Thupten Jinpa: Tsongkhapa’s Mādhyamaka (#151)


This episode of the Wisdom Podcast, recorded live as a Wisdom Dharma Chat, features Thupten Jinpa Langri and host Daniel Aitken. Thupten Jinpa, educated in the classical Tibetan monastic academia and Geshe Lharampa, equivalent to a doctorate in divinity. Jinpa also holds a BA in philosophy and a PhD in religious studies, both from the University of Cambridge, England. Since 1985, Jinpa has been the principal English translator to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Jinpa and Daniel discuss:

References Mentioned in Chat

At the start of the conversation, Jinpa mentions several texts and translations. They can predominantly be found in the Library of Tibetan Classics series and the Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics series.

In answer to Jinpa’s question about Tsongkhapa’s five great Mādhyamaka treatises, he lists:

  1. Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path, Vol.III, Tsongkhapa (Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications, 2002)
  2. The Central Philosophy of Tibet, Robert Thurman (Princeton University Press, 1984)
  3. Ocean of Reasoning, Tsongkhapa, translated by Geshe Ngawang Samten and Jay Garfield (Oxford University Press, 2006)
  4. Illuminating the Intent, Tsongkhapa, Thupten Jinpa (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2021)
  5. Middle–Length Treatise on the Stages of the Path, Tsongkhapa (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2021)

Jinpa stated that for introductory materials for the Wisdom Academy online course Tsongkhapa’s Mādhyamaka, he recommended reading either Essence of the Heart Sutra or The Middle Way by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

During the Wisdom News segment, Daniel mentioned the free conference Dharma in Daily Life conference, and Ligmincha Internationalsretreat and dialogues, The Five Element Retreat and Serenity Ridge Dialogues.


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About the Interviewee

thupten jinpa podcast wisdom podcast Tibetan Buddhism Tsongkhapa

Thupten Jinpa Langri was educated in the classical Tibetan monastic academia and received the highest academic degree of Geshe Lharam (equivalent to a doctorate in divinity). Jinpa also holds a BA in philosophy and a PhD in religious studies, both from the University of Cambridge, England. Since 1985, he has been the principal translator to the Dalai Lama, accompanying him to the United States, Canada, and Europe. He has translated and edited many books by the Dalai Lama, including The World of Tibetan BuddhismEssence of the Heart Sutra, and the New York Times bestseller Ethics for the New Millennium.

Jinpa has published scholarly articles on various aspects of Tibetan culture, Buddhism, and philosophy, and books such as Songs of Spiritual Experience: Tibetan Poems of Awakening and Insight (co-authored) and Self, Reality and Reason in Tibetan Thought. He serves on the advisory board of numerous educational and cultural organizations in North America, Europe, and India. He is currently the president and the editor-in-chief of the Institute of Tibetan Classics, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to translating key Tibetan classics into contemporary languages. And he also currently chairs the Mind and Life Institute and the Compassion Institute.

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