This book brings together perspectives of leading international Tibetan studies scholars on the subject of zhentong or “other-emptiness.” Defined as the emptiness of everything other than the continuous luminous awareness that is one’s own enlightened nature, this distinctive philosophical and contemplative presentation of emptiness is quite different from rangtong—emptiness that lacks independent existence, which has had a strong influence on the dissemination of Buddhist philosophy in the West. Important topics are addressed, including the history, literature, and philosophy of emptiness that have contributed to zhentong thinking in Tibet from the thirteenth century until today. The contributors examine a wide range of views on zhentong from each of the major orders of Tibetan Buddhism, highlighting the key Tibetan thinkers in the zhentong philosophical tradition. Also discussed are the early formulations of buddhanature, interpretations of cosmic time, polemical debates about emptiness in Tibet, the zhentong view of contemplation, and creative innovations of thought in Tibetan Buddhism. Highly accessible and informative, this book can be used as a scholarly resource as well as a textbook for teaching graduate and undergraduate courses on Buddhist philosophy.
“The book contains extremely interesting material and makes a valuable contribution to the study of Tibetan Buddhism. It will be appreciated by those interested in the development of one of the important and yet understudied of its traditions, the other emptiness tradition.” — Georges B. J. Dreyfus, coeditor of The Svātantrika-Prāsaṅgika Distinction: What Difference Does a Difference Make?
Michael R. Sheehy is Director of Scholarship at the Contemplative Sciences Center and Research Assistant Professor in Tibetan Buddhist Studies at the University of Virginia.
Klaus-Dieter Mathes is Professor of Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria. His books include A Direct Path to the Buddha Within: Gö Lotsāwa’s Mahāmudrā Interpretation of the Ratnagotravibhāga and A Fine Blend of Mahāmudrā and Madhyamaka: Maitrīpa’s Collection of Texts on Non-conceptual Realization (Amanasikāra).
With an introductory commentary by His Holiness The Dalai Lama, who calls this translation "an extraordinary accomplishment undertaken with great care over many years" this complete edition faithfully presents the insights and intentions of the original work. It includes one of the most detailed and compelling descriptions of the after-death state in world literature, exquisitely written practices that can transform our experience of daily life, guidance on helping those who are dying, and an inspirational perspective on coping with bereavement. Translated with the close support of leading contemporary masters, including HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and learned scholars such as Khamtrul Rinpoche and Zenkar Rinpoche, His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, "I hope that the profound insights contained in this work will be a source of inspiration and support to many interested people around the world."