The final installment of the Steps on the Path to Enlightenment series examines the nature of reality with a master class in Buddhist Middle Way philosophy and meditation.
The late Geshe Sopa was a refugee monk from Tibet sent to the United States by the Dalai Lama in 1963. He became a professor at the University of Wisconsin, training a generation of Western Buddhist scholars, and was a towering figure in the transmission of the Buddhism to the West. In this fifth and final volume of his commentary on Lama Tsongkhapa’s masterwork on the graduated steps of the Buddhist path, Geshe Sopa explains the practice of superior insight, or wisdom, the pinnacle of the bodhisattva's perfections. All the Buddhist practices are for the purpose of developing wisdom, for it is wisdom that liberates from the cycle of suffering. All other positive actions, from morality to deep states of meditation, have no power to liberate unless they are accompanied by insight into the nature of reality. With unparalled precision, Geshe Sopa unpacks this central principle with scholarly virtuosity, guiding the reader through the progressive stages of realization.
Born in the Tsang region of Tibet in 1923, Geshe Lhundub Sopa was both a spiritual master and a respected academic. He rose from a humble background to complete his geshe studies at Sera Je Monastic University in Lhasa with highest honors and was privileged to serve as a debate opponent for the Dalai Lama’s own geshe examination in 1959. He moved to New Jersey in the United States in 1963 and in 1967 began teaching in the Buddhist Studies program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In 1975 he founded the Deer Park Buddhist Center in Oregon, Wisconsin, site of the Dalai Lama’s first Kalachakra initiation granted in the West. He was the author of several books in English, including the five-volume comprehensive teaching Steps on the Path to Enlightenment. Geshe Lhundub Sopa passed away on August 28, 2014, at the age of 91. His Holiness the Dalai Lama composed a prayer of request for the swift return of Geshe Sopa.