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Important new translationJune 24 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
Students of Tibetan Buddhism in the English-speaking world have long known of the importance of Maitreya's Abhisamayalamkara, "Ornament for the Clear Realizations," a central text in the monastic curriculum. Due to its complexity, however, no English translation of it has appeared on the market. The truth is, as shown by Edward Conze's 1954 translation in the Rome Oriental Series, it is practically incomprehensible without a commentary. Thanks to the devoted labors of Gareth Sparham, this longstanding need is now being met, and in spades. We are not getting just any commentary; we are getting the single most influential one in existence, the Aloka of Haribhadra. This itself is based on an earlier commentary, the oldest one known, the Vrtti by Arya Vimuktisena. We are getting that, too. Together, they provide us with the most essential source material available for understanding Maitreya's cryptic text.And if that is not enough, Gareth Sparham is translating separately the detailed Tibetan commentary by Tsong kha pa, under the title, Golden Garland of Eloquence.
Of course, these volumes are not easy reads. They demand much of the reader. This can hardly be helped, due to the technical nature of their subject matter. Their subject matter is nothing less than a detailed map of the path to Buddhahood. For some readers, this is worth the effort required to study them.