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Mind Over Matter

Reflections on Buddhism in the West

Foreword Review — Mar / Apr 2002

Educated at the Tarthang monastery, the author expected to spend his life in Tibet amongst his family and fellow practitioners. Like many of his generation, he was part of the Tibetan diaspora when the Chinese invaded their homeland forty years ago. His faith in Padmasambhava’s teachings, which accurately predicted the catastrophic events in Tibet, has allowed him to carry out his life’s work.

After almost thirty years of living, working, and teaching Buddhist practice in this country, Tulku wants to encourage his students as well as other followers to “identify topics important to the future of the Dharma and encourage them to look more closely at attitudes and patterns that tend to cloud their understanding. I wished also to point out the value of the work they are doing and emphasize how effectively this work can lay the foundation for a genuine transmission of Buddhist teachings.”

This book gives voice to the author’s observations and concerns over the way in which Buddhism has entered the west, specifically America. He is genuinely grateful to be in America and compares his experience to that of other immigrants in the last two centuries. Believing that “the welcoming openness of this land evokes the blessings of Padmasambhava,” and that such openness has allowed his work to continue, Tulku still has reservations about American attitudes toward the teachings of his faith. Americans tend to take an intellectual, questioning approach, while the traditional Tibetan approach suspends rationality.

The essays included in Mind Over Matter were originally prepared for the Annals of the Tibetan Nyingma Meditation Center and were meant as an ongoing history and archive of the organization. As such, they may be too esoteric or academic for the lay reader. The bibliography following the book’s index offers further readings, translations of the traditional texts, and Tulku’s selected works.