Resurrecting Candrakīrti

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“A fascinating and brilliantly readable exposition of the re-emergence in India of Candrakīrti’s view of ultimate truth and of the controversies involved in its reception in Tibet before it became the dominant view.”
—Jeffrey Hopkins


Disputes in the Tibetan Creation of Prāsaṅgika

Kevin A. Vose

The seventh-century Indian master Candrakīrti lived a life of relative obscurity, only to have his thoughts and writings rejuvenated during the Tibetan transmission of Buddhism. Since then, Candrakīrti has been celebrated as offering the most thorough and accurate vision of Nāgārjuna’s view of emptiness which, in turn, most fully represents the final truth of the Buddha’s teaching. Candrakīrti’s emptiness denies the existence of any “nature” or substantial, enduring essence in ourselves or in the phenomenal world while avoiding the extreme view of nihilism. In this view, our false belief in nature is at the root of our ignorance and is the basis for all mental and emotional pain and disturbance. For many Tibetan scholars, only Candrakīrti’s Middle Way entirely overcomes our false belief in inherent identity and, consequently, alone overcomes ignorance, delivering freedom from the cycle of uncontrolled death and rebirth known as samsāra.

Candrakīrti’s writings have formed the basis for Madhyamaka study in all major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. In Resurrecting Candrakīrti, Kevin Vose presents the reader with a thorough presentation of Candrakīrti’s rise to prominence and the further elaborations the Tibetans have made on his presentation of emptiness. By splitting Madhyamaka into two subschools, namely the Svātantrika and Prāsaṅgika, the Tibetans became pioneers in understanding reality and created a new way to define differences in interpretation. Resurrecting Candrakīrti provides the historical and philosophical context necessary to understand both Madhyamaka and its importance to Tibetan Buddhist thought.

Learn more about the Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism series.

book information
  • Paperback
  • 304 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 inches
  • $34.95
  • ISBN 9780861715206
  • ebook
  • 304 pages
  • $24.99
  • ISBN 9780861717583
about the author
Resurrecting Candrakīrti

Kevin A. Vose is the author of the Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism series Resurrecting Candrakīrti. He is the Walter G. Mason Associate Professor of Religious Studies at William & Mary and author of several research articles on the transmission of Sanskrit Buddhist philosophical traditions from India to Tibet and the formation of Tibetan Buddhist scholastic traditions. His articles have appeared in the Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, Journal of Buddhist Philosophy, Journal of Indian Philosophy, and Journal of South Asian Intellectual History, among others. His work focuses in particular on a collection of 11th and 12th century Tibetan manuscripts that was discovered in one of the few libraries to survive the Cultural Revolution in Tibet and that provide a wealth of information on the formative period of Tibetan Buddhism. From this collection, he and Pascale Hugon are preparing an edition and translation of Gyamarwa’s Essence of the Middle Way, available as a work-in-progress on the website of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

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