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  • Published: 23 September 2015
  • ISBN: 9780142422618
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $40.00
Categories:

The All-Pervading Melodious Drumbeat

The Life of Ra Lotsawa



"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.

The story of Tibet’s notorious master of Buddhist sorcery—translated for the first time into English

An essential sacred text of Tibetan Buddhism, The All-Pervading Melodious Drumbeat tells the wondrous story of Ra Lotsawa Dorjé Drak. Though he was can­onized as a saint and a fully enlightened buddha, the eleventh-century Ra Lotsawa’s life story presents a darker path than those taken by Siddhartha Gautama and Milarepa. Viewed by some as a mur­derous villain and by others as a liberator of human suffering, Ra Lotsawa used his formidable power and magical abilities to defeat his rivals, accumulate wealth, and amass a devoted following. His life offers a rare view into the often overlooked roles of magic and sorcery in the Buddhist tradition. Despite this sinister legacy, his fame also rests on an illustrious career as a translator of Buddhist scriptures, through which he helped spark a renaissance of Buddhism in Tibet. This spirited new translation gives readers in English their first opportunity to encounter one of the most colorful and memorable figures in Tibetan Buddhist history.

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

  • Published: 23 September 2015
  • ISBN: 9780142422618
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $40.00
Categories:

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