Robert Thurman is the chair of the Department of Religion at Columbia University and is well-known as an interpreter of Buddhist ideas for Westerners. Those who have discovered The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying or seen the movie The Little Buddha will want to follow up their interest in this religion with Essential Tibetan Buddhism. Thurman provides a summary of Buddhism's development across Asia and its special evolution in Tibet. Here are teachings about the Buddha, prayer texts and meditation techniques. The reader can sample hymns to Tara, the liberator goddess; the riddle-like songs of Milarapa, the vagabond poet-saint of the Himalayas, and instructions for living the compassionate Bodhissatva Way of Life. The most helpful material is instructions on training the mind. This is a fine companion for all those who want an in-depth overview of Tibetan Buddhism. This volume is part of a series of that also includes Essential Zen, edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi and Tensho David Schneider and The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks.