The Geluk tradition traces its origin to Tsongkhapa, who propagated a modified version of the Kadampa lojong and lamrim teachings. It is the dominant tradition of Tibet, having established its control of the government under the figure of the Dalai Lama.
Thupten Jinpa is a former Tibetan monk and a Geshe Lharampa with B.A. in philosophy and a Ph.D. in religious studies, both from Cambridge University. Since 1985, he has been the principal English translator to H.H. the Dalai Lama and has translated and edited numerous books by the Dalai Lama, including the New York Times Bestsellers Ethics for the New Millennium and The Art of Happiness. Jinpa’s own publications include works in Tibetan, English translations as well as books, the latest being Tsongkhapa: A Buddha in the Land of Snows and Illuminating the Intent, a translation of Je Tsongkhapa's commentary on Entering the Middle Way. Jinpa is the general series editor of the 32-volume Bod kyi tsug lag gces btus series, whose translations are published in English as The Library of Tibetan Classics. His current projects include the editing of classical Indian Buddhist texts from Tengyur for a special anthology known as Rgya gzhung gnad che bdam bsgrigs (Selected Indian Buddhist treaties). He is the main author of CCT (Compassion Cultivation Training), an eight-week formal program developed at Stanford University, and co-founder and president of the Compassion Institute. He is the Chair of Mind and Life Institute, founder of the Institute of Tibetan Classics, and an adjunct professor at the School of Religious Studies at McGill University. Jinpa lives in Montreal and is married with two daughters.
The Fundamental Potential for Enlightenment sets forth an analysis of the natural and developed potential within all of us from the perspectives of the two main schools of mahayana thought–the Mind-Only school and the Middle Way school. It explains how this potential is transformed into the state of enlightenment and gives comprehensive definitions and explanations clearly establishing the existence and nature of the various facets of enlightenment.(Source: back cover)
Je Tsongkhapa Lobsang Drakpa (1357- 1419) was one of the greatest figures in the history of Tibetan Buddhism and the founder of the Gelug tradition. The year 2019 marked the 600th anniversary of Lama Tsongkhapa's parinirvana. To celebrate this, Tse Chen Ling offered a 14-month long series of programs that celebrated the life and lineage of Lama Tsongkhapa. These programs reflected the core teachings and unique features of the Gelug tradition. (Source Accessed Nov 12, 2020)
A part of "The Life and Legacy of Lama Tsongkhapa" presented by Tse Chen Ling
This event was held at Tse Chen Ling in San Francisco on September 20 and 21, 2019. Over the course of two days (three sessions), Don Handrick examined Tsongkhapa's exposition of enlightenment based on Maitreya's text "Sublime Continuum."
Maitreya's "Sublime Continuum" on Buddha Nature
What is enlightenment? How is it possible? Who can achieve it? One of Mahayana Buddhism’s most important teachings is the doctrine of tathagatagarbha, or buddha nature, the innate pure and changeless essence of the mind which gives rise to the fundamental potential for each being to attain full enlightenment or buddhahood. In this course we will examine selected verses from the first chapter of Maitreya’s Sublime Continuum of the Mahayana (Mahayana-uttaratantra Shastra), a text replete with rich poetic imagery and metaphor, to explore this profound and inspiring topic. . . .
"The Life and Legacy of Lama Tsongkhapa"
The Kālacakra, or “wheel of time,” tantra likely entered Indian Mahayana Buddhism around the tenth century. In expounding the root tantra, the Indian master Puṇḍarīka, one of the legendary Kalkī kings of the land of Shambhala, wrote his influential Stainless Light. Ornament of Stainless Light is an authoritative Tibetan exposition of this important text, composed in the fifteenth century by Khedrup Norsang Gyatso, tutor to the Second Dalai Lama.One of the central projects of Kālacakra literature is a detailed correlation between the human body and the external universe. In working out this complex correspondence, the Kālacakra texts present an amazingly detailed theory of cosmology and astronomy, especially about the movements of the various celestial bodies. The Kālacakra tantra is also a highly complex system of Buddhist theory and practice that employs vital bodily energies, deep meditative mental states, and a penetrative focus on subtle points within the body’s key energy conduits known as channels. Ornament of Stainless Light addresses all these topics, elaborating on the external universe, the inner world of the individual, the Kālacakra initiation rites, and the tantric stages of generation and completion, all in a highly readable English translation. (Source: Wisdom Publications)
Part I, the historical and doctrinal background, consists of six chapters: Chapter 1 describes the authorship and the history of the transmission of the RGV in India, using Indian and Tibetan materials. Chapter 2 studies six different Tibetan translations of the RGV, clarifying how the RGV was transmitted from India to Tibet. Chapter 3 outlines rNgog's life and writings. Chapter 4 presents rNgog's philosophical positions taught in his RGV commentary. Chapters 5 and 6 discuss the impact of his interpretations on the later Tibetan doctrinal developments, and reactions to them. Part II is a critical edition of rNgog-lo's RGV commentary, Theg chen rgyud bla ma'i don bsdus pa (1a-46a5 and 65a5-66a4), preceded by an explanation of textual materials and an outline of the whole text. Part III presents an annotated translation of that commentary.
Appendix A presents a diplomatic edition of rNgog-lo's “topical outline” of the RGV, his other work related to the RGV (discovered at Kharakhoto and preserved in the British Library). Appendix B presents a critical edition of a versified summary of the RGV in Sanskrit, the Mahāyānottaratantraśāstropadeśa composed by the Kashmiri Paṇḍita Sajjana, a teacher of rNgog-lo. Appendix C provides another Sanskrit commentary on the RGV, Vairocanarakṣita's Mahāyanottaratantraṭippaṇī, while appendix D presents translations of relevant passages from the Sākārasiddhi and Sākarasaṃgraha of Jñānaśrīmitra. Appendix E presents rNgog-lo's identification of the passages of the RGVV that refer to the Nidānaparivarta (“introductory chapter”) of the Dhāraṇīśvararājasūtra, as well as a topical outline of this chapter of the sūtra. Appendix F investigates the dating of Blo-gros-mtshungs-med, who among later Tibetans criticized rNgog-lo's position most severely. Appendix G presents a list of commentaries on the RGV. Appendix H listsrecords of the RGV's transmission lineage from gsan yigs. (Kano, introduction, 12-13)
(Source: foreword in Part I)
Section II investigates the complex, and controversial, problem of whether a (Prāsaṅgika) Mādhyamika may, within the frame of his school's philosophy, assert a thesis (pratijñā) and maintain a philosophical position (pakṣa, mata). It is a reworked and expanded version of an earlier study: 'On the thesis and assertion in the Madhyamaka/dBu ma' in E. Steinkellner and H. Tauscher (ed.), Contributions on Tibetan and Buddhist religion and philosophy (Proceedings of the Csoma de Korös Symposium held at Velm-Vienna, 13-19 September 1981 (Vienna, 1983), pp. 205-241).
Section III concerns the very significant place occupied in Tsoṅ kha pa's Madhyamaka philosophy by the ideas and methods of epistemological and logical system (pramāṇavidyā) of Dharmakīrti. It is an expanded version of a study first published in 1991: 'On pramāṇa theory in Tsoṅ khap pa's Madhyamaka philosophy' in E. Steinkellner (ed.), Studies in the Buddhist epistemological tradition (Proceedings of the Second International Dharmakīrti Conference, Vienna, 11-16 June, 1989, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophische-Historische Klasse, Denkschriften, 222. Band (Vienna, 1991), pp. 281-310).
Part II of these Studies will contain annotated translations of Candrakīrti's Sanskrit commentary on Madhyamakakārikā i.1 taken from his renowned Prasannapadā madhyamakavṛttiḥ and of rGyal tshab Dar ma rin chen's Tibetan Summary-Memorandum on the Eight Crucial Points in Madhyamaka philosophy (dKya' gnad/gnas brgyad kyi zin bris). (Source: foreword in Part I)
This question aside, seeing the canon as a predicament, i.e., as a tradition's self-imposed limitation, and viewing the exegetical enterprise as the means whereby a tradition extricates itself from this predicament, is indeed a provocative way of formulating the problematic of religious canons. In this essay I intend to employ Smith's notion as a springboard for discussing the Indo-Tibetan concept of siddhānta (Tibetan grub mtha', literally 'tenet'), a concept that represents on the level of philosophical ideas this same process of self-limitation. I will maintain that the adoption of such a schema serves functionally to "canonize" philosophy in much the same way as the collection of accepted scriptural texts creates a norm for what is textually canonical. I shall also examine some of the rhetorical strategies involved in utilizing and upholding the validity of the siddhānta schema. In particular, in the latter part of the essay I will turn my attention to the exegesis of the Tibetan dGe lugs pa school and shall examine how this brand of Buddhist scholasticism deals with the problems that arise out of the self-limitation that occurs in the course of canonizing its philosophical tradition. As might be expected, the examples that best illustrate the unique dGe lugs pa exposition of siddhānta have to do with points of controversy, and among these some of the most controversial have to do with the theory of Buddha Nature. Hence, much of the material that we shall consider will in one way or another have to do with the notion of tathāgatagarbha.In what follows I shall urge, first of all, that in the scholastic tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, especially in the literature of the dGe lugs pa sect, the siddhānta schematization served as a de facto canonization of Buddhist philosophy that came to defme what was philosophically normative.'"`UNIQ--ref-000002FF-QINU`"' Secondly, I shall maintain that, despite the fact that Tibetan exegetes have arrived at only a tentative consensus'"`UNIQ--ref-00000300-QINU`"' as to the nature of the textual canons,'"`UNIQ--ref-00000301-QINU`"' the determination of whether or not a doctrine was normatively Buddhist (and if so either provisionally or unequivocally true)'"`UNIQ--ref-00000302-QINU`"' involved to a great extent a rhetoric that had as its basic presupposition the validity of the siddhānta schema. Put in another way, philosophical discourse (and particularly polemics) was based as much on the siddhānta classification scheme as it was on the physical canons, the collection of the "Buddha's word" and the commentarial literature whose creation it spurred. In many instances the siddhānta schema that formed the doctrinal or philosophical canon came to supersede the physical canon as the standard by comparison with which new ideas or texts came to achieve legitimacy.'"`UNIQ--ref-00000303-QINU`"' (Cabezón, "The Canonization of Philosophy," 7–9)
Given the disregard many lamas and yogis have had towards the soteriological efficacy of epistemology, one may come to the false conclusion that epistemology is only relevant to the context of debate, without any application to meditation practice and the path to liberation. However, one can clearly see that this is not completely true, since Dharmakīrti (c. 600 CE), who is arguably Buddhism’s most influential epistemologist, provides an account of how a practitioner may attain the liberative cognition known as yogic direct valid means of cognition (rnal ’byor mngon sum tshad ma, hereafter referred to as yogic perception). In Tibet, the dGe lugs pa-s are particularly known for their soteriological use of epistemology, which is unsurprising given their emphasis on scholarship, but there are even thinkers in the meditation- oriented bKa’ brgyud school who have a soteriologically-oriented take on epistemology.
The aim in thesis is to show how bKa’ brgyud epistemologists’ (most notably, the Seventh Karma pa’s (1454-1506)) view on yogic perception differs from that of Dharmakīrti and the dGe lugs pa-s, since most western scholarship on Buddhist epistemology has focused on them. Like Dharmakīrti and the dGe lugs pa-s, the Seventh Karma pa describes the gradual path to attaining yogic perception through inference and familiarization, although there are striking differences in their understandings of the nature of what is observed in this type of perception. His epistemology is not only relevant to the scholarly path of inference, as one finds with most epistemologists, however. His view on reflexive awareness represents a common ground between the theory attached to Mahāmudrā, and pramāṇa, which allows for an epistemological explanation of the Mahāmudrā method of “taking direct perception as the path.” Through showing first, how his view of yogic perception differs from Dharmakīrti and the dGe lugs pa-s,and secondly, how his view concerning reflexive awareness is connected to Mahāmudrā, I wish to show the unique characteristics of the Seventh Karma pa’s brand of soteriological epistemology.
Marty Bo Jiang is a research fellow at the American Institute of Buddhist Studies at the Columbia University Center for Buddhist Studies. (Source: AIBS)
Contemporary scholars have widely mis-understood the Buddhist Centrist teaching of emptiness, or selflessness, as either a form of nihilism or a radical skepticism. Yet Buddhist philosophers from Nāgārjuna on have shown that the negation of intrinsic reality affirms the supreme value of relative realities if accurately understood. Gyaltsap Darma Rinchen, in his Supercommentary, elucidates a highly positive theory of the “buddha-nature,” showing how the wisdom of emptiness empowers the compassionate life of the enlightened, as it is touched by its oneness with the truth body of all buddhas. With his clear study of Gyaltsap’s insight and his original English translation, Bo Jiang, Ph.D. completes his historic project of studying and presenting these works from Sanskrit and Tibetan both in Chinese and, now, English translations, in linked publications.
|Tibetan||དགེ་ལུགས་ ( ge luk)|
|Wylie Tibetan Transliteration||dge lugs ( ge luk)|
|Buddha-nature Site Standard English||Geluk|
|Basic Meaning||The Geluk tradition traces its origin to Tsongkhapa, who propagated a modified version of the Kadampa lojong and lamrim teachings. It is the dominant tradition of Tibet, having established its control of the government under the figure of the Dalai Lama.|