The Reflexive Nature of Awareness

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The Reflexive Nature of Awareness
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According to the Tibetan Tsong Kha pa one of the eight difficult points in understanding Madhyamaka philosophy is the way in which Prāsaṅgika Madhyamaka does not accept even conventionally that reflexivity is an essential part of awareness — that in being aware there is also an awareness of being aware (rang rig). One of the most sysyematic and detailed refutations of Tsong kha pa's approach to this issue can be found in the commentary to the ninth chapter of the Bodhicaryaāvatāra by the rNyingma lama Mi pham (1846–1912), together with Mi pham's own replies to his subsequent critics. In the course of this Mi pham reveals a vision of what is going on in the Madhyamaka which is rather different from the more familiar Tibetan approach of Tsong kha pa.
      Paul Williams places this controversy in its Indian and Tibetan context. He traces in detail Mi pham's position in his commentary on the Bodhicaryaāvatāra, the attack of one of his opponents, and his response, as well as indicating ways in which this controversy over the nature of awareness may be important within the context of Mi pham's rNyingma heritage of rDzogs chen thought and practice.
      This book is the first book length study of its subject, and also includes a reprint of a previous paper by Williams on the reflexive nature of awareness, as well as the relevant Tibetan texts from Mi pham. The book will be of interest to all students of Indian and Tibetan Madhyamaka, as well as associated areas of Buddhist thought such as Yogācāra and the philosophy of Dharmakīrti. It will also be of value to those concerned with the intelectual foundations of rDzogs chen. (Source: Back cover of Routledge 2013 edition)

Citation Williams, Paul. The Reflexive Nature of Awareness: A Tibetan Madhyamaka Defence. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2000. First published 1998 by Curzon Press (Richmond, UK).