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Ra Yeshe Senge

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Books by Ra Yeshe Senge

The All-Pervading Melodious Drumbeat

"By lightning bolts of magical prowess, with no difficulty whatsoever, he pulverizes into dust the rocky mountains on the side of darkness, while simultaneously, by a pleasant and persistent rain of immeasurable compassion, he fulfills the hopes of all the faithful."

The All-Pervading Melodious Drumbeat is the wondrous story of the life of the infamous sorcerer Ra Lotsawa Dorjé Drak, one of the most notorious figures in Tibetan Buddhism. Though canonized as a Tibetan Buddhist saint and a fully enlightened buddha, Ra Lotsawa's life offers a path darker than those taken by Siddhartha Gautama or Milarepa. In his youth, Ra Lotsawa traveled widely through India and Nepal, learning esoteric meditation practices and forceful rituals centered on a trio of terrifying, wrathful Buddhist deities. Viewed by some as a murderous villain, he used his formidable power and magical abilities to defeat his rivals, gain a devoted following, and grow rich. He eliminated competitors and enemies with magical assaults, but did so under the principle of a bodhisattva: to compassionately free living beings from delusion and deliver them from suffering. The story of this shadowy antihero reminds us how despite modern misconceptions, notions of magic and sorcery are deeply embedded in Tibetan Buddhism, where superhuman abilities are a mark of of the highest spiritual attainment. Yet, in contrast to these deeds, Ra Lotsawa's fame also stems from his illustrious career as a translator of Buddhist scriptures. By translating ancient texts, he helped ignite a grand renaissance of Buddhism in Tibet around 950 after the collapse of the Tibetan empire. His legacy lives on through these translations in the tantric traditions of the Gelupka ("virtuous ones"), the school of the Dalai Lamas.

The All-Pervading Melodious Drumbeat, traditionally ascribed to Ra Lotsawa's grand-nephew, takes the form of a traditional sacred biography, following the development of its subject from a young student, to his enlightenment, and up to his wondrous death, detailing Ra Lotsawa's missionary travels, wonder-working, and meritorious deeds. Translated here into English for the first time by Bryan Cuevas, The All-Pervading Melodious Drumbeat tells the story of magical exploits and miraculous achievements, and one of the most colorful, memorable figures in the history of Buddhism.

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