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Tibetan Meditation    by Tarthang Tulku order for
Tibetan Meditation
by Tarthang Tulku
Order:  USA  Can
Duncan Baird, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Lama Tarthang Tulku, who has lived and taught in the West for several decades, introduces meditation in clear language - 'We need simply to relax, allow our breathing to become calm, and watch our experience mindfully, without judgment. In this way we learn to foster lightness, joy, and compassion instead of resistance and disappointment.'

Tibetan Meditation is illustrated in rich, harmonious watercolors that encourage contemplation. Its author offers many stories (with interpretations) and both physical and mental exercises to develop awareness and practice meditation techniques. In the introductory chapter, Tarthang Tulku explains samsara (daily existence), introduces the Dharma (the teachings of Buddhism) and shunyata, whose simplistic translation is a state of emptiness. Next comes 'creating the right mindset'. The author emphasizes the importance of regularity in meditation, speaks of the ingrained habit of protecting our egos and self-images, the contagion of emotion (especially of negativity), of awakening compassion, and balancing the emotions. His explanation of 'Transcending the Illusion of Now' is one of the most lucid I've read.

After that comes 'energizing body, breath & mind' with explanation of core practices. The author explains the interrelationships between body pattern, breath, and subtle body energy, and their interconnections with the four body centers - head, throat, heart and navel. Breathing and mantras are discussed. Exercises are suggested for these as well as for developing mindfulness, attuning to our dreams, finding 'the space between thoughts', visualization, and using a mandala. The author ends with advice on sustaining meditation practice. This beautiful book is one of the most accessible available on the subject. Whether you are already a practitioner, or are ready to get started, there is much to be learned from reading - and re-reading - Tibetan Meditation.

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