Product Details About the Author. About the Author Chandrakirti was a seventh-century Indian Buddhist philosopher, revered for his interpretation of Nagarjuna's teachings on the Middle Way. Average Review.
Write a Review. Related Searches. Lucid and economical, this introductory text delivers a brisk, fast-moving survey of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Wisdom Chapter
For many years Powers's nearly page Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism has served as the field's most authoritative and comprehensive overview of Tibet's distinctive Buddhist tradition. View Product.
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We can learn how to undo our Essential Gnostic Scriptures. Facets of Unity presents the Enneagram of Holy Ideas as a crystal clear window on Be the first to ask a question about Introduction to the Middle Way. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. Jan 02, Timothy rated it it was amazing.
View 1 comment. Aug 05, Scott added it. This is a 15th century commentary on a 2nd century text translated in the 21 century into English. The root text is likely one of the most complicated or esoteric philosophical ideas of the last two millenium. It's like taking your brain apart and putting it back together piece by piece. Be careful when you dip into this casual text.
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Apr 09, David Joseph rated it really liked it Shelves: buddhism , philosophy. Perfect primer for a study on Tibetan Buddhism. This edition included a terrific Introduction. Loved it. And in the case of Madhyamika, the essential points are easy to miss; one so often fails to see the wood for the trees. The products of Western scholarship are, to be sure, impressive, and it is true that the academic establishment, especially in America, has seen an increase, over the last thirty years, in the numbers of students of Buddhist philosophy who are themselves committed and practicing Buddhists.
In any case, the learned disquisitions of academics do not as a rule provide the kind of help most needed by aspirants on the path. So it is worth remembering that with Madhyamika, as with all other aspects of the Buddhist teachings, the key to understanding is not normally to be found in an unaided reading of texts. Experience shows, at least in the case of the group of people attending the summer teachings in Dordogne, that the easiest and most effective kind of introduction is to be found in the oral exposition of a qualified master.
Fortunately for us, we had in Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche a scholar as well as a talented and entertaining teacher. Perfectly qualified in the subject, he had studied for years at the feet of some of the greatest living exponents of Tibetan Buddhism.
He was able to take us by the hand and show us the essential meaning of Madhyamika, pointing out its vital relevance to our lives and to our spiritual aspirations. Perhaps the secret of his success was that, in slowly introducing his audience to a difficult text and the unusual, sometimes complicated ideas that it contained, he constantly reminded his listeners of the essential import and relevance of the Madhyamika teaching. Of first importance in this procedure must be the establishment of the view, the correct understanding of the nature of phenomena: the objects and situations that surround us in our daily lives and the thoughts and emotions that occupy and agitate our minds.
The view, as presented in the Madhyamika texts, is the indispensable foundation of a stable and fruitful spiritual development. From the outset, it gives a clear idea of where the practice should lead and is a powerful tool for dealing with doubts and difficulties. Considerable intellectual effort is certainly required, but it leads to solid, tangible results. A correct understanding of the view imparts confidence and independence; it is like creating a suit of armor for oneself.
It helps in the development of a clear-sighted, enduring devotion toward the teacher and the teachings, immune to whatever vagaries and difficulties may occur.
Another reason for studying the classic philosophical texts, we were told, is that they provide a firm criterion of doctrinal authenticity. There is a story that once when Atisha was in Tibet, he received news of the death of the master Maitripa. He was deeply grieved, and on being questioned about the reasons for his sorrow, he replied that Buddhism was in decline in India and that everywhere there was syncretism and confusion. Until then, Atisha continued, there had been only two masters in the whole of India, Maitripa and himself, capable of discerning the correct teaching from the doctrines and practices of the reviving Hindu schools.
The time is sure to come, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche commented, and perhaps it is here already, when there will be an analogous situation in the West. Furthermore, a correct understanding of Madhyamika provides an excellent foundation and brings into focus the entire range of Mahayana practice. The view is none other than the absolute aspect of bodhichitta, indissociable from compassion, its relative aspect.
The one cannot be perfected without the other. Compassion can never be mastered without the view of emptiness; wisdom can never be brought to completion without the perfection of compassion. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche remarked significantly that just as the practice of guru yoga is said to be the life of the Vajrayana, lojong, the mind training, is the heart of Madhyamika.
The reader may, however, be interested by the following reflections, the aim of which is to give a general summary of Madhyamika in terms of its essential meaning and its historical development in India and Tibet. Chandrakirti and the Madhyamakavatara Although Chandrakirti lived approximately five centuries after Nagarjuna, that is, roughly halfway through the period in which their tradition was extant in India,4 the Madhyamakavatara is often used as a convenient text with which to embark on the study of Madhyamika.
In fact, although the Madhyamakavatara is actually of greater length than the. Chandrakirti discusses fewer arguments but at greater length, in a manner more adapted to the beginner. Moreover, in addition to providing an accessible introduction to the teaching of Nagarjuna, it also gives a wider overview of the Madhyamika teaching as this developed in the centuries that followed him.
And following the later division between the Prasangika and Svatantrika approaches to the Madhyamika dialectic, it was the Prasangika teaching of Chandrakirti that came to be accepted by all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism as the summit of Buddhist tenet systems.
Although the main theme of the Madhyamakavatara is the presentation of wisdom according to the view of Nagarjuna, it is important to advert to other aspects of the text, which, though subsidiary, are also important. It should be noted, for instance, that the dialectic is presented as an integral part of the Mahayana, the Buddhism of the great vehicle. At the beginning of the text, Chandrakirti emphasizes that the seed and accompaniment of the realization of wisdom is compassion, the desire to release beings from suffering. The twin aspects of ultimate and relative bodhichitta are never separate.
Moreover, the exposition of the view is set within the framework of the ten paramitas and these are correlated with the ten Bodhisattva grounds of realization or bhumis.
Introduction to the Middle Way - Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
Finally, buddhahood itself is made the subject of a detailed presentation at the conclusion of the text. As suggested by the Indian scholar T. Murti and corroborated by Mipham Rinpoche in the introductory section of his. He remained silent, refusing to answer or to express an opinion. These questions, usually fourteen in number, are mentioned on several occasions in the Pali canon.
They are of a specifically metaphysical character and deal with subjects that of their nature lie beyond the possibility of common experience and empirical verification. On most occasions, they are posed by the wandering ascetic Vacchagotta and are as follows: Whether the universe has a beginning, or not, or both, or neither.
Whether the universe has an end, or not, or both, or neither. Whether the self is identical with the body or different from it. To each of his questions, Vacchagotta receives no answer or else, more pointedly, a negative reply to all four alternatives. He is thus faced with another, more fundamental question: Why is it that the Buddha refuses to be drawn into a discussion about such apparently fundamental topics, on which other thinkers had been more than ready to express their views? The silence of the Buddha has traditionally been interpreted as profoundly significant.