Congratulations EAS faculty publication!| October 19, 2009
Professor Kevin A. Vose`s new book, Resurrecting Candrakirti: Disputes in the Tibetan Creation of Prasangika, was published from Wisdom Publications in 2009.
The Indian Buddhist Candrakirti is renowned throughout the Tibetan Buddhist world as the foremost interpreter of emptiness. His writings form the basis of “Middle Way” (Madhyamaka) study in Tibetan monasteries into the present day. According to Tibetan scholars, Candrakirti's emptiness denies the existence of any final "nature" (svabhava), making it both the highest philosophical view and the essential that must be realized in order to reach nirvana.
However, Candrakirti's acclaim was unknown in his own lifetime and for centuries following his death. How, then, did he become the preeminent philosopher of Tibet? This book examines Candrakirti's resurrection, showing that after centuries of neglect eleventh-century Buddhists on both sides of the Himalayas began to explore his unique understanding of emptiness. Unlike his near-universal regard in later periods, Candrakirti's introduction to Tibet sparked intense debate on some of the essential issues of Buddhism, ranging from the role of rationality in religious pursuits to the nature of transformation and enlightenment. These disputes saw Tibetan Madhyamaka split into two intellectual camps each with their own institutional, social, and political supports.
Resurrecting Candrakirti explores the views of Candrakirti's early champions and detractors, authors foundational to Tibetan Buddhist philosophy but whose works remain largely unknown. As such, it provides a much-needed examination of how some of the central edifices of Tibetan philosophy formed.