The Art of Awakening: A User's Guide to Tibetan Buddhist Art and Practice (Paperback)

The Art of Awakening: A User's Guide to Tibetan Buddhist Art and Practice By Konchog Lhadrepa, Charlotte Davis Cover Image
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A presentation on the Tibetan Buddhist path to enlightenment, through the lens of an artist's eye and experience.

The sacred arts play an essential, intrinsic role in Tibetan Buddhist practice. Here, one of the great practitioners and master artists of our time presents a guide to the Tibetan Buddhist path, from preliminary practices through enlightenment, from the artist's perspective. With profound wisdom, he shows how visual representations of the sacred in paintings, sculptures, mandalas, and stupas can be an essential support to practice throughout the path. This work, based on the author's landmark Tibetan text, The Path to Liberation, includes basic Buddhist teachings and practices, clearly pointing out the relevance of these for both the sacred artist and the practitioner, along with an overview of the history and iconography of Buddhist art.

About the Author

KONCHOG LHADREPA has been the Principal of the Tsering Art School since its foundation in 1996. He is an authentic holder of the Karma Gadri lineage of painting, which originated in Eastern Tibet and is famous for the beauty of its spacious landscapes. He became a disciple of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche at the age of 10 and, from the age of 16 to 22, served as his personal attendant. Over the years, Konchog painted many works for Rinpoche and his associated centers throughout the Indian subcontinent and Europe. His remarkable abilities, training, and knowledge of the sacred arts alone make him an exceptional artist.

CHARLOTTE DAVIS completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Australian National University, before traveling to Nepal in 1998 to study traditional Tibetan art at the Tsering Art School under Konchog's guidance. She was among the first group of graduates to complete their studies at Tsering Art School in 2003. She worked in the school administration alongside Konchog from 1998 to 2004 and today continues to work for the art school and monastery, while maintaining her practice as a thangka painter.

Praise For…

The Art of Awakening is the one book that every student of Tibetan art, aspiring tangka painter, and Vajrayana practitioner really should have. Vast in its scope and authenticity, this definitive work by master artist Konchog Lhadrepa and his student Charlotte Davis is a phenomenal repository of knowledge on all aspects of Tibetan art and its practice. This is the book I always hoped to write but never did, and instead can learn so much from it. For this is a masterwork of the purest Dharma, which I pray will be translated into many different languages.”—Robert Beer, author and illustrator of The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs

The Art of Awakening is a comprehensive guide for those wishing to learn about the rich tradition of Tibetan tangka painting. In particular, this book is an essential resource for those wishing to know the inside meanings involved in the creation of a tangka painting, and the key elements of dharma practice that are essential for the aspiring tangka painter. In this day and age when the growing commercialization of perfunctory tangka paintings is ever increasing, Konchog Lhadrepa and Charlotte Davis’ contribution to the preservation of an authentic tradition of sacred art is admirable.”
—Pema Namdol Thaye, master artist and author of Tibetan Thanka Painting: Portrayal of Mysticism

“Sacred art is an element of the spiritual path. For the artist, every day of his or her work should help him or her to progress a few steps further on such a path. For the other practitioners who see their art and benefit from it, sacred art is a support for meditation, a blessing and a visual representation that ‘liberates by seeing’ just as sacred music liberates through hearing, the blessing of a spiritual master liberates through touch, imbibing sacred substances liberates by taste, and meditation liberates by thought. ‘Liberate’ here means to liberate from the bondage of the five mental poisons, which destroy inner peace—hatred, covetousness, ignorance, pride, and jealousy.”
—Matthieu Ricard, author of Happiness

“Preserving the sacred arts is part of the preservation of the dharma.”—Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche, author of The Great Medicine That Conquers Clinging to the Notion of Reality
Product Details
ISBN: 9781611803877
ISBN-10: 161180387X
Publisher: Snow Lion
Publication Date: April 11th, 2017
Pages: 496
Language: English

How to read more
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How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.


And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.


15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.


50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.


Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.


Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.


Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.



Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.


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