The Zen of Tantra – Tibetan Great Perfection in Fahai Lama’s Chinese Zen Monastery
Wil (Switzerland) / Paris: UniversityMedia, 2013. 179 pages. ISBN 978-3-906000-25-1.
A pioneering study by Monica Esposito, one of the West’s foremost scholars of Chinese religions, on the reception of Tibetan Great Perfection teachings in modern China. On a journey to an old Daoist site on the Celestial Eye mountain (Mt. Tianmu, Zhejiang) in 1988, Dr Esposito discovered a thriving community of Buddhist nuns in a monastery founded by the Chan and rDzogs chen master Fahai Lama (1920-1991). During her prolonged stays at this monastery, she participated in all practices and in the nuns’ daily life while studying and documenting the Lama’s teachings.
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Tibetan Buddhism has a long history in China. Various forms of it were practiced and promoted since the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368), and during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) it was at times even China’s state religion. But the teachings and practices of Tibetan Buddhism known as Great Perfection (Dzogs chen) are only now becoming more widely known in China. Dr. Esposito’s study of a pioneer in this modern introduction, the Chan and Dzogs chen master Fahai Lama (1920-1991), presents this man’s life and teachings and provides a unique glimpse into a Buddhist nunnery in modern Communist China.