Emptiness: The Foundation of Buddhist Thought

Overview

In Emptiness, the fifth volume in The Foundation of Buddhist Thought series, Geshe Tashi Tsering provides readers with an incredibly welcoming presentation of the central philosophical teaching of Mahayana Buddhism. Emptiness does not imply a nihilistic worldview, but rather the idea that a permanent entity does not exist in any single phenomenon or being. Everything exists interdependently within an immeasurable quantity of causes and conditions. An understanding of emptiness allows us to see the world as a ...

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Emptiness: The Foundation of Buddhist Thought, Volume 5

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Overview

In Emptiness, the fifth volume in The Foundation of Buddhist Thought series, Geshe Tashi Tsering provides readers with an incredibly welcoming presentation of the central philosophical teaching of Mahayana Buddhism. Emptiness does not imply a nihilistic worldview, but rather the idea that a permanent entity does not exist in any single phenomenon or being. Everything exists interdependently within an immeasurable quantity of causes and conditions. An understanding of emptiness allows us to see the world as a realm of infinite possibility, instead of a static system. Just like a table consists of wooden parts, and the wood is from a tree, and the tree depends on air, water, and soil, so is the world filled with a wondrous interdependence that extends to our own mind and awareness. In lucid, accessible language, Geshe Tashi Tsering guides the reader to a genuine understanding of this infinite possibility.

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Editorial Reviews

Thupten Jinpa
"Geshe Tashi's insights can be enjoyed by a wide audience of both specialists and newcomers to the Buddhist tradition. His presentations, never divorced from the basic humanity and warmth of his personality, combine rigor and accessibility."
Buddhadharma
"Although coming from a traditional Gelugpa presentation of the Buddhist path, these books are written for a modern western audience, and therefore 'happiness' is presented as a principle goal, alongside the more traditional goal of enlightenment. The author's personal tone and his fluent language, combined with his obvious mastery of the material, help to make the series a tremendously valuable resource for the study of basic Buddhist teachings from a Tibetan perspective."
Eastern Horizon
"Geshe Tashi's systematic approach to Buddhist thought allows readers to gradually but surely enhance their knowledge of Buddhism without feeling overwhelmed."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780861715114
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications MA
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Series: Foundation of Buddhist Thought Series , #5
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 733,922
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Geshe Tashi Tsering was born in Tibet in 1958 and received his Geshe Lharampa degree (similar to a doctorate in divinity) from Sera Monastery in India in 1987. Since 1994, he has been the guiding teacher of the Jamyang Buddhist Centre in London, while also teaching at other Buddhist centers worldwide.

Gordon McDougall was director of Cham Tse Ling, the FPMT's Hong Kong center, for two years in the 1980s and worked for Jamyang Buddhist Centre in London from 2000 to 2007. He helped develop the Foundation of Buddhist Thought study program and administered it for seven years. Since 2008 he has been editing Lama Zopa Rinpoche's lamrim teachings for Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive's FPMT Lineage series.

Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche is the Spiritual Director of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a worldwide network of Buddhist centers, monasteries, and affiliated projects, including Wisdom Publications. Rinpoche was born in 1946 in the village of Thami in the Solo Khumbu region of Nepal near Mount Everest. His books include Transforming Problems into Happiness, How to Be Happy, and Ultimate Healing. He lives in Aptos, California.

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Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Preface xi

Editor's Preface xv

1 The Revolution of Selflessness 1

The Uniqueness of the Buddha's Concept of No-Self 1

The Importance of Selflessness 3

Selflessness in the Sutras 5

Did the Buddha Invent Selflessness? 5

Understanding Reality as It Is 7

Selflessness in the Three Turnings of the Dharma Wheel 11

The Commentaries that Deal with Emptiness 14

2 The Prerequisites for Developing an Understanding of Selflessness 19

The Perfection of Concentration 19

Calm Abiding 21

Cultivating Calm Abiding 22

The Best Object of Meditation 25

Mindfulness and Alertness 27

Insight 30

How Insight Is Cultivated According to Tibetan Buddhism 32

3 The Concepts of Selfhood 35

All Things Are No-Self 35

Right View Is Supramundane Insight 35

All Things Are No-Self 36

Was the Prasangika View of Selflessness Taught by the Buddha? 38

Levels of Selfhood 39

The Two Types of Emptiness 39

Acquired and Innate Self-Grasping 41

The Self as an Unchanging, Unitary, and Autonomous Entity 43

The Self as a Self-Sufficient, Substantial Entity 46

The Self as an Intrinsic Entity 48

Identifying the Thief 50

Selflessness in the Four Buddhist Schools 52

Selflessness in the First Three Schools 52

Selflessness in Svatantrika Madhyamaka 55

4 The Differences Between Svatantrika and Prasangika 61

The Main Differences Between The Subschools of Madhyamaka 61

The Difference in the Line of Reasoning 61

The Difference in Direct Perception 66

The Difference in Ultimate and Conventional Levels 69

The Difference in the Understanding of Dependent Origination 70

The Difference in Identifying the Two Obscurations 71

5 Prasangika's Unique Presentation ofEmptiness 77

The Object of Negation 77

Empty of What? 77

Refuting the Referent Object 81

The Object of Ultimate Analysis 82

What Is Intrinsic Nature? 85

Some Clarification of Innate Self-Grasping 88

6 Establishing Emptiness 91

Lines of Reasoning 91

The Seven-Point Analysis 93

1 The Chariot Cannot Be Identical with Its Parts 95

1a The Self Cannot Be Identical with the Aggregates 95

2 The Chariot Cannot Be Posited as Something Separate from Its Parts 96

2a The Self Cannot Be Posited as Something Separate from the Aggregates 97

3 The Parts of the Chariot Do Not Exist Intrinsically as the Base of the Chariot 98

3a The Aggregates Do Not Exist Intrinsically as a Base of the Self 98

4 The Chariot Does Not Exist Intrinsically Dependent on Its Parts 98

4a The Self Does Not Exist Intrinsically Dependent on the Aggregates 99

5 The Chariot Does Not Possess Its Parts 99

5a The Self Does Not Possess the Aggregates in the Sense of Some Kind of Inherent Possession 99

6 The Chariot Is Not Identical with the Collection of Its Parts 100

6a The Collection of the Aggregates Cannot be Posited as the Self 100

7 The Chariot Is Not Its Shape 100

7a The Shape or Configuration of the Aggregates Cannot be Posited as the Self 101

Refuting the Four Possibilities of Production 102

The King of Reasons 105

How The Person and Phenomena Appear Like an Illusion 107

7 Emptiness and Dependent Arising 109

The Three Levels of Dependent Arising 109

The Impact of Dependent Arising 109

The Three Levels of Dependent Arising 110

Causal Dependency 111

Mutual Dependency 113

Merely-Labeled Dependency 116

Emptiness and Dependent Arising 118

The Merging of Emptiness and Dependent Arising 121

Conclusion 127

Appendix 131

Glossary 135

Bibliography 143

Notes 145

Index 149

About the Authors 157

The Foundation of Buddhist Thought 159

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