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  1. Madhyamaka
  2. Thinking in Buddhism
  3. Earliest Buddhism. Madhyamaka
  4. Account Options
  5. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

For example, one could argue that what is at stake here is the properly transcendental fact that emptiness understood as the fact that things exist only interdependently is a condition of the possibility of any existents and of any analysis thereof. These represent the schools of Indian Buddhist philosophy in an ascending hierarchy of progressively more refined views, the understanding of each of which requires having rightly understood its predecessors. Emptiness is not only not mutually exclusive of the Four Noble Truths — it is a condition of the possibility thereof.

Perhaps more suggestively, such an interpretation can also help map the finally ethical concerns of Madhyamaka onto some contemporary arguments concerning reductionist accounts of the person. Much contemporary debate has concerned whether these divergent lines of interpretation reflect only differing dialectical strategies, or whether as influential Tibetan proponents of the distinction claim they involve significantly different ontological presuppositions.

Although the characterizations of these two trajectories of interpretation are not without basis in the antecedent Indian texts, this doxographic lens is of interest partly for what it can tell us about some characteristically Tibetan preoccupations and about the influence of certain schools of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy on the contemporary interpretation of Indian Buddhist thought.

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The latter traveled with his teacher to Tibet, where both thinkers figure prominently in the founding events of Tibetan Buddhist thought. Although many Tibetan exegetes were as noted inclined to see the dispute here as turning on subtle ontological presuppositions, this can be hard to glean from the Indian texts upon which the dispute is based. Indian Madhyamaka figures decisively in most of the Tibetan schools of Buddhist philosophy, which tend to agree in judging Madhyamaka to represent the pinnacle of Buddhist thought.

There are, however, interesting historical and philosophical developments that greatly complicate this picture. Whatever truth there may be in this, it is certainly the case that a great deal of systematic Indian Buddhist philosophy from the mature scholastic phase of the tradition roughly, from the sixth century on was never translated into Chinese.

For example, it has been noted by, e. The Basic Philosophical Impulse a.

Madhyamaka in Tibet Indian Madhyamaka figures decisively in most of the Tibetan schools of Buddhist philosophy, which tend to agree in judging Madhyamaka to represent the pinnacle of Buddhist thought. Ames, William L. Arnold, Dan. New York: Columbia University Press. Bhattacharya, Kamaleswar. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. Blumenthal, James. Burton, David F. London: Curzon.

Chimpa, Lama, and Alaka Chattopadhyaya, trans. A useful translation of a traditional history of the Indian Buddhist tradition, containing representative accounts of the careers and works of important Indian thinkers. Conze, Edward, trans.


Berkeley: University of California Press. Crosby, Kate, and Andrew Skilton, trans. New York: Oxford University Press.

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  • Earliest Buddhism. Madhyamaka?

Dreyfus, Georges. An insightful study of the pedagogical context for the Tibetan interpretation and transmission of Madhyamaka. Dreyfus, Georges, and Sara McClintock, eds. Boston: Wisdom Publications. A collection of scholarly essays representative of the current state of debate on this division of Madhyamaka, with attention both to this as a Tibetan doxographical category, and to matters of interpretation regarding the antecedent Indian texts.

Daosheng c. Since that violated the obvious meaning of the text, Daosheng was unanimously rebuked, whereupon he left the capital in disgrace. However, from this moment on, Buddha-nature become one of the foundational tenets of virtually all forms of East Asian Buddhism. Back to top. Loading content We were unable to load the content. Contents Article Summary 1. Historical overview. Earliest developments. Indian transplants: Madhyamaka and icchantikas.

No conclusive evidence can show the existence of an Indian antecedent, and it is not certain to what degree individual writers in Indian and Tibetan discussion held each of these views and if they held a view generally or only in particular instances.

Thinking in Buddhism

Buddha Nature tathagatagarbha is only empty of what is impermanent and conditioned conventional reality , not of its own self which is ultimate Buddhahood and the luminous nature of mind. Buddha earlier than all Buddhas, This "great emptiness" i. Not compounded by causes and conditions, the matrix-of-one-gone-thus is intrinsically endowed with ultimate buddha qualities of body, speech, and mind such as the ten powers; it is not something that did not exist before and is newly produced; it is self-arisen.

The Jonang position came to be known as "emptiness of other" gzhan stong, shentong , because it held that the ultimate truth was positive reality that was not empty of its own nature, only empty of what it was other than itself. It is thus not a transcendental ground or metaphysical absolute which includes all the eternal Buddha qualities. This rangtong shentong distinction became a central issue of contention among Tibetan Buddhist philosophers. Alternative interpretations of the shentong view is also taught outside of Jonang.

Some Kagyu figures, like Jamgon Kongtrul — as well as the unorthodox Sakya philosopher Sakya Chokden — , supported their own forms of shentong. The Gelug school was founded in the beginning of the 15th century by Je Tsongkhapa — However, this could only be done through the use of Madhyamika reasoning, which he also sought to unify with the logical theories of Dharmakirti. According to Thupten Jinpa , Tsongkhapa's "doctrine of the object of negation" is one of his most innovative but also controversial ideas.

Tsongkhapa pointed out that if one wants to steer a middle course between the extremes of "over-negation" straying into nihilism and "under-negation" and thus reification , it is important to have a clear concept of exactly what is being negated in Madhyamaka analysis. Following Candrakirti, Tsongkhapa also rejected the Yogacara view of mind only, and instead defended the conventional existence of external objects even though ultimately they are mere "thought constructions" Tib.

Gelug scholarship has generally maintained and defended Tsongkhapa's positions up until the present day, even if there are lively debates considering issues of interpretation. Gendun Chopel and the 14th Dalai Lama are some of the most influential modern figures in Gelug Madhyamaka. Gorampa Sonam Senge was an important philosopher which defended the orthodox Sakya Madhyamika position, critiquing both Dolpopa and Tsongkhapa's interpretations.

He is widely studied, not only in Sakya, but also in Nyingma and Kagyu institutions. Hence, in contrast to the view of Tsongkhapa for example, Gorampa's Madhyamaka negates existence itself , instead of merely negating "ultimate existence" or "inherent existence".

Earliest Buddhism. Madhyamaka

Regarding the Ultimate truth, Gorampa saw this as being divided into two parts: []. Unlike most orthodox Sakyas, the philosopher Sakya Chokden , a contemporary of Gorampa, also promoted a form of shentong as being complementary to rangtong. He saw shentong as useful for meditative practice, while rangtong as useful for cutting through views. In the Kagyu tradition, there is a broad field of opinion on the nature of emptiness, with some holding the other empty view while others holding different positions.

His view synthesized Madhyamaka and Yogacara perspectives. According to Brunnholzl, regarding his position in the rangtong shentong debate he "can be said to regard these two as not being mutually exclusive and to combine them in a creative synthesis. Several Kagyu figures disagree with the view that shentong is a form of Madhyamaka. They also refute the idea that there is "a permanent, intrinsically existing Buddha nature". He attacks the view of Dolpopa as being against the sutras of ultimate meaning which state that all phenomena are emptiness as well as being against the treatises of the Indian masters.

The modern Kagyu teacher Khenpo Tsultrim — , in his Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness , presents five stages of meditation, which he relates to five tenet systems.

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He sees this as a meditation on Paramarthasatya "Absolute Reality" , [] [note 14] Buddhajnana , [note 15] which is beyond concepts, and described by terms as "truly existing. In the Nyingma school, like in Kagyu, there is a variety of views. According to Sonam Thakchoe , the ultimate truth in the Nyingma tradition, following Longchenpa , is mainly seen as being that "reality which transcends any mode of thinking and speech, one that unmistakenly appears to the nonerroneous cognitive processes of the exalted and awakened beings" and this is said to be "inexpressible beyond words and thoughts" as well as the reality that is the "transcendence of all elaborations.

He developed a unique theory of Madhyamaka, with two models of the two truths.

While the adopts the traditional Madhyamaka model of two truths, in which the ultimate truth is emptiness, he also developed a second model, in which the ultimate truth is "reality as it is" de bzhin nyid which is "established as ultimately real" bden par grub pa. While it might seem that this system conflicts with the traditional Madhyamaka interpretation, for Mipham this is not so.

For while the traditional model which sees emptiness and ultimate truth as a negation is referring to the analysis of experience, the second Dzogchen influenced model refers to the experience of unity in meditation. Regarding the svatantrika prasangika debate, Ju Mipham explained that using positive assertions in logical debate may serve a useful purpose, either while debating with non-Buddhist schools or to move a student from a coarser to a more subtle view.

He felt the only difference between them was with respect to how they discussed conventional truth and their approach to presenting a path. In spite of this, the Ta-chih-tu lun became a central text for Chinese interpretations of Madhyamaka emptiness. Hence, there are indeed reasons why myriad dharmas are inexistent and cannot be taken as existent; there are reasons why [myriad dharmas] are not inexistent and cannot be taken as inexistent. Having forms and shapes, they are not inexistent. Being not real, they are not truly existent. According to Sengzhao, delusion arises through a dependent relationship between phenomenal things, naming, thought and reification and correct understanding lies outside of words and concepts.

He insisted that one must never settle on any particular viewpoint or perspective but constantly reexamine one's formulations to avoid reifications of thought and behavior.

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

The Abhidharma thinkers regard the four holy truths as true. The Satyasiddhi regards merely the truth of cessation of suffering, i. If there is no principle at all, it is an evil view, which is also false.