Synopses & Reviews
"Do not wish for gratitude.
Never strike at the heart.
Now if you die, you will have no regrets."
- The Seven-Point Thought Transformation
Like wise old friends, two Tibetan masters offer down-to-earth advice for cultivating compassion, wisdom, and happiness in every situation. Based on practical Buddhist verses on "thought training" (lojong), Advice from a Spiritual Friend teaches how to develop the inner skills that lead to contentment by responding to everyday difficulties with patience and joy.
Following Stephen Batchelor's introduction to the Kadamapa tradition that gave rise to these earthy, pithy instructions, Part One is a commentary by Geshe Dhargyey to Atisha's (982-1054) Jewel Rosary of a Bodhisattva. Part Two includes a commentary by Geshe Rabten to the famous Seven-Point Thought Transformation.
First published in 1977, Advice from a Spiritual Friend is a Wisdom classic that has enriched readers in many editions over the years. As Batchelor says in his introduction, "These teachings are as applicable today as they were when Atisha first introduced them to Tibet."
"It is not necessary to be interested in Buddhism to derive the benefits of these texts. Any reader will appreciate and perhaps benefit from this very wise advice on how to develop the skills that lead to happiness and contentment... appropriate for all types of people from all walks of life."
"Reading this book is akin to taking a personal retreat with two kindly and wise teachers. The instructions for realizing compassion in everyday life are readable and clear, and offer enhanced spiritual skills to readers of any background and orientation."
"... commentary is clear, comprehensible, and immensely helpful... a nice, well-arranged book... unconditionally recommended for all students of mind training."
Like wise old friends, two Tibetan masters offers down-to-earth advice for cultivating compassion, wisdom, and happiness in every situation.
Like wise old friends, two Tibetan masters offer down-to-earth advice for cultivating compassion, wisdom, and happiness in every situation. Based on practical Buddhist verses on "thought training" Advice from a Spiritual Friend teaches how to develop the inner skills that lead to contentment by responding to everyday difficulties with patience and joy.
About the Author
Geshe Rabten (1921-86) was born in Dargye in eastern Tibet. He studied at Sera Monastery in Lhasa, where he gained renown as a great scholar, debater, and meditation master. In 1959, he escaped to India, where he became the spiritual teacher of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. In the mid 1960s Geshe Rabten was appointed as a religious assistant to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. On His Holiness's request he began teaching Dharma to Westerners in Dharamsala in 1969, and he went to live and teach in Switzerland in 1974. He founded Rabten Choeling Center (originally Tharpa Choeling) in Switzerland in 1979, where he lived and worked as spiritual director until he passed away in 1986.
Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey taught Western students at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala. He moved to New Zealand in the early 1980s, where he lived until his death in 1995.
Stephen Batchelor has studied in Buddhist monasteries in India, Switzerland, and Korea. An accomplished writer and photographer, he has translated, written, and contributed to many books about Buddhism including Buddhism Without Beliefs, Verses from the Center, and The Tibet Guide. He lives in the South of France.
Brian Beresford (1948-97) was a photographer, translator, and editor. Beresford translated and edited several Tibetan Buddhist texts, including the first Wisdom title ever published, Advice from a Spiritual Friend. His photographs of Tibetan lamas and scenes of Tibetan culture have been published worldwide. He was also one of the first Westerners to travel into the remote areas of western Tibet, which he visited between 1986 and 1993. Between 1973 and 1979 he lived in Dharamsala and studied at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. He took pictures of, studied with, and translated for Geshe Rabten, Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey, Lama Yeshe, and Lama Zopa, among other Tibetan masters. In the 1980s Beresford made his home in England, where in 1985 he helped found the Meridian Trust. At the end of his life, Brian was a student of the Dzogchen master Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche and a leading figure in the Dzogchen community.
Table of Contents
Advice from a Spiritual Friend
Introduction by Stephen Batchelor
Part One: The Jewel Rosary of a Bodhisattva
The Root Text
The Commentary by Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey
Part Two: The Seven-Point Thought Transformation
The Root Text
The Commentary by Geshe Rabten
- The Preliminary Practices
- The Main Practice
- Changing Adverse Circumstances into the Path
- Elucidating a Lifetime's Practice
- The Measure of Having Transformed One's Thoughts
- The Commitments of Thought Transformation
- The Instructions on Thought Transformation
Appendix: Thought Transformation in Eight Stanzas
Editor's Acknowledgments in the First Edition