Adorning Maitreya's Intent: Arriving at the View of Nonduality

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9781611803662: Adorning Maitreya's Intent: Arriving at the View of Nonduality

A seminal commentary on one of the most important works of Mahayana Buddhism.

According to tradition, Distinguishing the Middle from the Extremes (Madhyāntavibhāga) was revealed by Maitreya to Asaṅga, and the radical view it presents forever changed the way Mahayana Buddhists perceive reality. Here, the Tibetan master Rongtön unpacks this manual and its practices for us in a way that is at once accessible and profound, with actual practical meditative applications. The work explains the vast paths of the three vehicles of Buddhism, emphasizing the view of Yogācāra, and demonstrates the inseparability of experience and emptiness. It offers a detailed presentation of the three natures of reality, an accurate understanding of which provides the antidotes to confusion and suffering. The translator’s introduction presents a clear overview of all the concepts explored in the text, making it easy for the reader to bridge its ideas to actual practice.

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About the Author:

RONGTÖN SHEJA KÜNRIG, also known as Rontonpa and Shakya Gyaltsen (1367-1449), was one of the greatest scholars of the Sakya school, and indeed in all Tibetan history, who, like his principal teacher Yaktön Sangye Pal, is especially renowned for his mastery of the prajnaparamita teachings and the text of the Abhisamayalankara. He taught at the great Sangphu Neuthog, and founded his own monastery of Nalendra in 1436. His most famous disciples were Shakya Chokden and Gorampa Sönam Senge. According to Shakya Chokden, he "had more students who understood philosophical texts than any Tibetan teacher of all time."

Review:

In Adorning Maitreya’s Intent, Christian Bernert presents the first translation and study of a brilliant work by Rongtön Sheja Künrig (1367­–1449), one of the greatest scholastic masters of the Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. In this commentary Rongtön explains Maitreya’s crucial Yogācāra treatise of Distinguishing the Middle from the Extremes (Madhyāntavibhāga). Bernert’s introduction is concise yet very lucid, bringing into sharp focus the history and fundamental concepts of Yogācāra philosophy and briefly discussing Rongtön’s life and works. His fine translation of Rongtön’s unbiased interpretation of Maitreya’s verses is careful, accurate, and accessible. This is an illuminating book.”
—Cyrus Stearns, author of King of the Empty Plain and The Buddha from Dölpo
 
“Christian Bernert’s translation of the commentary on Maitreya’s Distinguishing the Middle from the Extremes (Madhyāntavibhāga) by the famous Sakya scholar Rongtön Sheja Künrig (1367–1449) has rendered a valuable service to students of Buddhist philosophy. Maitreya’s text interprets the Prajñāpāramitā doctrine of emptiness in the light of the often neglected three-nature theory. On this Yogācāra interpretation, emptiness is restricted to the imagined nature, of which the dependent and perfect natures are empty. Because this view differed from the prevailing Madhyamaka interpretation, few Tibetan masters wrote commentaries on it. Rongtön’s commentary stands out for its detailed analysis of the variegated topics of Maitreya’s treatise following the strict logical format of Buddhist syllogisms. By offering a lucid translation and interpretation of the commentary and shedding light on its historical and doctrinal contexts, Bernert’s work makes a notable contribution to the field of Buddhist Studies.”—Klaus-Dieter Mathes, University of Vienna

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