Tibetan Buddhism and Mystical Experience

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9780190244903: Tibetan Buddhism and Mystical Experience

In this book, Yaroslav Komarovski argues that the Tibetan Buddhist interpretations of the realization of ultimate reality both contribute to and challenge contemporary interpretations of unmediated mystical experience. The model used by the majority of Tibetan Buddhist thinkers states that the realization of ultimate reality, while unmediated during its actual occurrence, is necessarily filtered and mediated by the conditioning contemplative processes leading to it, and Komarovski argues that therefore, in order to understand this mystical experience, one must focus on these processes, rather than on the experience itself.

Komarovski also provides an in-depth comparison of seminal Tibetan Geluk thinker Tsongkhapa and his major Sakya critic Gorampa's accounts of the realization of ultimate reality, demonstrating that the differences between these two interpretations lie primarily in their conflicting descriptions of the compatible conditioning processes that lead to this realization. Komarovski maintains that Tsongkhapa and Gorampa's views are virtually irreconcilable, but demonstrates that the differing processes outlined by these two thinkers are equally effective in terms of actually attaining the realization of ultimate reality. Tibetan Buddhism and Mystical Experience speaks to the plurality of mystical experience, perhaps even suggesting that the diversity of mystical experience is one of its primary features.

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About the Author:

Yaroslav Komarovski is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


"It is hard to write about mystical experience. One must talk about the ineffable and confront a complex debate regarding the possibility of doing so. It is also hard to write about Tibetan literature on non-conceptual experience and direct realization. It requires sophisticated philological skills and mastery of a difficult literature. Komarovski succeeds admirably in these tasks, explaining Tibetan debates regarding unmediated experience with great clarity, in conversation with contemporary theory." --Jay L Garfield, Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Professor of Humanities, Yale-NUS College

"Komarovski's treatment of the Tibetan Buddhist materials is methodical and intelligent, his presentation of scholarship on the Geluk and Sakya schools enhanced by an exceptionally clear prose style. "-- L. Harrington, CHOICE

"This book triumphs in bringing Tibetan Buddhism s rigorous attention on the ineffable to the wider study of mystical experience. It is a must-read for anyone interested in mysticism in general, not to mention scholars and students of Tibetan Buddhism." --Religious Studies Review

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