Psychological essentialism posits that humans naturally The results were as follows, ‘Without any hesitation, he assume that individuals have underlying invisible picked up the drum. Holding it in his right hand, he played essences that determine the categories they fall into .
It is common for philosophers from the Madhyamaka school of Indian Buddhist thought to offer a presentation of the two truths, ultimate truth ( param rthasatya ) and conventional truth ( sa v tisatya ), as a vehicle for presenting their views on the ontological status of entities. Though there is some degree of variance, generally ultimate truths are described as objects known by an awareness of knowing things as they are. Conventional truths are objects as conceived by a mistaken (...) awareness, one that superimposes a mode of existence onto objects that is not actually there. These two truths are contrasted (one is accurate; one is not) and used as a vehicle for understanding the ontological status of phenomena and the means by which they are known. ntarak ita (725-788 CE) was among the most important Madhyamaka thinkers in Indian Buddhist history, yet his presentation of the two truths has several features that signal its uniqueness. This paper will discuss two particular unique dimensions to ntarak ita's views on the two truths: his integration of aspects of Cittamatra/Yog c ra thinking, including the rejection of external objects, into his presentation of conventional truths, and the dynamic way in which conventional truths are not merely presented as objects of a mistaken awareness, but rather as an important soteriological step in the process of realizing the ultimate. This syncretic and dynamic integration of Yog c ra thought, where its ideas are fully engaged and incorporated into an over-arching Madhyamaka philosophical system is a key component to the thought of one of the most important, influential, and innovative figures in the late period of Indian Madhyamaka, and one which has yet to be fully acknowledged in secondary literature. (shrink)
In his famous text the Bodhicaryāvatāra, the 8th century Buddhist philosopher Śāntideva argues that anger towards people who harm us is never justified. The usual reading of this argument rests on drawing similarities between harms caused by persons and those caused by non-persons. After laying out my own interpretation of Śāntideva's reasoning, I offer some objections to Śāntideva's claim about the similar-ity between animate and inanimate causes of harm inspired by contemporary philosophical literature in the West. Following this, I argue (...) that by reading Śāntideva's argument as practical advice rather than as a philosophical claim about rational coherence, his argument can still have important in-sights even for those who reject his philosophical reasoning. (shrink)
In this autoethnographic essay, I reflect on my brief personal experiences of conducting field research on ways in which way a small group of Tibetan Buddhist monks enact a monastic total institution in Ladakh, India. More specifically, I analyze my experiences in view of the relationship between dual and nondual mind, as discussed by Henry Vyner (2002) in Anthropology of Consciousness, and use this analysis to develop preliminary insights into the ways in which a Tibetan Buddhist monastery is constituted.
Destructive Emotions is part of a new wave of works seeking to enlarge the scope of cognitive science by joining together scientific and contemplative approaches to the study of consciousness and cognition. While some still regard this rapprochement with suspicion, a growing number of scholars and researchers in the sciences of the mind are persuaded that contemplative practices such as we find, for instance, in Buddhism resemble a vast and potentially useful introspective laboratory.
This book examines how Western behavioral science--which has generally focused on negative aspects of human nature--holds up to cross-cultural scrutiny, in particular the Tibetan Buddhist celebration of the human potential for altruism, empathy, and compassion. Resulting from a meeting between the Dalai Lama, leading Western scholars, and a group of Tibetan monks, this volume includes excerpts from these extraordinary dialogues as well as engaging essays exploring points of difference and overlap between the two perspectives.
In Tibet, the negative dialectics of Madhyamaka are typically identified with Candrakīrti’s interpretation of Nāgārjuna, and systematic epistemology is associated with Dharmakīrti. These two figures are also held to be authoritative commentators on a univocal doctrine of Buddhism. Despite Candrakīrti’s explicit criticism of Buddhist epistemologists in his Prasannapadā, Buddhists in Tibet have integrated the theories of Candrakīrti and Dharmakīrti in unique ways. Within this integration, there is a tension between the epistemological system-building on the one hand, and “deconstructive” negative dialectics (...) on the other. The integration of an epistemological system within Madhyamaka is an important part of Mipam’s (’ju mi pham rgya mtsho, 1846–1912) philosophical edifice, and is an important part of understanding the place of Yogācāra in his tradition. This paper explores the way that Mipam preserves a meaningful Svātantrika-Prāsaṅgika distinction while claiming both Yogācāra and Prāsaṅgika as legitimate expressions of Madhyamaka. Mipam represents Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka as a discourse that emphasizes what transcends conceptuality. As such, he portrays Prāsaṅgika as a radical discourse of denial. Since the mind cannot conceive the “content” of nonconceptual meditative equipoise, Prāsaṅgika, as the representative discourse of meditative equipoise, negates any formulation of that state. In contrast, he positions Yogācāra as a discourse that situates the nonconceptual within a systematic (conceptual) structure. Rather than a discourse that re-presents the nonconceptual by enacting it (like Prāsaṅgika), the discourse of Yogācāra represents the nonconceptual within an overarching system, a system (unlike Prāsaṅgika) that distinguishes between the conceptual and the nonconceptual. (shrink)
Emptiness ( śūnyatā ) is one of the most important topics in Buddhist thought and also is one of the most perplexing. Buddhists in Tibet have developed a sophisticated tradition of philosophical discourse on emptiness and ineffability. This paper discusses the meaning(s) of emptiness within three prominent traditions in Tibet: the Geluk ( dge lugs ), Jonang ( jo nang ), and Nyingma ( rnying ma ). I give a concise presentation of each tradition’s interpretation of emptiness and show how (...) each interpretation represents a distinctive aspect of its meaning. Given that Buddhist traditions (1) accept an extra-linguistic reality and (2) maintain a strong tradition of suspicion of language with the belief that language both constructs and distorts reality, this paper responds to an issue that is not so much whether or not an inexpressible reality can be expressed, but rather how it is best articulated. (shrink)
Here it is argued, with the help of Tsongkhapa's interpretation of Candrakīrti's theory of persons, and on the basis of the character of Vasubandhu's encounter with the Pudgalavādins in the "Refutation of the Theory of Self," that in his Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya . Candrakīrti most likely identifies the theory of persons he attributes to the Sāṃmitīyas with the theory of persons Vasubandhu presents in the "Refutation," and the theory of persons he attributes to the Āryasāṃmitīyas with the Pudgalavādins' theory of persons, to (...) which Vasubandhu objects in that same work. He interprets Vasubandhu's thesis, that persons exist as their aggregates, as the thesis of the Sāṃmitīyas, that persons possess the essence of the aggregates, and interprets the Pudgalavādins' thesis, that persons exist apart from their aggregates as their identity-free substratum, as the thesis of the Āryasāṃmitīyas, that persons possess an essence of something that is neither other than nor the same as the aggregates. It is explained that Candrakīrti's interpretations both rest on the assumption that existence is the possession of an essence and mirror the assumptions upon which Vasubandhu and the Pudgalavādins object to one another's thesis. (shrink)
The Buddhist epistemologist Dharmakīrti (fl. ca. 7th century C.E.) developed a theory of yogic perception that achieved much influence among Buddhist thinkers in India and Tibet. His theory includes an odd problem: on Dharmakīrti’s view, many of the paradigmatic objects of the adept’s meditations do not really exist. How can one cultivate a meditative perception of the nonexistent? This ontological difficulty stems from Dharmakīrti’s decision to construe the Four Noble Truths as the paradigmatic objects of yogic perception. For him, this (...) ontological problem manifests in an epistemological corollary: “impermanence” (anityatā) and other features of the Noble Truths are conceptual, but the adept’s meditative perception of them must be nonconceptual. How can a nonconceptual cognition apprehend a conceptual object? A key aspect of Dharmakīrti’s theory of concepts provides a solution to this problem. Specifically, Dharmakīrti maintains that a concept, when taken as a mental event, can be considered a particular and thus an object of nonconceptual cognition. Taking this approach, Dharmakīrti downplays the notion that yogic perception is an encounter with real things in the world, in part because it is phenomenally akin to hallucination. Instead, what counts for Dharmakīrti—and what differentiates the adept’s realization from the madman’s hallucination—are the salvific effects induced by the meditative experience. (shrink)
In recent years, the ontological similarities between the foundations of quantum mechanics and the emptiness teachings in Madhyamika–Prasangika Buddhism of the Tibetan lineage have attracted some attention. After briefly reviewing this unlikely connection, I examine ideas encountered in condensed-matter physics that resonate with this view on emptiness. Focusing on the particle concept and emergence in condensed-matter physics, I highlight a qualitative correspondence to the major analytical approaches to emptiness.
General introduction.--The supreme path of discipleship: the precepts of the gurus.--The nirvānic path: the yoga of the great symbol.--The path of knowledge: the yoga of the six doctrines.--The path of transference: the yoga of consciousness-transference.--The path of the mystic sacrifice: the yoga of subduing the lower self.--The path of the five wisdoms: the yoga of the long hūm.--The path of the transcendental wisdom: the yoga of the voidness.
This book is the outgrowth of a panel of papers on the theme of "memory," presented at the 1987 Annual Meeting of the Buddhism Section of the American Academy of Religion. Four of the contributors to this volume, including Western phenomenologist Edward Casey from SUNY Stony Brook, participated in that panel, though the papers were obviously further developed since that inceptional presentation. The book focusses on the crucial but heretofore almost entirely overlooked topic of memory and remembrance as it appears (...) in the Indian and Tibetan Buddhist traditions. There are 11 papers here, plus an editor's introduction, and though some of them seem to overlap somewhat, none makes any of the others completely redundant or unnecessary. The result is a very thorough and novel treatment of a crucially important subject for Buddhologists, and is further a fine example of Comparative Philosophy. (shrink)
In an inspirational act of faith and hope, nearly one hundred contributors--social activists, thinkers, artists and spiritual leaders--reflect with poignant candor on our shared human condition and attempt to define a core set of human values in our rapidly changing socity. Contributors include: * The Dalai Lama * Wilma Mankiller * Oscar Arias * Jimmy Carter * Cornel West * Jack Miles * Mother Teresa * Nancy Willard * Elie Wiesel * James Earl Jones * Joan Chittister * Mary Evelyn (...) Tucker * Vaclav Havel * Archbishop Desmund Tutu What Does It Mean To Be Human? is a vital meditation on the endless possibilities of our humanity. (shrink)
Bodhicaryåvatåra was composed by the Buddhist monk scholar Íåntideva at Nalandå University in India sometime during the 8th Century CE. It stands as one the great classics of world philosophy and of Buddhist literature, and is enormously influential in Tibet, where it is regarded as the principal source for the ethical thought of Mahåyåna Buddhism. The title is variously translated, most often as A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life or Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds, translations that follow the (...) canonical Tibetan translation of the title of the book (Byang chub sems pa’i spyod pa la ‘jug pa) and the commentarial tradition of Tibet. But that translation itself is a bit of a gloss on the original Sanskrit, and I think that a more natural English rendering of the Sanskrit title is simply How to Lead an Awakened Life, and that indeed describes the content of the text admirably. Taking this as the title of the text might also issue in a kind of gestalt shift in our view of the text, allowing us to see it not so much as a characterization of the extraordinary moral life of a saint, but as a guide to moral development open to any of us. So, let’s take that as the English title for now. (shrink)
There are two temptations to be resisted when approaching Buddhist moral theory. The first is to assimilate Buddhist ethics to some system of Western ethics, usually either some form of Utilitarianism or some form of virtue ethics. The second is to portray Buddhist ethical thought as constituting some grand system resembling those that populate Western metaethics. The first temptation, of course, can be avoided simply by avoiding the second. In Buddhist philosophical and religious literature we find many texts that address (...) moral topics, and a great deal of attention devoted to accounts of virtuous and vicious actions, virtuous and vicious states of character and of virtuous and vicious lives. However, we find very little direct attention to the articulation of sets of principles that determine which actions, states of character or motives are virtuous or vicious, and no articulation of sets of obligations or rights. (shrink)
In conversation, in the lecture hall, in the Dharma centre and in the public teaching, Buddhists and students of Buddhism worry about authenticity. Is the doctrine defended in a particular text or is a particular textual interpretation authentic? Is a particular teacher authentic? Is a particular practice authentic? Is a phenomenon under examination in a scholarly research project authentically Buddhist? If the doctrine, teacher, practice or phenomenon is not authentically Buddhist, we worry that it is a fraud, that our scholarship, (...) teaching or religious life is vacuous, or at least that it is not really Buddhist studies or Buddhist practice. It is hard for me to remember a conversation of any length with a Western or Tibetan colleague, or with a serious advanced student in which the term “authenticity” or a cognate did not arise, and in which that term did not function as a term of approbation. (shrink)
Mädhyamika philosophers in India and Tibet distinguish between two truths: the conventional and the ultimate. It is difficult, however, to say in what sense conventional truth is indeed a truth, as opposed to falsehood. Indeed, many passages in prominent texts suggest that it is entirely false. It is explained here in the sense in which, for Candrakïrti and Tsong khapa, conventional truth is truth.
For nearly two thousand years Buddhism has mystified and captivated both lay people and scholars alike. Seen alternately as a path to spiritual enlightenment, an system of ethical and moral rubrics, a cultural tradition, or simply a graceful philosophy of life, Buddhism has produced impassioned followers the world over. The Buddhist saint Nagarjuna, who lived in South India in approximately the first century CE, is undoubtedly the most important, influential, and widely studied Mahayana Buddhist philosopher. His many works include texts (...) addressed to lay audiences, letters of advice to kings, and a set of penetrating metaphysical and epistemological treatises. His greatest philosophical work, the Mulamadhyamikakarika--read and studied by philosophers in all major Buddhist schools of Tibet, China, Japan, and Korea--is one of the most influential works in the history of Indian philosophy. Now, in The Foundations of the Philosophy of the Middle Way, Jay L. Garfield provides a clear and and eminently readable translation of Nagarjuna's seminal work, offering those with little of no prior knowledge of Buddhist philosophy a view into the profound logic of the Mulamadhyamikakarika. Translated from the Tibetan, the tradition through which Nagarjuna's philosophical influence has largely been transmitted, Garfield presents a superb translation of Mulamadhyamikakarika in its entirety. Illuminating the systematic character of Nagarjuna's reasoning, as well as the works profundity, Garfield shows how Nagarjuna develops his doctrine that all phenomena are empty of inherent existence and essenceless. But, he argues, phenomena nonetheless exist conventionaly, and that indeed conventional existence and ultimate emptiness are in fact the same thing. This represents the radical understanding of the Buddhist doctrine of the two truths, or two levels of reality. Nagarjuna reinterprets all of Buddhist metaphysics and epistemology through this analytical framework--"a systematic and beautifully elegant philosophical dissection of reality." In turn, Garfield goes on to offer the only verse-by-verse commentary based upon the Indo-Tibetan Prasangika-Madhyamika reading of Nagarjuna, the school most influential in the development of Mahayana philosophy in Tibet, China, Korea, and Japan. Written specifically for the Western reader, the commentary explains Nagarjuna's positions and arguments in the language of Western metaphysics and epistemology, and connects Nagarjuna's concerns tho those of Western philosophers such as Sextus, Hume, and Wittgenstein. A fascinating and accessible translation of the foundational text for all Mahayana Buddhism text, The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way will enlighten all those in search of the essence of reality. (shrink)
This question—why did Bodhidharma come from the West?— is ubiquitous in Chinese Ch’an Buddhist literature. Though some see it as an arbitrary question intended merely as an opener to obscure puzzles, I think it represents a genuine intellectual puzzle: Why did Bodhidharma come from theWest—that is, fromIndia? Why couldn’tChina with its rich literary and philosophical tradition have given rise to Buddhism? We will approach that question, but I prefer to do so backwards. I want to ask instead, “why was it (...) so fortuitous for the development of Buddhist philosophy that Bodhidharma wentEast? I will argue that by doing so he gave a trajectory to Buddhist thought about the mind and knowledge that allows certain issues that are obscure in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, despite their centrality to the Buddhist critique of Indian orthodoxy, to come into sharper relief, and hence to complete a project begun, but not completable, in that Indo-European context. (shrink)
‘Ju Mipham Rinpoche, (1846-1912) an important figure in the _Ris med_, or non- sectarian movement influential in Tibet in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, was an unusual scholar in that he was a prominent _Nying ma_ scholar and _rDzog_ _chen_ practitioner with a solid dGe lugs education. He took dGe lugs scholars like Tsong khapa and his followers seriously, appreciated their arguments and positions, but also sometimes took issue with them directly. In his commentary to Candrak¥rti’s _Madhyamakåvatåra, _Mi (...) pham argues that Tsong khapa is wrong to take Candrak¥rti’s rejection of the reflexive character of consciousness to be a rejection of the _conventional _existence of reflexive awareness. Instead, he argues, Candrak¥rti only intends to reject the reflexivity of awareness _ultimately_, and, indeed, Mipham argues, it is simply _obvious _that conventionally, consciousness is reflexive. (shrink)
Trisvabh vanirdeśa (Treatise on the Three Natures) is Vasubandhu's most mature and explicit exposition of the Yogc c ra doctrine of the three natures and their relation to the Buddhist idealism Vasubandhu articulates. Nonetheless there are no extent commentaries on this important short test. The present work provides an introduction to the text, its context and principal philosophical theses; a new translation of the text itself; and a close, verse-by-verse commentary on the text explaining the structure of Yogacara/Cittamatra idealism and (...) comparing it to Western versions of transcendental idealism. In particular, I show how the doctrine of the three natures is used to make idealism coherent in a Buddhist context and how it sheds light on the structure and evolution of transcendental idealism in Europe. (shrink)
This essay examines historical and contemporary connections between Buddhist and medical traditions through a study of the Accomplishing Medicine ( sman sgrub ) practice and the Yuthok Heart Essence ( G.yu thog snying thig ) anthology. Accomplishing Medicine is an esoteric Buddhist yogic and contemplative exercise focused on several levels of “alchemical” transformation. The article will trace the acquisition of this practice from India by Tibetan medical figures and its assimilation into medical practice. It will propose that this alchemical practice (...) forms the central nexus of connection between Tibetan medicine and the Buddhist Nyingma tradition, and that this little-studied link is not a marginal feature of Tibetan medicine but rather one that has had a significant shaping factor on each tradition throughout history. (shrink)
Can the mind heal the body? The Buddhist tradition says yes--and now many Western scientists are beginning to agree. Healing Emotions is the record of an extraordinary series of encounters between the Dalai Lama and prominent Western psychologists, physicians, and meditation teachers that sheds new light on the mind-body connection. Topics include: compassion as medicine; the nature of consciousness; self-esteem; and the meeting points of mind, body, and spirit. This edition contains a new foreword by the editor.
In defending the teaching of emptiness, Bh vaviveka offers some very strange arguments, which initially may appear so weak that we may be hard pressed to understand how anyone could endorse them. To make sense of these passages, it is helpful to compare them to an argument found in the writings of the Naiy yika Uddyotakara. These arguments have a certain formal feature which makes them count as valid from the point of view of the rules and norms of some (...) forms of Indian logic. Once we understand the logical structure of the arguments offered by Uddyotakara and Bh vaviveka, we will not only have a better grasp on their philosophical views, but we will also be in a better position to understand how and why those views were rejected by later figures in the Indian tradition, such as Dharmakīrti and ntarak ⋅ ita. (shrink)
In defending the teaching of emptiness, Bh?vaviveka offers some very strange arguments, which initially may appear so weak that we may be hard pressed to understand how anyone could endorse them. To make sense of these passages, it is helpful to compare them to an argument found in the writings of the Naiy?yika Uddyotakara. These arguments have a certain formal feature which makes them count as valid from the point of view of the rules and norms of some forms of (...) Indian logic. Once we understand the logical structure of the arguments offered by Uddyotakara and Bh?vaviveka, we will not only have a better grasp on their philosophical views, but we will also be in a better position to understand how and why those views were rejected by later figures in the Indian tradition, such as Dharmak?rti and ??ntarak?ita. (shrink)
Robert Preece’s The Psychology of Buddhist Tantra and Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche’s Everyday Consciousness and Primordial Awareness are reviewed. Both books address Tibetan Buddhism, and their common threads underscore this discussion. Even when separated from their original contexts, the Tibetan Buddhist teachings offer understandings about a common human nature and a method of transforming consciousness through awareness.
Bioinformatics is a new field of study whose ethical implications involve a combination of bioethics, computer ethics and information ethics. This paper is an attempt to view some of these implications from the perspective of Buddhism. Privacy is a central concern in both computer/information ethics and bioethics, and with information technology being increasingly utilized to process biological and genetic data, the issue has become even more pronounced. Traditionally, privacy presupposes the individual self but as Buddhism does away with the ultimate (...) conception of an individual self, it has to find a way to analyse and justify privacy that does not presuppose such a self. It does this through a pragmatic conception that does not depend on a positing of the substantial self, which is then found to be unnecessary for an effective protection of privacy. As it may be possible one day to link genetic data to individuals, the Buddhist conception perhaps offers a more flexible approach, as what is considered to be integral to an individual person is not fixed in objectivity but depends on convention. (shrink)