Nestled amid the high peaks and eternal snows of the Himalayas
and other mountain ranges, Tibet is home to a centuries-old
Buddhist tradition, rich in mystic rites and rituals aimed at
helping adherents achieve spiritual bliss. In this fascinating
volume, a noted authority delves into the nature and sources of
Tibetan mysticism, providing readers with a wealth of information
regarding Lamaic rites of initiation and the teachings given to
initiates, both during and after the initiation ceremonies.
The author first defines Tibetan mysticism and examines the role
of the spiritual guide and the choice of a master. This is
followed by a discussion of the nature of the esoteric doctrines
and traditional oral instruction. Madame David-Neel then recounts
in detail the various kinds of initiations and their aims,
including initiations with and without “activity,” the “Mani”
initiation, and the different meanings of Aum mani padme hum!
Also covered are the magic rites known as dubthabs, the
“gymnastics” of respiration, daily spiritual exercises, the
contemplation of sun and sky, the dalai lamas, different kinds of
morality, and many other topics.
Alexandra David-Neel was a historian of religion and a resident
of Tibet for 14 years. As a practicing Buddhist, she participated
in many of the spiritual rites and practices described in this
book, which gives her account a special immediacy and
authenticity. Lucid, objective, and highly readable, Initiations
and Initiates in Tibet is a treasury of fact and lore offering
valuable insights and information to students of religion and
Tibetan Buddhism in particular.