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Meditation on Emptiness

by Jeffrey Hopkins, Elizabeth Napper

Buy the book: Jeffrey Hopkins. Meditation on Emptiness

Release Date: March, 1996

Edition: Paperback


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Buy the book: Jeffrey Hopkins. Meditation on Emptiness

The Cornerstone of All Subsequent Madhyamaka Research

This encyclopedic and gound-breaking work inaugurated a new era of Buddhist scholarship in the West and significantly raised the standard for the study of Buddhism. This book is based on Professor Hopkins' Ph.D. dissertation of the same name. Since writing this book he has gone on to supervise the scholarship of numerous leaders in the field of Tibetan Buddhist studies at the University of Virginia, such as Elizabeth Napper, Anne Klein, Joe Wilson, Daniel Perdue, Donald Lopez, Guy Newland, and Georges Dreyfus among others. Together these scholars have produced a body of work which gives us a context and a philosophical vocabulary with which we can plunge into the world of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. This is of immense benefit not only to scholars but to Buddhist practitioners as well. This book started it all. It is a work of amazing depth which plunges into the Tibetan exegesis of the Indian Madhyamaka meditation. This analytical meditation tradition is designed to induce, through meticulous analysis, a direct perception of the absence of the mental and perceptual distortions which are at the root of suffering. The core delusion under which all mind-posessing beings suffer is the belief that phenomena exist inherently, or independently of their causes and conditions, their parts, and their designation by a valid consciousness. The fact that they do not exist in this way is called emptiness. Indian Madhyamaka masters Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Chandrakirti, and Shantideva express this view in their works. Their analysis is picked up by great luminaries of the Ge-lug-ba tradition in Tibet, such as Dzong-ka-ba and his disciples. Professor Hopkins primarily focuses his exegesis on the practical instructions of Chandrakirti as they are espoused by Tibetan masters Jam-yang-shay-ba, Nga-wang-bel-den, and Jang-gya. It is said by some that an analytic approach to meditation is contrary to the non-dual nature of realization in the Buddhist tradition. Such a view loses sight of the fact that all of these reasonings are aimed precisely at giving rise to such a direct experience. Putting these reasonings into practice can be the basis of profound and transformative growth, but it is up to the reader to breath life into the tradition by bringing these reasonings alive for one's self. Professor Hopkins here gives us a monumental collection of reasonings as well as a supportive analysis of pertinent aspects of Buddhist philosophy and the philosophical history of the Prasangika-Madhyamaka position which can be a cornerstone of our practice as well as future scholarship. Few works before, or even since, can begin to match the ambitious nature of this work which, in my opinion, is fully realized. In this book we see the serious engagement with some questions of fundamental import continued in the West.

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A Strong Elixir...

A strong elixir for the path-seeking mind -- but then even elixirs can reduce the mind to a state of cataleptic numbness... Still, it broke ground...for another baker's dozen of synapse-stoking tomes of Gelugpa Madhyamaka, whose glow has warmed up many a fortunate cortex for more, and perhaps grander things...

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