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Insight Into Emptiness

Overview

A former abbot of one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the world, Khensur Jampa Tegchok has been teaching Westerners about Buddhism since the 1970s. With a deep respect for the intellectual capacity of his students, Khensur Tegchok here unpacks with great erudition Buddhism's animating philosophical principle - the emptiness of all appearances. Engagingly edited by bestselling author Thubten Chodron, emptiness is here approached from a host of angles far beyond most treatments of the subject, while ...

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Insight into Emptiness

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Overview

A former abbot of one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the world, Khensur Jampa Tegchok has been teaching Westerners about Buddhism since the 1970s. With a deep respect for the intellectual capacity of his students, Khensur Tegchok here unpacks with great erudition Buddhism's animating philosophical principle - the emptiness of all appearances. Engagingly edited by bestselling author Thubten Chodron, emptiness is here approached from a host of angles far beyond most treatments of the subject, while never sacrificing its conversational approach.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Khensur Rinpoche Jampa Tegchok is renowned among the great monastic universities for his keen understanding of philosophy, and of Madhyamaka in particular. Here you will find vital points and reasoning for a clear understanding of emptiness.”—Lama Zopa Rinpoche, author of How to Be Happy

"One of the best introductions to the philosophy of emptiness I have ever read." —José Ignacio Cabezón, Dalai Lama Professor and Chair, Religious Studies Department, UC Santa Barbara

"It is wonderful to see these authoritative and extremely clear teachings. They ease us, step by step, into deeper understanding of emptiness and its liberating power. Highly recommended!"
—Guy Newland, author of Introduction to Emptiness

"This jewel of a book contains the essence of the teachings on emptiness that Khensur Jampa Tegchog has been imparting to Westerners for over thirty years, opening the door to this challenging topic for thousands of people. His approach is straightforward, down-to-earth, compassionate, and rich with practical examples that help to clarify the most profound and complex points."—Ven. Sangye Khadro, author of Awakening a Kind Heart

Lama Zopa Rinpoche
"Khensur Rinpoche Jampa Tegchok is renowned among the great monastic universities for his keen understanding of philosophy, and of Madhyamaka in particular. Here you will find vital points and reasoning for a clear understanding of emptiness."
Jose Ignacio Cabezón
"One of the best introductions to the philosophy of emptiness I have ever read."
Guy Newland
"It is wonderful to see these authoritative and extremely clear teachings. They ease us, step by step, into deeper understanding of emptiness and its liberating power. Highly recommended!"
Ven. Sangye Khadro
"This jewel of a book contains the essence of the teachings on emptiness that Khensur Jampa Tegchog has been imparting to Westerners for over thirty years, opening the door to this challenging topic for thousands of people. His approach is straightforward, down-to-earth, compassionate, and rich with practical examples that help to clarify the most profound and complex points."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781614290131
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications MA
  • Publication date: 7/31/2012
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 963,375
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in 1930, Khensur Jampa Tegchok became a monk at the age of eight. He studied major Buddhist treatises at Sera Monastic University in Tibet for fourteen years before fleeing his homeland in 1959. The former abbot of the Je College of Sera Monastic University in India, he has also been a beloved teacher at several FPMT centers including the Masters Program at Instituto Lama Tsongkhapa in Italy, Land of Medicine Buddha in California, and Nalanda Monastery in France.

Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron has practiced the Buddha's teachings for more than thirty-five years. A native of Los Angeles, she ordained as a nun in the Tibetan tradition in 1977 and received the full ordination of a bhikshuni in Taiwan in 1986. Venerable Chodron has studied extensively with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tsenzhap Serkhong Rinpoche, Zopa Rinpoche, and Lama Thubten Yeshe among many other Tibetan masters. With a clear, practical, and humorous style, she teaches Buddhist philosophy and meditation worldwide. Her numerous books, published in several languages, include Buddhism for Beginners, Taming the Mind, and most recently Don't Believe Everything You Think. Venerable Chodron has been the resident teacher at Amitabha Buddhist Centre in Singapore and was the resident teacher and spiritual adviser for Dharma Friendship Foundation in Seattle for ten years. She is currently the abbess of Sravasti Abbey, a Buddhist monastic community in Newport, Washington, which she founded in 2003. Many of her teachings are available on her website, www.thubtenchodron.org, and on the Sravasti Abbey Youtube Channel.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

An Overview 2

The Origins of This Book 5

A Note on Terminology 6

Appreciation 6

1 The Benefits of Learning about and Meditating on Emptiness 7

Motivation 7

The Sources of This Teaching 8

The Benefits in General 9

Admiration for the Profound 9

The Three Doors of Liberation 11

Benefits According to the Sutras 12

2 Why Realizing Emptiness Is Important 17

Background 17

Taking Refuge 18

Cyclic Existence: The Five Aggregates and Six Realms 21

Ignorance, Afflictions, Karma, and Liberation 23

Renouncing Duhkha and Its Causes 25

The Root of Cyclic Existence 28

The Four Noble Truths 29

3 Enthusiasm for Emptiness 33

Understanding Emptiness Is Crucial 33

The Danger of Misunderstanding Emptiness 36

Doubt Inclined Toward Emptiness 38

The Power of Realizing Emptiness 39

More than One Way to Practice 41

Confidence 42

4 Looking at the Landscape 45

The Four Seals 45

Aryadeva's Advice 47

An Overview of the Levels of Selflessness 49

The Buddha as a Skillful Teacher 51

The Value of Reasoning 53

Emptiness Is an Obscure Phenomenon 54

5 What Is A Person? 57

The Person 57

Persons and Phenomena 58

The Five Aggregates 59

The Continuity of Consciousness 62

Who Is Joe? 63

No Permanent, Unitary, and Independent Self 63

Impermanence: Coarse and Subtle 65

The Meaning of "Unitary" and "Independent" 68

The Lack of a Self-Sufficient, Substantially Existent Person 70

6 Searching for the Person 73

The Basis of Designation and the Designated Object 73

An Inherently Existent Person Can't Be Found 74

The Illustration of the Person 76

The Illustration of the Person, the Mere I, and the Continuity of Mental Consciousness 80

The General I and the Specific I 82

7 Investigating the I 85

Ignorance and Wisdom 85

The Valid I-Apprehending Mind and the Erroneous I-Grasping Mind 86

Valid and Mistaken, but Not Erroneous 89

The Self that Exists and the Self that Doesn't 91

Independence and Imputation 93

8 Exploring Selflessness 97

Selflessness in the Four Schools 97

The Two Middle Way Schools 99

Mere Imputation Without the Slightest Existence from Its Own Side 103

Mere Name 108

9 Imputed and Empty 111

What Is This Fluid? 111

Not Findable, but Existent 113

Searching for the Cart 115

Appearing When Not Analyzed, Unfindable When Analyzed 117

How to Learn about Emptiness 118

10 Enlightenment Is Possible 121

All Sentient Beings Can Attain Enlightenment 121

Adventitious Stains Can Be Eliminated 122

Inconceivable and Inexpressible 124

Combining Bodhichitta and Wisdom 125

11 Easing into Emptiness 127

A Review: How Ignorance Arises and Produces Afflictions 127

The Sequence for Meditating on Selflessness 130

Three Modes of Apprehending Phenomena 132

Dependent Arising Contradicts Inherent Existence 134

12 Dependent Arising 139

Nagarjuna's View 139

The King of Reasonings 140

Dependence on Causes and Conditions 141

Dependence on Parts 143

No Partless Particles 143

Dependent Designation 144

Mutual or Relational Dependence 145

Dependence on Imputation by Name and Concept 147

All Phenomena Depend on Mere Imputation 148

Emptiness and Dependent Arising 150

The Compatibility of Being Dependent and Empty 152

Is There Choice? 153

13 The Four Essential Points 155

Meditation on the Four Essential Points 155

The First Essential Point: Identifying the Object of Negation 156

The Second Essential Point: The Pervasion 159

One and Different 160

One Nature and Different Natures 161

The Third Essential Point: Are I and the Aggregates Inseparably One and the Same? 163

The Fourth Essential Point: Are the I and the Aggregates Totally Unrelated? 169

Expanding the Analysis 170

The Correct Conclusion 171

When to Reflect on Dependent Arising 172

14 How Things Arise: Refuting the Four Extremes 175

Not Arising from Self 175

Not Arising from Other 177

Not Arising from Both 181

Not Arising Causelessly 181

Summary of the Four Extremes 183

15 Ever-Deepening Understandings of Selflessness 185

The Three Turnings of the Dharma Wheel 185

The Chittamatra Perspective 186

Subtler Meanings Revealed in the Three Turnings 189

The Four Reliances 190

Ever-Deepening Levels of Selflessness 191

Deepening Understanding of Dependent Arising 195

Phenomena Are Self-Liberated 197

Self-Emptiness and Other-Emptiness 198

16 Appearances 203

Things Do Not Exist as They Appear 203

True and False 204

Minds and Their Objects 206

Analogies 211

Realizing It Does Not Exist as It Appears 212

Real and Unreal 213

Inferential and Direct Realization of Emptiness 215

Two Levels of Mistaken Appearance 216

17 Refining Our Understanding of Emptiness 219

Similes Showing the Five Aggregates Are Empty 219

The Refutation of One and Many 222

Perception Is Not Truly Existent 223

Nothing to Remove, Nothing to Add 224

Avoiding the Views of Nihilism and Absolutism 225

Abandon Meditating on the Nonexistence of Anything At All 227

18 The Two Truths 231

Basis, Path, and Result 231

The Two Truths 232

Conventional Truths 234

Ultimate Truths 235

Same Nature, Nominally Different 236

Truth and Truly Existent 240

Conventional and Ultimate 241

19 Similes from the Diamond Cutter Sutra—Part I 243

The Simile of a Star 244

The Simile of a Visual Aberration 246

The Simile of the Flame of a Lamp 249

The Simile of an Illusion 250

20 Similes from the Diamond Cutter Sutra—Part II 255

The Simile of a Dewdrop 255

The Simile of a Water Bubble 256

The Simile of a Dream 257

The Simile of a Flash of Lightning 258

The Simile of a Cloud 259

Conclusion: See Conditioned Phenomena as Such 261

21 How Fortunate! 263

Meditating on Emptiness Is Crucial for Liberation 264

Powerful Purification 268

Notes 271

More Reading 275

Index 277

Biographies 281

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