When Atisha traveled to Tibet, Buddhism went deep into the wilds of Bon territory.
The karmic inclinations of Tibetans draw them to mysticism, superstition, ritual, and violence.
This is totally irrelevant to Enlightenment.
However, people learn best when given lessons couched in imagery and terminology that feel familiar to them. Consider how paganism was co-opted by Christianity.
Atisha knew it was essential to deal with these conditions of Tibetan karma when He took on the transmission of Dharma to his new students. Therefore, Lamp for the Path of Enlightenment was written expressly for Tibetans, to be understood within the constraints of their particular situation.
For Western Buddhists of a particular level of understanding, several authors/teachers/lamas have re-presented these Teachings in a more contemporary fashion. Some of them present faithful translations, some offer modern adaptations, and some sincerely examine the core points of Atisha’s transmissions.
However, none illuminate in a way that resonates with people to whom Buddhism is an alien construct, or those for whom shadowy recollections from previous-lives whisper,
“Stay away… you’ve been there before… you don’t want to go back…”
In this LAMP series (Lamrim And More Profound), We will start with a clean slate, straight from the Dharmakaya, and offer a fresh perspective on the story of Buddhism that this world has been fed since the time of Buddha Shakyamuni.
Let’s just say We’re getting a jump on December 21, 2012.
Get ready for the New World.