In Praise of Dharmadhatu

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Overview

Nagarjuna is famous in the West for his works not only on Madhyamaka but his poetic collection of praises, headed by In Praise of Dharmadhatu. This book explores the scope, contents, and significance of Nagarjuna's scriptural legacy in India and Tibet, focusing primarily on the title work. The translation of Nagarjuna's hymn to Buddha nature—here called dharmadhatu—shows how buddha nature is temporarily obscured by adventitious stains in ordinary sentient beings gradually uncovered through the path of ...
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Overview

Nagarjuna is famous in the West for his works not only on Madhyamaka but his poetic collection of praises, headed by In Praise of Dharmadhatu. This book explores the scope, contents, and significance of Nagarjuna's scriptural legacy in India and Tibet, focusing primarily on the title work. The translation of Nagarjuna's hymn to Buddha nature—here called dharmadhatu—shows how buddha nature is temporarily obscured by adventitious stains in ordinary sentient beings gradually uncovered through the path of bodhisattvas and finally revealed in full bloom as buddhahood. These themes are explored at a deeper level through a Buddhist history of mind's luminous nature and a translation of the text's earliest and most extensive commentary by the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje (1284–1339), supplemented by relevant excerpts from all other available commentaries. The book also provides an overview of the Third Karmapa's basic outlook, based on seven of his major texts. He is widely renowned as one of the major proponents of the shentong (other-empty) view. However, as this book demonstrates, this often problematic and misunderstood label needs to be replaced by a more nuanced approach which acknowledges the Karmapa's very finely tuned synthesis of the two great traditions of Indian mahayana Buddhism, Madhyamaka and Yogacara. These two, his distinct positions on Buddha nature, and the transformation of consciousness into enlightened wisdom also serve as the fundamental view for the entire vajrayana as it is understood and practiced in the Kagyu tradition to the present day.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Karl Brunnhölzl has done an excellent job of researching and translating this text and providing further material for reflection on the text's key topics. This book will serve as a great resource for those who wish to explore the teachings on buddha nature."—Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, author of Mind Beyond Death and Wild Awakening

"In Praise of Dharmadhatu is a wonderful book that bridges the apparent divide between the key Mahayana teachings of emptiness and buddha nature using the words of Nagarjuna and the profound explanations of Rangjung Dorje, the Third Karmapa. Nagarjuna's text and Rangjung Dorje's commentary are beautifully translated and annotated by Karl Brunnhölzl, who also provides extensive background material on Nagarjuna and his writings, the Third Karmapa and his writings, and the main topics covered in the texts. Brunnhölzl's presentation is both scholarly and experiential, with flashes of humor that leaven the mix."—Andy Karr, author Contemplating Reality

"Dr. Brunnhölzl's In Praise of the Dharmadhatu is an important work. His translations of Nagarjuna's text and Karmapa Rangjung Dorje's commentary are both clear and elegant, and his introduction is masterful. Joining the understandings of buddha nature and emptiness, it is a fitting complement to his Center of the Sunlit Sky. Scholars will encounter Nagarjuna's broader range of exposition. Students of vajrayana Buddhism will gain a greater appreciation of the view in which they practice. Highly recommended."—Scott Wellenbach, codirector of the Nitartha Institute

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559392860
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/25/2008
  • Series: The Nitartha Institute Series
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Nagarjuna, the South Indian Buddhist master who lived six hundred years after the Buddha, is undoubtedly the most important, influential, and widely studied Mahayana Buddhist philosopher.
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Table of Contents

Abbreviations     7
An Aspiration$dH.H. the Seventeenth Karmapa, Orgyen Trinle Dorje     9
Foreword$dH.H. the Seventeenth Karmapa, Orgyen Trinle Dorje     11
Foreword$dThe Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche     13
Preface     17
Nagarjuna and His Works     21
Who Was Nagarjuna?     21
What Did Nagarjuna Write or Not Write?     22
Various Views on Nagarjuna's Scriptural Legacy and Its Scope     30
Who or What Is Praised in Nagarjuna's Praises?     43
A Brief "History" of Luminous Mind     57
A Terminological Map for the Dharmadhatustava and Its Commentaries     57
The Eight Consciousnesses     57
The World Is Imagination     59
Mind Has Three Natures     60
A Fundamental Change of State     63
The Expanse of the Basic Element of Being     63
Self-Awareness and Personal Experience     64
Having the Heart of a Tathagata     66
Luminous Mind     67
Luminous Mind and Tathagatagarbha     68
The Eighth Karmapa on the Dharmadhatu as "Disposition" and Tathagata Heart     83
Is Buddha Nature an Eternal Soul or Sheer Emptiness?     102
The Dharmadhatustava     113
An Overview of the Basic Themes of the Dharmadhatustava     113
Translation: In Praise of Dharmadhatu     117
The Significance of the Dharmadhatustava in the Indo-Tibetan Tradition     130
The Third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje, and His Commentary on the Dharmadhatustava     157
A Short Biography     157
Some Preliminary Remarks on Rangjung Dorje's View     159
On Rangjung Dorje's Commentary on the Dharmadhatustava     193
Other Tibetan Commentaries on the Dharmadhatustava     198
Translation of Rangjung Dorje's Commentary     206
Outline of Rangjung Dorje's Commentary     307
Existing Translations of the Praises Attributed to Nagarjuna in the Tengyur     311
Translations of the Remaining Praises     313
Glossary: English-Sanskrit-Tibetan     325
Glossary: Tibetan-Sanskrit-English     329
Bibliography     333
Endnotes     344
Index     426
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2008

    Clear and well-researched presentation of important texts

    This is a wonderful book, combining a thoroughly-considered and refined translation of two important Buddhist texts, Nagarjuna's Dharmadhatustava and the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje's commentary, with very extensive and insightful introductory material. The introductions are thorough and clear, with extensive references a very readable presentation of a lot of information, all of which can enhance understanding of the texts translated here. The 102 pages of endnotes provide thorough and detailed explanations, and providing additional literary and commentarial context for parts of the translations. I found the texts translated here inspiring, and beautifully rendered. The thorough introductions and extensive endnotes, along with this elegant translation, made it possible to appreciate this text as I would not have been able to otherwise.

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