Arguably the most important doctrine in Buddhism, Buddha-nature is, for Mipam, equivalent to the true meaning of emptiness; it is the ground of all and the common ground shared by sentient beings and Buddhas. This ground is the foundation of the path and inseparable from the goal of Buddhahood. Duckworth probes deeply into Mipam’s writings on Buddha-nature to illuminate its central place in a dynamic Buddhist philosophy.
Under the visionary supervision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics brings together classical Buddhist explorations of the nature of our material world and the human mind and puts them into context for the modern reader. It is the Dalai Lama’s view that the explorations by the great masters of northern India in the first millennium CE still have much that is of interest today, whether we are Buddhist or not.
Volume 1, The Physical World, explores of the nature of our material world—from the macroscopic to the microscopic. It begins with an overview of the many frameworks, such as the so-called five aggregates, that Buddhist thinkers have used to examine the nature and scope of reality. Topics include sources of knowledge, the scope of reason, the nature and constituents of the material world, theories of the atom, the nature of time, the formation of the universe, and the evolution of life, including a detailed explanation of the early Buddhist theories on fetal development. The volume even contains a brief presentation on early theories about the structure and function of the brain and the role of microorganisms inside the human body. The book weaves together passages from the works of great Buddhist thinkers like Asanga, Vasubandhu, Nagarjuna, Dignaga, and Dharmakirti. Each of the major topics is introduced by Thupten Jinpa, the Dalai Lama’s principal English-language translator and founder of the Institute of Tibetan Classics.
The book studies the framework of Mabja’s philosophical project, holding it up against the works of both his own Madhyamaka teachers as well as those of central authors of the later "classical period". The emerging account of the evolution of Madhyamaka in Tibet reveals a striking pattern of transformative appropriations. This, in turn, affords us insights into the nature and function of tradition in Tibetan religious culture and Mah?y?na Buddhism at large. Innovation is demanded for both the advancement and consolidation of tradition.
This ground-breaking book is an invaluable contribution to the study of Tibetan philosophy. It is of great interest to Buddhist practitioners, specialists in Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan Buddhism.