1st Edition

Mipham's Dialectics and the Debates on Emptiness To Be, Not to Be or Neither

By Karma Phuntsho Copyright 2005
    322 Pages
    by Routledge

    320 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This is an introduction to the Buddhist philosophy of Emptiness which explores a number of themes in connection with the concept of Emptiness, a highly technical but very central notion in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. It examines the critique by the leading Nyingma school philosopher Mipham (1846-1912) formulated in his diverse writings. The book focuses on related issues such as what is negated by the doctrine of emptiness, the nature of ultimate reality, and the difference between 'extrinsic' and 'intrinsic' emptiness. Karma Phuntsho's book aptly undertakes a thematic and selective discussion of these debates and Mipham's qualms about the Gelukpa understanding of Emptiness in a mixture of narrative and analytic style.

    Introduction  1. Emptiness: Its Soteriological, Doctrinal, Ontological and Historical Significance in Buddhism  2. The Big Fuss about Emptiness: An Outline of the History of Debates on Emptiness  3. What is Negated by Ultimate Analysis? Debates on the Delimitation of the Mahyamika Negandum  4. The Fully Empty: Mipham's Theory of the Ultimate Reality  5. Is Emptiness Knowable and Effable?  Conclusion


    Karma Phuntsho was trained to be a Khenpo, a Tibetan monastic abbot, for about a dozen years during which he studied, practiced and taught Buddhism in several monasteries in Bhutan and India. In 2003, he received a PhD in Oriental Studies from Balliol College, Oxford. He currently works at the University of Cambridge and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris as post-doctoral researcher specializing in Buddhism and Bhutan. His main interest lies in the preservation and promotion of Buddhist and Bhutanese culture.

    'Karma Phuntsho concludes his fine study saying about Mipham that his works on Madhyamaka thus represent the crowning glory of his remarkable contribution to learning in Tibet and it will surely be for this legacy that Mipham will be best remembered and most studied for generations to come'.

    'Mipham's elaborations on emptiness offer an excellent counter balance to the negationist interpretation of the Gelugpa school, which has won over many Western scholars. Demonstrably, Mipham's approach illustrates in a commendable fashion the middle path favored by the Buddha and Nagarjuna.'

    - Traditional Yoga Studies