LIGHT OF SAMANTABHADRA
An Explanation of Dharmakīrti’s Commentary on Valid Cognition
A gateway to Indian philosophy and its explication in Tibet.
Among the many works produced in the rich philosophical tradition of India’s classical age, few have had more impact than Dharmakīrti’s Commentary on Valid Cognition (Pramāṇavārttika). Composed in India in the seventh century, it became the cornerstone for the study of logic and epistemology in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
This work translated here is by one of the premier scholars of the Sakya school, Gorampa Sönam Sengé (1429–89). It illuminates the first two chapters of Dharmakīrti’s work, those on using inference to enlighten oneself (svārthānumāna) and on establishing valid cognition (pramāṇasiddhi) both to determine the authority of the Buddha as a valid teacher and to eliminate the cognitive obstacles to awakening. The root text is composed in compact verses, and these are translated here along with Gorampa’s word-by-word commentary that reveals their often veiled meanings. These chapters explore key issues in the philosophy of language and the nature of conventional designation, the way to employ sound reasoning, the proof of past and future lives, and the way to eliminate the view of self. In the skilled hands of translator Gavin Kilty, these insights are made accessible.
Light of Samantabhadra is the first volume in a new academic series from Wisdom and the Khenpo Appey Foundation. The Khenpo Appey Collection of Sakya Classics aspires to fulfill Khenchen Appey Rinpoche’s vision of making important and authoritative Sakya works accessible to English-speaking audiences. This series, conceived by the Khenpo Appey Foundation and published by Wisdom Publications, will contain translations of texts central to Tibetan Buddhist study composed by influential Sakya masters to provide a holistic and comprehensive presentation of Buddhist thought and philosophy.