The middle way : faith grounded in reason

by Dalai Lama

Other authorsThupten Jinpa (Translator)
Hardcover, 2009




Boston : Wisdom Publications, c2009.


"In this presentation, the Dalai Lama lays out the Middle Way - "the way of the intelligent person" - who approaches all matters, including matters of faith and devotion, with the highest spirit of critical inquiry; and does so without falling into the traps of fixed ideas or extreme views. He links Tibetan Buddhism to its deep roots in the ancient scholastic tradition of Nalanda University and to the profound analytical teachings of the seminal Indian master Nagarjuna. As the Dalai Lama explores in depth Nagarjuna's Fundamental Stanzas on the Middle Way - a text of radical importance to the entirety of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition - he illuminates such subtle and easily misunderstood topics as the nature of self and no-self, dependent origination, and the differing roles of relative and absolute truths. This volume also includes an exploration of the Tibetan master Tsongkhapa's Three Principal Aspects of the Path, offering the reader an opportunity to put these matters of deepest philosophical impact into direct practice."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Joycepa
Anyone who thinks that Tibetan Buddhism is somehow the path of airy-fairy mysticism is dead flat wrong. In fact, the subtitle of the book--Faith Grounded in Reason--gives far more of an indication of what Buddhism really is. I have often thought that the Shakyamuni Buddha was the first and possibly the greatest systems analyst/process engineer. All the deification and ritual was superimposed, much later. Underneath, the foundation of Buddhism is process analysis: the origin of suffering, cause and effect, and the way to go about extinguishing the causes of suffering.

In The Middle Way, the Dalai Lama expounds on what he considers two crucial texts in the development of Buddhism: Nagarjuna’s Fundamental Stanza’s on the Middle Way and Tsongkhapa’s Three Principal Aspects of the Path. I had trouble understanding significant parts of the section on Nagarjuna, even though I am no stranger to Buddhism. I think the problem lies in the terminology although the concept of emptiness is difficult to grasp all on its own.

I’m not sure I’d recommend this to a beginner, who wants to find out what Tibetan Buddhism is all about. There must be some other books that give a simpler explanation. I think this book is aimed at those who have some knowledge and who are looking for a solid philosophical basis for understanding. Even so, I think that, while it certainly provides insights and clarity on the first reading, to get the fullest benefit possible from this book will require several readings. Certainly, that proved true for me-- I certainly gained from it. But there is too much that I didn’t understand, struggling as I was almost word by word in some sections to absorb the densely-presented concepts. I’ll return to it, probably several times, to see what else I can glean from this closely-reasoned presentation.
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LibraryThing member bodhisattva
His Holiness' teachings on three chapters from Nagarjuna's Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way and Tsongkhapa's Three Principal Aspects of the Path, providing an introduction to Mahayana Madhyamaka ("Middle Way") philosophy. Excellent. The teachings took place in Toronto in 2004, with Geshe Thubten Jinpa as translator and editor.… (more)
LibraryThing member bness2
I found this to be helpful in understanding the Dalai Lama's approach to Buddhist philosophy, but in many ways this is a less practical book than I had hoped. It is also full of the paradoxical philosophic statements so common in deeper Buddhist literature. I also found the focus on achieving Nirvana to be not very applicable to my own interests in Buddhist meditation and mindfulness, as I am not a Buddhist myself. Still, it was helpful in explaining some of the motivations inherent in Buddhist practice of the Dharma. It is fascinating how far back these teachings go.… (more)



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