The Nature of Things: Emptiness and Essence in the Geluk World

Overview

Nature is a topic in many Indian and Tibetan philosophical texts, although its meaning varies considerably in both Hindu and Buddhist scriptures. The discussion of nature pursued in this book begins with Nagarjuna (first century), founder of the Middle Way School, who refuted a fabricated nature in his Treatise on the Middle. In that seminal text, he puts forth the three basic criteria for nature: it must be something that is non-fabricated, independent, and immutable.

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Overview

Nature is a topic in many Indian and Tibetan philosophical texts, although its meaning varies considerably in both Hindu and Buddhist scriptures. The discussion of nature pursued in this book begins with Nagarjuna (first century), founder of the Middle Way School, who refuted a fabricated nature in his Treatise on the Middle. In that seminal text, he puts forth the three basic criteria for nature: it must be something that is non-fabricated, independent, and immutable.

This book presents Dzong-ka-ba's discussion of the overly narrow object in his Great Exposition and relates that discussion to Nagarjuna's verses in Treatise on the Middle. When combined with an understanding of an overly broad object to be negated, this topic brings the Middle Way practitioner to a precise identification of the nonexistent object-of-negation nature as being a thing's establishment by way of its own entity.

This book also presents Dzong-ka-ba's more mainstream commentary on the subject in the Ocean of Reasoning sections, which are translated in Part Two. It also describes Dzong-ka-ba's strong reaction to the positive and independent nature asserted by Tibet's greatest synthesist, Dol-bo Shay-rap-gyel-tsen (fourteenth century). 

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Nagarjuna, a second-century C.E. Indian sage and founder of the "Middle School" of Buddhism, authored the enigmatic Fundamental Treatise on the Middle (for a poetic translation of the full text, see Stephen Batchelor's Verses from the Center, LJ 7/00). Magee, an academic specializing in Tibetan-language and 15th-century C.E. Buddhist philosophy, examines Nagarjuna's conceptualization of the nature of phenomena in Chapter XV of the Treatise in light of Candrakirti's and Dzong-ka-ba's later commentaries. This densely packed, dissertation-like analysis is supported by translations of Chapter XV of Nagarjuna's Treatise and portions of Candrakirti and Dzong-ka-ba's exegeses. Suitable for collections specializing in Tibetan Buddhism.--James R. Kuhlman, Univ. of North Carolina Lib., Asheville Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559391450
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/2000
  • Pages: 244
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

William Magee has a PhD in Buddhist Studies from the University of Virginia. For the past twelve years, he has taught the University of Virginia's internationally famed summer Tibetan language program. Magee currently teaches at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. 

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