Book Review

The Door of Liberation. Collected and edited under the supervision of the Geshe Wangyal. New York: Maurice Girodias, 321 pages, $6.95.

Since its initial introduction to the West, the Tibetan forms of Buddhism have for the most part, been misrepresented and misunderstood by people who have interests of their own to serve. Tibetan Buddhism has long been regarded as some sort of mysterious and occult secret doctrine, incomprehensible without secret initiation and esoteric transmissions. It is, therefore, with a feeling of relief that we now greet a book such as The Door of Liberation, written, or in this case, translated, by native Tibetans well versed in their own traditions. We find that Tibetan practices are, in fact, based upon the traditional Mahayana doctrines, and as Geshe Wangyal states in his Preface, "All happiness in the world comes from virtuous activities, and all misery from wrongdoing. From the Teaching of Buddha one can learn to discern what activities are to be taken up and what activities are to be abandoned, in order to achieve happiness and avoid suffering."

The translations themselves are quite readable, and are of diverse kinds, including some excerpts from sutras and a section of miscellaneous sayings of various sages. The latter half of the book consists of translations of several works by Tsong-kha-pa dealing with dependant origination, meditational instructions, and summaries of the teachings of Buddhism. It is refreshing to read translations of traditional material directed toward the daily use of adepts, rather than a proliferation of footnotes and scholastic references.

An illustration from the collection of instructions by various Masters offers a better example than editorial comment: "If we do not give up the desires of this life now, we will come under the influence of attachment again in future lifetimes. To give up the desires of this life, the most potent countermeasure is continual meditation on impermanence. If you do not meditate on impermanence in the early morning, by midday you will have many desires. --Yer-bay-shang-tsun."

                                --Bhiksu Heng Show

Lin Yutang's Chinese-English Dictionary of Modern Usage. Dr. Lin Yutang. The Chinese University of Hong Kong, distributed by McGraw Hill. 1720 pages, $39.95.

The publication of a new comprehensive Chinese-English dictionary is certainly worth noting by all those engaged in the translator of Chinese texts into English.