Addressing issues important to everyone interested in the transmission of Buddhism to the West, the essays describe, in clear direct language, differences between traditional and Western views of Dharma study and practice, academic and therapeutic approaches to Buddhism, and ingrained patterns that challenge successful transmission of the teachings. Addressing questions, doubts, and considerations of many Western Buddhist practitioners, the author explores such topics as karma and rebirth, the Tibetan tradition of Tulkus or reincarnate lamas, the place of initiations and rituals, and the power of prayer. The question arises, will the Dharma take hold deeply enough for a genuine transmission to take place? Or will Western students accept only some aspects of the Dharma, failing to comprehend that all the elements of the tradition work together to support a more enlightened understanding? While offering some penetrating, perhaps painful insights, these reflections convey a depth of compassion that should encourage serious students to renew their efforts and engage the teachings with energy and focus.
As a multi-faceted overview of approaches to the Dharma common in the West, Mind over Matter can be used in any course dealing with issues of Dharma transmission and the history of Buddhism in the West.
Author: Tarthang Tulku