Mipham's Dialectics and the Debates on Emptiness: To Be, Not to be Or Neither

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Psychology Press, 2005 - Religion - 304 pages
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This book explores a number of themes in connection with the concept of Emptiness, a highly technical but very central notion in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. It examines the critique by the leading Nyingma school philosopher Mipham (1846-1912), one of Tibet's brightest and most versatile minds, formulated in his diverse writings. The book focuses on related issues such as what is negated by the doctrine of emptiness, the nature of ultimate reality, and the difference between 'extrinsic' and 'intrinsic' emptiness. These issues continue to be the subject of lively debate among contemporary exponents of Tibetan Buddhist thought. Karma Phuntsho's book aptly undertakes a thematic and selective discussion of these debates and Mipham's qualms about the Gelukpa understanding of Emptiness in a mixture of narrative and analytic style. For the first time, a major variant understanding of Emptiness to the Gelukpa interpretation that has become dominant in both Tibet and the West is revealed.
 

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Contents

Introduction
3
a religious issue and the nature of the debates
10
Sources and methodological considerations
19
the primary path
28
the religious goal
34
an outline of the history
40
Debates after Tsongkhapa
47
The delimitation of the negandum
56
Miphams theory of the ultimate reality
113
Is Emptiness knowable and effable?
162
Some concluding remarks
208
Appendix I
213
Appendix II
215
Appendix III
217
Appendix IV
219
Notes
226

Some Gelukpa criticisms of the Ngarabpa position
66
On insertion of the qualifiers
75
On the tetralemma methodology
91
The nuances of inferential arguments
98
On BA IX26
107

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About the author (2005)

Karma Phuntsho was trained to be a Khenpo, a Tibetan monastic abbot, for about a dozen years during which he studied, practiced and taught Buddhism in several monasteries in Bhutan and India. In 2003, he received a PhD in Oriental Studies from Balliol College, Oxford. He currently works at the University of Cambridge and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris as post-doctoral researcher specializing in Buddhism and Bhutan. His main interest lies in the preservation and promotion of Buddhist and Bhutanese culture.

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