This thangka painting represents Mahasiddha Naropa, a patriarch of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. "In the hands of Naropa, the ram's horn symbolizes chasing away ignorance, egotism, and materialism. . . . Along with this, Naropa is trumpeting the praises of the guru."
This thangka painting represents Mahasiddha Naropa, a patriarch of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. “In the hands of Naropa, the ram’s horn symbolizes chasing away ignorance, egotism, and materialism. . . . Along with this, Naropa is trumpeting the praises of the guru.”

Buddhist Symbolism in Tibetan Thangkas
The Story of Siddhartha and Other Buddhas Interpreted in Modern Nepalese Painting
by Ben Meulenbeld
Weiser Books: Maine, 2001
112 pp.; $19.95 (paper)

This book is an introduction to the art of the Tibetan scroll painting, or thangka—literally, “something that can be rolled up.” The author comments on thirty-seven thangkas, reproduced here in full color, which take us through the life of the Buddha.

He also explains how to understand the symbolism that identifies the many figures of veneration of the Vajrayana tradition—from Padmasambhava and Naropa, through various dakinis and yoginis, to the Kalachakra Mandala.

Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness:
Walking the Buddha’s Path
by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
Wisdom Publications: Boston, 2001
268 pp.; $16.95 (paper)

Bhante Gunaratana’s earlier book Mindfulness in Plain English was first published in 1993; even though a spate of books for beginners has glutted the market since that time, it has retained its status for being among the very best. His new book on the Buddha’s Eightfold Path is the much-awaited sequel and serves the reader just as well. Bhante Gunaratana’s forte is his presentation of clear, intelligent insight into the most basic teaching in a voice that is well acquainted with the West. The instructions, honed for contemporary Western ways, make this book another exceptional example of how profound a simple and accessible book can be.

book002rightUltimate Journey:
Retracing the Path of an Ancient Buddhist Monk Who Crossed Asia in Search of Enlightenment
by Richard Bernstein
Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 2001
352 pp.; $26 (cloth)

Liberate this article!

This article is available to subscribers only. Subscribe now for immediate access to the magazine plus video teachings, films, e-books, and more.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Log in.