Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Review column

the "comments" links shows reviews from readers

14 comments:

Poul Albret, Denmark said...

Dear Marcia and Erik
I have just finished Blazing Splendor and it has been extremely interesting and moving experience. Interesting because the book is filled with information about the practices we are taught and the environment-, family- and dharma-background of our living teachers. And moving because of all these incredible stories about the masters of the recent past - and their efforts (some of us have a really long way to go). There is a lot of really strange things going on in the book, but to me it was "the ordinary" feats that made the biggest impression. Like Jokyab's patience for receiving teachings on Lamrim Yeshe Nyingpo or Tulku Urgyen's pain striking honesty in the stories about his hardheadedness with the Karmapa.
Much more could be said. But I really just wanted say thank you so much for your perseverance in making this stories available.
All the very best
Poul

Anonymous said...

When I got a copy of "Blazing Splendor" at work in the middle of last week I could not just rest it till I get home to start reading, for 1st time I broke self imposed rule "not to read at work" and was half way through the book when I actually got it home.

Anonymous said...

What a great idea to stimulate enjoyment and understanding of the book!
Having heard a few of these stories told by Rinpoche himself, it is very nice to be reminded of him. I can hear his voice recounting some of these stories. However, I also recall that the stories were often told to illustrate a point, and that is one aspect that is not included in
the book (that is, the stories are not linked to the teaching material
that stimulated telling the story). Of course, that would not be included here, as the stories have been extracted from a lot of material (including teachings, I presume), and in order to preserve the direct telling character of the book.
The book is invaluable as a record about the masters in the lineage, and others.
Thanks so much for the intense, pain-staking, hard work that went into making this book.

michael said...

I am sure Erik will comment on your remark, but I am in a chatty mood this morning.

Yes it was Rinpoche's style to illustrate teachings with stories, and several of those included in Blazing Splendor were extracted. However, the bulk of the book was taken from approximately 50 cassette tapes which Tulku Urgyen dictated specifically for these memoirs. Hence over the years he retold many stories that students of his might be familiar with, but the beauty is that in most cases these stories were put into the context of the lives of the characters and the world in which they lived.

Another important, and to me fascinating point, was Tulku Urgyen's wish that his memoirs be "a devotional summary of the lives of the masters" which he hoped would inspire others by their examples. From the emails and response so far, i am happy to report that it would appear that Rinpoche's intention is being fulfilled.

magnus said...

This is the most amazing book I have read on Tibetan Buddhism in a very long time. It is a profound teaching, but is also very easy to read. It contains the splendid view and life of Tulku Urgyen. This Dzogchen master tells stories about masters and teachings that he met and heard about during his life in Tibet and in exile. If you know very little about Tibetan Buddhism then you, as the translator says in the preface, "don't get lost in the details of time and place; just experience the spiritual ambience." And what an ambience it is! The story of the master in the hollow tree and the one about the Karmapa's horse are two that you are not likely to forget. My girlfriend found it a very moving and special book too even though she isn't a Buddhist. For people like me that are practicing in the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism this book is a treasure. It makes your devotion to these masters grow and your resolve to practice these teaching stronger and deeper. I would even go so far as to say that if you are a Tibetan Buddhist it would be a great loss not to read this book. Let yourself be amazed.

K. Smith (Sweden) said...

This must have been a very special person indeed. Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche plays down his abilities and his reputation in the style of the "hidden yogi", but through the lines of this book shines a person full of a compassion and a devotion we ordinary beings can only dream of.

These are his memoirs, but it is also the story of the fall of Tibet and the survival of Tibetan Buddhism. Through this master and a few others like him, the link is tangible to the lost land of caveyogis and concealed treasures. The memories he recounts are full of what to us westerners seems like mystery and magic but also of perseverance and dedication. And although mystery and magic may be lost on us, the latter two are for anyone who wishes. As is said in the book about a nun: "She had nothing more than the bare essentials and a darn fine practice!".

I do recommend this book. Buddhist or not: read it with an open mind and find a world that seems so much richer than our abundant times of SUV's and reality shows.

Sally said...

Dear Erik,
I am thrilled that I got a glimpse of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche's life through you and Marcia. Rinpoche's stories are so precious and so vivid. Mostly I am in awe of the meaning of the word 'lineage'. I feel that I never knew what it meant before. I am so grateful to you and all your helpers in compiling such a wonderful book. It was hard to come to the last page, so I read every footnote (again) and every glossary meaning, just so it wouldn't end. Now I will just have to pick it up and start at the beginning. No hardship, at all. Many, many thanks for enriching my understanding of both The Dharma and The Sangha,
Sally Warren

Joseph Feinstein said...

Blazing Splendor is a wonderful gift to the world. It is already one of my favorite dharma books, and is one of the best books of any kind I have read. Even though it doesn't appear to be a book of teachings, it is rich with wisdom, compassion, and good advice. The stories, characterizations, and imagery all contain wonderful teachings. I think I have learned more about Tibetan Buddhism from this book than I have from reading many erudite dharma books. Thank you for giving us this book. I hope other books of this caliber come forth soon.

Anonymous said...

Just got my first chance to look at this book, previously "plugged" by the translator, Erik Pema Kunzang, here on this [email] list.....and I must say, I read a few pages in the bookstore on my lunch hour, and the hair on my arms stood up and tears welled up in my eyes.

I am going to get my own copy, and I strongly recommend it to everyone here. Tulku Orgyen is a prime example of the mind of a Buddha, and reading his memoirs is like a blessing......his sense of humor, genuine humility, and matter-of-fact presentation, as well as his obvious devotion to all his masters, is just so inspiring!

Also, there are some pictures in there that I have never seen before, that are truly priceless.

Thank you, Erik and all at Rangjung Yeshe, for your work.

ktt said...

Thank you so much Erik and Marcia.
I haven't finished Blazing Splendor yet, but already it has touched me in a profound way....
I have yet to read a Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche book that hasn't.
Blazing Splendor is a devotion builder for sure.

Pema Wangmo said...

Thank you for a read that inspires dedication to practice.Tulku Urgyen's "pointing out instruction" via a story about Samten Gyatso connected me so unexpectedly with the state of unimpeded awareness and open heart love that my resolve to attain stability through practice was ignited.

kunga said...

In the 50s, Evans Wents's 'Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrine' opened our eyes. In the 60s , we are spellbounded by Alexander David Neal's 'Magic and Mystery of Tibet'. in the 70s we are charmed by Lama Govinda's 'The Way of the White Clouds'. Trungpa Rinpoche's 'Parting from Spiritual Materialism' subduced us in the 80s. In 90s we are moved by Sogyal Rinpoche's 'Tibetan Book of Living and Dying'. In this decade, this is it ! This is definately the Dharma Book of the Decade !

Hawk said...

I am new to this blog and blogging in general. In advance forgive my wordiness. I have been a faithful student of Both Chokyi Nyima and Chokling Rinpoche for 9 years now. My practice is Trinley Nyingpo and faking the nature of mind. I've done the best that I can in the Dharma wilderness of America connected to the Lineage more through dirt and rivers of Gomde than actual enlightened beings. I practice because Samsara sucks, but with no real history behind what I was doing. Who was Tsewang Norbu? Who was Samtem Gyatso? Where is this Fortess Peak? These seemingly mundane questions have burned inside of me for years with only tidbits from Graham and Erik K to keep me going. Now the circle is complete, the lineage has been layed out for us westerners and I have no doubt I have fallen in with good company. You older students all know these stories and links from long ago so I dedicate the zeal and freshness of having heard these for the first time to you. I especially want to send much love to Erik and Marcia for bringing this to us.
Last night 8-16-08 I finished the last pages of the book around 10:30pm. As I closed the book, deep veneration for Tulku Urgyen stirred in my heart and at that moment I shit you not, my bed started shaking and the windows started rattling, the whole house started to shimmy. I thought to myself "Rinpoche is the pimpest" then I snapped to and remembered I live in Norcal and I'd better snatch up my two Cherubs and vacate pronto. You can verify it at USGS.GOV(4.8 quake seven miles off Humboldt coast) and it doesn't mean anything but if it happened to you in the moment like it happened to me you'd think it was way cool too. Peace Vajra brothers and sisters. Long live the New treasures.

Sun said...

Dear Erik and Marcia,

My sincerest gratitude for all your efforts and devotion in translating and making available all the teachings in English. Reading Rainbow Painting and Blazing Splendor give me the confidence that enlightement in one lifetime is truly possible! I am presently assisting a Venerable (of another tradition) to write a short book on Enlightenment and I would very much appreciate if I could get in touch with you in respect of some parts of Blazing Splendor.