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Tuesday, 24 February 2015 16:15

Ornament of the Middle Way

Ornament of the Middle Way - coverThe Ornament of the Middle Way (Madhyamakalamkara)
- A Study of the Madhyamaka Thought of Shantarakshita
— by James Blumenthal

Shantarakshita's Madhyamakalamkara  is among the most important Mahayana Buddhist philosophical treatises to emerge on the Indian subcontinent.

In many respects, it represents the culmination of more than 1,300 years of philosophical dialogue and inquiry since the time of the history Buddha Sakyamuni, Shantarakshita set forth the foundation of a syncretic approach to contemporary ideas by synthesizing the three major trends in Indian Buddhist thought at the time (the Madhyamaka thought of Nagarjuna, the Yogacara thought of Asanga, and the logical and epistemological thought of Dharmakirti) into one consistent and coherent system.

Shantarakshita's text is considered to be the quintessential exposition, or root text, of the school of Buddhist philosophical thought known in Tibet as Yogacara-Svatantrika-Madhyamaka.

ShantarakshitaIn addition to examining his ideas in their Indian context, this study looks at the way in which Shantarakshita's ideas have been understood by, and have been an influence on, Tibetan Buddhist traditions. Specifically, Blumenthal examines the way scholars from the Geluk School of Tibetan Buddhism have interpreted, represented, and incorporated Shantarakshita's ideas into their own philosophical project.

This is the first book-length study of Shantarakshita's Madhyamaka thought in any Western language. It includes a new translation of Shantarakshita's treaties and extensive extracts from his autocommentary. Also included is the first complete English translation of the primary Geluk commentary on Shantarakshita's treatise Gyel-tsab Je's Remembering The Ornament of the Middle Way.

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