Hegel inverted the Tantric Buddhist, Bönpo and Stoic view of human spiritual and social evolution by presenting it as a progressive perfecting rather than as a progressive degeneration impelled by the gradual development of the basic human delusion called avidya (unawareness). Since he cancelled the crucial map /territory distinction, he had to explain change in nature as the negation of the immediately preceding state, and since he wanted spiritual and social evolution to be a process of perfecting, he had (...) to invent a negation that, rather than canceling former negations, or incorporating them and thus increasing fragmentation and delusion, incorporated them and thereby produced an increase of wholeness and truth: the Aufhebung or sublation, not found in any existing process—whether logical or in phenomenological—and existing only in Hegel’s imagination. The only existing negation that incorporates the preceding negation, rather than canceling or annulling it (as logical negation does), is the phenomenological negation occurring in Sartre’s bad faith, which Laing illustrated with a “spiral of pretenses,” and Hegel’s sublation is a misrepresentation of this phenomenological negation that he fancied to make his inverted view of spiritual, social and political evolution possible. In the Tantric Buddhist, Bönpo and Stoic view what increases is fragmentation and delusion. When these reach their logical extreme,they achieve their reductio ad absurdum in ecological crisis. (shrink)
_Making Sense of Tantric Buddhism_ fundamentally rethinks the nature of the transgressive theories and practices of the Buddhist Tantric traditions, challenging the notion that the Tantras were "marginal" or primitive and situating them instead -- both ideologically and institutionally -- within larger trends in mainstream Buddhist and Indian culture. Critically surveying prior scholarship, Wedemeyer exposes the fallacies of attributing Tantric transgression to either the passions of lusty monks, primitive tribal rites, or slavish imitation of Saiva traditions. Through (...) comparative analysis of modern historical narratives -- that depict Tantrism as a degenerate form of Buddhism, a primal religious undercurrent, or medieval ritualism -- he likewise demonstrates these to be stock patterns in the European historical imagination. Through close analysis of primary sources, Wedemeyer reveals the lived world of TantricBuddhism as largely continuous with the Indian religious mainstream and deploys contemporary methods of semiotic and structural analysis to make sense of its seemingly repellent and immoral injunctions. Innovative, semiological readings of the influential _Guhyasamaja Tantra_ underscore the text's overriding concern with purity, pollution, and transcendent insight -- issues shared by all Indic religions -- and a large-scale, quantitative study of Tantric literature shows its radical antinomianism to be a highly managed ritual observance restricted to a sacerdotal elite. These insights into Tantric scripture and ritual clarify the continuities between South Asian Tantrism and broader currents in Indian religion, illustrating how thoroughly these "radical" communities were integrated into the intellectual, institutional, and social structures of South Asian Buddhism. (shrink)
In Buddhism the idea of a transcendental or eternal self is denied as non-substantial and impermanent: a non-verifiable metaphysical entity that leads to grasping, craving and suffering. Buddhism posits that things continually change, are continually reducible and recyclable, and that no inherent existence or metaphysical “self” exists but rather a series of aggregates give rise to the experience so that consciousness itself is causally conditioned. As applied to the notion of no- self the one who is reborn and (...) the one who dies and the one who follows the path and the one who realizes enlightenment are neither the same nor different selves. With the Buddhist doctrine of impermanence an analysis of the notion of the “self” breaks down into layers to discover that the self does not exist independently at all. Because of simultaneous arising and falling of each moment the self exists as essentially empty. (shrink)
Innovative readings of the "Guhyasamaja Tantra" underscore the text's overriding concern with purity, pollution, and transcendent insight and a large-scale, quantitative study of Tantric literature shows its radical antinomianism to be a ...
Early Buddhist Metaphysics provides a philosophical account of the major doctrinal shift in the history of early Theravada tradition in India: the transition from the earliest stratum of Buddhist thought to the systematic and allegedly scholastic philosophy of the Pali Abhidhamma movement. Entwining comparative philosophy and Buddhology, the author probes the Abhidhamma's metaphysical transition in terms of the Aristotelian tradition and vis-à-vis modern philosophy, exploits Western philosophical literature from Plato to contemporary texts in the fields of philosophy of mind and (...) cultural criticism. (shrink)
This book is the first to engage Zen Buddhism philosophically on crucial issues from a perspective that is informed by the traditions of western philosophy and religion. It focuses on one renowned Zen master, Huang Po, whose recorded sayings exemplify the spirit of the 'golden age' of Zen in medieval China, and on the transmission of these writings to the West. The author makes a bold attempt to articulate a post-romantic understanding of Zen applicable to contemporary world culture. While (...) deeply sympathetic to the Zen tradition, he raises serious questions about the kinds of claims that can be made on its behalf. (shrink)
Morrison offers an illuminating study of two linked traditions that have figured prominently in twentieth-century thought: Buddhism and the philosophy of Nietzsche. Nietzsche admired Buddhism, but saw it as a dangerously nihilistic religion; he forged his own affirmative philosophy in reaction against the nihilism that he feared would overwhelm Europe. Morrison shows that Nietzsche's influential view of Buddhism was mistaken, and that far from being nihilistic, it has notable and perhaps surprising affinities with Nietzsche's own project of (...) the transvaluation of all values. (shrink)
The Buddhist philosophical tradition is vast, internally diverse, and comprises texts written in a variety of canonical languages. It is hence often difficult for those with training in Western philosophy who wish to approach this tradition for the first time to know where to start, and difficult for those who wish to introduce and teach courses in Buddhist philosophy to find suitable textbooks that adequately represent the diversity of the tradition, expose students to important primary texts in reliable translations, that (...) contextualize those texts, and that foreground specifically philosophical issues. Buddhist Philosophy fills that lacuna. It collects important philosophical texts from each major Buddhist tradition. Each text is translated and introduced by a recognized authority in Buddhist studies. Each introduction sets the text in context and introduces the philosophical issues it addresses and arguments it presents, providing a useful and authoritative guide to reading and to teaching the text. The volume is organized into topical sections that reflect the way that Western philosophers think about the structure of the discipline, and each section is introduced by an essay explaining Buddhist approaches to that subject matter, and the place of the texts collected in that section in the enterprise. This volume is an ideal single text for an intermediate or advanced course in Buddhist philosophy, and makes this tradition immediately accessible to the philosopher or student versed in Western philosophy coming to Buddhism for the first time. It is also ideal for the scholar or student of Buddhist studies who is interested specifically in the philosophical dimensions of the Buddhist tradition. (shrink)
David Webster explores the notion of desire as found in the Buddhist Pali Canon. Beginning by addressing the idea of a 'paradox of desire', whereby we must desire to end desire, the varieties of desire that are articulated in the Pali texts are examined. A range of views of desire, as found in Western thought are presented as well as Hindu and Jain approaches. An exploration of the concept of ditthi (view or opinion) is also provided, exploring the way in (...) which 'holding views' can be seen as analogous to the process of desiring. Other subjects investigated include the mind-body relationship, the range of Pali terms for desire, and desire's positive spiritual value. A comparative exploration of the various approaches completes the work. (shrink)
This lucid overview of the Buddhist path takes the perspective of the three "vehicles" of Tibetan Buddhism: the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. While these vehicles are usually presented as a historical development, they are here equated with the attitudes that individuals bring to their Buddhist practice. Basic to them all, however, is the need to understand our own immediate condition. The primary tool for achieving this is meditation, and The Essence of Buddhism serves as a handbook for the (...) various meditative approaches of Buddhist practice. Beginning with the Four Noble Truths, Traleg Rinpoche incorporates the expansive vision of the bodhisattva path and the transformative vision of Tantra. The final chapters present the transcendent view of Mahamudra. This view dispenses with all dualistic fixations and directly realizes the natural freedom of the mind itself. Along the way, the author provides vivid definitions of fundamental concepts such as compassion, emptiness, and Buddha-nature, and answers common questions: Why does Buddhism teach that there is "no self"? Are Buddhist teachings pessimistic? Does Buddhism encourage social passivity? What is the role of sex in Buddhist Tantra? Why is it said that "samsara is nirvana"? Does it take countless lifetimes to attain enlightenment, or can it be achieved in a moment? (shrink)
Yoga came to Tibet from India more than a thousand years ago, and it was quickly absorbed into the culture's rich traditions. In this small book readers will discover Heart Yoga, which developed over the centuries in the Gelukpa tradition of the Dalai Lamas. The program presented here combines popular yoga exercises wtih special Tibetan poses, and methods of working from the inside to give a healthy and a happy heart. Roach discovered a number of previously unknown Tibetan works on (...) yoga in the course of his ongoing efforts to find and preserve ancient Tibetan Buddhist texts. He discusses the ideas and insights presented in these texts and places them within the context of the Buddhist tradition. To help readers incorporate this ancient wisdom in their daily lives, he provides a specific regime of yoga postures and meditations. Combining instructive illustrations with the unique philosophical underpinnings of the Buddhist approach, Geshe Roach has created a unique program for yoga on a physical and spiritual level. (shrink)
... Introduction to Buddhist Tantra Tantra forms the esoteric basis of all major religions. It stands for the awakening of dormant divinity. It is a mystic technique to invoke the spirituality of man and woman.
This compelling study of the Ri-me movement and of the major Buddhist lineages of Tibet is comprehensive and accessible. It includes an introduction to the history and philosophy of the Ri-me movement; a biography of the movement's leader, the meditation master and philosopher known as Jamgon Kongtrul the Great; helpful summaries of the eight lineages' practice-and-study systems, which point out the different emphases of the schools; an explanation of the most hotly disputed concepts; and an overview of the old and (...) new tantras. Jamgon Kongtrul the Great (1813-1899) is a giant in Tibetan history, renowned for his scholarly and meditative achievements, but also for his energetic yet evenhanded work to unify and strengthen the different lineages of Buddhism. The Ri-me movement, led by Kongtrul and several other leading scholars of the time, was a unifying effort to cut through interscholastic divisions and disputes that were occurring between the different lineages. These leaders sought appreciation of the differences and acknowledgment of the importance of variety in benefiting practitioners with different needs. The Ri-me teachers also took great care that the teachings and practices of the different schools and lineages, and their unique styles, did not become confused with one another. This lucid survey of the Ri-me movement will be of interest to serious scholars and practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. (shrink)
The aim of this book is simple: to invite readers to consider what it means to lead a good life, and to offer practical advice, based on the Buddhist teachings, as to how this can be accomplished. In each of more than thirty brief essays, Master Hsing Yun treats a specific moral or ethical issue, using quotations from the rich treasury of the Buddhist scriptures as a point of departure for his discussion. Among the topics he considers are control of (...) the body and of speech, overcoming greed, ending anger, patience under insult, how to manage wealth, how to get along with others, what it means to practice Buddhism, and the blessings and joys of that practice. The Buddhist precepts are introduced as guideposts along this path of liberation, and friendship, gratitude, and service to others are presented as essential elements of a common quest to discover and to embody our innate goodness and humanity. (shrink)
In Taking the Path of Zen , Robert Aitken provided a concise guide to zazen (Zen meditation) and other aspects of the practice of Zen. In The Mind of Clover he addresses the world beyond the zazen cushions, illuminating issues of appropriate personal and social action through an exploration of the philosophical complexities of Zen ethics. Aitken's approach is clear and sure as he shows how our minds can be as nurturing as clover, which enriches the soil and benefits the (...) environment as it grows. The opening chapters discuss the Ten Grave Precepts of Zen, which, Aitken points out, are "not commandments etched in stone but expressions of inspiration written in something more fluid than water." Aitken approaches these precepts, the core of Zen ethics, from several perspectives, offering many layers of interpretation. Like ripples in a pond, the circles of his interpretation increasingly widen, and he expands his focus to confront corporate theft and oppression, the role of women in Zen and society, abortion, nuclear war, pollution of the environment, and other concerns. The Mind of Clover champions the cause of personal responsibility in modern society, encouraging nonviolent activism based on clear convictions. It is a guide that engages, that invites us to realize our own potential for confident and responsible action. (shrink)