Examines the central ideas of Dharmakirti, one of the most important Indian Buddhist philosophers and their reception by Tibetan thinkers.
Dreyfus examines the central ideas of Dharmakīrti, one of the most important Indian Buddhist philosophers, and their reception among Tibetan thinkers. During the golden age of ancient Indian civilization, Dharmakīrti articulated and defended Buddhist philosophical principles. He did so more systematically than anyone before his time (the seventh century CE) and was followed by a rich tradition of profound thinkers in India and Tibet. This work presents a detailed picture of this Buddhist tradition and its relevance to the history of human ideas. Its perspective is mostly philosophical, but it also uses historical considerations as they relate to the evolution of ideas.
Georges B. J. Dreyfus is Assistant Professor of Religion at Williams College. He studied Buddhist philosophy in Tibetan monasteries in India for fifteen years where he completed the degree of Ge-shay, traditionally the highest degree awarded by Tibetan Buddhist monastic universities.
"Georges Dreyfus is to my knowledge to date the only Westerner who is a fully-qualified Tibetan Ge-shay. He knows exactly how this material is interpreted and used in Tibetan debate within the dGe lugs tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The fact that Dreyfus is also very aware of Western philosophy, broader Indian thought, other Tibetan schools than the dGe lugs, and is able to adopt a fully critical approach to his material which does not shy away from criticisms of the dGe lugs material within which he was trained, makes for a wonderful book from the scholar most qualified to write it. When all this is combined with an enthusiasm for his material, a sensitivity to its historical and political context, and a systematic exposition with an almost unbelievable clarity, we have a very exciting book indeed." — Paul Williams, Centre for Buddhist Studies, University of Bristol
"The author's background gives him an almost unparalleled richness of perspectives from which to view the complex material about which he writes. Although there are several other scholars working on the topics dealt with in this book, few of them are able to pull as many resources together from Indian and Tibetan traditions; fewer still are capable of explaining these ideas in terms accessible to a study of Western philosophy." — Richard P. Hayes, McGill University