- Published: 2009
- Number of pages: 144 pages
- Format: PDF
- File Size: 1.71 MB
- Authors: Guy Newland
Readers are hard-pressed to find books that can help them understand the central concept in Mahayana Buddhism—the idea that ultimate reality is emptiness. In clear language, Introduction to Emptiness explains that emptiness is not a mystical sort of nothingness, but a specific truth that can and must be understood through calm and careful reflection. Newland’s contemporary examples and vivid anecdotes will help readers understand this core concept as presented in one of the great classic texts of the Tibetan tradition, Tsong-kha-pa’s Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. This new edition includes quintessential points for each chapter.
Editorial Reviews: Review “Written with illumination from a terrific scholar.”—Jeffrey Hopkins, author of A Truthful Heart “This magnificent, readable, and thoroughly engaging work is a modern classic in the making. It invites new practitioners and learned scholars alike to look afresh at the dazzling array of teachings from one of the greatest figures in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.”—Anne Carolyn Klein , author of Meeting the Great Bliss Queen and Unbounded Wholeness “Introduction to Emptiness is a marvelously clear, marvelously precise exposition of Tsong-kha-pa’s understanding of emptiness and of the two truths as presented by Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti. . . . While the exposition is rich in technical detail and textual reference, it is absolutely accessible to the beginning student. It will be required reading in my Buddhist philosophy courses.”—Jay L. Garfield, author of Ocean of Reasoning and Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way “Understanding emptiness is the key to the most important aspects of Buddhism—wisdom, compassion, tantra—but is difficult to teach. Guy Newland has drawn on long experience with college students to write a short but rich and pithy guide to emptiness that brims with common sense and apt examples. Anyone interested in Buddhism would benefit from reading it.”—Daniel Cozort, author of Buddhist Philosophy and Highest Yoga Tantra “A guide that furnishes the tools and motivation for further exploration and even the confidence to take the next step, whatever that might be. . . . Introduction to Emptiness is an open-armed invitation into an important and all-too-often forbidding realm of study.”—Tricycle “Fresh and straightforward. . . . Complete and comprehensive.”—Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly “Newland has written a guide that furnishes the tools and motivation for further exploration and even the confidence to take the next step, whatever that might be for the readers to try to comprehend clearly the difficult subject of emptiness, which forms the most crucial aspect of Mahayana Buddhism.”—Eastern Horizon “Guy Newland performs a remarkable feat by presenting the complex concept of emptiness with great clarity and lucidity. The book is highly recommended for those who are at the initial stage of entry into the vast realm of the Buddhist thought. It is equally useful for those who have traversed their journey quite a bit.”—Tibet Journal “The author makes it clear that emptiness is not a certain spacey-ness but rather it is reality as it is. The thirteen pages of Chapter Bullet Points is an innovative way to provide an outline of this seminal work in Buddhist thought.”—New Age Retailer “Newland has once again tackled the central concept of Mahayana Buddhism in this improved presentation. The book is actually a reworked and fine-tuned version of his earlier edition and brings greater clarity to Tibetan Buddhism’s essential philosophical point. . . . Using contemporary examples and vivid anecdotes, the author clearly shows us how to find the answers to what is emptiness.”—Mandala Magazine About the Author Guy Newland is Professor of Religion and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Central Michigan University, where he has taught since 1988. He has authored, edited, and translated several books on Tibetan Buddhism, including the three-volume translation of The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment.
Reviews from Amazon users which were colected at the time this book was published on the website:
⭐This is a truly exceptional book in giving a clear, understandable account of emptiness as understood by Tsongkhapa, the precursor of the Gelugpas. Newland does not, however, give any of the extensive historical background for for his material. That’s entirely appropriate since his intention is to present the teachings themselves, not the history behind them. But that historical background is very helpful for many of us in assimilating the teachings themselves. Fortunately, that background from Nagarjuna (ca 2nd, 3rd c.) up to the early twentieth century is readily available at the following link where you will find a very clear overview in a mere fifteen pages . . . http://www.johnddunne.net/uploads/9/8/5/6/9856107/dunne_j_2011_madyamaka_in_indiatibet.pdfI found it very helpful to first read this historical overview – which I returned to again and again – then to read over Newland’s nine page appendix which gives ‘The Quintessential Points Chapter by Chapter’. Then I began the text itself, re-reading more carefully the appendix for each chapter before entering into the chapter itself. Wow! I sure learned a lot!! And even understood some of it (I think).
⭐This book is a concise and lucid explanation of Tsong-kha-pa’s equation of emptiness and dependent arising. I have studied the doctrine of satyadvaya (two truths) for decades and had only a small set of valuable but disconnected insights to show for my efforts. Professor Newland helped me to arrive at a unified, albeit still basic, conceptual understanding of these important parts of Tibetan Buddhist thought. A non-dual, non-conceptual, direct experience of them will undoubtedly have to wait until a future lifetime.
⭐The Great Treatise is a foundational text of Tibetan Buddhism, especially for the Gelugpa lineage (best known as the lineage associated with the Dalai Lama). Although recently translated into English, this key text is still very challenging for western students. That makes this explanatory volume especially welcome.In this book Professor Newland brings together both his informal, humorous teaching style and his deep scholarly knowledge of the text and its traditions. He does a beautiful job of making clear the main concepts of “emptiness” for a more general western reader, while at the same time producing a book which amply rewards the serious student and practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism.An exceptionally valuable contribution to the English language literature on Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and practice. Highly recommended.
⭐I agree with all of the positive statements about Newland’s book and I recommend it highly. It is well-writen, clear and important. The book is mainly about one school of Buddhist thought and to me it’s reasoned analysis is excellent for about two-thirds of the book. However, it biases are apparent in the final third where reason is set aside and the teachings and practices of that school shape and, I believe, distort the purity and logic of the arguments and, dare I say it, promote erroneous views. I read the book on Amazon’s Kindle.
⭐I’m not very impressed with these Tibetan[?] deeply-dualistic schema of ‘logical’ analysis-paralysis, which produce essentially fake, ‘straw dog’ concepts, like “Ultimate Reality” vs. “Conventional Reality”, and, “Real” and “Un-Real”, etc.The logic employed and explanation offered (both Indo-Tibetan, and Newland’s) is tautological, and Newland does very little to push beyond that boundary, in his own thinking and understanding.One good thing: he’s much easier to read, follow, and digest, the extremely repetitive ‘logic-al’ arguments, than apparently either Tsong-Kha-Pa himself, or the Nagarjuna underlying both.Also on the positive side, the book (and concepts within), has sharpened my own consideration and understanding of these deep-doo-doo ‘philosophical-ontological’ topics and concepts. So I am very appreciative of that.
⭐This book is wonderfully clear on the enormously difficult concept of emptiness. In particular, Professor Newland exacting analysis of the object of negation – just what it is that is negated in Madhyamaka analytical meditation – is highly clarifying. Still, as a frustrated life-long seeker myself, I failed to find the philosopher’s stone needed to remove my doubts and close the mediative distance between all I’ve read and learned second-hand and my own first-hand knowledge. My fault, of course!
⭐I guess I was looking for something a little more easy on the eyes to read so to speak… It seemed a bit too text book style for me. Instead of giving a wider overview they broke it down in detail which was difficult for me to follow.
⭐This is a great translation of a complex sutta. I will refer to it again and again during my study of Buddhism.
⭐This is a clear and easy to follow book on a profound and often misunderstood subject. After reading it you will be sure to have gained a clearer understanding of this central topic of Buddhism.
⭐This volume contains a useful introduction to emptiness as elucidated by the great scholar-practitioner Je Tsongkhapa (1357-1419), one of the most influential Lamas in Tibetan Buddhism.”Written with illumination from a terrific scholar.”–Jeffrey Hopkins, author of A Truthful Heart and translator of How to See Yourself as You Really Are and Becoming Enlightened by H.H. the Dalai Lama”This magnificent, readable, and thoroughly engaging work is a modern classic in the making. It invites new practitioners and learned scholars alike to look afresh at the dazzling array of teachings from one of the greatest figures in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Je Tsongkhapa, writing to teach his own students the most profound meaning of all, the core of the path to liberation.”–Anne Carolyn Klein, Rice University, author of Meeting the Great Bliss Queen and Unbounded Wholeness”Introduction to Emptiness is a marvellously clear, marvellously precise exposition of Tsong-kha-pa’s understanding of emptiness and of the two truths as presented by Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti…. While the exposition is rich in technical detail and textual reference…it is absolutely accessible to the beginning student. It will be required reading in my Buddhist philosophy courses.”–Jay L. Garfield, author of Ocean of Reasoning: A Great Commentary on Nagarjuna’s MulamadhyamakakarikaAlso of interest may be
⭐Ocean of Reasoning: A Great Commentary on Nagarjuna’s Mulamadhyamakakarika
⭐Dependent Arising and Emptiness: A Tibetan Buddhist Interpretation of Madhyamika Philosophy
⭐Meditation on Emptiness
⭐I understood many difficult points about Madhyamaka. Highly recommended!!
⭐Introduction To Emptiness, excellentCes volumes présentent la vacuité de deux points de vues différents, celui de 2 écoles boudhistes. Très clair, avec des notes explicatives très utiles.
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