""Lord of the Dance" (which the same friend gave me because he "couldn't find any Dharma in it!"), the "The Hidden Life of the Sixth Dalai Lama", by Ngawang Lhundrup Dargyé, and am currently taking some time through "All Pervading Melodious Sound of Thunder: The Outer Liberation Story of Terton Migyur Dorje" by Karma Chagme.

I pretty much tend to read all spiritual biographies as namthars and they are always helpful.

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: Biographies.

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:09 am

Image

http://www.amazon.com/I-Give-You-My-Life/dp/1570625719

Image

http://www.amazon.com/Journey-Mindfulne ... 0861713478

I like biographies too. The above two are great. There is also talk of some of the problems and difficulties for monastics, which is good for anyone considering such a Path to see the realities involved.
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Re: Biographies.

Postby Mr. G » Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:32 pm

Rainbow Body: The Life and Realization of Togden Ugyan Tendzin
No Abode: The Record of Ippen
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Biographies.

Postby Knotty Veneer » Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:38 pm

The life of Shabkar - trans by Matthieu Ricard
Women of Wisdom by Tsultrim Allione
Brilliant Moon by Dilgo Khyentse
The Dance of 17 Lives by Mick Brown - about the recognition of the 17th Karmapa - not really a biography I suppose but a good read
Crooked Cucumber: The life and Zen teachings of Shinryu Suzuki by David Chadwick
The Wheel of Life: The Autobiography of a Western Buddhist by John Blofield - not sure how much of this one is actually true but a good read
Cave in the Snow by Vicki MacKenzie - about Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo
You cannot polish a turd - however a pleasing effect can be attained by rolling one in glitter.
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Re: Biographies.

Postby deff » Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:08 pm

i just read 'The Autobiography of Jamgon Kongtrul: A Gem of Many Colors' and thoroughly enjoyed it

on the way in the mail is 'Masters of Meditation and Miracles: Lives of the Great Buddhist Masters of India and Tibet' - which consists of 35 biographies of masters of the Longchen Nyingthig cycle - which i'm excited to read.
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Re: Biographies.

Postby kirtu » Sun Jul 22, 2012 9:34 pm

"Gem of Many Colors" has several quite sobering moments. Jamgon Kongtrul had many obstacles after about 35-40 years of age.

Also Tulku Orgyen's memiors, really a set of vinyetts of his aunts and uncles, is also quite sobbering, esp. wrt his Uncle Samten - s great hidden siddha, he nonetheless had a very difficult death.

"LIfe of Shabkar" this is a must have for many reasons not the least of which is Ricard's volumnious overview of Dharma and the historical context in his notes. Ricard says that only the first half of the biography has been translated so far - does he have plans to finish the second half?

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Biographies.

Postby Stewart » Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:18 pm

deff wrote:i just read 'The Autobiography of Jamgon Kongtrul: A Gem of Many Colors' and thoroughly enjoyed it

on the way in the mail is 'Masters of Meditation and Miracles: Lives of the Great Buddhist Masters of India and Tibet' - which consists of 35 biographies of masters of the Longchen Nyingthig cycle - which i'm excited to read.


It is amazing, one of my favourites of all time...also 'wellsprings of the great perfection' and 'marvelous garland of rare gems' by Nyoshul Khenpo.

Blazing splendor is fantastic too.
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Re: Biographies.

Postby waimengwan » Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:48 pm

I enjoyed the Mahasiddha and the Idiot Servant about Chogyam Trungpa
Serkong Dorjechang - http://blog.tsemtulku.com/tsem-tulku-ri ... chang.html
&
Pabongka Rinpoche -http://blog.tsemtulku.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/h-h-kyabje-pabongka-rinpoche-1878%E2%80%931941.html
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