[Buddha-l] Mereological nihilismx

Christopher Fynn cfynn at gmx.net
Wed Apr 23 03:07:09 MDT 2008

jkirk wrote:

> Hi Chris,
> You've convinced me :) 

> Last night I read through one of the chapters in Thakchoe's book
> ("Language, Concepts, and Ultimate Truth") without flinching, but
> had to re-read a few times. Problem is that the ideas of
> Tsongkhapa and Gorampa are graspable from this book's rendition
> of them--but as it's a scholarly study, it goes on and on,
> offering this example and that one, this commentator and that
> one, and so occasionally becomes redundant, for my purposes. So
> some skipping of text will happen. 

Gorampa  (1429-1489) from the Sakya tradition and Mipham (1846-1912/3)
from the Nyingma tradition are today usually considered to be
the two most serious critics of Tsongkhapa's interpretation
of Madhyamaka. While these two have much in common there are also
important differences. So Karma Phuntso's book provides a good
overview of another important facet of the whole debate.

> Since I recently read about Gendun Chophel (Lopez's study), while
> reading Thakchoe I kept thinking, Hmmm, sounds like Chophel was a
> partisan of Gorampa. All I knew from that study was that he
> angrily took on the Gelugpa establishment and so Tsongkhapa's
> views. But if Gorampa was there somewhere, I missed it . 

I havn't seen Lopez's book but Heather Stoddard has also written on
Gendun Choephel (Le Mendiant de L’Amdo Société d’ethnographie, Paris,
1985) and Jeffrey Hopkins translated his short Madhayamaka work which is 
considered to be so controversial by the Gelukpa.

I hear there is also now a movie about Gendun Choephel out.

> Thakchoe helpfully sorts out some sources: "Dreyfus also notes
> that 'for the Sa-gya tradition in general and Go-ram-ba in
> particular, the key concept in Madhyamaka philosophy is not the
> absence of real existence, but freedom from elaboration
> (prapanca, spros pa). Ultimate truth is utterly beyond the reach
> of elaboration.' On this matter, as on others, Gorampa
> exemplifies a more widely  held view--one that is shared, notably
> by Shakya Chogden, Taktsang Lotsawa, Mipham Rimpoche, Gendun
> Chophel, and Khenpo Khunsang Palden. Interestingly, however, some
> of his usual allies, such as Longchen Rabjam, Sakya Pandita, and
> Rongton Shakya Gyaltsen are more sympathetic to Tsongkhapa's view
> on this account. Like Tsongkhapa, this latter group argues that
> logical inference paves the way to the direct realization of
> ultimate reality."  

> This bit is just a bit from the book--it's not the whole thing,
> but it helps the sorting out process.

> Joanna

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