The Mind and Its Functions Paperback – Jun 1992
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About the Author
Geshe Rabten Rinpoche, born in Tibet in 1920, died in 1986. Began training as a monk at Sera Je Monastery in Tibet at very early age. After leaving Tibet in 1959, was appointed Junior Tutor to HH The Dalai Lama. Geshe Rabten is considered to be one of the five or six Tibetan Masters responsible for the transmission of Tibetan Buddhism to the west. He was also the main teacher of such well-known masters as Lama Yeshe, and Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. His succession has been assumed by his chief student and translator, Gonsar Rinpoche.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Now, if you understand what the subject matter is about, then I would say this would make an excellent addition to your reference books on Tibetan Buddhist Psychology and is also an excellent choice for someone who has recently been introduced to the Mental Factors and wishes to learn more. It is very much a "list" as another reviewer complained (and more for reference than cover to cover reading), but that's what the List of Mental Factors is, it's a list. So it's exactly what it's supposed to be as long as you understand that you're buying a book that's very subject is explaining a list. It's not only a list however, it offers a nice breakdown of what each factor means, why it hinders or helps, and how understanding these various factors will aid in understanding the overall nature of the mind. The more these factors are understood, the more sense you can make of the greater picture of the nature of the mind, how we tick and how we can improve our practice and lives. My only complaint isn't necessarily about the book itself, but more of a word of caution for anyone already studying this topic: some of the terms have been reworded slightly which is a little confusing at first glance; ie: "wholesome factors" versus the term "constructive factors" used in other places, or "attraction" vs "attachment", etc. Essentially synonymous in the context of course, but could throw beginners to the subject off a little at first if they've been studying slightly different terminology.
Lastly, every reviewer is entitled to their opinions as to whether they like or dislike a book of course. But I hate to see anyone be blatantly misinformed. So regarding the "A Puppy?" review, I just want to say a couple of things: The reviewer states they couldn't get past page 19. Just an FYI for others, Chapter One starts on page 20, so the reviewer apparently formed their opinion of the entire book on the translator's preface and the copyright pages. Also, I'm not sure where they heard such a thing, but there is no reason a monk can't touch a dog; that might be the single strangest thing I've ever heard. Animals play a major role in the lives of many Buddhists since we orient our lives in great part around compassion toward all sentient beings, and so many monasteries devote special programs to help suffering animals of all kinds including dogs. Thupten Shedrub Jangchub Ling Monastic Institute in South India has a program called "The Puppy Project" where the young monks feed and care for local stray dogs, and there are other monasteries in Bhutan and many other places that offer spay and release programs as an alternative to putting down local stray dogs. Lama Zopa Rinpoche, a well known and respected teacher in Tibetan Buddhism who studied under HH The Dalai Lama is often seen in photos with his own dogs and also says prayers for the dogs of visitors who bring their sick dogs to see him. I could offer many other examples. I don't know where the reviewer got the idea that a monk touching a dog is "terribly uncouth" but I know of absolutely no basis for such a strange claim. I am guessing the review might be a hoax, but whether it's a joke or out of ignorance, I didn't want anyone new to Buddhism believing that the author (well respected and now deceased) was acting unethical or being hypocritical in any way, that would be a shame to his memory.
So if you're familiar with the topic of this book, I'm sure you'll find it very useful. I'm glad to have it as a reference and plan to refer to it often in my ongoing studies.
On the other hand, I believe this book alone it may be of little help to persons who have no received further instructions on these topics. So consider buying it only if you have received oral instructions on buddhist mind training and psychology.