The Yakherds. Knowing Illusion: Bringing a Tibetan Debate into Contemporary Discourse, Volume 1, A Philosophical History of the Debate. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021. 384 pp. $125.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-19-760362-8; $45.00 (paper), ISBN 978-0-19-760363-5.
The Yakherds. Knowing Illusion: Bringing a Tibetan Debate into Contemporary Discourse, Volume 2, Translations. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021. 504 pp. $125.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-19-760367-3; $45.00 (paper), ISBN 978-0-19-760368-0.
Reviewed by John Newman (New College of Florida)
Published on H-Buddhism (October, 2022)
Commissioned by Lucia Galli
Study of the Mādhyamika tradition of Buddhist philosophy has grown exponentially over the past several decades. Publication on Madhyamaka has gotten to the point where even if one reads nothing else it is difficult to stay abreast. Within this flood of words, the works under review, in both scope and execution, are noteworthy contributions to our knowledge of the Middle Way. Knowing Illusion provides comprehensive contextualization and detailed analysis of one of the most important debates within Tibetan Madhyamaka in volume 1 and extensive translations of the original sources in volume 2. The Yakherds, the authors of the two volumes, are a collective of scholars who by their own account "have translated, edited, and written over 70 books and several hundred articles" (back covers of both volumes). Their names and brief curricula vitae are given toward the back of each volume, and they include some of the leading scholars in the study of Tibetan Madhyamaka.
Knowing Illusion explores a central issue—perhaps the central issue—in Madhyamaka, the ontological and epistemological status of (loka-)saṃvṛtisatya (Tib. ['jig rten (pa'i)] kun rdzob bden pa) and (loka-/laukika-)vyavahārasatya (Tib. ['jig rten pa'i/gyi] tha snyad kyi bden pa). The first portions of these terms (loka-/laukika-) and their Tibetan translations are often translated into English as "worldy," "mundane," and the like, but in a Madhyamaka context loka-/laukika- are often better rendered in ways that indicate their connotations, for example, "common people," "common practice or usage," "ordinary life," and so forth. The Yakherds, in agreement with the Cowherds, also a collective of scholars/translators, most often translate the second parts of both terms—saṃvṛtisatya and vyavahārasatya (and their Tibetan translations)—as "conventional truth" (pp. 1:7-8, 22, 295; 2:408). I will return to this below, but for the moment I will adopt the Cowherds/Yakherds convention. The basic project of Knowing Illusion is an examination of an interesting phase in the long-running Indian and Tibetan discourse about the degree, if any, to which a Mādhyamika attributes veridicality/reality to the "conventional truth" of common people.
As Cowherds and Yakherds agree, the writings of Tsongkhapa Lobzang Drakpa (rJe Tsong kha pa Blo bzang grags pa, 1357-1419)—henceforth Tsongkhapa—brought this issue to the forefront in Tibetan Madhyamaka studies. Although Tsongkhapa's views on Madhyamaka had been prefigured by his main Madhyamaka teacher, Rendawa Zhönu Lodrö (Red mda' ba gZhon nu blo gros, 1348-1412), it is fair to say that Tsongkhapa's massive commentaries on Nāgārjuna's and Candrakīrti's works along with his own original treatments of Madhyamaka loom over all subsequent discussion of Madhyamaka in Tibet. Criticism and defense of Tsongkhapa's interpretation of Candrakīrti in particular is the focal point of Knowing Illusion.
Knowing Illusion centers on: the trenchant criticism Taktsang Lotsāwa Sherab Rinchen (sTag tshang Lo tsā ba Shes rab rin chen, 1405-77)—henceforth Taktsang—leveled against Tsongkhapa's interpretation of Madhyamaka; Geluk responses to Taktsang; and Karma Kagyu defenses of and modifications of Taktsang's ideas. This is a controversy that continues even today, as exemplified by the final two chapters in volume 1 of Knowing Illusion, in which two contemporary Tibetan scholars revisit key issues in the debate.
Before addressing the valuable substance of Knowing Illusion, a note of caution is needed about the lack of attention to detail that too often mars the books. I will mention only a few random examples of this. On page 254 of the first volume, a quotation said to be from the King of Meditative Absorptions Discourse (presumably indicating the Samādhirāja-sūtra) is given, but the footnote for the reference (correctly) informs readers that the source of this important verse is the Anavatapta-nāgarāja-paripṛcchā-sūtra (giving the Sanskrit title as it is given in a Derge Kangyur) (p. 254n42). A few pages later Candrakīrti's important definition of the sense of ātman that is rejected in Madhyamaka is referenced as "Candrakīrti, Commentary on Four Hundred Verses 14.23, sDe dge #845, dBu ma, vol. ya: 190b" (p. 259n58). In fact, the verse referenced is Catuḥśataka 12.13 (k. 288), and the Derge number for Candrakīrti's commentary is 3865 according to the ACIP E-Text, which is the presumed source of this reference. If the Yakherds had read two lines further and looked at note 60 on the same page, they would have noticed that the text number and the verse number in note 58 is wrong (although the text number given in note 60 is also wrong) and that it is unlikely that Candrakīrti spent thirty Derge folios commenting on a single Catuḥśataka verse (p. 259n60). In any case, why do the Yakherds direct readers to an unreliable, unedited version of a single inferior Tangyur rendition when the leading Cowherd Tom J. F. Tillemans published meticulously edited critical editions of both the Sanskrit and the Tibetan of this very passage thirty years ago? I asked myself this sort of question far too many times while reading Knowing Illusion.
The beginning of both volumes of Knowing Illusion give a truncated version of a phrase about things that are "commonly known to everyone from uneducated cowherd women on up" (pp. 1:viiin1; 2:xvn2). This is drawn from the Tibetan translation of the Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya: [add: skye bo ma byang ba] gnag rdzi dang bud med la sogs pa yan cad la grags pa [sic]. We are told that the Sanskrit of this is gopālāṅganājana-prasiddha [sic]. Anyone who knows both languages will see that these two phrases differ, but only those familiar with Madhyamaka texts will recognize that the latter phrase is drawn from the Prasannapadā (LVP edition 260.14; cf. 418.12, 419.3), not the Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya. One might ask, "What's the big deal?" However, these passages and others like them have great significance for our understanding of Candrakīrti's ideas about ordinary people's knowledge of everyday reality. (J. W. de Jong showed in 1978 that the Sanskrit of Prasannapadā [LVP edition] 260.14 should be emended to cāgopālāṅganājanaº [Tib. skye bo ba glang rdzi dang bud med yan chad la]. Also, I take ºgopālāṅganāº to be a tatpuruṣa whereas the Tibetan reads it as a dvandva.)
On a personal note, I shed a little tear when I found "Kulika Puṇḍarīka" given as the author of the Vimalaprabhā in a Buddhological work published by Oxford University Press in 2021 (p. 2:440). I thought I had exorcized that false back-translation of Tibetan rigs ldan (< Skt. kalkin) back in the last millennium. More significantly, there are numerous Sanskrit terms appearing in the glossaries of Knowing Illusion that struck me as probable unmarked, sometimes misleading, back-translations from Tibetan. A few of these are pointed out below. As anyone who has spent any time comparing Tibetan translations with their Sanskrit originals knows, without the original Sanskrit text it is impossible to have certainty about the Sanskrit that underlies a Tibetan translation term. When one is dealing with philosophical terminology this fact is not mere pedantic philological nitpicking. In fabricating Sanskritizations of Tibetan terms one is liable to reify unreal, deceptive phenomena like "Mahāmadhyamaka" and "Svātantrika and Prāsaṅgika." And on the latter pair, does Taktsang really claim, "These two appellations, Prāsaṅgika and Svātantrika, are well known to the scholars of India and Tibet" (p. 2:11)?! I would be very surprised if a scholar of Taktsang's stature entertained the notion that these two appellations were well known to the scholars of India when it was well known to the scholars of Tibet that they appear to be Tibetan inventions. Tsongkhapa, at least, seems to think they are simply useful fictions that were employed by earlier Tibetan scholars (bod snga rabs pa rnams). Tsongkhapa adopts the terminology rang rgyud pa (*svātantrika) and thal 'gyur ba (*prāsaṅgika) not because these terms were ever used in India, but because, in his opinion, they are heuristics useful for categorizing Indian Mādhyamikas in terms of philosophical and doctrinal issues arising from Candrakīrti's critique of Bhāviveka in the Prasannapadā.
Besides relatively minor problems like those just mentioned, one fundamental issue that I found problematic in Knowing Illusion is the use of "truth" as the default translation for Sanskrit satya and Tibetan bden pa. Because Knowing Illusion's subtitle is "Bringing a Tibetan Debate into Contemporary Discourse," I wonder what non-Buddhologist philosophers will make of all the talk about "truth" in reference to things. Using English "truth" to translate satya/bden pa is of course an old Victorian custom in Buddhist studies, but a decade ago Cowherds Guy Newland and Tom J. F. Tillemans pointed out "the disconcerting fact that the very term we generally render as 'truth' (satya) is extensively used for existent realities (satya) rather than the veracity of statements or ideas." I think those of us habituated to Buddhist English more or less unconsciously mentally translate "truth" for satya/bden pa into "reality," "real" when we are thinking about whether or not pots and the like exist the way they appear, but I suspect a philosopher from outside our coven would be flummoxed by talk of a pot as a conventional truth. The Yakherds are well aware of this issue; they begin early in volume 1 by noting the ambiguity in the terms satya/bden pa (pp. 1:7-8). But shortly thereafter the Yakherds (One Yakherd? Some Yakherds? All Yakherds?—because of the collective authorship of most of volume 1 of Knowing Illusion this cannot be determined) conclude: "Some have argued that [satya/bden pa] is ambiguous between truth and reality. We think not: it has a clear semantic range that feels univocal in Sanskrit and Tibetan Buddhist literature" (p. 1:22n18). I disagree, but whatever the case may be, I doubt that a non-Buddhologist philosopher would be able to make much sense of the claim that an actual human face is some kind of truth whereas a mirror image of a human face is a falsehood.
Roaming over the more than seven hundred pages of pasture in these two volumes, I am the proverbial one-eyed yak eating grass (g.yag zhar ba rtswa za ba), nibbling at a clump of graze here and there, not nearly doing justice to the vast thought fodder in front of me. The following comments merely raise a few philosophical and philological questions that hopefully will be of use to others in the herd.
As the Yakherds superbly demonstrate, a key issue dividing Tsongkhapa (and his supporters) and Taktsang (and his supporters) is this: what value are we to ascribe to everyday things (Skt. ghaṭapaṭa, Tib. bum [pa dang] snam [bu]; literally "pots and cloths")? As I write this, I am looking at a small brass pot (a loṭa) on my desk that I use to hold pens and pencils. Does that pot "really" exist, or is it merely some kind of figment of my imagination? Of course, philosophers East and West have pondered this sort of question for millennia and have filled libraries with a vast spectrum of answers. In Tibet two approaches to this question became crystallized in the writings of Tsongkhapa and Taktsang.
To make a very long story short, Tsongkhapa says yes, the pot actually exists. The pot exists by commonly accepted convention (saṃvyavahāreṇa sat; tha snyad du yod pa), and I have conventional knowledge (sāṃvyavahārikaṃ jñānam; tha snyad pa'i shes pa) derived from conventional avenues of knowledge (sāṃvyavahārikapramāṇa; tha snyad pa'i tshad ma) that establish that fact. If my wife puts datura (dhattūra; da du ra) in my morning coffee I might see my pot as, and think it is, a luminous golden mushroom, but according to Tsongkhapa there are justifiable conventional avenues of knowledge that can show me—once the drug wears off—that the hallucinated mushroom was not an actual mushroom; it was a vitiated perception and erroneous conception of my actual pot.
Tsongkhapa presents three criteria that must be met to establish that something is conventionally existent (tha snyad du yod pa). The Yakherds mention this in passing in volume 1 of Knowing Illusion, and in volume 2 they direct the reader to the Lam rim chen mo treatment of this. However, this is the crux of the debate studied here, so a more detailed treatment of this before diving into the Tibetan epistemological arm wrestling would have been helpful for those not immersed in the subject. The three criteria are, very roughly: being commonly known within conventional knowledge (tha snyad pa'i shes pa la grags pa yin pa); not being contradicted by another conventional avenue of knowledge (ji ltar grags pa'i don de la tha snyad pa'i tshad ma gzhan gyis gnod pa med pa); and not being subject to contradiction by reasoning that properly investigates the nature of reality (de kho na nyid la'ng rang bzhin yod med tshul bzhin du dpyod pa'i rigs pas gnod pa mi 'bab pa). To state the obvious, each of these criteria requires detailed explication, and I refer the reader to Tsongkhapa's treatment of this in his Great Stages of the Path to Awakening.
For Tsongkhapa this is the way conventional knowledge works. Everyday things are established in conformity with the conventional knowledge and practices of common people (lokānuvartanā; 'jig rten mthun 'jug). Within the domain of everyday life, people muddle along, more or less know things, and more or less get things done. Of course, being a Mādhyamika, Tsongkhapa knows that everyday things appear to ordinary people as if they were established via an intrinsic nature, and that that aspect of the appearance of everyday things is false. But the ontological reification ordinary people superimpose on everyday things does not stop everyday things from operating according to the natural law of dependent origination, and ordinary people’s profound ignorance of the ultimate nature of things does not prevent them from having varying amounts of accurate, epistemically verifiable knowledge about everyday things and the way the world works. For Tsongkhapa it is obvious that everyday things are actual things (dngos po < vastu), and since they are objects of knowledge (shes bya < jñeya) it is equally obvious that an omniscient person, by definition, must know them.
For Taktsang things are perhaps more complicated. As the Yakherds demonstrate, Taktsang posits three "contexts of analysis." First is "the context of no examination and analysis" (ma brtag ma dpyad pa'i skabs); this is "the world as understood by ordinary people," but it notably also includes the Buddha's exposition of the "ground," "path," and "fruition" (to use the Yakherds' terms for gzhi lam 'bras bu), including the buddha kāyas and activities (pp. 1:106; 2:6-7). Second, "the context of slight analysis" (cung zad dpyad pa'i skabs) basically refers to Madhyamaka analysis, in which "everything in the first context is understood to be merely conventionally true—that is, deceptive and unreal, and emptiness is understood to be the ultimate truth" (p. 1:107). Third, "the context of thorough analysis" (legs par dpyad pa'i skabs) "is inconceivable and indescribable. Even emptiness and the distinction between the two truths drawn in the second context are abandoned because they are merely appearances" (p. 1:107).
On the surface one wonders, "Where's the beef (or rather, yak)?" Tsongkhapa, ostensibly following Candrakīrti, would say that "the world as understood by ordinary people" cannot be subjected to a specific kind of analysis that investigates the final nature of things (de kho na nyid la dpyod pa'i rigs pa/mthar thug dpyod pa'i rigs pa) because the everyday things of the world, like buddhas and everything else, are unable to withstand that specific kind of analysis (vicārāsaha; dpyad [pa] mi bzod pa). Likewise, Taktsang's second and third contexts are roughly analogous to Tsongkhapa's explanations of Candrakīrti's thought. But the going gets tricky in Taktsang's presentation of the "real world" implications that his three contexts impose on the everyday reality of ordinary people.
Taktsang apparently holds that because everyday things are deceptive, they are not true (better, "real") in any way whatsoever: "Because relative truth is deceptive, it is entirely false, and it is not really a truth at all. Epistemic instruments [pramāṇa; tshad ma] are meant to get at truth, not falsehood. For this reason, while in the first context conventional epistemic instruments make sense, in the second they are understood to be deceptive. From this standpoint, only rational analysis that discovers the emptiness of all phenomena is properly nondeceptive" (p. 1:108). From the preceding explanation it is not clear to me why Taktsang would accept the terminology "conventional epistemic instrument" (sāṃvyavahārika-pramāṇa; tha snyad pa'i tshad ma) in any context. The above quotation is closely followed by this: "To take pramāṇas as independently justificatory is to regard them as having a status that transcends mundane convention. But according to Taktsang, there can be no account of the conventional world that is more fundamental than conventions. Conventions themselves have no ultimate grounding and depend on other conventions in a network of justification. Taktsang contends that any epistemology that promises to establish relative truth nondeceptively is recognized as false in the Madhyamaka system" (p. 1:108).
Much more could be said about this, and indeed the Yakherds do an extensive job of saying it. To boil it down to how I understand it, Tsongkhapa contends that everyday things (like buddhas and everything else) are "like magical illusions" (māyopama/māyāvat; sgyu ma lta bu) because they appear to ordinary people to be ultimately existent. That is, things appear to be established by an intrinsic nature—a nature that would entail that they exist noncontingently—which would preclude their being dependent originations. In fact, things do not exist in the way they appear to ordinary people. However, the false overlay of intrinsic being we ordinary people superimpose on things that are in fact merely semantic (saṃvṛtimātra; kun rdzob tsam) does not necessarily prevent us from being able to securely differentiate between things that actually exist and things that do not actually exist within the framework of everyday experience. In other words, even if we ordinary people misconceive what lies at the bottom of our world—a profound confusion one of my Tibetan teachers called in English "the deep hallucination"—that does not vitiate our justified knowledge of the surface. Isaac Newton never even heard the term "dark matter"—which, I'm told, might make up 85 percent of the matter in the universe—but he did a very fine job of explaining the way the planets move around the sun. I do not even pretend to understand quantum mechanics, but I know with absolute certainty the right way and the wrong way to change a light bulb.
Taktsang seems to take a different approach to everyday things. As the Yakherds represent his thought, he apparently holds "that when the Buddhist sūtras declare all phenomena to be like illusions and dreams, they in fact mean to say just that: it is illusion all the way down, not some actual thing that has an illusory appearance. From the Madhyamaka perspective, the horse that may kick you today is epistemologically no different than the horse conjured by a magician, or the horse that you dreamt of last night" (p. 1:110, emphasis added). If this representation of Taktsang's position is accurate, it creates a lot of problems. For one, if everyday things are illusions simpliciter, why don't the sutras just tell us that a bit more clearly? In the Mahāyāna sutras we find thousands of māyopamas and māyāvats applied to all kinds of things from pots to buddhas, and very rarely are the simile components absent. A more down-to-earth problem is that in Taktsang's epistemology as represented above I cannot see how I would have any way to distinguish my brass loṭa from the luminous golden mushroom I saw when I was hallucinating, and I would be perplexed as to why I actually get bruised when my actual yak in my actual corral kicks me, but I do not really get bruised when my dream yak in my dream kicks me. It would be an odd world indeed where we would have no means to distinguish waking life and dreams, everyday reality and magical illusions, facts and "alternative facts," news and fake news, sanity and madness.
But seventy-odd pages later the Yakherds inform us that "nothing in [Taktsang's] attack on Tsongkhapa suggests that he would be unable to distinguish between an illusory object and one that conventionally exists. His concern is with the use of epistemic warrant in a specifically Prāsaṅgika context, such as the context of slight analysis, and the supposition that this idea could have any use at all in the third context" (p. 1:185). This makes me ask: if Taktsang is able to distinguish between illusions and conventionally existent things, how does he do it? Moving on to volume 2 of Knowing Illusion we are told: "Prāsaṅgika, [Taktsang] argues, eschews any commitment to the reality of the conventional world, or any sense of conventional truth. On this view, the so-called relative reality is upon initial Madhyamaka analysis found to be entirely deceptive, and so false ... The conventional world is, from a Madhyamaka perspective, not a proper object of knowledge, where knowledge by definition delivers reality, or the truth. So epistemic warrant regarding the conventional is incoherent" (p. 2:5). Yet two pages later we are told: "Taktsang acknowledges that in the first context it is possible and indeed necessary to say and understand what Madhyamaka classifies as relative or conventional truth, but none of this amounts to knowledge in a Madhyamaka sense" (p. 2:7, emphasis added).
I continued my quest for Taktsang's account of everyday logic and justification, "the crude way the world may examine whether someone is inside or outside his house, or if he is coming or going and so on," but after seven hundred pages I still do not understand how Taktsang can differentiate fact and fiction within the false realm of everyday unreality (p. 2:66). In Taktsang's explanation of the "reason and purpose for the first context," "the context of innate error," he seems to say, "one must assume the perspective of innate error that apprehends before and after as one because no matter how one goes about it, there will be problems if one applies analysis" (pp. 2:66-68, 66). On reading this I did not know if I was coming or going, and I wandered off the trail, not seeing any epistemic cairns that would direct me toward everyday knowledge that can distinguish factual fiction from fictional fiction.
In any case, this old yak will continue ruminating on this, and will roam on. As noted above, Knowing Illusion is a collaborative effort. In fact, it is a "polygraph," so it must be telling the truth (p. 1:vii). I found little in it that is patently false, which is rather remarkable given that there are ten Yakherds; the text proper, again, runs to more than seven hundred pages; and it was worked on "for more than six years" by scholars spanning the globe (p. 1:xi). That said, there are some points I find troubling. I will merely touch on four of these.
First, the Yakherds (One? Some? All?—this cannot be determined) assert: "Candrakīrti claims that buddhahood is the culmination of a complete cessation of 'mind and mental processes'" (p. 1:132, emphasis added). I had difficulty deciphering the text reference provided to support this assertion: it reads: "Ibid. [= Candrakīrti, Introduction to the Middle Way] XI.1, 155a; XI.17d" (p. 1:132n2). The references seem to suggest that this refers to Derge Tangyur no. 3861, but then the folio number of the page reference is impossible. If we assume the text is in fact Derge no. 3862, then the folio number 155a is impossible, but if we change that to 255a we finally hit pay dirt! In general, citing Madhyamakāvatāra and/or Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya by "XI" is problematic because of the complex way the material following the tenth cittotpāda (sems bskyed pa) is presented in those texts. And in any case, it is frustrating and lamentable that the Yakherds most often refer the reader to an unreliable unedited Derge Tangyur version of these texts without even mentioning Louis de la Vallée Poussin's edition and/or the 2012 critical edition of Ryushin Uryuzu and Mitsuru Nakazawa (unavailable to me).
But to crawl back out of the weeds and address the question of whether Candrakīrti asserts that "buddhahood is the culmination of the complete cessation of 'mind and mental processes'"—an issue that has major ramifications for many of the controversies explored in Knowing Illusion—the picture as I see it is far from clear. The passage in the Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya that I assume the Yakherds are referencing reads as follows: sangs rgyas rnams la ni chos thams cad rnam pa thams cad du mngon par rdzogs par byang chub pa'i phyir | sems dang sems las byung ba'i rgyu ba gtan log par 'dod pa yin no |. Unpacking all of this falls outside of the range of this review, but it is clear that Candrakīrti is saying that the roaming, or manifestation, or employment (rgyu ba < pracāra—the Tibetan supports the first connotation of pracāra) of mind and mental factors (cittacaita; sems dang sems las byung ba) has entirely ceased for buddhas because they are perfectly awakened to all phenomena in all their aspects. Candrakīrti does not say that mind and mental factors themselves have necessarily ceased to exist.
Candrakīrti's statement here seems to be related to his discussion of nirvikalpam in Prasannapadā ad Mūlamadhyamakakārikā 18.9c: nirvikalpaṃ ca tat | vikalpaś cittapracāraḥ | tadrahitatvāt tat tattvaṃ nirvikalpam | yathoktaṃ [Akṣayamatinirdeśa] sūtre | paramārthasatyaṃ katamat | yatra jñānasyāpy [probable emendation: cittasyāpy] apracāraḥ kaḥ punar vādo 'kṣarāṇām iti | evaṃ nirvikalpam |. Again, thorough discussion of this would require more space than is warranted here, but it is clear that Candrakīrti is saying that reality (tattva)/ultimate reality (paramārthasatya) is free from conceptualization, which is the "roaming," "manifestation," or "employment" of mind. (Discursive thought, on the other hand, is like cows, or yaks, ranging about [pracāra] in their pasture [pracāra].) The nonexistence of conceptualization within ultimate reality is of course not controversial in any Mahāyāna context, and it is something that I suspect Tsongkhapa and Taktsang would agree upon, as far as it goes.
(After I had written the previous three paragraphs, I learned 470 pages later—in volume 2 of Knowing Illusion—that Purchok Ngawang Jampa [Phur lcog Ngag dbang byams pa, 1682-1762] sets the record straight: he notes that in the Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya passage treated above Candrakīrti is saying "conceptual mental states and mental factors completely cease" in buddhahood [p. 2:363, emphasis added]. See also page 2:374: "all movements of mind and mental states have completely ceased.") There is much more to say about this, including exegesis of statements in the Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya and the Prasannapadā about the "inactivity" or "non-operation" (apravṛtti; mi 'jug pa) of mind and mental factors within ārya gnostic cognition of reality, but it is probably better to refrain from saying much about Candrakīrti's buddhology until the long-awaited, much-anticipated edition of the Sanskrit of Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya 6 ff. finally appears to complement the recently published edition of cittotpādas 1-5.
Second, another closely related yak-bone to pick in the same section of Knowing Illusion is the bald assertion: "Candrakīrti says buddhas 'do not perceive anything.' That is, the manner in which buddhas perceive ultimate truth 'is by way of not perceiving'" (p. 1:136). This reading of Candrakīrti follows Taktsang's interpretation: "Since the conventional world appears through the force of delusion, any epistemic engagement with that conventional world must be grounded in delusion or primal ignorance. In virtue of being free of such ignorance, a buddha does not actually perceive or engage with the world of falsity and delusion" (p. 1:140). Because buddhas by definition know everything that exists, if Candrakīrti's position as given above is apodictically literally true, Tsongkhapa and his followers should just load their nonexistent Kangyurs and Tangyurs on their nonexistent yaks and go home. That is, if buddhas do not perceive Kangyurs, Tangyurs, and yaks, then Kangyurs, Tangyurs, and yaks do not exist. However, this appears to be another case where the yak has been hit with a meat ax when a scalpel—or perhaps Mañjuśrī's sword—is required.
In this discussion in Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya ad Madhyamakāvatāra 6.29 Candrakīrti says: tān eva skandhādīn yena svabhāvena nirastasamastāvidyāvāsanā buddhā bhagavantaḥ paśyanti ataimirikopalabdhakeśadarśananyāyena | tad eṣāṃ paramārthasatyam iti ||. The passage continues: gal te rnam pa de lta bu'i rang bzhin ni mthong ba med pa nyid ma yin nam de'i phyir ji ltar de dag gis gzigs she na| bden mod kyi 'on kyang ma gzigs pa'i tshul gyis de dag gis gzigs so zhes brjod do ||. To paraphrase this: The natural condition (svabhāva; rang bzhin) by which buddhas see the aggregates and so forth is the manner in which people without floaters see hairs [seen by people with floaters]; that is their ultimate reality. If one were to ask, "Isn't it the case that that sort of natural condition is just non-seeing (mthong ba med pa nyid)? Thus, how do they see?"—That is true; however, it is said that they see via the method of non-seeing (ma gzigs pa'i tshul gyis < adarśananyāyena).
Candrakīrti returns to "the method of non-seeing" (adarśananyāya; ma mthong ba'i / ma gzigs pa'i tshul) in Prasannapadā ad MMK 18.9a. There he discusses the doctrine that reality is something that must be experienced by oneself, emphasizing its ineffabilty, and the method of non-seeing is correlated with "seeing emptiness" (śūnyatādarśana). Both the Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya and the Prasannapadā discussions of "non-seeing" presuppose the oft-cited Dharmasaṅgīti-sūtra treatment of this idea, in which Subhūti tells the Buddha: ... [hetupratyayadarśanaṃ] śūnyatādarśanaṃ [|] śūnyatādarśanam adarśanaṃ | adarśanaṃ bhagavan sarvadharmāṇāṃ samyagdarśanam ||. (... Seeing causes and conditions [i.e., dependent origination] is seeing emptiness. Seeing emptiness is non-seeing. Non-seeing all phenomena, Bhagavān, is correct seeing.) This sutra is in turn related to the conclusion of the loka-saṃdarśana chapter of the Ratnaguṇasaṃcaya-gāthā (12.8-9), in which the Tathāgata indicates seeing Dharma occurs where there is no seeing of the aggregates or any sort of mental stuff.
Thus, we are climbing high among the peaks of the Indian Mahāyāna Buddhist rhetoric of emptiness, where apparent paradox and deliberate ambiguity abound. The claim that seeing emptiness—non-seeing (adarśana)—is correct seeing (samyagdarśana) is a Mahāyāna spin on "correct view" (samyagdṛṣṭi), the first member of the eightfold path. Taking Candrakīrti's references to the method of non-seeing as if they are categorical dogma that "buddhas 'do not perceive anything'" strikes me as a slip on a steep slope on the mountain pasture, ending in an abyss. It would certainly be difficult to reconcile that assertion with the Pitāputrasamāgama statement that "the Tathāgata sees saṃvṛti via the usage of common people" (tatra saṃvṛtir lokapracāratas tathāgatena dṛṣṭā |; de la kun rdzob ni | 'jig rten gyi spyod par de bzhin gshegs pas gzigs so ||).
In any case, Candrakīrti says buddhas see the aggregates and so forth: skandhādīn ... buddhā[ḥ] ... paśyanti. In the immediately preceding portion of his explanation of Madhyamakāvatāra 6.29 Candrakīrti indicates that buddhas see reality by not seeing the unreal, imaginary character (svarūpa; rang gi ngo bo) of the aggregates and so forth that is observed by people who do not see the reality of the aggregates. Thus, buddhas are like people free from floaters instructing people who have floaters that the hairs and so forth that they see do not exist. But let us leave Buddhist texts and return to everyday reality: people who do not have floaters do not see floaters, but they do see actual everyday things, don't they?
Third, do "Gelukpas maintain that the two truths are not different ontological entities, but rather two different aspects of one thing—extensionally equivalent, and intensionally distinct" (ngo bo gcig la ldog pa tha dad) (p. 1:166)? Do Gelukpas believe that the two "truths" are "a single entity" (p. 1:166n63)? An exhaustive analysis (mtha' dpyod) of Geluk ideas about ngo bo gcig la ldog pa tha dad would require a small treatise, but I simply raise the question: is "entity" a good translation for ngo bo here?
A recently recovered quotation of the Sanskrit of Bodhicittavivaraṇa 67cd-68, a text that Tsongkhapa repeatedly cites in this context, may help to shed light on this: saṃvṛtivyatirekeṇa na tattvam upalabhyate | [67cd] saṃvṛtiḥ śūnyatā proktā śūnyataiva hi saṃvṛtiḥ | avinābhāvaniyamāt kṛtakānityayor iva || . My brass pot's being fabricated and its being impermanent have "a restricted inseparable logical connection" (avinābhāvaniyama; med na mi 'byung nges pa), to borrow Ernst Steinkellner's translation of this phrase in Pramāṇavārttika 1.1c, but they are not "a single entity." Similarly, I suspect Tsongkhapa would say that saṃvṛtisatya and paramārthasatya as natures of my brass pot have a restricted inseparable logical connection, but I don't think he would say they are "a single entity."
David Seyfort Ruegg discussed this very issue before the Sanskrit of this Bodhicittavivaraṇa passage was available, referencing Helmut Tauscher's earlier detailed treatment. Tauscher used "indentischem Wesen" (identical being) and Seyfort Ruegg used "identity as to essence" to translate ngo bo gcig. This appears to have ramifications for the interpretation of rūpadvayam (ngo bo gnyis) in Madhyamakāvatāra 6.23b, the rūpa of which Candrakīrti glosses as *svarūpa (rang gi ngo bo), so perhaps something like "unitary nature" would work for ngo bo gcig in relation to Tsongkhapa's account of the two "truths," or rather "realities" (Wirklichkeiten), as Tauscher translates bden pa in Tsongkhapa's usage. But this is yet another case where access to the Sanskrit of Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya 6 is likely to be illuminating.
Finally, as noted above, the Yakherds—preceded by the Cowherds—more or less equate saṃvṛti (kun rdzob) and vyavahāra (tha snyad), usually translating both terms as "conventional." (However, somewhere between pages 7 and 14 in the second volume of Knowing Illusion, "relative truth" begins to mostly replace "conventional truth" for saṃvṛtisatya, and the index to that volume sends those seeking "conventional truths" [sic] to "relative truth"; I did not notice an explanation for this shift.) Both the Cowherds and the Yakherds are fully aware of the problem, and they have provided explanations of Candrakīrti's thorny three derivations of saṃvṛti given in his Prasannapadā discussion of MMK 24.8c: non-cognizance (ajñāna; mi shes pa); reciprocal occurrence (parasparasaṃbhavana; phan tshun brten pa [sic]); and semantic relations, that is, common people's conventions (saṃketo lokavyavahāra; brda ste | 'jig rten gyi tha snyad) (my tentative translations of these three connotations). Given that vyavahāra is embedded in Candrakīrti's third connotation, it is clear that in some contexts saṃvṛti is to some degree equivalent to vyavahāra. In fact, vyavahāra seems to be the only sense of saṃvṛti invoked in Buddhapālita's and Bhāviveka's comments on MMK 24.8, and there Bhāviveka seems to simply equate *lokasaṃvṛti with *laukikavyavahāra (de la 'jig rten pa'i kun rdzob ni 'jig rten gyi tha snyad de |).
As an aside, the Yakherds (One? Some? All?) seem to suggest that Tibetan translators sometimes use tha snyad to translate saṃvṛti, "unsystematically" using it in place of the standard kun rdzob (p. 1:73n16). I do not recall seeing this, and I suspect that if it does occur it is the result of textual corruption or translator incompetence.
In any case, in his Śūnyatāsaptativṛtti Candrakīrti himself complicates the simple equation of the two terms: "Regarding the word *saṃvṛti: It is not a synonym (rnam grangs < *paryāya) of *lokavyavahāra because [lokavyavahāra] exists in two forms due to the differentiation of *saṃvṛti and *paramārtha, and because one portion of *vyavahāra is expressed by the word *saṃvṛti. Regarding the meaning of this via the force of reasoning: That which is *laukikavyavahāra is expressed by the word *saṃvṛti. And that, in this way, is correct, for Ārya [Nāgārjuna] himself said, 'This *laukikavyavahāra is *lokasaṃvṛti; that is not reality (de kho na nyid < *tathatā),' so that *vyavahāra and *saṃvṛti can also be synonyms. There is no fault in that. As the [Akṣayamati-nirdeśa-] sūtra says: 'If one says, "What is *saṃvṛtisatya?" It is whatever is taught via *laukikavyavahāra, syllables, words, and semantic relations.'"
Thus, simple equation of these two terms and presenting them as interchangeably equivalent in a presentation of Candrakīrti's thought intended for those not initiated into Indo-Tibetan philology may be very problematic. To state the obvious, we cannot attempt to solve this vexing philological and philosophical puzzle here, but further study of it is likely to bear great fruit in the future. We hope the Yakherds (and the Cowherds) will devote additional time to it during future roundups.
This old drong ('brong; Bos mutus) could continue to paw at a few fleas on his flank, but it is time to head back to the Changthang. When I reread the preceding comments on Knowing Illusion, I note that they are unbalanced: too much criticism and not enough praise. It is hard to create knowledge and easy to criticize others' creations. Yet external critical evaluation of findings is the only way progress can be achieved. Knowing Illusion offers such a wealth of riches that I find it difficult to know where to begin in praising its merits. I was aware of Taktsang's critique of Tsongkhapa's Madhyamaka view, but before reading Knowing Illusion I had no grasp of its complexity and sophistication. And I had no clear picture of the degree to which Taktsang's attack on Tsongkhapa was taken up by later Karma Kagyu masters. On this topic the Yakherds do a wonderful job of situating ethereal scholastic polemic in the nitty-gritty nastiness of sixteenth- to eighteenth-century Tibetan power politics. And I was utterly fascinated by the revelation that the Eighth Karmapa Mikyö Dorjé (Mi bskyod rdo rje, 1507-54) refers to the presentation of the Middle Way by the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorjé (Rang 'byung rig pa'i rdo rje, 1284-1339) as "poison," a repudiation that, as the Yakherds tell us, would be roughly analogous to Jesus Christ reappearing and vilifying his own Sermon on the Mount (pp. 1:201-2).
Most importantly, it is a pleasure to encounter a work on Madhyamaka that brings it alive in a contemporary philosophical context. The Yakherds suggest that there is a developing consensus that Candrakīrti can be said to advocate some sort of non- or anti-foundationalism, but is he a global error theorist? Or does he assume a kind of epistemological coherentism? Maybe he has some ideas that are uniquely his own.
In Knowing Illusion the Yakherds note: "Candrakīrti's corpus is large, and careful cherry-picking of quotations can indeed support many distinct interpretations of his thought.... We leave it to the reader to decide who is offering the most compelling analysis of Candrakīrti's corpus and who is citing him in misleading ways" (pp. 2:4-5). Of course the basic problem here is that without determining Candrakīrti's own beliefs there is no way to evaluate radically varying—sometimes directly contradictory—representations of Candrakīrti's thought. Is Candrakīrti simply a nihilist who believes "nothing exists," as seems to have come back into fashion among some in the Buddhological community? Is he a radical skeptic who claims to have "no claim or view whatsoever," as the Eighth and Ninth Karmapas claim? Does he advocate an ascending scale of analysis leading to an absolutely ineffable state that entails no knowledge of the world, à la Taktsang? Or does he presuppose—or even advocate—a model of justification that is compatible with common people's knowledge practices, as Tsongkhapa and his followers assert?
In closing, I offer an inchoate notion on why Tsongkhapa augments Candrakīrti's version of Madhyamaka with a more robust account of the epistemic justification of common people's conventional reality (lokavyavahārasatya). This is the feature of Tsongkhapa's thought that—as the Yakherds demonstrate—draws the heaviest fire from Taktsang and others. Candrakīrti's principal philosophical opponents were Buddhists like Dignāga, Dharmapāla, and Bhāviveka who, in Candrakīrti's opinion, all advocated some degree of essentialism (sasvabhāvabhāvavāda) that is incompatible with the Madhyamaka assertion of the essencelessness of things (niḥsvabhāvabhāvavāda). Given that, it is not surprising that Candrakīrti spent most of his time demolishing the misleading constructs of essentialist philosophers and spent little or no time justifying common people's conventions (lokavyavahāra), which are satisfactory as they are established by mature, reasonable common people (lokaprasiddha). Some contemporary scholars have characterized Candrakīrti's slender explanation of epistemic justification as leading to "dismal relativism," but perhaps he simply did not see the need for constructing another formal epistemology in his philosophical community, or thought that any effort to present such a model would be misinterpreted by essentialists as supporting their agenda of real unique particulars, autonomous inference, and the like. Or perhaps he assumed his readers were familiar with his Pañcaskandhaprakaraṇa and other writings where he explicitly rejects the charge of nihilism and clearly spells out his position on the merely conventional, nominal existence of dependently originated pots, cloths, houses, and so forth, so that characterizing his philosophy as nihilistic is impossible, unless anti-essentialism is necessarily nihilistic.
When Tsongkhapa arrived in central Tibet he found himself surrounded by many scholars who advocated views that Tsongkhapa considered to undervalue conventional reality. Thus, whereas Candrakīrti's main opponents were "realist" essentialists, Tsongkhapa's philosophical opponents were—in his opinion, in one way or another—anti-rationalist and nihilistic. Whether it was the newly popular transcendentalist gzhan stong (emptiness of the extrinsic) absolutism of Dölpopa Shérap Gyeltsen (Dol po pa Shes rab rgyal mtshan, 1292-1361) or the older radical skepticism of the so-called yod min med min gyi lta ba (the non-view of neither being, nor non-being, nor being and non-being, nor neither being nor non-being), many Tibetan scholars advocated philosophical positions that entail—in Tsongkhapa's opinion, at least—that everyday things at best exist only from the perspective of error. For Tsongkhapa and his followers these sorts of views are incompatible with Candrakīrti's explicitly stated position that Mādhyamikas are not nihilists (nāstika); they are proponents of dependent origination (pratītyasamutpādavādino hi mādhyamikāḥ).
Tsongkhapa makes dependent origination the core of his vision of Madhyamaka. Claiming to follow Nāgārjuna and Candrakīrti, Tsongkhapa holds that it is impossible to establish emptiness without establishing dependent origination and it is impossible to establish dependent origination without providing a rationally demonstrable account of causality and dependent designation. That being the case, perhaps Tsongkhapa drew on the logical and epistemological resources of the pramāṇa tradition and so-called Svatantrika masters like Bhāviveka and Kamalaśīla to construct a reliable account of causality and dependent designation in response to what he considered to be nihilistic tendencies within his philosophical milieu. Whether this sort of project is viable within Candrakīrti's philosophy is still an open question, the ongoing study of which is likely to shed much light on both the Indian and the Tibetan Mādhyamika traditions.
As one who began roaming about, looking for the Middle Way back when sophisticated philosophical questions about it could not even be properly formulated, it is encouraging to see them applied to Tibetan interpretations of Madhyamaka in a fashion that allows one to grapple with ideas instead of just wandering lost in deserts of unintelligible translation jargon. So, I will stop yakking, and simply exclaim: Yakherds, Driherds, and Dzoherds! Kye ma ho! Legs so! Legs so! (Wow!—Bravo! Bravo!) Long may you roam in the ineffable transcendent beauty of the pristine high pastures, and bring home the rich butter and cheese!
. The Cowherds, Moonshadows: Conventional Truth in Buddhist Philosophy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 11-15.
. All translations by reviewer, unless otherwise noted.
. The Cowherds, Moonshadows, 9, see also 4-11.
. See Yaśomitra, Abhidharmakośavyākhyā ad Abhidharmakośa 6.4c for the first Sanskrit term; Kamalaśīla, Tattvasaṃgrahapañjikā ad Tattvasaṃgraha 2980-81 for the next two terms; Prajñākaramati, Bodhicaryāvatārapañjikā ad Bodhicaryāvatāra 9.6ab and 9.137-38 for the last term. The Sanskrit found in these texts differs from the forms given by the Yakherds: pp. 1:295, 313; 2:408, 423.
. Shar gdong Blo bzang bshad sgrub rgya mtsho, ed., mNyam med tsong kha pa chen pos mdzad pa'i byang chub lam rim che ba (Zi ling: mTsho sngon mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1985; repr. with additions, Taipei: The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation, 2002), 627, see also 626-33; and Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee, trans., The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment by Tsong-kha-pa, vol. 3 (Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 2002), 178, see also 177-83. See also the Cowherds, Moonshadows, 57-71 for Guy Newland's helpful treatment of this.
. For the Sanskrit of vicārāsaha, see P. L. Vaidya, ed., Bodhicaryāvatāra of Śāntideva with the Commentary Pañjikā of Prajñākaramati (Darbhanga: The Mithila Institute, 1960), 159.7; likewise, Samdhong Rinpoche and Vrajvallabh Dwivedi, eds., Kṛṣṇayamāritantram with Ratnāvalīpañjikā of Kumāracandra (Sarnath: Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, 1992), 134.16, 277.16. The Yakherds give the Sanskrit of dpyad bzod as pratibala, which strikes me as unlikely (pp. 1:293, 308; 2:407, 419).
. My translation "merely semantic" is tentative. This term is crucial for understanding Candrakīrti's ideas about saṃvṛti in Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya ad Madhyamakāvatāra 6.28, and it has major implications for many of the issues explored in Knowing Illusion. It is strangely absent from the Yakherds' glossaries: pp. 1:295 (cf. 1:299), 310; 2:408 (cf. 2:412), 420. Kun rdzob tsam is translated as "merely concealing," buried on page 1:221n19; and we find "mere ordinary falsehood" for rdzun pa'i kun rdzob tsam in the glossaries on pages 1:299, 312; 2:412, 422. These translations reflect Candrakīrti's first connotation of saṃvṛti (see below). On the other hand, on pages 2:61, 362-63, 373-75, kun rdzob tsam is translated as "merely relative," perhaps drawing on Candrakīrti's second connotation of saṃvṛti. However, in the Pitāputrasamāgama, kun rdzob tsam appears multiple times in the list ming tsam, tha snyad tsam, brda tsam, kun rdzob tsam, brjod pa tsam, gdags pa tsam, and the Sanskrit for one of these passages is preserved in the Śikṣāsamuccaya: vyavahāramātram etat | nāmadheyamātraṃ saṃketamātraṃ saṃvṛtimātraṃ [*abhilāpamātraṃ] prajñaptimātraṃ |. Similarly, a sūtra quoted at Prasannapadā ad MMK 19.6, Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya ad Madhyamakāvatāra 6.127, Catuḥśatakaṭīkā ad Catuḥśataka 9.20, and in the Pañcaskandhaprakaraṇa (Lindtner edition pp. 116.30-117.1) also supports interpreting saṃvṛtimātra in line with Candrakīrti's third connotation of saṃvṛti: saṃketa/lokavyavahāra. However, there are unresolved questions about saṃvṛtimātra that await the Sanskrit edition of Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya 6.
. Louis de la Vallée Poussin, Madhyamakāvatāra par Candrakīrti: Traduction Tibétaine (Neudruck der Ausgabe, 1907-12; repr., Osnabrück: Biblio Verlag, 1970), 108.9-11 = D 255a4.
. Louis de la Vallée Poussin, ed., Madhyamakavṛttiḥ Mūlamadhyamakārikās (Mādhyamikasūtras) de Nāgārjuna avec la Prasannapadā Commentaire de Candrakīrti (Neudruck der Ausgabe, 1903-13; repr., Osnabrück: Biblio Verlag reprint, 1970), 374.1-3. (The LVP edition and J. W. de Jong report no v.l., but the Derge translation of the Prasannapadā and all other witnesses for this Akṣayamatinirdeśa quotation support emending jñānasyāpy to cittasyāpy. However, jñānasyāpy might be original to the Prasannapadā.)
. Horst Lasic, Xuezhu Li, and Anne MacDonald, eds., Candrakīrti's Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya Chapters 1 to 5 (Beijing: China Tibetology Publishing House, 2022). STTAR no. 22. Best wishes to those working on this all-important project, long laboring under the absurd shackle of not having proper access to the unique manuscript.
. Sanskrit as presented in Vaidya, ed., Bodhicaryāvatāra of Śāntideva, 176.13-14. See de la Vallée Poussin, Madhyamakāvatāra par Candrakīrti, 110.8-11, for the Tibetan translation, which suggests °upalabdha° is Prajñākaramati's annotation.
. de la Vallée Poussin, Madhyamakāvatāra par Candrakīrti, 110.12-14 (the Sanskrit of this is not preserved in Prajñākaramati's pañjikā).
. de la Vallée Poussin, Madhyamakavṛttiḥ Mūlamadhyamakārikās, 373.1-7. The text here must be emended in accordance with J. W. de Jong, "Textcritical Notes on the Prasannapadā," Indo-Iranian Journal 20 (1978): 229.
. This is my unpublished edition based on the apparently abridged Sanskrit quotation found in the Śikṣāsamuccaya and the Tibetan translation of the sūtra found in the Lhasa Kangyur. The Tibetan takes the first members in the sentences as if they are agents: "By seeing causes and conditions one sees emptiness," etc. For Taktsang's treatment of this subject see page 2:69. There the key phrase is translated "Not seeing anything is the supreme vision," but that is quite loose as far as the sūtra itself is concerned. Ryusi Keira's treatment of this (see pp. 2:69n213, 439) was not available to me.
. Toru Tomabechi, "Quotations in Abhayākaragupta's Āmnāyamañjarī Chapters 6-8 (Extracted from a Newly Available Sanskrit-Tibetan Bilingual Manuscript)" [in Japanese with English Summary], Bulletin of the International Institute for Buddhist Studies 1 (2018): 85.
. David Seyfort Ruegg, Two Prolegomena to Madhyamaka Philosophy: Candrakīrti’s Prasannapadā Madhyamaka-vṛttīḥ on Madhyamakakārikā I.1 and Tsoṅ kha pa Blo bzaṅ grags pa / rGyal tshab Dar ma rin chen’s dKa’ gnad/gnas brgyad kyi zin bris Annotated Translations: Studies in Indian and Tibetan Madhyamaka Thought, Part 2 (Vienna: Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien Universität Wien, 2002), 183-84; and Helmut Tauscher, Die Lehre von den Zwei Wirklichkeiten in Tsoṅ kha pas Madhyamaka-Werken (Vienna: Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien Universität Wien, 1995), 187-94.
. The Cowherds, Moonshadows, 11: "saṃvṛti and the equivalent term vyavahāra."
. Felix Erb, ed., Śūnyatāsaptativṛtti, Candrakīrtis Kommentar zu den "Siebzig Versen über die Leerheit" des Nāgārjuna [Kārikās 1-14] – Einleitung, Übersetzung, text-kritische Ausgabe des Tibetischen und Indizes (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1997), 212.40-213.7. My translation is extremely tentative; as Erb heroically demonstrated, the text as we have it is a philological quagmire. This passage seems to contradict Jay L. Garfield's claim that "both Candrakīrti and Tsongkhapa regard [vyavahāra / tha snyad and saṃvṛti / kun rdzob] as absolutely coextensive" (The Cowherds, Moonshadows, 23n1).
. See Christian Lindtner, "Candrakīrti's Pañcaskandhaprakaraṇa I. Tibetan Text," Acta Orientalia 40 (1970): 110.15-121.10.
. de la Vallée Poussin, Madhyamakavṛttiḥ Mūlamadhyamakārikās, 368.7. Likewise Catuḥśatakaṭīkā ad Catuḥśataka 14.23 [k. 348] (Kōshin Suzuki ed.), 358.5-359.29 (cf. Derge no. 3865, ACIP E-Text f. 220b3-221b1).
. The traditional Tibetan attitude toward drong/yak/dri/dzo is comparable to the traditional Indian attitude toward cows. I recall my teacher Geshe Lhundub Sopa Rinpoche's eyes would light up when we talked about yaks, especially the wild drong, and I've seen a look of excitement on the face of H.H. the Dalai Lama riding a dri in Zangskar. One will learn more about traditional Tibetan sensibilities watching the 108 minutes of Ulrike Koch's great 1997 film The Saltmen of Tibet than one will get from 108 years of library pecha decipherment.
If there is additional discussion of this review, you may access it through the network, at: https://networks.h-net.org/h-buddhism.
John Newman. Review of The Yakherds, Knowing Illusion: Bringing a Tibetan Debate into Contemporary Discourse, Volume 1, A Philosophical History of the Debate and
The Yakherds, Knowing Illusion: Bringing a Tibetan Debate into Contemporary Discourse, Volume 2, Translations.
H-Buddhism, H-Net Reviews.
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