The Course in Buddhist Reasoning and Debate: An Asian Approach to Analytical Thinking Drawn from Indian and Tibetan Sources
Buddhism is a wisdom tradition. It asserts that we are liberated by the power of our own understanding. The three purposes of Buddhist debate are to defeat your own and others’ misconceptions, to establish your own correct view, and to clear away objections to your view. It is like the approach of a physician—to remove what does not belong and to strengthen what does. Thus, for Buddhists, reasoning and debate are not ends in themselves or idle intellectual speculation. Rather, they are used as one path to spiritual wellness, taking practitioners closer to the health of liberation through these efforts to remove mistaken views and to understand and strengthen correct ones.
Reading and memorization are not enough. Students must be able to verbalize their understanding and defend it under the pressure of cross-examination. This book teaches the basic analytical skills and procedures used in Buddhist debate. It is based on the author’s own practice and experiences gained in the debating courtyards of Tibetan monasteries in India and matured through years of leading popular university courses on the subject. Sample debate exchanges show readers how to get started with the Buddhist style of analytical thinking to challenge and defend assertions.
Learning is supported by guided reflections, practical advice, and verbal exercises to be completed in practice with a partner. By the end of the course, readers will be able to engage in unscripted, full-fledged debates with a qualified partner about Buddhist characterizations and classifications of phenomena using the format and procedures of Buddhist debate. Moreover, these skills, once mastered, can then be applied to investigating the truth and falsity of views in any other subject.
Knowledge and Liberation: Tibetan Buddhist Epistemology in Support of Transformative Religious Experience
Reason and Experience in Tibetan Buddhism: Mabja Jangchub Tsöndrü and the Traditions of the Middle Way
Based on newly discovered texts, this book explores the barely known but tremendously influential thought of the Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Mabja Jangchub Tsöndrü (d. 1185).This Tibetan Buddhist master exercised significant influence on the interpretation of Madhyamaka thinking in Tibet during the formative phase of Tibetan Buddhism and plays a key role in the religious thought of his day and beyond.
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 Mahāyāna 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.
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.
The Madman’s Middle Way presents the first English translation of this major Tibetan Buddhist work, accompanied by an essay on Gendun Chopel’s life liberally interspersed with passages from his writings. Donald S. Lopez Jr. also provides a commentary that sheds light on the doctrinal context of the Adornment and summarizes its key arguments. Ultimately, Lopez examines the long-standing debate over whether Gendun Chopel in fact is the author of the Adornment; the heated critical response to the work by Tibetan monks of the Dalai Lama’s sect; and what the Adornment tells us about Tibetan Buddhism’s encounter with modernity. The result is an insightful glimpse into a provocative and enigmatic workthatwill be of great interest to anyone seriously interested in Buddhism or Asian religions.