Studies in Comparative Religion
The First English Journal on Traditional Studies - established 1963
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Harold Talbott
Harold Talbott is a scholar of Buddhism. He is the co-founder of the Buddhayana Foundation, and writes and researches in the field of Tibetan Buddhism. Mr. Talbott also edits the writings of the Venerable Tulku Thondup. Talbott was a friend and student of Dom Aelred Graham, and collaborated with Thomas Merton, helping the latter gain a deeper understanding of Buddhism. Harold Talbott spent time in the East studying Buddhism, including with the Dalai Lama himself.

Harold Talbott contributed “The Round of Existence” to the Winter 1971 issue of Studies.


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The goal of this essay is, as author Harold Talbott puts it, that by "sketching a few features of the first lesson in Dharma as a Lama might present it using the device of the Round of Existence, we can describe the first activity of the path, hearing Dharma expounded." The other two activities of the Buddhist spiritual path, Pondering and Meditation, also are treated in passing, but the focus of this piece is on the means by which the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition utilizes the "teaching presence of realized masters" as the necessary catalyst in all spiritual learning, or "hearing." This means that whether the activity be the study of scripture or the contemplation of sacred art, the influence of a Lama is, in the end, central to the efficacy of the activity. Talbott uses the traditional Tibetan diagram of the "Round of Existence" as the organizing scheme by which he explains the precepts, principles, and virtues that the aspirant must actualize on the path to Wisdom in the Vajrayana tradition.
The Round of ExistenceTalbott, Harold Vol. 5, No. 1. ( Winter, 1971) Buddhism
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