The Buddha from Dölpo is a revised and enlarged edition of the only book about the most controversial Buddhist master in the history of Tibet, Dölpopa Sherab Gyaltsen (1292–1361), who became perhaps the greatest Tibetan expert of the Kalacakra or Wheel of Time, a vast system of tantric teachings. Based largely on esoteric Buddhist knowledge from the legendary land of Shambhala, Dölpopa's insights have profoundly influenced the development of Tibetan Buddhism for more than 650 years. Dölpopa emphasized two contrasting definitions of the Buddhist theory of emptiness. He described relative phenomena as empty of self-nature, but absolute reality as only empty of other (i.e. relative) phenomena. He further identified absolute reality as the buddha nature or eternal essence present in all living beings. This view of an "emptiness of other," known in Tibetan as shentong, is Dölpopa's enduring legacy. The Buddha from Dölpo contains the only English translations of three of Dölpopa's crucial works. A General Commentary on the Doctrine is one of the earliest texts in which he systematically presented his view of the entire Buddhist path to enlightenment. The Fourth Council and its Autocommentary (which was not in the first edition of this book) were written at the end of his life and represent a final summation of his teachings. These translations are preceded by a detailed discussion of Dölpopa's life, his revolutionary ideas, earlier precedents for the shentong view, his unique use of language, and the influence of his theories. The fate of his Jonang tradition, which was censored by the central Tibetan government in the seventeenth century but still survives, is also examined.
About the author
Cyrus Stearns has been a student of Tibetan Buddhism for over thirty-five years. He received a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from the University of Washington and is the author of several books.
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