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In these lively exchanges the Dalai Lama exhibits clear and penetrating insight into issues that are most important to Western students.
What is emptiness? This question at the heart of Buddhist philosophy has preoccupied the greatest minds of India and Tibet for two millennia, producing hundreds of volumes. Distinguishing the Views, by the fifteenth-century Sakya scholar Gorampa Sonam Senge, is one of the most important of those works, esteemed for its conciseness, lucidity, and profundity. Freedom from Extremes presents Gorampa's elegant philosophical case on the matter of emptiness here in a masterful translation by Geshe Lobsang Dargyay. Gorampa's text is polemical, and his targets are two of Tibet's greatest thinkers: Tsongkhapa, founder of the Gelug school, and Dolpopa, a founding figure of the Jonang school. Distinguishing the Views argues that Dolpopa has fallen into an eternalistic extreme, whereas Tsongkhapa has fallen into nihilism, and that only the mainstream Sakya view - what Gorampa calls "freedom from extremes" - represents the true middle way, the correct view of emptiness. Suppressed for years in Tibet, this seminal work today is widely regarded and is studied in some of Tibet's greatest academic institutions. Gorampa's treatise has been translated and annotated here by two leading scholars of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, and a critical edition of the Tibetan text on facing pages gives students and scholars direct access to Gorampa's own words. Jose Cabezon's extended introduction provides a thorough overview of Tibetan polemical literature and contextualizes the life and work of Gorampa both historically and intellectually. Freedom from Extremes will be indispensable for serious students of Madhyamaka thought.
"We all have the same human mind - each and every one of us has the same potential. Our surroundings and so forth are important, but the nature of mind itself is more important... To live a happy and joyful life, we must take care of our minds." - His Holiness the Dalai Lama At the heart of this book is The Wish-Fulfilling Jewel of the Oral Tradition, an accessible and nonsectarian treatise on penetrating the nature of mind by Khonton Peljor Lhundrub, a teacher of the Fifth Dalai Lama. His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama's broad-ranging overview of this work insightfully distills some of the most central themes of Buddhism: why the mind is so essential to the tradition, what distinguishes the levels of consciousness, and how different schools of Tibetan Buddhism elaborate those distinctions. Profound and erudite, it brings the reader closer to a fresh and direct experience of Buddhism's central truths. Along with his lucid translations, Jose Cabezon provides an introduction to the root text and presentations of the life and works of Khonton Rinpoche, all richly annotated.
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