The Foundation of Buddhist Practice

The Library of Wisdom and Compassion | Volume 2

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His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been teaching Buddhism for nearly seventy years. This series collects his wisdom of each step of the path to awakening, compiled and coauthored by one of his long-standing Western disciples, the American nun Thubten Chodron.

Traditional presentations of the path in Tibetan Buddhism assume the audience already has faith in the Buddha and believes in rebirth and karma. The Dalai Lama realized early on that a different approach was needed for his non-Tibetan students. Starting from the universal human wish for happiness and the dynamic nature of the mind, the Dalai Lama here provides a framework for the modern reader to explore this rich tradition.

This second volume begins with the four seals that determine a philosophy as a Buddhist and continues with an explanation of reliable cognition so that we will have the tools to evaluate the veracity of the Buddha’s teachings. Multiple chapters discussing the relationship of a spiritual mentor and student clarify misunderstandings and confusion about this topic and show how to properly rely on a spiritual mentor in a healthy, appropriate, and beneficial manner. Chapters on dying and rebirth unpack the often difficult-to-understand topic of multiple lives and explain how to prepare for death and to aid someone who is dying. This leads into a fascinating and fruitful explanation of karma and its results.

The book is written in easy-to-understand language and contains reflections that help the reader apply the Buddha’s wisdom to their own lives.

The story behind the book

"Foundation of Buddhist Practice" Introduction 05-12-18

Venerable Thubten Chodron reads an excerpt

"Foundation of Buddhist Practice" Reading 05-12-18


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The Dalai Lama has a new series that introduces traditional Buddhist practices in a manner specifically designed for new, serious Westerners. These books are very clearly written (with the excellent teacher/writer Ven. Thubten Chodron) and beautifully edited; they explain each topic with meticulous care.
—Guy Newland, author of “A Buddhist Grief Observed”

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…about Volume 2: The Foundation of Buddhist Practice.