Tibetan Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction

  • by Matthew T. Kapstein
  • Narrated by Neil Shah
  • 4 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Tibetan Buddhist tradition has known over 13 centuries of continuous development. During that time, it has spread among the neighboring peoples - the Mongol, Himalayan, and Siberian peoples, Manchus, and Chinese. At its height is has been practiced in regions as far west as the Volga river and to the east in Beijing. Its capacity for creative adaptation is demonstrated by its recent growth in Europe and America. At the same time, it is at the center of political contestation in ethnically Tibetan regions of China, while its best known exponent, the Dalai Lama, has become one of the most admired religious leaders in the world today. But what does this religion teach? Just what is the position of the Dalai Lama, and how will his succession be assured? Is it true that Tibetan Buddhism in entirely suppressed in China? Scholar Matthew Kapstein offers a brief account responding to these questions and more in this Very Short Introduction, in terms that are accessible to students, general readers, journalists, and others who are curious to learn the most essential features of Tibetan Buddhist history, teachings, and practice.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Tibetan Buddhism as practiced by Tibetans

If you could sum up Tibetan Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction in three words, what would they be?

Lots of information.


What did you like best about this story?

A very nice digest of the rich history and cultural development of Buddhism in Tibet. Most western Buddhist will learn a lot that is not usually described in the usual books on philosophy or meditation.


What didn’t you like about Neil Shah’s performance?

Ok, Tibetan names and words can be hard to pronounce. But he should have had some help. He has the habit of stressing and raising the tone of the second syllable of two syllable words in Tibetan. I really had a hard time figuring out a number of words he was trying to pronounce until I realized he is pronouncing words like ngak pa as ang-gak-pa. Yes, initial ng's are very hard for English speaks, but he should have had some more coaching before reading a book full of Tibetan words. (Boy, I guess I needed to get that off my chest.)


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When in an early chapter, the author and the lama, discussing a rarified point of philosophy, are interrupted to help a local family in distress.


Any additional comments?

Really worth listening to. I wish there was a PDF with the names and technical terms from the Tibetan or Sanskrit, for one to consult as you are listening. (Or, I guess you could buy the book.)
If you practice Tibetan Buddhism, this book will give you a greater appreciation of the land and people these practices come from.

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- Michael Essex

Terribly boring but dryly informative.

While full of facts and information, this boring and dry reading of whet appears to be a college textbook is w great cure for insomnia. The narrator has the same time as a droning history professor who reads out of his textbook in a freshman college class.
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- Fnordz

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-27-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios