Nagarjuna is famous in the West for his works not only on Madhyamaka but his poetic collection of praises, headed by In Praise of Dharmadhatu. This book explores the scope, contents, and significance of Nagarjuna's scriptural legacy in India and Tibet, focusing primarily on the title work. The translation of Nagarjuna's hymn to Buddha nature—here called dharmadhatu—shows how buddha nature is temporarily obscured by adventitious stains in ordinary sentient beings gradually uncovered through the path of bodhisattvas and finally revealed in full bloom as buddhahood. These themes are explored at a deeper level through a Buddhist history of mind's luminous nature and a translation of the text's earliest and most extensive commentary by the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje (1284–1339), supplemented by relevant excerpts from all other available commentaries. The book also provides an overview of the Third Karmapa's basic outlook, based on seven of his major texts. He is widely renowned as one of the major proponents of the shentong (other-empty) view. However, as this book demonstrates, this often problematic and misunderstood label needs to be replaced by a more nuanced approach which acknowledges the Karmapa's very finely tuned synthesis of the two great traditions of Indian mahayana Buddhism, Madhyamaka and Yogacara. These two, his distinct positions on Buddha nature, and the transformation of consciousness into enlightened wisdom also serve as the fundamental view for the entire vajrayana as it is understood and practiced in the Kagyu tradition to the present day.
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This book is primarily about buddha nature--called dharmadhatu here--the potential in all living beings to awaken to their mind's primordial true nature, thus freeing themselves and others from suffering. The great Buddhist master Nagarjuna shows how buddha nature exists in all beings, is temporarily obscured, and can be revealed in its full bloom. The emphasis is on the actual experience of mind's vivid wakefulness.
The themes of this text are brought to a deeper level by the inclusion of a translation of its earliest, most extensive commentary by the Third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339). His distinct positions on buddha nature and the transformation of consciousness into enlightened wisdom also serve as the fundamental view for the entire vajrayana as understood and practiced in the Kagyu tradition to the present day.
Nagarjuna, the South Indian Buddhist Master who lived six hundred years after the Buddha, is undoubtedly the most important, influential, and widely studied Mahayana Buddhist philosopher.
The Third Karmapa (1284-1339) was a renowned Buddhist master, teacher, and writer.
Karl Brunnhözl lives in Seattle, Washington.About the Author:
Nagarjuna, the South Indian Buddhist master who lived six hundred years after the Buddha, is undoubtedly the most important, influential, and widely studied Mahayana Buddhist philosopher.
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