Resurrecting Candrakirti: Disputes in the Tibetan Creation of Prasangika

Resurrecting Candrakirti: Disputes in the Tibetan Creation of Prasangika

by Kevin A. Vose


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The seventh-century Indian master Candrakirti lived a life of relative obscurity, only to have his thoughts and writings rejuvenated during the Tibetan transmission of Buddhism. Since then, Candrakirti has been celebrated as offering the most thorough and accurate vision of Nagarjuna's view of emptiness which, in turn, most fully represents the final truth of the Buddha's teaching. Candrakirti's emptiness denies the existence of any "nature" or substantial, enduring essence in ourselves or in the phenomenal world while avoiding the extreme view of nihilism. In this view, our false belief in nature is at the root of our ignorance and is the basis for all mental and emotional pain and disturbance. For many Tibetan scholars, only Candrakirti's Middle Way entirely overcomes our false belief in inherent identity and, consequently, alone overcomes ignorance, delivering freedom from the cycle of uncontrolled death and rebirth known as samsara.

Candrakirti's writings have formed the basis for Madhyamaka study in all major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. In Resurrecting Candrakirti, Kevin Vose presents the reader with a thorough presentation of Candrakirti's rise to prominence and the further elaborations the Tibetans have made on his presentation of emptiness. By splitting Madhyamaka into two subschools, namely the Svatantrika and Prasangika, the Tibetans became pioneers in understanding reality and created a new way to define differences in interpretation. Resurrecting Candrakirti provides the historical and philosophical context necessary to understand both Madhyamaka and its importance to Tibetan Buddhist thought.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780861715206
Publisher: Wisdom Publications MA
Publication date: 02/09/2009
Series: Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism Series
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Kevin Vose is a professor of religious studies at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He received his PhD in Buddhist studies from the University of Virginia. His research examines the interplay of late-Indian and early-Tibetan Madhyamaka and the formation of Tibetan scholasticism.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

The Twelfth-Century Candrakirti 4

School, Movement, Doxographical Category 10

1 The Indian Discovery of Candrakirti 17

Reviving Candrakirti's Critique of Ultimate Valid Cognition 21

Candrakirti and Tantra 27

Resurrecting Candrakirti, Creating Prasangika 36

2 The Birth of Prasangika 41

Territory and Translations in Tibet's Later Diffusion 42

Ngok and Patsab: Textual Ownership and Competing Communities 45

Texts in Conflict and the Scholastic Solution 52

Conclusion: Prasangika and Svatantrika Schools 60

3 Taxonomies of Ignorance, Debates on Validity 63

Mistaken Mind, Deceptive Mind 66

Jayananda's Two Truths 71

Levels of Validity 78

Conclusion: Competing Schools of Philosophy, Unified Religious Vision 82

4 What Can Be Said About the Ineffable? 87

The Prasangika Ultimate 88

Chapa's Ultimate p 92

Almost the Ultimate 99

Conclusion: The Importance of the Ultimate 110

5 Prasangika vs. Svatantrika on Non-Abiding Nirvana 111

"Knowing" the Ultimate: Transformation in the Absence of Mind 112

Making a Blind Buddha See 120

Svatantrika Solutions to Buddha Vision 122

Conclusion: Madhyamaka Nirvana 132

Conclusion: The Prasangika Victory 135

Materials: The Arguments against Prasangas and for Svatantra Inference in Chapa Chokyi Senge's Compilation of the Three Madhyamikas from the East 139

Refuting a Real Entity 141

1 Debunking that Consequences Negate the Object of Negation 141

2 The Way of Refuting Proliferations Through Inference 166

Notes 171

Bibliography 243

Index 261

About the Author 292

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