Introduction To Emptiness: As Taught In Tsong-Kha-Pa's Great Treatise On The Stages Of The Path

Guy Newland

Language: English

Pages: 144

ISBN: 1559393327

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Readers are hard-pressed to find books that can help them understand the central concept in Mahayana Buddhism—the idea that ultimate reality is emptiness. In clear language, Introduction to Emptiness explains that emptiness is not a mystical sort of nothingness, but a specific truth that can and must be understood through calm and careful reflection. Newland's contemporary examples and vivid anecdotes will help readers understand this core concept as presented in one of the great classic texts of the Tibetan tradition, Tsong-kha-pa's Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. This new edition includes quintessential points for each chapter.

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nonexistent.” This kind of approach is marked by careless and shallow reasoning. It will not lead to certainty about emptiness, nor to the powerful understanding of how it is that only empty phenomena can act as causes and effects. It is true that Nagarjuna and other Madhyamaka teachers give arguments that show how, when one analyzes carefully, one cannot find or pin down the target of analysis. Those who negate too much conclude that these arguments refute o u r c ho ic es matter ç 37 the

information about what exists and what does not exist. They are, in that sense, “valid” or authoritative. They can tell us whether there is or is not a table in this room. They can tell us whether the moon is shining. They can tell us where the road is turning. We can rely on them for this sort of knowledge. In some other schools of Buddhist philosophy, valid cognition is said to be valid because it knows accurately the “nature” of its object. These schools also claim that objects exist by way of

us when we introspectively observe our sense of a “real self.” This real self seems to be the singular essence and autonomous core of my being as a person. It is therefore contradictory to say that it is identical to the plural and diverse elements of mind and body. The third argument is that if an intrinsically existing self were identical to the mind and body, then it would have to change moment by moment, just as the mind and body do. In that case, the intrinsically existing self of one moment

the roots of ignorance intact. It is necessary to introspectively identify 116 ▶ ▶ ▶ ? i n t ro du c t io n t o e mp t in e s s the conception of an essential self and then to use analysis to refute it. It is vital to identify very precisely just how ignorance misapprehends things so that we refute neither too little nor too much. Refuting too much undermines ethics and leads to nihilism. Madhyamaka, the middle way, teaches that dependent arising and emptiness are fully compatible. Within

make it clear to beginners. My goal in this book is to bridge the gap between contemporary readers who would like to understand emptiness and Tsong-khapa’s profound explanations. Because the Great Treatise is indisputably a classic work, it is certain that there will be other books to help readers aspiring to delve deeply into even the thorniest portions of the insight section. For now, we need a place to start. I have aimed to provide access to some of its meaning by distilling, summarizing, and

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