the two truths debate

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“A vivid tour through the scenery of the conventional and the ultimate in two worldviews by a well-versed guide—stimulating, provocative, and comprehensive.”—Jeffrey Hopkins

THE TWO TRUTHS DEBATE

Tsongkhapa and Gorampa on the Middle Way

Sonam Thakchoe

All lineages of Tibetan Buddhism today claim allegiance to the philosophy of the Middle Way, the exposition of emptiness propounded by the second-century Indian master Nagarjuna. But not everyone interprets it the same way. A major faultline runs through Tibetan Buddhism around the interpretation of what are called the two truths—the deceptive truth of conventional appearances and the ultimate truth of emptiness. An understanding of this faultline illuminates the beliefs that separate the Gelug descendents of Tsongkhapa from contemporary Dzogchen and Mahamudra adherents. The Two Truths Debate digs into the debate of how the two truths are defined and how they are related by looking at two figures, one on either side of the faultline, and shows how their philosophical positions have dramatic implications for how one approaches Buddhist practice and how one understands enlightenment itself.


Learn more about Tsongkhapa and Gorampa at the Treasury of Lives.

book information
  • Paperback
  • 264 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 inches
  • $22.95
  • ISBN 9780861715015
  • ebook
  • 264 pages
  • $16.99
  • ISBN 9780861717958
about the author
The Two Truths Debate

Sonam Thakchoe is a former Tibetan monk trained in Tibetan Buddhist tradition for fifteen years. He obtained his PhD (2002) from the University of Tasmania, Shastri (BA, 1995) and Acharya (MA, 1997) with double majors on the history of Indo-Tibetan philosophy and religious studies from Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, India. He has taught Buddhist philosophy at the University of Tasmania for the past eight years and is now a full-time lecturer in Asian and comparative philosophy.

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