The Dharma's Gatekeepers: Sakya Pandita on Buddhist Scholarship in Tibet

The Dharma's Gatekeepers: Sakya Pandita on Buddhist Scholarship in Tibet

by Jonathan C. Gold
     
 

ISBN-10: 0791471659

ISBN-13: 9780791471654

Pub. Date: 09/13/2007

Publisher: State University of New York Press

The Dharma's Gatekeepers offers an incisive analysis of one of the most important works in Tibetan Buddhist intellectual history: Sakya Pandita's Gateway to Learning (Mkhas pa 'jug pa'i sgo). Writing in a time when a distinctively Tibetan tradition of Buddhism was first emerging, Sakya Pandita wanted to present Tibetan intellectuals with what he took to be an…  See more details below

Overview

The Dharma's Gatekeepers offers an incisive analysis of one of the most important works in Tibetan Buddhist intellectual history: Sakya Pandita's Gateway to Learning (Mkhas pa 'jug pa'i sgo). Writing in a time when a distinctively Tibetan tradition of Buddhism was first emerging, Sakya Pandita wanted to present Tibetan intellectuals with what he took to be an authentically Indian (and therefore, authentically Buddhist) understanding of the nature and tasks of intellectual life-with a view of how scholarship was understood and practiced in the great monastic colleges of India.

In The Dharma's Gatekeepers, we see Sakya Pandita building the intellectual foundation for Tibetan scholasticism through a series of subtle, brilliant, and quintessentially Buddhist arguments about the nature of learning itself, with his elaboration of a model of scholastic education skillfully drawing together ideas in Buddhist epistemology, philosophy of language, translation theory, hermeneutics, and literary theory. In this study of Sakya Pandita's remarkable work, Jonathan C. Gold shows that the Gateway to Learning addresses issues that remain of concern to contemporary intellectuals; this thirteenth-century work has much to contribute to our understanding of such issues as translation and translatability, theories of reading and authorship, the connections between religious values and academic institutions, and theories of language and literary aesthetics. The book includes a translation of significant parts of Sakya Pandita's text.

About the Author:
Jonathan C. Gold is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Drew University

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791471654
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
09/13/2007
Pages:
279
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments

1 The Lion's Roar in the Assembly: Sa-pan's Scholarly Ideal 1

Introduction 1

The Gateway in the History of Tibetan Learning 4

Sakyasribhadra and the Indianization of Tibet 9

The Five Sciences and the Goal of Scholarly Perfection 14

2 Beware of the Dharma in Translation: A Warning to Interpreters 25

Introduction: Translation in Tibet and in the Gateway 25

Obscure Vocabulary 28

The Techniques of Translators 30

Translation Mistakes 31

Unintelligible Context 32

Untranslatability Denied 35

3 The Dharma Is Only Words: A Philosophical Authorization of the Linguist 41

Introduction 41

Skill in Means in the Gateway 42

The "Term Generality" at the Foundation of Grammar 43

The "Term Generality" in Sakyapa Epistemology 45

Sa-pan and Saussure on the Conceptuality and Conventionality of Language 50

Sa-pan and Sonam Tsemo on the Dharma as Language 53

Linguistics as the Study of Convention: The "Speech Intention" 57

4 The Expert Knows the Context: Sa-pan's Appeals to Buddhist Hermeneutics 61

Introduction: Sa-pan's Contribution to Buddhist Hermeneutics 61

Tantric Hermeneutics in the Background of the Gateway 64

How Words Get Their Meaning 69

Sa-pan's Previous Position: Linguistic Analysis in the Treasury 73

Sa-pan's Predecessors on "Well Known in the World" and "Well Known in Treatises" 76

Well-known Terminology and Linguistic Convention 81

Sa-pan's General Theory of the "Well Known" and Tantric Hermeneutics 84

Which Scholars Form the Community of Interpreters? 87

Conclusion 91

5 The Message in the Medium: Intellectual Norms and Protocols 93

Introduction 93

The Three Kinds ofMeaning in a Good Verse of Reverence 95

Introductory Verses and the Social Function of Rhetoric 98

Synopsis as a Display of Mastery 102

Ensuring Excellence by Declaring a Legitimate Purpose 107

How to Make Meaning Evident 110

Conclusion 113

6 Appealing to the Translocal: Sanskrit Poetics for a Tibetan Buddhist Elite 117

Introduction 117

Sa-pan's Buddhicization of the Rasas 119

Applying the Rasas 126

Poetics in Defense of the Dharma 130

Introducing Poetics to Tibetans 135

Conclusion: Who Benefits from Aesthetic Cultivation? 138

7 Conclusion: Thoughts on a Future Comparative Intellectual History 141

Appendixes

A Outline 151

B The Gateway to Learning 153

Notes 185

Tibetan Orthographic Equivalents 235

Abbreviations 237

Bibliography 239

Index 255

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