Cover image for Fundamentals of Tibetan Buddhism
Fundamentals of Tibetan Buddhism
Novick, Rebecca McClen.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Freedom, Calif. : Crossing Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
206 pages ; 21 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BQ7604 .N68 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In Tibetan, the word for Buddhist means "insider"--someone who looks not to the world but to themselves for peace and happiness. The basic premise of Buddhism is that all suffering, however real it may seem, is the product of our own minds.Rebecca Novick's concise history of Buddhism and her explanations of the Four Noble Truths, Wheel of Life, Karma, the path of the Bodhisattva, and the four schools help us understand Tibetan Buddhism as a religion or philosophy, and more important, as a way of experiencing the world.

Author Notes

Rebecca Novick is a writer who specializes in Tibetan Buddhism, its culture, and the plight of the exiled Tibetans. She has written or edited several books on Buddhism, including Fundamentals of Tibetan Buddhism and Illuminating the Path to Enlightenment , the latter with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Although not explicitly stated, the shared publisher, similar titles and graphics, and complementary themes of these short and lucid books indicate that they are part of a new series on mystical religious traditions. Feldman (a PhD candidate in Jewish studies) and Novick (a freelance writer and filmmaker) write with the sympathy of adherents, offering the conceptual basics along with introductory manuals of spiritual practice. At the same time, they provide historical contexts that can increase the usefulness of their descriptions for college students. While both writers offer brief narratives of the traditions' origins, they also point out modern events in which these distinctive mystical beliefs and practices are finding new voice: the wake of the Holocaust and first half century of the State of Israel, in Feldman's case; the Chinese takeover of Tibet and resulting global dispersion of "diamond vehicle" Buddhists and their faith in Novick's. Together the books indicate how much two historically distinctive mystical traditions can share in common. They evaluate a world of distinctions as problematic, and seek to merge in a single ultimate reality by meditation techniques. Feldman speaks of modern Jewish Kabbalists practicing yoga and using the Shema like a mantra. Novick cites assurances of the Dalai Lama that adherents of Judaism and other religious traditions can practice Tibetan Buddhism without violating their profession of faith. One can't help but note, however, some difficulties in a serious reconciliation of these mysticisms. For Feldman, the very goal of Kabbalah is to gain consciousness of God and cooperate with God in healing an objectively broken universe. Novick's presentation of Buddhism insists on the irrelevance of a creator god, and reduces evil and suffering to faulty perception (in light of that, her sense of outrage at the persecution of Tibetans cries out for explanation). Both books provide bibliographies. Only Feldman's includes endnotes. Only Novick's includes a glossary of terms and what surely should be a prerequisite for any book intended for an academic readership: an index. Both books are recommended for general readers as well as lower- and upper-division undergraduates. P. S. Spalding; Illinois College