Path to the Middle: Oral Mādhyamika Philosophy in Tibet

The Spoken Scholarship of Kensur Yeshey Tupden

Edited by Anne Carolyn Klein

Subjects: Oral History
Series: SUNY series in Buddhist Studies
Paperback : 9780791420447, 303 pages, August 1994
Hardcover : 9780791420430, 303 pages, September 1994

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Table of contents


Technical Note



Introduction. Oral and Textual Genres: Buddhist Philosophy and the Many Dimensions of Reading in Tibet

Part I: Kensur Yeshey Tupden on Emptiness and the Bodhisattva Path

1. Introduction to the Sixth Bodhisattva Ground
2. Three Features of Understanding
3. The Students of Emptiness
4. How Good Qualities Arise When Emptiness is Explained
5. Exhortation to the Students of Emptiness

Part II: Ken sur Yeshey Tupden on the Meaning of Emptiness

6. The Sameness of Things: Dependent Arising and Reality
7. Valid Existence and Analysis
8. The Svatantrika School on True Existence
9. The Magician's Illusion: Truth and Falsity for Worldly Persons
10. The Prasangika School of True Existence

Part III: Tsong-Kah -Pa's Text
Translated by Jeffrey Hopkins and Anne Klein, annotated by Jeffrey Hopkins

1. Introduction to the Profound Meaning
2. Dependent Arising and Reality
3. The Svatantrika School on True Existence
4. The Prasangika School on True Existence








Does a Bodhisattva's initial direct cognition of emptiness differ from subsequent ones? Can one "improve" a nondualistic understanding of the unconditioned and, if so, what role might subtle states of concentration play in the process? In material collected by Anne Klein over a seven-year period, Kensur Yeshey Tupden addresses these and other crucial issues of Buddhist soteriology to provide one of the richest presentations of Tibetan oral philosophy yet published in English. Anne Klein's introduction to his commentary surveys oral genres associated with Tibetan textual study, and the volume concludes with a translation of the text on which Kensur bases his discussion of the "Perfection of Wisdom" chapter in Tsong-kha-pa's Illumination of (Candrakirti's) Thought (dbu ma dgongs pa rab gsal), translated here by Jeffrey Hopkins and Anne Klein.

Anne C. Klein is Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, Rice University. Her books include Knowledge and Liberation and Knowing Naming and Negation, and the forthcoming Meeting the Great Bliss Queen: Buddhists, Feminists, and the Art of the Self.


"The work will be of use to scholars of Tibetan Buddhism and comparative philosophers of religion. Everyone in oral studies should read the introduction." --S. Jaffee

"The text that is the subject of Professor Klein's study is one of the most important in the history of Tibetan Buddhism. Her innovative approach will make the work of interest not only to scholars, for whom it will be essential reading, but more generally to anyone interested in the Tibetan interpretation of emptiness." --Jose Ignacio Cabezon