Hot Best Seller

The Sound of Two Hands Clapping: The Education of a Tibetan Buddhist Monk

Availability: Ready to download

A unique insider's account of day-to-day life inside a Tibetan monastery, The Sound of Two Hands Clapping reveals to Western audiences the fascinating details of monastic education. Georges B. J. Dreyfus, the first Westerner to complete the famous Ge-luk curriculum and achieve the distinguished title of geshe, weaves together eloquent and moving autobiographical reflection A unique insider's account of day-to-day life inside a Tibetan monastery, The Sound of Two Hands Clapping reveals to Western audiences the fascinating details of monastic education. Georges B. J. Dreyfus, the first Westerner to complete the famous Ge-luk curriculum and achieve the distinguished title of geshe, weaves together eloquent and moving autobiographical reflections with a historical overview of Tibetan Buddhism and insights into its teachings.


Compare

A unique insider's account of day-to-day life inside a Tibetan monastery, The Sound of Two Hands Clapping reveals to Western audiences the fascinating details of monastic education. Georges B. J. Dreyfus, the first Westerner to complete the famous Ge-luk curriculum and achieve the distinguished title of geshe, weaves together eloquent and moving autobiographical reflection A unique insider's account of day-to-day life inside a Tibetan monastery, The Sound of Two Hands Clapping reveals to Western audiences the fascinating details of monastic education. Georges B. J. Dreyfus, the first Westerner to complete the famous Ge-luk curriculum and achieve the distinguished title of geshe, weaves together eloquent and moving autobiographical reflections with a historical overview of Tibetan Buddhism and insights into its teachings.

30 review for The Sound of Two Hands Clapping: The Education of a Tibetan Buddhist Monk

  1. 5 out of 5

    Barnaby Thieme

    Georges Dreyfus is a scholar of truly prodigious learning. In this book he reflects on his unique experience studying in various Ge-luk-ba monastic education centers in the Tibetan exile community in India, particularly at Drepung Loseling and the Institute of Dialectics. Dreyfus displays his great erudition in a fashion that is illuminating and not pedantic. Most of the book is occupied with a historical and philosophical analysis of the Ge-luk scholastic approach to Buddhism. In particular, he Georges Dreyfus is a scholar of truly prodigious learning. In this book he reflects on his unique experience studying in various Ge-luk-ba monastic education centers in the Tibetan exile community in India, particularly at Drepung Loseling and the Institute of Dialectics. Dreyfus displays his great erudition in a fashion that is illuminating and not pedantic. Most of the book is occupied with a historical and philosophical analysis of the Ge-luk scholastic approach to Buddhism. In particular, he focuses on two tensions within Ge-luk-ba. The first is the tension between exegesis and debate. The second is the tension between doctrinal allegiance to canonical texts and free and open inquiry into ideas. The picture of Ge-luk-ba scholasticism that emerges from Dreyfus' careful analysis of these twin tensions is a conservative institution that produces brilliant, and sometimes daring, thinkers. This work is extremely valuable to scholars and dedicated practitioners alike, because it provides a unique insider's view of Tibetan Buddhist monastic education. Dreyfus is not only well steeped in the tradition he analyzes; he also maintains his scholarly rigor and critical acumen. Dreyfus explains many practical aspects of Tibetan Buddhism that are not frequently discussed in Western scholarship. For example, I found it very illuminating to learn that, for scholars, Lam Rim texts and the related "Grounds and Paths" Prajnaparamita literature are not typically treated as literal, programmatic instructions on meditation courses. Rather, they are regarded as presenting systematic, overarching depictions of the Buddhist philosophical universe. This book is filled with important observations of this type. If there is a weakness to this book (other than its rather unfortunate title), it is admittedly one-sided in its sphere of interest. It struck me as highly significant that the word "compassion" scarcely appears in this book. I believe it can be read in part as an apology for a style of monastic engagement, which places an enormous emphasis on study and debate, while not formally encouraging meditative praxis. This book focuses on the development of prajna on the basis of study and reflection, but strongly underemphasizes the soteriological aspect of Buddhism. Of course, it is the author's prerogative to focus on their area of interest, and Dreyfus has done so with a magisterial understanding of the issues in question, carefully honed by decades of research.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    It helps to have a general interest in Buddhism, but I'm not even sure that is necessary if you approach it with an open mind and some patience. I've read a good bit of pedagogical theory over the years, and Dreyfus' is one of the more thoughtful ethnographic reflections you're likely to come across. Refreshingly, he doesn't fetishize Tibetan Buddhism or celebrate the mystical elements that make it so attractive to a certain subset of Westerners, but focuses rather on the day-to-day practice of It helps to have a general interest in Buddhism, but I'm not even sure that is necessary if you approach it with an open mind and some patience. I've read a good bit of pedagogical theory over the years, and Dreyfus' is one of the more thoughtful ethnographic reflections you're likely to come across. Refreshingly, he doesn't fetishize Tibetan Buddhism or celebrate the mystical elements that make it so attractive to a certain subset of Westerners, but focuses rather on the day-to-day practice of being a monk -- or, more specifically, the day-to-day educational practice of being a monk. The two, it turns out, going very much hand in hand. Not at all sure how this might translate beyond the monastery, but I'm pretty certain it can -- certainly on the individual level (e.g., the cultivation of rituals and the practice of memorization), and maybe even that of the classroom. Very much recommend to people keen to think about education in a fundamentally different way.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    I liked the author's description of life in the monastery and how sociopolitical factors contribute to how students understand their teachings. I also liked the discussion on the differences between Buddhism and Scientific Thinking. I am not an expert but I really enjoyed Geshe Dreyfus's explanation of the Madhyamaka, in particular how his Gen-la, Gen Nyi-ma taught the Madhyamaka (Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way). I liked the author's description of life in the monastery and how sociopolitical factors contribute to how students understand their teachings. I also liked the discussion on the differences between Buddhism and Scientific Thinking. I am not an expert but I really enjoyed Geshe Dreyfus's explanation of the Madhyamaka, in particular how his Gen-la, Gen Nyi-ma taught the Madhyamaka (Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Danny Mindich

    Pretty interesting and accessible account of tibetan scholasticism!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Keegan

    It feels vaguely heretical reading this at ZMM, but holy crap. This book is doing it for me. Doing it to me. Eh? Ehh?? Yes.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Asher

    I've just started it, but it seems like it is going to be a very, very interesting book. Especially with regards to the "tradition" of discourse in Tibetan Buddhism. I've just started it, but it seems like it is going to be a very, very interesting book. Especially with regards to the "tradition" of discourse in Tibetan Buddhism.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pandit

  8. 4 out of 5

    Spock

  9. 4 out of 5

    Robert C.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Linda Moquin

  11. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Horadam

  12. 4 out of 5

    Grand Logothete

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lee Wilson

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Zu

    one of a kind!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joe

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marcus

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dustin

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marc Robbins

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andy Karr

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Hayworth

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lincoln

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anastasia

  23. 5 out of 5

    Adam Pearcey

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lincoln Davidson

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Robinson

  26. 5 out of 5

    Daija

  27. 5 out of 5

    Julia Qin

  28. 4 out of 5

    Madison

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jen

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sam Vanneman

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...