The Progressive Stages of Contemplation on Emptiness: Nyingma and Geluk Presentations of the Major Buddhist Philosophical Systems
An Advanced Buddhist Studies/Rime Shedra NYC Course
Ten Tuesdays from May 15 to July 17, 2018, from 7-9:15 pm
Shambhala Meditation Center of New York
Meant as the prequel to the theme of the progressive stages of meditation on emptiness, i.e. reality, this course will explore the view and context that supplement that scheme. While for some this material might be viewed as the Nyquil of Buddhist topics, for those “in the know,” this is the very essence of what we bring into our practice of vipashyana meditation. As the Buddha says in the Lankavatara Sutra: “My dharma has two modes, advice and tenets. To children I speak advice and to yogis, tenets.”
The stages of this progression are mapped out into the four schools of Buddhist thought, however, instead of viewing these as literal historically distinct schools, the Tibetan tradition is famous for understanding these as stages that all of us go through in developing our understanding of reality, from naïve realism to subtle essencelessness. This way of viewing the progressive stages provides the foundation for the path of study and practice in our tradition.
In keeping with our characteristically Rime style, in this course we will study presentations of these stages from both the Nyingma and Geluk traditions. For the Nyingma, we will explore Mipham’s Summary of Philosophical Systems, translated by along with commentary by Herbert V. Guenther in his Buddhist Philosophy in Theory and Practice. For the Geluk tradition, we will explore Konchok Jigmey Wangpo’s summary presentation of Jamyang Shepa’s Great Stages of the View in Cutting Through Appearances translated along with commentary by Geshe Lhundup Sopa and Jeffrey Hopkins. Additionally, we will study the extremely helpful introductory contextual material in Buddhist Philosophy by Daniel Cozort and Craig Preston.
Readings will be provided in a sourcebook, available for free as a pdf or in hard copy at cost.