When John Crook of Bristol University began research in the Zangskar valley of Ladakh in 1977 his prime intention was to investigate the social anthropology of the area through studies of village life.
In 1986 Crook returned to Ladakh with Tibetologist James Low to enquire full into the social organization, history, meditational practices and philosophy of the yogins who still lived and practiced in the remote parts of the area. This book is a record of the authors' adventurous journeys to meet some remarkable men.
The Yogins were often generous, providing accounts of their training, one of them allowing Crook to photograph a previously unknown text - instructions on Mahamudra by the eminent Tipun Padma Chosgal. James Low's brilliant translation of this difficult work together with that of a biography of the great woman yogin Machig Labdron provides the basis for extensive and original discussions of the meaning of Tibetan Buddhism and it's significance in our time.
About the Author:
John Crook, PhD, DSc formerly Reader in Ethology in the Department of Psychology, Bristol University, is a pioneer in socioecological studies. In 1977 he led an expedition to Zangskar in Ladakh initiating a series of studies on the ecology of village and monastic life in the Buddhist Himalayas. During this work (see Himalayan Buddhist Villages, J. Crook and H. Osmastoneds Motilal Banarsidass and Bristol University 1994) he became interested in the Psychology of the yogin mediators living as hermits in the high mountains with whom he felt a strong experiential identification. This enabled him to begin a detailed study of the Yogic practices enabling them to survive and thrive under extraordinary conditions of privation and discipline.
James Low, MA, PhD went out to India as a student and at once became deeply involved with religious study and practice. After reading Anthropology with first class honours at Edinburgh he returned to India living at first in the company of sadhus and later moving into the world of Tibetan Buddhism through meetings with lamas then fleeing Tibet in increasing numbers. He studied Tibetan language, literature and philosophy at Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, in Bengal under Professor Chimed Rigdzin Rimpoche a Nyingma incarnate lama who also became his meditation teacher. For ten years James worked with his guru translating many important Nyingma texts (see Low, J., Simply being Duttro Press. London 1994) Returning to Britain he trained in Psychotherapy in which he now offers university training and consultancy. His translations of two important works and an account of his own yogic practice provide a major contribution to this study.
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