Books by Students of Rigdzin Shikpo Rinpoche

Francesca Fremantle

Francesca Fremantle is a scholar and translator of Sanskrit and Tibetan works of Hindu and Buddhist tantra, and was a student of Chögyam Trungpa for many years. Francesca worked closely with Chögyam Trungpa on the 1975 translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Francesca received her doctorate from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She is a teacher and one of Rigdzin Shikpo’s most senior students.

Luminous Emptiness – Understanding the Tibetan Book of the Dead

The Tibetan Book of the Dead, a best-seller for three decades, is one of the most widely read texts of Tibetan Buddhism. Over the years, it has been studied and cherished by Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. Luminous Emptiness is a detailed guide to this classic work, elucidating its mysterious concepts, terms, and imagery. Fremantle relates the symbolic world of the Tibetan Book of the Dead to the experiences of everyday life, presenting the text not as a scripture for the dying, but as a guide for the living.

According to the Buddhist view, nothing is permanent or fixed. The entire world of our experience is constantly appearing and disappearing at every moment. Using vivid and dramatic imagery, the Tibetan Book of the Dead presents the notion that most of us are living in a dream that will continue from lifetime to lifetime until we truly awaken by becoming enlightened. Here, Fremantle, who worked closely with Chögyam Trungpa on the 1975 translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead (Shambhala), brings the expertise of a lifetime of study to rendering this intriguing classic more accessible and meaningful to the living.

Luminous Emptiness features in-depth explanations of:- The Tibetan Buddhist notions of death and rebirth

  • The meaning of the five energies and the five elements in Tibetan Buddhism
  • The mental and physical experience of dying, according to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition

Available from Shambhala Publications:

The Tibetan Book of the Dead

Translated by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Francesca Fremantle.

In this classic scripture of Tibetan Buddhism—traditionally read aloud to the dying to help them attain liberation—death and rebirth are seen as a process that provides an opportunity to recognize the true nature of mind. This translation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead emphasizes the practical advice that the book offers to the living. The insightful commentary by Chögyam Trungpa, written in clear, concise language, explains what the text teaches us about human psychology. This book will be of interest to people concerned with death and dying, as well as those who seek greater spiritual understanding in everyday life.

Available from Shambhala Publications:

Lama Shenpen Hookham

Lama Shenpen Hookham is the founding Lama of the Awakened Heart Sangha and principle teacher of the Living the Awakened Heart training

Lama Shenpen has trained for over 50 years in the Mahamudra & Dzogchen traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.

She has spent over 12 years in retreat and has been a student of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, one of the foremost living masters of the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, since the late 70s.

Lama Shenpen has translated a number of Tibetan texts into English for her students. On Khenpo Rinpoche’s instructions she produced a seminal study of the profound Buddha Nature doctrines of Mahayana Buddhism, published as The Buddha Within, and gained a doctorate in this from Oxford University. She is also the author of There’s More to Dying than Death.

There’s More to Dying than Death

Drawing from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of approaching and preparing for death, Lama Shenpen Hookham offers Westerners like herself practical descriptions of the attitudes, the practices, and the considerations that surround our own death, caring for those dying and also care-givers. Of great interest to those seeking a positive yet realistic coming to terms with death, its Buddhist context provides further teaching on the Tibetan Books of the Dead, one of the most well-known Tibetan texts.

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The Buddha Within

Tathagatagarbha — Buddha Nature — is a central concept of Mahayana Buddhism crucial to all the living practice traditions of Tibetan and Zen Buddhism. Its relationship to the concept of emptiness has been a subject of controversy for seven hundred years. Dr. Hookam’s work investigates the divergent interpretations of these concepts and the way the Tibetan tradition is resolving them.

In particular she does this with reference to the only surviving Indian commentary on the Tathagatagarbha doctrine, the Ratnagotravibhaga. This text addresses itself directly to the issue of how to relate the doctrine of emptiness (the illusory nature of the world) to that of the truly existing, changeless Absolute (the Buddha Nature).

This is the first work by a Western writer to present an analysis of the Shentong tradition based on previously untranslated sources. The Shentong view rests on meditative experience that is inaccessible to the conceptualizing mind. It is deeply rooted in the sutra tradition of Indian Buddhism and is central to an understanding of the Mahamudra and Dzogchen traditions and Tantric practice among Kagyupas and Hyingmapas.

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The Guru Principle

Lama Shenpen’s new book published by Shambhala Publications is The Guru Principle: A Guide to the Teacher-Student Relationship in Buddhism and discusses various opportunities and challenges facing modern Dharma students who wish to study with a teacher. Learn more:

Based on over fifty years of personal experience as both a student and a teacher, Lama Shenpen Hookham writes candidly of the opportunities and challenges facing modern Dharma students who wish to study with a teacher. Traditional texts often do not reflect how the student-teacher relationship really works in practice, which leaves many pressing questions in communities taking root in the West. With honesty and clarity, Lama Shenpen discusses the roles of the teacher, practices related to the guru, and commonly asked questions she receives as a teacher. This handbook is the first of its kind, breaking down in a pragmatic and relatable way everything one needs to know to enter a student-teacher relationship with open eyes and an open heart.

Read an excerpt from the book’s introduction here.

Keeping the Dalai Lama Waiting & Other Stories

Keeping the Dalai Lama Waiting & Other StoriesAn English Woman’s Journey to Becoming a Buddhist Lama, is Lama Shenpen Hookham’s autobiography. It’s a lively and fascinating account of how a search for Truth lead Lama Shenpen to Buddhism and to be taught by some of the most eminent Buddhist masters of our time.

Available to buy from all usual booksellers online and in shops – ISBN 9781399910491 

To read excerpts of the book click here.

More information here:

Irmentraud Schlaffer

Irmentraud Schlaffer has a Master’s Degree in Tibetan and Indian Studies and in the History of Religion.  She has been a practising Buddhist for over 30 years. In her own teaching activity she aims to provide a way into Buddhist practice for Western people that is true to the tradition, but accessible at the same time. Thus the main focus of her writing is applying Buddhist principles in modern daily life. She is one the Rigdzin Shikpo’s senior students in Germany and regularly teaches there.

Well Connected: Encountering Buddha In Everyday Life

Can we make everyday life into a spiritual path? How do we combine work and meditation? This book introduces Buddhist ideas and principles in a new and practical way: through the most ordinary and mundane activities. It shows how the world and our fellow-beings are constantly reminding us of our natural and innate connections to enlightenment, sending us messages of love, compassion and awakening. We can learn to perceive, understand and make positive use of these messages by working with the network of connections that is all around us, in everything we do.

Well Connected takes its main inspiration from a great Buddhist text, the Avatamsaka Sutra and shows how every aspect of our lives can connect us, simply and directly, to wisdom, compassion and awakening. Most of us long for greater meaning in our lives. Here that search for meaning is expressed in Buddhist terms. However, the deepest significance of this search for truth passes beyond any specific religion.

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Buddhismus für den Alltag

Menschen, die einen Einstieg in den Buddhismus suchen, finden gewöhnlich zwei Arten von Büchern vor: solche, die die Ideenwelt und Geschichte des Buddhismus darstellen und solche, in denen ein Lehrer, eine Lehrerin bestimmte Aspekte der Lehre darlegt oder die formale Praxis der Meditation erklärt. Beides ist sinnvoll, aber nicht für jede Person geeignet.Einen spannenden dritten Weg wählt Irmentraud Schlaffer. In ihrem Buch zeigt sie, dass wir die Erkenntnisse und Einsichten des Buddhismus direkt im Alltag erfahren können – ohne Meditationskissen und ohne ein Übermaß an abstrakter Therorie. Irmentraud Schlaffer macht deutlich, dass der Buddha seine Lehren aus der Beobachtung des Alltags entwickelt hat. Und sie weist uns einen Weg, diese Lehren in unserem alltäglichen Tun wiederzuentdecken:zum Beispiel beim Blick in den leeren Kühlschrank, beim Warten auf den verspäteten Zug oder beim Durchstehen einer schweren Erkältung.”Buddhismus für den Alltag” befreit die Lehren des Buddha von jeglicher kulturellen und rituellen Exotik. Durch konkrete Anregungen und Fragestellungen verschafft uns das Buch einen praktischen und vollkommen undogmatischen Zugang zu den zeitlosen Weisheiten des Buddhismus.

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Mit Buddha in Kontakt: Von der Kunst, sich mit der Erleuchtung zu vernetzen

Dieses Buch ist eine Einladung. Es möchte Sie mitnehmen auf eine Reise durch einen ganz gewöhnlichen Tag.
Jeder noch so gewöhnliche Tag, jede noch so scheinbar belanglose Erfahrung vermag uns mit dem tieferen Sinn des Lebens zu verbinden. Denn alles im Universum, bis hin zu den kleinsten Teilchen, ist in einem gemeinsamen Netz wechselseitig miteinander verknüpft.
Mit Buddha in Kontakt lädt uns dazu ein, in den vielfältigen Facetten unseres Alltags diesem Netzwerk des Lebens nachzuspüren.
Auf Grundlage des Avatamsaka-Sutra, einer der Lehrreden des Buddha, macht sich Irmentraud Schlaffer mit uns auf den Weg, im unscheinbaren Einerlei unserer alltäglichen Verrichtungen wach und aufmerksam jeden einzelnen Moment unseres Lebens wertzuschätzen.

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Das Herz erwecken: Zwölf Schritte zu einem mitfühlenden Leben

Offen und freundlich im Umgang mit uns selbst und anderen: dafür steht der Begriff Mitgefühl im Buddhismus. Doch im Alltag gelingt es uns nur selten, unser Herz zu öffnen. Tief verwurzelte Vorurteile und Ängste blockieren uns. Einen Ausweg aus dieser Enge beschreibt Irmentraud Schlaffer in ihrem neuen Buch. Basierend auf den Lehren des tibetischen Buddhismus stellt sie die zwölf grundlegenden kognitiven und emotionalen Blockaden vor, die die Öffnung unseres Herzens behindern. Schritt für Schritt untersucht sie die Blockaden, regt zum Reflektieren über ihre Auswirkungen im Alltag an und weist Wege, wie wir uns von ihrer Herrschaft befreien können. Ein Buch, das die Bedeutung des Buddhismus für unseren Alltag deutlich macht und den Leser auf dem Weg zu mehr innerer Freiheit begleitet.

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