Establishing Appearances as Divine: Rongzom Chokyi Zangpo on by Heidi I. Köppl

By Heidi I. Köppl

Esoteric Tibetan Buddhist scriptures train practitioners to imagine themselves as deities living inside of a mandala. through doing so, they assert, the practitioner will finally turn into the deity itself. yet are sentient beings instrinsically natural, or does visualization perform lead them to natural? during this eleventh-century observation, the well known Nyingma (Ancient institution) student Rongzom Chokyi Zangpo units out his research of the character of purity. This penetrating learn, directed in the direction of students and critical practitioners, comprises Koppl's English-language translation of Rongzom's unique textual content and her explication of his perspectives. Koppl's incisive research bargains an outline of Rongzom's profession and works and provides distinctive awareness to his critique of Madhyamaka philosophy. a few of Rongzom's ways, Koppl exhibits, are unconventional even in a Nyingma context.

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Extra resources for Establishing Appearances as Divine: Rongzom Chokyi Zangpo on Reasoning, Madhyamaka, and Purity

Example text

154 In chapter 2, we saw that Sapaṇ and Tsongkhapa both consider the views of Tantra and Madhyamaka equivalent. In this way, they legitimize the esoteric teachings by grounding them within the exoteric. Rongzom, however, consistently considers the Madhyamaka view less profound than the tantric. Given the explicit nature of his critique, we have no reason to believe that Rongzom saw any purpose in using Madhyamaka teachings as an apologetic means for establishing the validity of Mantra. Still, he displays a general fondness for the application of Buddhist epistemological tools to validate both Mantrayāna and Dzogchen.

Thus any objectification of the relative truth that specifies “authentic” (yang dag) relative principles would separate the two truths and prevent one from the sudden, full, and direct realization of the actual nature. The view of equality is also explained as equality inseparable from purity. ”137 Here Rongzom not only objects to the Madhyamaka belief in an authentic relative truth and its view of the two truths as separate identities, but also to the view of the relative as impurity. This underscores Rongzom’s tantric perspective and his commitment to purity.

104 According to this position, by negating such appearances, the natural expression of luminosity, one ends up with an ultimate truth that is a barren negation, emptiness isolated from its inherent radiance, and the two truths would thus be unreasonably and unnaturally separated. While the Nyingma philosophers that we have visited here may differ in their individual ways of juxtaposing or reconciling the views of Sūtra and Mantra, they all agree that in the final analysis a separation between the two truths is untenable.

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