Stag tsang, amongst others, has argued that any use of mundane pramāṇa—authoritative cognition—is incompatible with the Prāsaṅgika system. His criticism of Tsongkhapa’s interpretation of Candrakīrti’s Madhyamaka which insists on the uses of pramāṇa (tha snyad pa’i tshad ma)—authoritative cognition—within the Prāsaṅgika philosophical context is that it is contradictory and untenable. This paper is my defence of Tsongkhapa’s approach to pramāṇa in the Prāsaṅgika philosophy. By showing that Tsongkhapa consistently adopts a non-foundationalist approach in his interpretation of the Prāsaṅgika’s epistemology, and (...) by showing that he emphatically denies any place for the foundationalist epistemology of Dignāga and Dharmakīrti in the Prāsaṅgika system, I will argue that Tsongkhapa’s epistemology emerges from Stag tsang’s criticisms unscathed. (shrink)
Some argue that Candrakīrti is committed to rejecting all theories of perception in virtue of the rejection of the foundationalisms of the Nyāya and the Pramāṇika. Others argue that Candrakīrti endorses the Nyāya theory of perception. In this paper, I will propose an alternative non-foundationalist theory of perception for Candrakīriti. I will show that Candrakrti’s works provide us sufficient evidence to defend a typical Prāsagika’s account of perception that, I argue, complements his core non-foundationalist ontology.
Buddhist semantic realists assert that reality is always non-linguistic, beyond the domain of conceptual thought. Anything that is conceptual and linguistic, they maintain, cannot be reality and therefore cannot function as reality.The Pra¯san˙gika however rejects the realist theory and argues that all realities are purely linguistic—just names and concepts—and that only linguistic reality can have any causal function. This paper seeks to understand the Pra¯san˙gika’s radical semantic nominalism and its philosophical justifications by comparing and contrasting it with the realistic semantic (...) theories. (shrink)
The doctrine of the two truths - a conventional truth and an ultimate truth - is central to Buddhist metaphysics and epistemology. The two truths (or two realities), the distinction between them, and the relation between them is understood variously in different Buddhist schools; it is of special importance to the Madhyamaka school. One theory is articulated with particular force by Nagarjuna (2nd ct CE) who famously claims that the two truths are identical to one another and yet distinct. One (...) of the most influential interpretations of Nagarjuna's difficult doctrine derives from the commentary of Candrakirti (6th ct CE). In view of its special soteriological role, much attention has been devoted to explaining the nature of the ultimate truth; less, however, has been paid to understanding the nature of conventional truth, which is often described as "deceptive," "illusion," or "truth for fools." But because of the close relation between the two truths in Madhyamaka, conventional truth also demands analysis. Moonshadows, the product of years of collaboration by ten cowherds engaged in Philosophy and Buddhist Studies, provides this analysis. The book asks, "what is true about conventional truth?" and "what are the implications of an understanding of conventional truth for our lives?" Moonshadows begins with a philosophical exploration of classical Indian and Tibetan texts articulating Candrakati's view, and uses this textual exploration as a basis for a more systematic philosophical consideration of the issues raised by his account. (shrink)
All lineages of Tibetan Buddhism today claim allegiance to the philosophy of the Middle Way, the exposition of emptiness propounded by the second-century Indian master Nagarjuna. But not everyone interprets it the same way. A major faultline runs through Tibetan Buddhism around the interpretation of what are called the two truths-the deceptive truth of conventional appearances and the ultimate truth of emptiness. An understanding of this faultline illuminates the beliefs that separate the Gelug descendents of Tsongkhapa from contemporary Dzogchen and (...) Mahamudra adherents.The Two Truths Debate digs into the debate of how the two truths are defined and how they are related by looking at two figures, one on either side of the faultline, and shows how their philosophical positions have dramatic implications for how one approaches Buddhist practice and how one understands enlightenment itself. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Introduction Na?ga?rjuna, the most well-known Buddhist thinker after the Buddha himself, points out in his famous Mu?lamadhyamakaka?rika? that ?The Buddha's teachings of the Dharma is based on the two truths: a truth of worldly conventions and an ultimate truth? (XXIV:8). This doctrine of the two truths does indeed lie at the very heart of Buddhism. More particularly, the phenomenological and soteriological discourses in the Ma?dhyamika tradition revolve around ideas concerning the two truths. Central to the doctrine is the concept that (...) all phenomena possess dual characteristics?conventional and ultimate. The former, defined as the mode of phenomenal appearance, is the conventional truth; while the latter, defined as the ultimate mode of being, is the ultimate truth. This paper examines the ways in which these two truths are related from the Tibetan Pra?sangika Ma?dhyamika perspective, and argues that there are two radically distinct Tibetan ways of reading and interpreting the issues surrounding them. It does so by comparing the ccounts of Tsong khapa Blo bzang Grags pa (hereafter Tsong khapa, 1357?1423 A.D.) and Go rampa bSod nams Senge's (hereafter Go rampa 1429-1489 A.D.), and focuses on the way in which the two truths are related. It will be argued that, for Tsong khapa, the two truths constitute a ?single ontological identity? (ngo bo gcig) with ?different conceptual identities? (ldog pa tha dad), whereas for Go rampa, the truths are separate in a way that is ?incompatible with their unity? (gcig pa bkag pa'i tha dad) or identity. (shrink)