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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 11:51 pm 
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Does anyone know if there are any websites or books which explain the meaning of the most common Tibetan Buddhist rituals and ritual implements?

For example, I have spent so much time sitting through rituals which I had little idea about the meaning of. I'm talking about basic things like "What's the real meaning of a torma?" "What's the purpose of blowing the conch shell?" etc.

Most books and websites are just about philosophy or meditation and don't explain any of these basic temple things. It would be nice to have all this stuff explained in one place.


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 12:22 pm 
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I don't think there is anything that explains everything. However, a really good book for the explanation of implements and so on is Robert Beer: The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs . A somewhat cheaper version of the text (with fewer pictures, but still a lot) is to be found in Robert Beer: The Handbook of Tibetan Buddhist Symbols.


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 6:45 pm 
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TsultimNamdak wrote:
I don't think there is anything that explains everything. However, a really good book for the explanation of implements and so on is Robert Beer: The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs . A somewhat cheaper version of the text (with fewer pictures, but still a lot) is to be found in Robert Beer: The Handbook of Tibetan Buddhist Symbols.
Seconded. But, Luke, just ask people after puja.

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Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 7:53 pm 
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Khandro.net is a good, accurate website that will provide answers to many of your questions, at least from a Kagyu perspective. I still find it a little difficult to navigate, but it's worth the effort:
http://www.khandro.net/symbolism_ritual_toc.htm

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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 8:45 am 
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Take a look at Stephan Beyer's Cult of Tara http://www.wisdom-books.com/ProductDetail.asp?PID=326.

A very helpful book, strangely underrated.

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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 9:14 am 
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udawa wrote:
Take a look at Stephan Beyer's Cult of Tara http://www.wisdom-books.com/ProductDetail.asp?PID=326.

A very helpful book, strangely underrated.


Agree. Possibly the "underrating" comes from the word "cult", which Beyer uses in what we might call its proper sense — "A particular form or system of religious worship; esp. in reference to its external rites and ceremonies" according to the OED. People may mistake it for the modern usage beloved of the less thoughtful end of the media, along the lines of "OMG it's a cult I hope my daughter doesn't get mixed up in its evil ways aarrrghh".

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