'Transcendental knowledge'in Tibetan Mādhyamika Epistemology

Contemporary Buddhism 6 (2):131-152 (2005)
Abstract
At least in as much as it is accessible to ?transcendental wisdom?, Tsong khapa and Go rampa both maintain that ultimate truth is an object of knowledge. So granting that ultimate truth is an object of knowledge and that transcendental wisdom its knowing subject, this paper attempts to address one key epistemological problem: how does transcendental wisdom know or realise ultimate truth? The responses from the Tibetan Mådhyamikas entail that transcendental wisdom knows ultimate truth in at least two different ways: firstly, ?by way of not seeing it? (ma gzigs pa'i tshul gyis gzigs); and, secondly, ?by way of transcending the conceptual elaborations? (spros bral gyis sgo nas gzigs tshul), therefore by way of the non-dual engagement (gnyis snang dral ba'i sgo nas gzigs tshul). Although the emphasis is slightly different in each of the two modes of engagement, they are nevertheless alike in that both represent epistemic pathways geared towards the same non-conceptual realisation of ultimate truth. So what does each of these epistemic modes really mean in relation to ultimate truth? This paper addresses this question at issue by means of undertaking a comparative analysis of Tsong khapa's and Go rampa's epistemological traditions regarding the matters at question
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