The Reflexive Nature of Awareness (Rang Rig): A Tibetan Madhyamaka Defence

The Reflexive Nature of Awareness (Rang Rig): A Tibetan Madhyamaka Defence

Hardback Curzon Critical Studies in Buddhism

By (author) Professor Paul Williams


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  • Publisher: RoutledgeCurzon
  • Format: Hardback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 146mm x 216mm x 34mm | 522g
  • Publication date: 29 October 1997
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0700710302
  • ISBN 13: 9780700710300
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations

Product description

According to the Tibetan Tsong kha pa one of the eight difficult points in understanding Madhyamaka philosophy is the way in which Prasangika Madhyamaka does not accept even conventionally that reflexivity is an essential quality of awareness - that in being aware there is also an awareness of aware. One of the most systematic and detailed refutations of Tsong kha pa's approach to this issue can be found in the commentary to the ninth chapter of the Bodhicaryavatara by the rNying ma lama Mi pham (1846-1912), together with Mi pham's own replies to his subsequent critics. In the course of this Mi pham reveals a vision of what is going on in Madhyamaka which is rather different from the more familiar Tibetan approach of Tsong kha pa. Paul Williams places this controversy in its Indian and Tibetan context. He traces in detail Mi pham's position in his commentary on the Bodhicaryavatara, the attack of one of his opponents, and his response, as well as indicating ways in which this controversy over the nature of awareness may be important within the context of Mi pham's rNying ma heritage of rDzogs chen thought and practice. This book is the first book length study of its subject, and also includes a reprint of a previous paper by Williams on the reflexive nature of awareness, as well as the relevant Tibetan texts from Mi pham. The book will be of interest to all students of Indian and Tibetan Madhyamaka, as well as associated areas of Buddhist thought such as Yogacara and the philosophy of Dharmakirti. It will also be of value to those concerned with the intellectual foundations of the rDzogs chen.

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Table of contents

Introducing Svasamvedana - and its two types; Santaraksita on the reflexive nature of consciousness; "Madhyamakalamkara" 16-17 in Prajnakaramati's "Bodhicaryavatarapanjika on BCA 9:21; the verse; Mi Pham on Bodhicaryavatara 9:26; the response of Tre bo brag dkar sprul sku bLo bzang dpal ldan bstan 'dzin; Mi pham's reply; concluding note - why all the fuss?