Kevin Vose's first book, Resurrecting Candrakirti, was published in 2009 by Wisdom Publications. The Indian Buddhist Candrakirti is renowned throughout the Tibetan world as the foremost interpreter of emptiness, considered by Tibetans to be the final nature of reality. 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 "essence" (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.
The book is part of Wisdom Publications' "Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism" series. The series publishes "outstanding new contributions to scholarship on Indian and Tibetan Buddhism" in the hopes of bringing to light "these traditions' unique heritage and the significance of their contribution to the world's religious and philosophical achievements."