The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism, by Robert Thurman. Robert Thurman is probably best know for his translation of the sacred text The Tibetan Book of the Dead, although he has published many works of both translation and exploration of Tibetan Buddhism. The Jewel Tree of Tibet is a significant addition to Thurman’s contribution to this field of spiritual scholarship. His deep knowledge and devotion are in evidence on every page. His style is straightforward and inviting. He also provides a short introduction to the history of Buddhism which is as clear and straightforward as possible for what can be an exceptionally complex and entangled topic.
In short, Thurman writes for real people with an interest in (perhaps longing for) a deeper understanding of themselves and their place in the world. In addition to a clear and inviting style and providing the reader with an accessible understanding of important spiritual matters, this book is exceptionally openhanded and openhearted. While Thurman wants us to share the dharma of the Jewel Tree he also wants the reader to know that they are already on their path- no matter what their faith or non-faith, political beliefs, no matter what manner of thinking may appear to divide, separate, or individualize us: Thurman presents a view of the self in which we can see that it is possible to overcome these limitations and alienations and to see ourselves as inhabiting common ground with the suffering, the joy, and the seeking of others. His bias is ecumenical in the best and most generous sense of the word. This is an excellent book for the person just awakening to their spiritual path and for the seeker of many years.