Buddhist Philosophy and Meditation Practice

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Buddhist Philosophy and Meditation Practice

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the international association of buddhist universities iabu buddhist philosophy and meditation practice academic papers presented at the 2nd iabu conference mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya university main campus wang noi ayutthaya thailand

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the international association of buddhist universities 2012 iabu editorial committee ven dr khammai dhammasami prof padmasiri de silva prof sarah shaw dr dion peoples jamie cresswell toshiichi endo 2

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preface mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya university mcu has been privileged to witness and play an instrumental role in developing and hosting successful undv and iabu celebrations annually as always we are all very grateful to the royal thai government for its constant support and thank the thai supreme sangha council for its blessings guidance and support we are indebted also to the united nations for recognizing the thrice-sacred buddhist holy day we had to delay the 2nd iabu conference due to the extreme ¿ooding that shut down mcu for nearly two months it has been 2600 years since the enlightenment of our great teacher and we have gathered here from across the globe from many nations to again pay tribute to his birth enlightenment and death ­ occurring on the same day in different years the 2nd iabu conference is running this year due to the postponement with the 9th united nations day of vesak conference the iabu secretariat now plays a major role in our celebrations particularly in the academic program of the conference this publication could not have been possible without the persistence hard work and dedication of mcu s scholars and staff i wish to thank all members of the international council for the day of vesak and the executive council of the international association of buddhist universities and the other members of the editorial committee for their devotion i am also grateful to our many donors sponsors and dedicated volunteers who return year after year to support the iabu and united nations day of vesak celebrations we all truly celebrate the buddha s enlightenment and hope these words reach the hearts and minds of the readers the most ven prof dr phradharmakosajarn rector mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya university president icdv iabu 3

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contents preface table of contents introduction buddhist philosophy and meditation practice 1 2 3 4 jason siff language and meditation jongmyung kim thought and praxis in cotemporary korean buddhism a critical examination ven jinwol lee ganhwaseon in korea from a seon practitioner s perspective prof robert e buswell jr the transformation of doubt ij ng in kanhwa s n the testimony of gaofeng yuanmiao 1238-1295 tadeusz skorupski consciousness and luminosity in indian and tibetan buddhism james blumenthal amatha and its relation to the mundane and supra-mundane paths according to geluk traditions of tibetan buddhism kyaw pyi phyo the pa h na conditional relations and buddhist meditation application of the teachings in the pa h na in insight vipassan meditation practice lei xiaoli ph.d candidate a study on the development of meditation in theravada buddhism and chinese buddhism kanae kawamoto pragmatic bene¾ts and concentration through n p nasati meditation 3 14 28 34 5 6 7 43 65 72 8 9 88 98 104 111 128 10 dr h m mahinda herath theravada philosophical exposition of the supramundane lokuttara state 11 thomas a c weiser three practices of the four foundations of mindfulness an investigation in comparative soteriology 12 professor angraj chaudhary the philosophy of suffering and the practice of vipassana 4

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13 joel walmsley ira greenberg mind death and supervenience towards a comparative dialogue 14 jeff waistell mindfulness meditation and praxis 15 charles pyle a strategic perspective on buddhist meditation 16 jim rheingans communicating the innate observations on teacher-student interaction in the tibetan mah mudr instructions 17 sumi lee searching for a possibility of buddhist hermeneutics two exegetic strategies in buddhist tradition 18 khristos nizamis the mind s `i in meditation early p i buddhadhamma and transcendental phenomenology in mutual re¿ection 19 apisin sivayathorn apichai puntasen is it true that buddhism is mind-based science 20 karin meyers the pleasant way the dhy na-s insight and the path according to the abhidharmako a 21 thanaphon cheungsirakulvit buddhad sa s poetry the object of contemplation on emptiness 22 prof yasanjali devika jayatilleke an anthropological study on the rituals pertaining to life crises events among sri lankan buddhists 23 dr mark owen the philosophical foundations of the tibetan buddhist practice of bodily preservation 24 bethany lowe dangerous dharma death and depression the importance of `right view for practicing contemplation within a western buddhist tradition 25 venerable bhikkhuni anula devi the practical approach to the enlightenment through the buddhist meditation 26 dr wangchuk dorjee negi buddhist meditation practices 27 dr sarah shaw breathing mindfulness text and practice 28 nuengfa nawaboonniyom apichai puntasen the training of satipa h na related to 15 cara as and 8 vijj s 29 giuliana martini transcending the limiting power of karma the early buddhist appam as 134 149 158 177 202 212 239 259 278 314 324 343 362 370 378 391 413 5

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30 ven dr yuanci a study of the meditation methods in the desm and other early chinese texts 31 assoc prof dr uma shankar the philosophical perspectives in the meditational practices of tantric buddhism 438 466 6

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2nd iabu conf erence introduction buddhist philosophy and meditation practice volumes welcome to the 2 nd international association of buddhist universities academic conference on buddhist philosophy and praxis this conference seems like it has been a long time in the making due to the extensive ¿ooding that ravished thailand and certainly left mahachulalongkorn rajavidyalaya university our gracious and great host inundated with almost 2 meters of water the university where the iabu secretariat is currently headquartered has overcome this dif¾cult situation and we are now ready to hold this conference the conference was originally scheduled for 16-18 december 2011 but to make this happen seemed like an impossibility we are now here for the rescheduled date 31 may ­ 02 june 2012 we have noticed that our 2nd iabu conference coincides with the 9th united nations day of vesak celebrations ­ but our aims are different for this occasion it s quite fascinating that a single university can host two large international conferences at the same time we further give our humble respects to the government of the kingdom of thailand and to the thai sangha supreme council for enabling this conference to proceed when this conference was in its planning stages we had initial discussions on the main theme buddhist philosophy ­ but we did not want papers that just gave idealistic proposals instead we aspired to gain papers that demonstrated philosophy in action or the conversion of an idea into an actuality ­ and thus we wanted to implement or emphasize the aspect of praxis into the conference we had scheduled a practical meditation session where elected theravada mahayana and vajrayana masters would hold a meditation session along with a question and answer period but due to the merging of the two conferences the 2ndiabu conference and the 9th undv conference ­ there was no longer enough allotted time for the meditation sessions so it was regretfully eliminated we hope that the gathering of academics took advantage of this expertise that availed themselves for this august gathering as all the scholars can surmise there are several formats or applications of buddhism some are living-systems and some have become either extinct or have merged with existing systems buddhist philosophy is a vast topic that ¾lls many bookshelves most of us have read texts on early-indian or vedic-philosophy and have seen the emergence into what we are discussing buddhism ­ but by no means are we holding a singular view of a buddhism the overwhelming amount of scholars present here surmise that dependent-origination is probably the supreme-teaching of the buddha or the one doctrine that gathers the most attention the term `praxis has caused some confusion amongst our scholars if the term was de¾ned we could determine that praxis is the application or process through which the philosophical or doctrinal point becomes actualized or put into place practiced ­ it s about the endeavor we might have taken the term from international-socialistic literature which emphasizes that besides just having philosophy ­ the point of all of us studying the buddha s preserved words is for the sake of improving our world ­ to eliminate suffering from the social experience how have we actually done this 7

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approximately 160 articles were received the 2nd iabu conference from around the world we have selected about 110 of them for presentation at the conference there are articles from different levels of scholars ranging from the most senior of professors and on downward to undergraduates each of the articles have merits of interest within them we decided on four programs sub-themes this is the volume for buddhist philosophy and meditation practice panel summary buddhist philosophy meditation practice in the spirit of the middle way the apportioning of papers to panels has been conducted in an attempt to ¾nd a balance between working with thematic af¾nity and trying to juggle time allocations and speaker availability papers for this session should have included advanced studies related to philosophical issues in meditation practices dialogues on meditation differences in the traditions theological or cosmological issues and any resultant meditative attainments ­ what is next after these realizations this panel aimed for a serious discussion of deep philosophical points actualized as possible or bene¾cial with evidence of transformation we hope that serendipity in this instance accords with the planned conceptions and ultimately the aims of the panel the ¾rst paper by jason siff discusses `the language and description of meditative experiences as he points out we have the buddha s words not his experiencesas his legacy so the reconstruction of meaning from what has been left behind is an essential process both for meditators and exegetes by exploring the role of ¾rst-person testimonial and questioning as a means of testing the reliability and worth of meditative growth the author explores ways that the arousing and honest accounting of changed states in meditation can be achieved from his perspective as a vipassan meditation teacher he investigates david kalupahana s work in establishing a `language of existence and a `language of becoming positing a middle way between these two as helping the expression and development of meditative practice arguing that experience perceived within the stages of knowledge ñ a can be articulated explained and tested through appropriate questioning and wording he offers his own term `transformative conceptualization a means by which meditators can construct their own narratives carefully fostered such narratives by superseding partial misleading or dispiriting accounts can accommodate nuance and discriminatory awareness amongst those practicing within this meditative system in `thought and praxis in contemporary korean buddhism a critical examination assoc prof jongmyung kim considers the thought and identity of the chogye order focusing ¾rst on its emphasis on the concept of emptiness meditative thought and flower garland k hwa m ch huayan jp kegon thought the author then investigates the order s soteriology concentrating on historical development and procedures before assessing how these work together in the order taking a historical perspective the paper explores a number of problems he observes in the order its textual roots and the practical implications of these in a survey that includes the role of devotional and ascetic as well as meditative activities the author argues for a more varied understanding of the nature of practice and its relationship with theory within the order and for a reassessment of its place in modern society by exploring text and modern academic and practitioner based comment he asserts that the chogye order needs to rede¾ne the notion of buddhist practice beyond what he terms kanhwa s n absolutism as `a process of one s living up to the basic teachings of the buddha and so come to accept a more diverse and inclusive approach to practice and theory 8

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ven dr jinwol lee s paper on seon meditation discusses much of the historical developments of seon and sites the writings of professor robert e buswell jr however a number of authors examine innovations within meditative practice in different geographical and historical contexts exploring ways that new practices ways of working and doctrines have transformed pre-existing doctrines and practices the other welcomed contribution to such understanding comes from prof buswell who in `the transformation of doubt ij ng in kanhwa s n the testimony of gaofeng yuanmiao 1238-1295explores the emergence and increasing in¿uence of new and creative meditative practices formulation and language which cannot be attributed to indian sources within eastern buddhist praxis and doctrine as part of its critique of sino-indic traditions and as a demonstration of its autonomy seon experimented with forms of rhetoric as well as practice it considered proleptic and transformative paying particular attention to the notion and experience of `doubt usually discussed in indian sources as the ¾fth of the meditative hindrances buswell demonstrates how the public case and the hwadu newly developed chan/seon catalystic meditative devices are used in korea to provoke and exacerbate a different kind of doubt that coalesces into a palpable sensation that comes to pervade all of one s thoughts feelings emotions and eventually even one s physical body this doubt yiqing plays a crucial role in kanhua/kanhwa meditation and is emblematic especially of the linji school of the classical and post-classical seon periods buswell demonstrates that such doubt as described in particular with a startlingly eloquent evocation of paradox in the work of yunmiao is perceived as a means of engaging a creative dynamic in the body and mind between a painful knowledge of one s own ignorance and an implicit and equally pervasive faith in an inherent enlightenment together the author notes those provide an existential quandary whose colliding contradictoriness experienced within the body and mind of the practitioner ¾nd resolution and fruition through practice the `topic of inquiry hwadu and the `public case gong an in the ¾nal release of awakening a strong lay element is also identi¾ed in this teaching ms pyi phyo kyaw explores the `the pa h na conditional relations and buddhist meditation application of the teachings in the pa h na in insight vipassan meditation practice in burma a country where the seventh book of the abhidhamma has always held a particularly key position in doctrine practice and ritual in this instance rather than practice in¿uencing theory theory is deliberately employed as a means of sharpening directing and shaping practice delineating in brief the twenty-four conditional relations the author describes how these paccayas whose formulation is perceived within southern buddhism as the most profound buddhist teachings on interconnectedness are used both as meditative tools and as a means of understanding experience at both a momentary and sequential level directed towards understanding and applying within meditation and daily life through the agent of wise attention yoniso manasik ra the pa h na guides those practicing within primarily vipassan -based traditions in this capacity the teaching of the paccayas has exercised an appeal to an unusually strong lay as well as monastic following for whom the pa h na is regarded as the embodiment of the buddha s omniscience the buddhasabbaññuta-ñ a ms xialoi lei in `a study on the development of meditation in theravada buddhism and chinese buddhism notes the prevalence of mental problems within a global society and records attendant problems such as a stigma attached to mental health issues the fact that treatment ignores preventative action and a lack of care in addressing the interface between mind and body growing interest in a number of buddhist meditative systems has been evident since the 1960s this paper 9

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explores some variations in approach and method making a survey ¾rst of the available literature on different aspects of the subject the author scrutinizes ¾rst vipassan methods and then chan before addressing a comparison between the two and their differing views for instance on the reading of texts or the traditional axis of `gradual and `sudden enlightenment she ¾nds some real differences of approach between these two methods but emphasizes the success both have had in attracting interest in buddhism `pragmatic bene¾ts and concentration through n p nasati meditation by kanae kawamoto discusses the popularity of a meditation system that has come to be known as `vipassan in the west that the author suggests has found more success than samatha and breathing mindfulness practice the author argues that the early texts however accord samatha a central and integral place within buddhist practice noting that the second jh na of internal peace is also often recommended to the buddha s followers after their enlightenment the paper contends that many gradual teachings anupubbikath within the canon often to laypeople are obscured by the ellipses and peyy la of pts editions which often leave out key passages referring to the practice of meditation citing for instance the example of subhaddha the leper ud 38ff whose mind is described in terms suggesting attainment of the fourth jh na the author argues that samatha practice is constantly advocated and taught within the canon and that there is no justi¾cation for the recent appropriation of the word vipassan from its traditional usage within canon and commentary to become a term used to describe a complete meditative path dr tadeusz skorupski in `consciousness and luminosity in indian and tibetan buddhism invokes the juxtaposition of the phenomenal world of sa s ra and the perfected state of nirvana noting that they re¿ect and essentially correspond to the dynamic operating in the buddhist analysis of consciousness and the propensities of the human mind the mind produces the factors contributing to rebirth but is also the primary vehicle in the attainment of salvation he identi¾es several key features that permeate early buddhist doctrine the pre-eminence of mind the notion of inherent radiance the alien nature of the de¾lements that contaminate the mind and the interplay of the image of puri¾cation and corruption starting with a close reading of buddhaghosa s interpretations of the nature of luminosity the author extends his discussion to include the mah sa gikas who emphasize the inherent radiance of a mind obscured by adventitious de¾lements and the sarv stiv da vaibh ikas who aver that an inherently radiant mind could not be obscured for to them it has a propensity rather than an innate disposition to luminosity delineating various attributes of the description of consciousness according to different schools the author moves from p li abhidhamma to mah y na and vajray na sources and bodhicitta doctrine alighting on subsequent indian tantric theories that posit a fourfold luminosity of consciousness as four kinds of emptiness he notes that such an understanding of consciousness and luminosity was applied in the tibetan understanding of the processes occurring during death as described in the work known as the tibetan book of the dead the author describes this account of death as involving the transition through four kinds of luminosity as unique to tibet in particular to the nyingma and kagyu traditions he concludes that although varied schools often disagree in certain features all concur in the possibility of and access to a puri¾ed mind tracing the continuity between early abhidhamma through to the various mah y na schools the author avers provides an insightful range of perspectives on luminosity and nature of the mind itself some papers such as the following provide exposition of early exegetes and their interpretation of traditional doctrine within the parameters of what were at the time more recent 10

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developments in meditative teaching and practice amatha and its relation to the mundane and supra-mundane paths according to geluk traditions of tibetan buddhism by james blumenthal,explores various aspects of northern amatha practice in its doctrinal and salvi¾c setting placing the argument within the parameters of geluk practice as it is described in particular in the amatha zhi gnas chapter of tsongkhapa s fourteenth-century work the great treatise on the stages of the path to enlightenment byang chub lam rim chen mo hereafter the great treatise the author explores three potential paths of the amatha practitioner the mundane and instantaneous and gradual supramundane.emphasizing the centrality and importance of amatha in each the paper demonstrates that the stages of amatha described by these commentators are aspects of a graduated path with carefully differentiated stages the ¾rst the mundane is always gradual though partial as no attempt is made to eradicate all de¾lements but rather to see the af¿iction of each level through comparison with the qualities of the one above the second is gradual eliminating de¾lements one by one in a hierarchical manner until the most subtle meditative de¾lements have been eradicated going from the sense sphere to the four form realms and four formless the third eliminates the af¿ictions in groups of nine one from each realm so that they are simultaneously eradicated in turn in a comprehensive puri¾cation encompassing all nine levels of practice within these accounts the various stages of meditation are inextricably linked to the concept of emptiness nyat stong pa nyid and the consequent process of the development of insight the author argues that practice within such traditions particularly those who pursue higher meditations and tantric practices certainly draw upon doctrinal foundations that may be traced to earlier textual sources but has also widened the scope of both amatha and vipassan practice as described in the s tras therefore tsongkhapa s tantra retains older notions of emptiness but also integrates and validates new practices within traditional doctrinal understanding this paper discusses varied ways that three schools of meditation address the teaching of the four foundations of mindfulness in `three practices of the four foundations of mindfulness an investigation in comparative soteriology thomas a.c.weiser investigates three sets of meditation practices both at a theory and a practice level southern buddhist vipassan analytic meditation based textually on the ninth chapter of pawo tsugla trengwa rinpoche s commentary on ntideva s bodhicary vat ra and amatha/vipa yan meditation as taught in the chapter `the four foundations of mindfulness in heart of the buddha by chögyam trungpa rinpoche each follows the teaching known as `the four foundations of mindfulness with a distinctive approach orientation towards a soteriological goal and doctrinal framework each seemed worthwhile inviting further pursuit and investigation in distinctive ways the ¾rst that addressed the examination of characteristics seemed to the author to work on the axis of greed the second that explored content on the axis of hatred while the process orientation of the third seemed to address the axis of ignorance the author argues however that their teachings are in many ways consonant and offer complementary rather than contradictory paths `the therav da philosophical exposition of the supramundane lokuttara state by dr h m mahinda herath explores various attributes of the moment of path investigating the subject through the wisdom instrumental in attaining liberation insight knowledge vipassan ñ na and the knowledge pertaining to the supramundane paths maggañ a the ¾rst the author notes is the direct penetration of the three characteristics of conditioned phenomena impermanence suffering and non-self it takes as its objective sphere the ¾ve aggregates pancakkhandh ­ material form feeling perception volitional formations and consciousness because insight knowledge 11

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takes the world of conditioned formations as its object it is regarded as a mundane form of wisdom insight knowledge does not itself directly eradicate the de¾lements but serves to prepare the way for the second type of wisdom of the supramundane paths which emerges when insight has been brought to its climax exploring the nature of jh na the author notes that although its primary function is stabilizing the mind as a prelude or consequence of insights it is sometimes forgotten that its other functions include providing an object for insight practice this process is called `comprehension knowledge with the jh na subjected to such treatment termed `sammasitajjh na `the comprehended jh na though the basic jh na and the comprehended jh na will often be the same the two do not necessarily coincide a meditator cannot practice comprehension on a jh na higher than he/she is capable of attaining but one who uses a higher jh na as his basis can still practice insight comprehension on a previously attained and mastered lower jh na this admitted difference between the two types of jh na leads to discrepant theories about the supramundane concentration of the noble path momentary concentration arises in the one who practicessamatha simultaneously with his post-jh nic attainment of insight but for the vipassan practitioner it develops naturally and spontaneously in the course of his insight practice without the ¾xing of the mind upon a single exclusive object the author explores these issues joel walmsley and ira greenberg introduce the important perspective of western philosophical discourse in `mind death and supervenience towards a comparative dialogue seeking to examine `death from the perspectives of both western analytic philosophy and the vajray na tradition their intention is to bring the two perspectives into a dialogue concerning mind and cognition as manifest with regard to this undeniable but not easily de¾nable event rigorously exploring points not only of convergence but also of divergence they cite the notion of supervenience a philosophical term designed to provide a positive account of the relationship between mental and physical events and its application to death as described within the western analytic tradition they suggest it gives an account of the relationship between states properties and events considered synchronically i.e at-a-time that contrasts markedly with the vajray na account of mind which with its strong experiential delineation of the stages of death they regard as a process metaphysics i.e concerned with diachronic over time relationships they argue that for instance the concept of supervenience and indeed the associated notion of subvenience would need to be substantially re-worked to apply to processes rather than states for the vajray na view to be successfully represented according to western models strong convergence between the primarily phenomenological and emic accounts of vajray na and the ontologically orientated western analysis lies however in for instance the concept of `levels and a `layered picture of reality characterizing both models despite the very different articulation of the constitution of these levels and thus their interrelationship they conclude that such resonances suggest that the dialogue between the traditions is fruitful and hope that their analysis prompts further study in this ¾eld the use of metaphor in meditative language and its application in daily life is explored by jeff waistell in `mindfulness meditation and praxis this paper examines mindfulness meditation as presented in the literature of zen focusing on the writings and new formulations of doctrine of thich nhat hanh whilst also making reference to other engaged buddhist authors it explored the relationship between buddhist philosophy especially non-dualism and praxis enquiring how meditation effects transformation the key ¾nding is that thich nhat hanh emphasizes non-duality in mindfulness meditation and thereby is able to relate it to praxis he does this in two ways ¾rstly through emphasizing the non-duality of mind/body self/other and self/environment and secondly 12

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through explaining his teaching through metaphors that mediate these non-dualities most of the metaphors used by thich nhat hanh relate to organic growth in nature re¿ecting his caring nurturing and humanistic buddhism it is concluded that thich nhat hanh s particular privileging of non-dual meditation enables the relationship between meditation and praxis ­ and that metaphorical discourse is crucial for our understanding of meditation and daily life one of the means by which buddhist principle is tested examined and puri¾ed is through the medium of language articulation and expression are crucial in the communication of path in discussion about personal practice and in the integration of experience and doctrine professor angraj chaudhary takes the perspective of vipassan meditation as a medium for understanding and accessing different levels of experience in `the philosophy of suffering and the practice of vipassan ¾rst-person account of meditative practice is linked to doctrinal exposition of the buddha s interchanges with po hap daand m lu kyaputta the argument is made that the practice of meditation and vipassan in particular provides a realizable means of pragmatically pursuing knowledge the author notes `in no other laboratory outside this fathom-long body can it be proved that sensations cause desire and argues on the basis of a reading of these texts that the buddha s understanding and articulation of the interdependence of the four noble truths is ¾rmly based in vipassan practice not intellectual understanding charles pyle in `a strategic perspective on buddhist meditation considers the four noble truths and addresses questions and paradoxes he identi¾es as lying at the heart of the practice of vipassan meditation how can there be so much ignorance if the mind is naturally radiant how can the goal be found through lack of attachment to a goal quoting the work of ajahn chah he argues that buddhism is a science rather than the religion it has usually been labeled and citing extensive support for this hypothesis stresses that the buddha is said to have discovered a pre-existent path not a new one just as newton discovered pre-existing laws operating in natural phenomena morality hermeneutics and semiotics are discussed which the author argues are not incompatible with a scienti¾c approach but essentially linked to its procedures so that buddhist practice its language and its expression can be seen as a scienti¾c discipline of its own `meditation is to buddhism as the microscope is to biology living in con¿ict with the laws of nature causes suffering living in harmony with the laws of nature brings happiness for successful communication and transmissions of teaching to take place there needs of course to be a sense of personal contact and interchange debates about the manifold doctrines connected to the bka bgryud pa great seal mah mudr especially its paths outside the mantra system have for some time greatly occupied both academic researchers and tibetan scholars but as jim rheingans in `communicating the innate observations on teacher-student interaction in the tibetan mah mudr instructions argues an often crucial factor in such doctrines is the role of the teacher whose soteriological signi¾cance is often overlooked in modern scholarly analysis concerning a teaching where the role of the guru is stressed far more than any particular doctrinal system in essence the great seal contains immediate instructions for achieving buddhahood by transcending conceptual thinking skt prapañca vikalpa and directly perceiving the nature of mind but great seal interpretations and categorizations differ even among the bka brgyud pa schools and its categorization became a point of continued debate this paper explores features of the eighth karmapa s great seal that conceptualization is perceived as buddhahood that it is taught and explained in highly varied ways in different teachings and that the origin of these is perceived to be the guru this last feature the author argues is the real `secret of a practice that is completely 13

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dependent on the relationship between the teacher and pupil on the whole the concept of dad pa or con¾dence towards the teacher and the ensuing practices of mos gus and gsol `debs are a central pillar of the great seal as prerequisite practice and goal to the extent the author argues that one can see devotion to the teacher as the means for realizing the great seal next to insight with this emphasis the author avers that these particular instances of bka brgyud pa great seal texts could be termed vajray na to the extent that vajray na has the guru and his transmission as a de¾ning characteristic with the guru being used as means thus the great seal of the eighth karmapa may be better understood as an adaptable and ¿exible pragmatic device where experience and interaction are conceived superior to claims of ultimate truth sumi lee in `searching for a possibility of buddhist hermeneutics two exegetic strategies in buddhist tradition makes thorough scholarly examination of the dif¾culties associated with testing and verifying religious and meditative experience both in traditional sources and in modern academic and practitioner based discourse as he argues the hermeneutic dif¾culty in buddhism as in other ¾elds of religious studies comes from the supposition that the object of interpretation is beyond the methodological frame of interpretation that is conceptualization historically approaches have adopted different strategies there is what he terms the `negative induction method employed notably by early southern buddhists and with different terminology the mah yanists particularly in the madhyamaka school who through the collision and encounter of antithetical logical positions establish an intimation of n g rjuna s emptiness itself lee argues a formulation dependent upon negative induction articulation of the four noble truths the author maintains provides throughout the history of these schools an `interdependent signi¾cation by means of antidote and an af¾rmative course of action and response to `suffering that is knitted into its exposition this heritage is also evident shaping the ¾nely nuanced distinctions operating in yog c ra articulations of dependent arising evident in all phenomena going beyond the doctrinal to the interpretative and the experiential lee tests relativist and buddhist understanding through application of the principle of the middle way and examines the chan gong an as a non-logical meditative strategy whether as a means of understanding `ceaseless narratives or as part of a process of religious cultivation the need for the elucidation of features such as dependent arising he concludes is implicit in their very articulation such doctrines challenge the continued work of interpreters to this day as they will continue to do so in the future in `the mind s `i in meditation early p i buddhadhamma and transcendental phenomenology in mutual re¿ection khristos nizamis attempts some points of comparison between what he terms transcendental phenomenology tp and early p i buddhadhamma eb choosing not to posit a notion of self that challenges the idea of non-self he rather proposes that `pure subjectivity is an inherent and irreducible property of intentional consciousness i.e `consciousness-of an essential aspect of the actual process of lived conscious experience and that there is a de¾nite phenomenological sense in which when everything else has been `excluded and `reduced `pure consciousness-of remains as an absolutely irreducible principle but neither pure consciousness-of nor its intrinsic subjectivity can constitute or be constituted as a `self of any kind they are `transcendental facts equivalent to `pure emptiness moreover he avers if there were no phenomenon whatsoever for consciousness-of to be conscious-of then given that consciousness-of already apodictically demonstrates the irreducible nature of `being conscious-of it could be conscious-of nothing but its own consciousness-of in other words this would be a form of absolute cessation with particular reference to the khemaka sutta the author explores problems 14

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