Friday, July 24, 2015

PRAMANA Course - TERM 3 - FALL 2015 ANNOUNCEMENT

In accordance with the suggestion of H.H. Dalai Lama to our teacher, Geshe Kelsang Wangmo, in May 2014, the Advanced Buddhist Philosophy in English program of the Institute for Buddhist Dialectical studies is offering a course on the Second Chapter of Dharmakirti's Commentary on [Dignaga's Compendium of] Valid Cognition (Skt. Pramāņavarttika; ཚད་མ་རྣམ་འགྲེལ་).
  • AnnouncementDecember 21-23, 2015, H.H. Dalai Lama will give teachings on Dharmakirti's Pramanavarttika in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, at the new new Assembly Hall of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery [following the inaugural ceremonies in the morning of December 20]. 

Fall 2015 Term Announcement

The Institute of Buddhist Dialectics (IBD)
McLeod Ganj near the Main Temple Complex
Advanced  Buddhist Philosophy Course
Dharmakirti’s Valid Cognition Commentary (Pramanavarttika), Chapter 2

Monday, 14 September – mid-November, 2015

Teacher: Ven. Kelsang Wangmo
Weekly Schedule:  Monday, Wednesday & Friday
4:00-6:00 PM – Mon & Fri / 4:00-5:30 PM – Wed
Location:  IBD Prayer Hall - Main Temple Complex
[Go through Main Temple Gate/Upstairs on right]
Fee:  300 Rupees per month
(All proceeds sponsor IBD students’ living expenses)
Email:  chogslags-ibd@yahoo.com / Website:  ibd-buddhist.blogspot.com


Course Topics:  This Fall 2015 term continues the study of the Second Chapter of Pramanavarttika, a Commentary on {Dignaga’s Compendium of} Valid Cognition by Dharmakirti.

The one-month term in Fall 2014 presented an introduction to concepts and background of this text and its introductory section, and the two month Spring 2015 term examined the Introduction of Gyaltsab Je's commentary and began the body of the text.  Some material covered in the earlier terms will be reviewed in this Fall term.

Download the Text, Handouts & Class Recordings of the Spring 2015 term and the  Fall 2014 term.

The material included in the study of Chapter Two of Dharmakirti's Pramanavarttika will be taught in the subsequent Spring and Autumn terms of the IBD Advanced Philosophy Course until completed; after which the Perfection of Wisdom Course will resume.

Course Text & Methodology:  Handouts prepared by Ven. Wangmo serve as the text for every class.  The Handouts include a translation of the commentary on Dharmakirti’s Second Chapter by Gyaltsab Je (disciple of Je Tsongkhapa), Elucidation of the Path to Liberation, with the Pramanavarttika text and translations of oral commentaries by contemporary masters embedded therein.

Using the curriculum of the great Tibetan monastic universities that is taught at IBD, this advanced philosophy course presents Dharmakirti’s logical proofs of the validity of the basis, path and fruit of liberation and omniscient enlightenment.  Students will have opportunities to discuss and debate the subject matter in class.

Course Teacher:  Ven. Kelsang Wangmo (a Western nun) was awarded a Geshe degree from IBD for successful completion of the 17-year curriculum studies.

Students:  The challenging course material is aimed at earnest students of Buddhist philosophy.  If you wish to check out the classes, you are welcome to visit before you enroll.  Should you be unable to attend the entire Fall 2015 course, you may be able to continue by downloading audio files of the classes:  ibd-buddhist.blogspot.com.

Friday, June 12, 2015

PRAMANA Course - TERM 2 - SPRING 2015 resources

In accordance with the suggestion of H.H. Dalai Lama to our teacher, Geshe Kelsang Wangmo, in May 2014, the Advanced Buddhist Philosophy in English program of the Institute for Buddhist Dialectical studies is offering a course on the Second Chapter of Dharmakirti's Commentary on [Dignaga's] Compendium of Valid Cognition (Skt. Pramāņavarttika; ཚད་མ་རྣམ་འགྲེལ་).

The multi-year Perfection of Wisdom course (based on Maitreya's Ornament for Clear Realizations (Abhisamayalamkara) that began several years ago is on temporary hiatus and will resume upon completion of this course.

Class Materials


Following His Holiness' advice, Geshe Wangmo is translating the Second Chapter of Dharmakirti's Pramāņavarttika.  In accord with the methodology for teaching this ancient text at IBD and the great Tibetan monastic universities, Dharmatkirti's terse verses are embedded into Geshe Wangmo's translation of Gyaltsab (Darma Rinchen) Je's commentary.  Furthermore, Geshe Wangmo, having received oral teachings on this text by several contemporary masters, has translated selected portions of those and inserted these explanations into the text she has prepared for this course.

The text that she has prepared to date (more will be done before the end of this term) is available for download below.  This text includes the slightly revised material from the first term in the Fall 2014:

The Text [Handout for the Spring 2015 Term] prepared by Geshe Wangmo for the second term of the Pramana Course includes:
  • An INTRODUCTION to the Pramana course.
  • Gyaltsab Je's Elucidation of the Path to Liberation, a Detailed Explanation of the Verses of the Pramāņavarttika [tshad ma rnam 'grel gyi tshig le'ur byes pa rnam bshad thar lam gsal byed - ཚད་མ་རྣམ་འགྲེལ་གྱི་ཚིག་ལེའུར་བྱེས་པ་རྣམ་བཤད་ཐར་ལམ་གསལ་བྱེད།], commonly known as, Elucidation of the Path to Liberation [ཐར་ལམ་གསལ་བྱེད་]. 
  • Translations of relevant recordings and notes of oral teachings by prominent contemporary Geluk scholars are inserted into the text to provide explanation of difficult points.  Some of those masters are:  Geshe Yeshe Thabgyal, Geshe Palden Drakpa, Geshe Wangchen, Geshe Gyatso, Geshe Tsering Norbu.
Additionally, Geshe Wangmo prepared three Handouts of Charts, Illustrations and Diagrams as study aids for topics raised in the text in 2014.  Those have been slightly revised and are available for download below.  More such Handouts will be made available during this term.

As an aid for students, Questions for Studying and learning the most important important points raised in the text are included at the end of sections.

DOWNLOAD PDF COURSE MATERIALS

 

FINAL TEXT for SPRING 2015 TERM

3 PDFs of CHARTS, ILLUSTRATION &  DIAGRAMS: CHARTS 1-12. CHARTS 13-15. CHARTS 16-27.

Class PRAYERS (for before and after teaching) have been revised this year. [NOTE:  If you view this PDF in your WEB BROWSER, the Tibetan Fonts may not show up properly.  Download the PDF and open it, and those embedded fonts display properly.]

Excerpts of the Tibetan commentary by Gyaltsab Je - pages 337-345 of The Elucidation of the Path to Liberation [ཐར་ལམ་གསལ་བྱེད་] on Dharmakirti's Pramanavarttika, from the Second Chapter (The Establishment of a Valid Cognizer, Pramanasiddhi, ཚད་མ་གྲུབ་པའི་ལེའུ་གཉིས་པ།) including interpolation of the root text.   [༄༅།།ཚད་མ་རྣམ་འགྲེལ་གྱི་ཚིག་ལེའུར་བྱས་པའི་རྣམ་བཤད་ཐར་ལམ་གསལ་བར་བྱེད་པ་ཞེས་བྱ་བ་ལས་ལེའུ་གཉིས་པ་ཚད་མ་ཡང་དག་པར་གྲུབ་པ།].

DOWNLOAD MP3 Recordings of the 13 Classes held in the Fall 2014 Term here.

DOWNLOAD MP3 Recordings for SPRING 2015 Term


Explanation of the Class Prayers by Geshe Wangmo:


CLASS ONE - Wednesday, APRIL 15, 2015.

CLASS TWO - Friday, APRIL 17, 20l5:
  • Track 1 - Complete introductory review (of Fall 2014 term) to the Second Chapter of Dharmakirti's Pramanavarttika.
  • Track 2 - Begin actual text [p. 12], commentary by Gyaltsab Je on the Second Chapter of Dharmakirti's Pramanavarttika, i.e., a commentary on 2 lines of Homage by Dignaga for Compendium of Pramana that are an explanation of Buddhahood.  Two lines of Prajnakaragupta’s promise to compose his commentary (cited by Gyaltsab Je).  What is Enlightenment & How is it attained? Buddha Nature (all we need to becoming Enlightened) & Eliminations (thru wisdom) of what stands in the way.
  • Track 3 - Two Causes of a Buddha [p. 13]Excellent Intention (Great Compassion) & Excellent Application (mind focusing on Wisdom Realizing Selflessness):  Why Great Compassion (rather than Bodhicitta, great love, etc.)? Distinguish: "immeasurable" & "limitless", and more.
CLASS THREE - Monday, APRIL 20, 20l5:
  • Track 1: Review prior classes & material covered in Fall 2014, e.g., Two Excellent Causes & Results (Own Benefit & Others’ Benefit Kayas). The Teacher. The Sugata: Sugata-Eliminations: Perfect Elimination, Elimination Without Return & Completely Eliminated. Who is not “in Samsara”? - paths and grounds.
  • Track 2Sugata-Realizations. How the text relates to taking Refuge: Causal & Resultant Refuge. Do we really need to take Refuge in the Buddh?. Why establish Buddha as a Valid Cognizer Being, a reliable, genuine valid cognizer? Pages 15-16 of text].  
CLASS FOUR - Wednesday, APRIL 22, 20l5:
  • Track 1:  Concise Review of 2014. Forward & Reverse systems explanations of the Pramanavarttika's 2nd Chapter to demonstrate that Buddha is a Valid Cognizer Being by using the four qualities cited in Homage.  Continue sub-section [The Way the Meaning of (Dignaga’s Explanation) is Elucidated by the Author of the Pramanavarttika] of Gyaltsab Je's General Meaning introduction to his commentary on the Second Chapter of the Pramanavarttika.
  • Track 2:  [P. 23] Five Factors in Reverse order to prove Buddha is a Valid Cognizer Being. Unique presentation of Four Noble Truths.  Final subsection, [Dignaga & Dharmakirti's] View, of Gyaltsab Je's introduction to Chapter Two.  Debates presented by Gyaltsab Je, e.g.:  is it necessary to establish Buddha is faultless to practice?  [P. 25] Scriptural (words) & Realization (meaning) Teachings of Buddha. If (unique) Meaning is faultless, words & the Teacher also are.  "Momentariness of the Subtle". "Realization" vs "Conviction".  
CLASS FIVE - Friday, APRIL 24, 20l5:
  • Track 1:  Detailed explanation of the meaning of Valid Cognizer.  Meaning of the Branches [body of Gyaltsab Je's Second Chapter commentary]:  Explanatory addition to the text, pp. 26 & 27.  What is pramana.  Relevant definitions from Collected Topics (based on Pramanavarttika) & Lorig.  That which the mind realizes and the mind/knower .
  • Track 2:  Meaning of "to realize" is very important in Buddhism.  What are the characteristics of a mind that realizes its object so we will know if we have realized our object.  Incontrovertibly establishing something with correct logic.  What is the meaning of all the aspects of the definition of a Valid Cognizer, Pramana: an awareness/mind that is newly non-deceptive & incontrovertible.   
  • Track 3:  [P. 29], Identifying Non-Deceptive (presented In format of debate):  "The realization of objects of comprehension (high rebirth, the definite good) and the methods that lead to those goals depends on Valid Cognizer . . . what is the definition of a general valid cognizer that is such so that by satisfying that definition, a consciousness becomes a Valid Cognizer.  
    • Presentation of Self-Knowers.  
    • Q&A  
CLASS SIX - Monday, APRIL 27, 20l5:
  • Track 1:  What does it mean to know something.  What is the Knower.  How do we know we know something.  The mind that realizes something newly - a valid cognizer.  A mind that realizes something always induces a conceptual mental consciousness, at least a tiny thought.  The meaning of "to realize" is complicated not simple.
  • Track 2Non-Deceptive outline, cont.  Not only can we know objects around us, we can remember them; but only if we have realized them.  If there an awareness without ascertainment of the object, you cannot remember it later.  Self-Knowers:  We are aware of being aware. 2 PosibilitIes for Sense (Direct) Consciousness:  (1) an awareness to which its object appears but is not ascertained or (2) an awareness that realizes its object.  Even though eye consciousness is dominant, we do not see tangible or taste or sound objects  
  • Track 3Non-Deceptive, cont.  Presentation of Self-Knowers, cont.  One cannot realize an object one does not believe in; similarly, doubt is an obstacle.  [P. 29], debate.  Self-Knower and Other Knower are of one substantial entity, arise and cease simultaneously, and are not identical.  Self-Knowers are mental consciousnesses.  All awareness have Self-Knower.  Illustration of Self-Knower, a lamp that illuminates itself.
CLASS SEVEN - Wednesday, APRIL 29, 20l5:
  • Track 1:  Imputation & Designation/Labeling:  Can we know something before we label it.  What is labeling & imputation.  Mental & terminological labeling.  Can we actually perceive something if we have no concept of it whatsoever; Buddhist claim is we are born with concepts.  Nothing exists from its own side; merely labelled. Q&A. 
  • Track 2:  Differentiate terminological and mental "generic image" labeling.  Merely labelled excludes any intrinstic reality from side of object. Without labeling, we cannot know something.  Q&A.  Does eye consciousness perceives "table", or just shape & color.  Conclude presentation of Lokayata / Self-Knowers as stepping stone to understanding labeling.  [Pp. 29-31] Debate:  definition of pramana:  a non-deceptive consciousness, i.e., a mind that realizes its objects, e.g., a mind apprehending blue, is non-deceptive regarding its object and its object's functions; however, due to innate views, mental perceptions may keep some aspects of the object from being realized. Self-Knower analogy:  a lamp illuminates itself and everything around it.  So what knows the Self-knower?  The Self-Knower knows itself.  In conclusion of section Identifying the Non-Deceptive:  [P. 32} By being non-deceptive about the defining functions of its main object, a valid cognizer enables the person in whose continuum it arises to obtain a desired object.  
CLASS EIGHT - Friday, May 1, 20l5:
  • Track 1:  Why valid cognition is necessary for Buddhist Path - Review.  What is a valid cognizer.  How do you know you had a valid cognition.
  • Track 2:  Explanation of how Self-Knower knows the valid cognizer.  Formulating questions.
  • Track 3:  New topic: Valid cognizers in daily life can lead to obtaining its objects physically, or mentally attaining its object, i.e., a state of mind.  A valid cognizer cannot "obtain" spoken words, but can attain understanding of those.  P. 33.  "Definition" is translation of Buddhist term (Tib. tsen-nyi) meaning "main characteristic" . . . Q&A.  Sound and the particles that cause sound are not the same entity.  Physically obtain.  One cannot "smell a peppermint leaf", rather "obtain the smell of a peppermint leaf" from particles off the leaf.
CLASS NINE - Monday, May 4, 20l5:
  • Track 1:  Review and elaborate new material presented in Class 8 [Track 3] and its Q&A/Debates regarding how and what exactly our senses perceive.   Gyaltsab Je's text elaborates topics
  • Track 2:  Returning to debate in text: Someone says, Dharmakiriti's definintion of valid cognizer is too narrow, because not all valid cognizers are non-deceptive because it cannot obtain sound, etc.  Our system replies:  Still, one can realize sound, etc.  Explanation, e.g., observed object condition and mental functioning.  Operation of sense and mental consciousnesses during sleep.  Empowering and uncommon empowering conditions of sense perceptions.  Observed object conditions appears to and is cause of the consciousness.  Uncommon empowering condition of a mental consciousness. Apprehended objects. Q&A:  e.g., appearance without ascertainment.
CLASS TEN - Wednesday, May 6, 20l5:
  • Track 1:  Expressive Sound is debated in Gyaltsab Je's text .  Three Object Possessors.  Q&A.  Expressive Sound & Consciousness (Direct & Conceptual).  Full, Partial & Eliminative Engagers.  Speech of Buddha.  We are unable to fully communicate what we really feel because of the nature of sound.
  • Track 2:  [P. 35]  Regarding someone's assertion that a non-deceptive mind must be able obtain its object.  Our system disagrees, e.g., expressive sound.  Re valid cognizer arisen sound, e.g., ear consciousness; but can an inferential cognizer arise from sound?  Treatises & Buddha's sutras are sound; texts are symbolic representations of those sounds.  Some systems assert that their sacred texts are pramana.
  • Track 3:  New topic:  Valid cognizers in daily life can lead to obtaining its objects physically, or mentally attaining its object, i.e., a state of mind.  A valid cognizer cannot "obtain" spoken words, but can attain understanding of those.  "Definition" is a translation of Buddhist term (Tib. tsen-nyi) meaning "main characteristic" . . . Q&A.  Sound and the particles that cause sound are not the same entity.  Physically obtain, e.g., one cannot "smell a peppermint leaf", rather "obtain the smell of a peppermint leaf" from particles off the leaf.
CLASS ELEVEN - Friday, May 8, 20l5:
CLASS TWELVE - Monday, May 12, 20l5:
CLASS THIRTEEN - Monday, May 18, 20l5:
CLASS FOURTEEN - Wednesday, May 20, 20l5:
CLASS FIFTEEN - Friday, May 22, 20l5:
CLASS SIXTEEN - Monday, May 25, 20l5:
CLASS SEVENTEEN - Wednesday, May 27, 20l5:
  • Track 1.  At the TCV teaching, H.H. Dalai Lama discussed the Buddhist practice & motivation related to one of the class prayers.  Review:  Self-Knowers.  Mind and mental factors (lo-rig).
  • Track 2.  [P. 46] Gyaltsab Je outline:  Ascertaining Instances that Satisfy the Definition [of pramana, valid cognizer - an unmistaken mind that incontrovertibly knows its object]:  a consciousness that is newly non-deceptive, i.e., it newly realizes/knows its object.  Definiendum, Definition & Instances/illustrations.  Labeling.  Buddhist practice:  observing how do I know something.  Lokyata/Chravakas.- only believe direct physical perception, e.g., not past/future lives; and inferential cognizers are not pramana.  Wrong views [e.g., permanence] can inhibit perception of reality.  Due to misperceptions, we may not know that we know something, i.e., subconscious awareness.  What is it that knows we know?  Dharmakirti's 2 line refutation of one set of assertions re how one knows one knows.  Three panditas had different interpretations of those 2 lines by Dharmakirti.
  • Track 3.  Pedagogical approaches in 4th, 14th, 20th & 21st centuries & in Buddhist studies today.  Q&A.
CLASS EIGHTEEN - Friday, May 29, 20l5:
  • Track 1.  Self-ascertainment:  how do we know that we know something.  What is the mind that knows its objects; and how do we know that a particular mind in our continuum is a pramana, that the instance satisfies the definition of pramana.  Proof statements. Labeling/imputing.  Lack of objective reality. . . .   Without a proper label, confusion ensures: illustrations.
  • Track 2.  Eye consciousness realizing blue:  Self-knower realizes that the mind has realized its object of comprehension, blue.   Other Ascertainment Valid Cognizer:  Eye consciousness that sees a Juniper tree arising in the continuum of a person who doubts whether or not it is a Juniper tree.  Differentiating a mind that is mistaken and a mind that doesn't get the full details of its object.  Is the first moment of that eye consciousness realizing tree a valid cognizer?  Through its own power, the sense consciousness induces a conceptual mind that realizes the same thing.  For illustration of an eye consciousness and possible Juniper tree:  a valid cognizer induces ascertainment of tree, but does not induce ascertainment of its a final object of comprehension, a Juniper tree; that will require another valid cognizer which is the Other Ascertainment Valid Cognizer.  Examples of Other Ascertainment Valid Cognizers for other sense consciousnesses.  Q&A, e.g., differentiating an object of comprehension & a "final" such.
  • Track 3.  The purpose of using sense consciousness as examples in this context of Doubt regarding the object:  Is the final object of comprehension in a person who doesn't know whether or not the tree observed is a Juniper tree or not?  An Other Ascertainment Valid Cognizer only can remove external obstacles to the Juniper tree being final object of comprehension.  Other Ascertainment Valid Cognizers & mental consciousness:  On the basis of correct reasoning, can an inferential consciousness arise as an Other Ascertainment Valid Cognizer?  Where does our intrinsic sense of permanence come from? Q&A
CLASS NINETEEN - Monday, June 1, 20l5:
CLASS TWENTY - Wednesday, June 3, 20l5:
  • Track 1.  Explanation & Q&A re:  Other Ascertaining Valid Cognizers; Final Object of Comprehension [one with or synonymous with your object]; why Mental Consciousnesses are Other Ascertaining Valid Cognizers; Self-Ascertaining Valid Cognizers; illustration, color of fire.
  • Track 2.  Presentation of Dharmottara's interpretation of Dharmakirti's 2 lines re Self-Ascertainment Valid Cognizers: “[Some] self-experiencing self-knowing direct perceiver pramana (i.e., self-knowing valid cognizers) when realizing their own nature induce an ascertainment of the factor of non-deceptiveness that is simultaneous and of one substantial entity with themselves”. Re Other Ascertainment Valid Cognizer, a Self-Knower is aware of whether or not mind is non-deceptive with regard to, e.g., the color of fire.
CLASS TWENTY-ONE - Friday, June 5, 20l5:
  • Track 1 - Review of Course text of Gyaltsab Je covered to date in Spring 2015.
  • Track 2 - Discussion.
  • Track 3 - Text’s presentation of Dharmottara’s assertions [re:  How do we know that we know something in relation of Self-Knowers, Why Other Ascertainment Valid Cognizers are Sense Consciousnesses & not Mental Conciousnesses] & Gyaltsab Je's presentation of Self-Knower of Self Ascertainment Valid Cognizer has been explained.
CLASS TWENTY-TWO - Monday, June 8, 20l5:  
      Presentation & Discussion of Mind Only & Prajnaparagupta's response.
  • Track 1.   Prajnaparagupta's assertions -- from the Mind Only/Chittamatrin perspective -- regarding the distinction between pramana and non-pramana, "How do we know we know".  Brief overview and discussion of Mind Only system.
  • Track 2.  Complete the presentation of Mind Only & Prajnaparagupta's response to, "How do we know we know", from Mind Only perspective.  Discussion.  Since a Buddha is not omnipotent, in what sense is a Buddha "perfect"?  Imputation, labelling, generalization and bigotry.
CLASS TWENTY-THREE - Monday, JUNE 10, 20l5:
  • Track 1.  Review, chart - verbal conventions, additional text.
  • Track 2.  Presentation of Devandabodhi's assertions - some are accepted & some are not -- re:  How do We Know We know?  P. 56:  Extensive discussion regarding to Someone's Qualm/Debate re:  What do Self-Ascertainment & Other Ascertainment mean in relation to point of view of an object or point of view of Valid Cognizer?  "Color of fire, red" = an object.  While "How do we know we know" = a consciousnessness.  So must either refer to one or the other.  P. 58 - 3-Fold Object Possessors.

Monday, April 06, 2015

PRAMANA Course - TERM 2 - SPRING 2015 ANNOUNCEMENT

In accordance with the suggestion of H.H. Dalai Lama to our teacher, Geshe Kelsang Wangmo, in May 2014, the Advanced Buddhist Philosophy in English program of the Institute for Buddhist Dialectical studies is offering a course on the Second Chapter of Dharmakirti's Commentary on [Dignaga's Compendium of] Valid Cognition (Skt. Pramāņavarttika; ཚད་མ་རྣམ་འགྲེལ་).

Spring 2015 Term Announcement

The Institute of Buddhist Dialectics (IBD)
McLeod Ganj near the Main Temple Complex
Advanced  Buddhist Philosophy Course
Dharmakirti’s Valid Cognition Commentary (Pramanavarttika), Chapter 2

Wednesday, 15 April – mid-June 2015

Teacher: Ven. Kelsang Wangmo
Weekly Schedule:  Monday, Wednesday & Friday
4:00-6:00 PM – Mon & Fri / 4:00-5:30 PM – Wed
Location:  IBD Prayer Hall - Main Temple Complex
[Go through Main Temple Gate/Upstairs on right]
Fee:  300 Rupees per month
(All proceeds sponsor IBD students’ living expenses)
Email:  chogslags-ibd@yahoo.com / Website:  ibd-buddhist.blogspot.com


Course Topics:  This Spring 2015 term continues the study of the Second Chapter of the Pramanavarttika, a Commentary on {Dignaga’s Compendium of} Valid Cognition by Dharmakirti

A one-month course in Fall 2014 presented an introduction to concepts and background of this text and its introductory section.  Parts of the Fall 2014 material will be reviewed in this Spring term.  Download Recordings of the Fall 2014 classes, Handouts, etc., here.

The Chapter will be taught in the following Autumn and Spring terms of the IBD Advanced Philosophy Course until completed; after which the Perfection of Wisdom Course will resume.

Course Text & Methodology:  Handouts prepared by Ven. Wangmo serve as the text for every class.  The Handouts include a translation of a commentary on Dharmakirti’s Second Chapter by Gyaltsab Je (disciple of Je Tsongkhapa) with the Pramanavarttika text and translations of oral commentaries by contemporary masters embedded therein.  Using the curriculum of the great Tibetan monastic universities that is taught at IBD, this advanced philosophy course presents Dharmakirti’s logical proofs of the validity of the basis, path and fruit of liberation and omniscient enlightenment.  Students will have opportunities to discuss and debate the subject matter in class.

Course Teacher:  Ven. Kelsang Wangmo (a Western nun) was awarded a Geshe degree from IBD for successful completion of the 17-year curriculum studies.

Students:  The challenging course material is aimed at earnest students of Buddhist philosophy.  If you wish to check out the classes, you are welcome to visit before you enroll.  Should you be unable to attend the entire Fall 2015 course, you may be able to continue by downloading audio files of the classes:  ibd-buddhist.blogspot.com.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

PRAMANA Course - TERM 1 - FALL 2014 resources

In accordance with the suggestion of H.H. Dalai Lama to our teacher, Geshe Kelsang Wangmo, in May 2014, the Advanced Buddhist Philosophy in English program of the Institute for Buddhist Dialectical studies is offering a new course on the Second Chapter of Dharmakirti's Commentary on [Dignaga's] Compendium of Valid Cognition (Skt. Pramāņavarttika; ཚད་མ་རྣམ་འགྲེལ་).

The multi-year Perfection of Wisdom course (based on Maitreya's Ornament for Clear Realizations (Abhisamayalamkara) that began several years ago is on temporary hiatus and will resume upon completion of this course.

Following His Holiness' advice, Geshe Wangmo is translating the Second Chapter of Dharmakirti's Pramāņavarttika and other commentarial materials that are used in Tibetan Monastic institutions to present this very important text and its deep meaning to students.

The Text [Handout for the Fall 2014 Term] prepared by Geshe Wangmo for the first term of the Pramana Course includes:
  • An INTRODUCTION to the Pramana course.
  • Gyaltsab Je's Elucidation of the Path to Liberation, a Detailed Explanation of the Verses of the Pramāņavarttika [tshad ma rnam 'grel gyi tshig le'ur byes pa rnam bshad thar lam gsal byed - ཚད་མ་རྣམ་འགྲེལ་གྱི་ཚིག་ལེའུར་བྱེས་པ་རྣམ་བཤད་ཐར་ལམ་གསལ་བྱེད།], commonly known as, Elucidation of the Path to Liberation [ཐར་ལམ་གསལ་བྱེད་].  
    • The verses of the Pramāņavarttika are embedded into Gyaltsab Je's commentary.  They are distinguished in the course text by different formatting and fonts - see, Technical Note on page 11 of the Fall 2014 Text.
  • Geshe Wangmo has translated relevant recordings and notes of oral teachings by prominent contemporary Geluk scholars and inserted those into the text to provide explanation of difficult points.  Some of those masters are:  Geshe Yeshe Thabgyal, Geshe Palden Drakpa, Geshe Wangchen, Geshe Gyatso, Geshe Tsering Norbu.
Additionally, Geshe Wangmo prepared three Handouts of Charts, Illustrations, Diagrams as study aids for topics raised in the text.

As an aid for students, Study Questions regarding most important important points raised in the text are included therein.

Because of extensive materials that required translation, etc., and prior commitments, the Fall 2014 Term will be limited to the Month of October.  The next term will be for two months in the Spring of 2015.


DOWNLOAD PDF COURSE MATERIALS

TEXT for FALL 2014 TERM

3 PDFs of CHARTS, ILLUSTRATION &  DIAGRAMS: CHARTS 1-12. CHARTS 13-15. CHARTS 16-28.

DOWNLOAD CLASS TRANSCRIPTS for this COURSE

TEXT for each Class appears in body of transcript when Geshe-la reads it out loud and, otherwise, in footnotes.

DRAFT Transcript of Class 1 (Oct. 1, 2014).
DRAFT Transcript of Class 2 (Oct. 3, 2014). 


DOWNLOAD MP3 Recordings for Fall 2014 Course Term

See,
CLASS ONE Blog Post for information about this class and links to the MP3 tracks.

See, CLASS TWO Blog Post for outline of this Class & links to MP3 tracks.

Download a single track for Classes 3-13 below. These are rather large files, so please give your feedback regarding any difficulties you may encounter in downloading them. Once Blog Posts are created for a class, the single track will be replaced with edited tracks.

CLASS THREE - Friday, October 10

CLASS FOUR - Monday, October 13

CLASS FIVE - Wednesday, October 15

CLASS SIX - Friday, October 17

CLASS SEVEN - Monday, October 20

CLASS EIGHT - Wednesday, October 22

CLASS NINE - Friday, October 24

CLASS TEN - Monday, October 27

CLASS ELEVEN - Wednesday, October 29

CLASS TWELVE - Friday, October 31

CLASS THIRTEEN - Monday, November 3

Friday, October 03, 2014

Pramanavarttika - FALL 2014 Class 2

The 2nd class of Fall 2014 term was held on Friday, the 3rd day of October. The first term of this course on Chapter 2 of Dharmakirti's Pramāņavarttika is a comprehensive introduction to the material contained in this profound text.

DOWNLOAD PDF files for this CLASS

INTRODUCTION to Pramanavarttika course

[These are the final Text and Charts distributed to students in class on October 13, 2014.  The students in this second class only had the Introduction to the text & the first set of Charts 1-12.  if you want a copy of those, download them from CLASS 1 blog post].

CHARTS & DIAGRAMS used in Class 2.  Download the other two sets of CHARTS from PRAMANA  Course - Term 1  Blog Post

DRAFT Transcript of Class 2 (Oct. 3, 2014) - Text PDF material appears in body of transcript when Geshe-la reads it out loud and, otherwise, in footnotes.

DOWNLOAD Recorded MP3 Tracks of Class 2:

Track 1 - Brief Review of First Class

Biographies or Hagiographies – Life Stories of Dignaga & Dharmakirti.  Conclude Review.
  • Life Story of Gyaltsab Je [Gyaltsab Dharma Rinchen - རྒྱལ་ཚབ་དར་མ་རིན་ཆེན་]
  • Buddhist Criticism of Pramana:
    • Non-Buddhist Philosophies extant in India at the time of Buddha (did not exist later in Tibet or other Buddhist countries) & the study of Pramana.
    • However, except for monastic rules of Vinaya, most Buddhist scriptures are based on logical reasoning.
Track 2 - Dharmakirti’s Seven Treatises on Pramana (ཚད་མ་སྡེ་བདུན་)
  • Commentaries on [Dignaga’s] Compendium of Pramana
  • Of these, Three are compared to a Body; Four are like Branches.
The English & Tibetan translations of the Sanskrit titles of the Seven Treatises are:

    1.    Commentary on [Dignaga's Compendium of] Valid Cognition [tshad ma rnam 'grel - ཚད་མ་རྣམ་འགྲེལ་];
    2.    Ascertainment of Valid Cognition [tshad ma rnam nges - ཚད་མ་རྣམ་ངེས་];
    3.    Drops of Reasoning [rigs thigs - རིགས་ཐིགས་].
    4.    Drops of Logic [gtan tshigs thig pa - གཏན་ཚིགས་ཐིག་པ་];
    5.    Investigating Relations ['brel ba brtag pa - འབྲེལ་བ་བརྟག་པ་];
    6.    Proof of Other [(Mental) Continua [rgyud gzhan grub pa - རྒྱུད་གཞན་གྲུབ་པ་];
    7.    Reasoning of Debate [rtsod pa'i rigs pa - རྩོད་པའི་རིགས་པ་]. 
  • The three treaties like the body teach all Eight Pivotal Points of Logic (tog ge'i tshigs don rgyad - རྟོག་གེའི་ཚིགས་དོན་རྒྱད་), while each of those like branches do not teach all of those points. 
  • Translation Issues: tog gay [རྟོག་གེའི་] and tshig don [ཚིགས་དོན་].
General Introduction 

Importance of Logic to Counter Misperceptions of Reality:
    •    In everyday life, our afflictive emotions are based on reasoning.
    •    We constantly use logical analysis to perform tasks of living.
    •    Correct Logic works because of Interdependence; Incorrect reasoning brings troubles.  [A is B if B is C & A is C.] 
    •    Many of our basic perceptions of reality are wrong, e.g., perceiving permanence rather than impermanent momentary change.

Correct Inferential Reasoning is required to understand Hidden Phenomena:
  • Misunderstanding Hidden Phenomena causes Suffering; that Misunderstanding can only be countered by Correct Inferential Reasoning.
Six Directly Perceiving Consciousnesses & One Conceptual Consciousness (the objects of which are Generic Images):
  • Conceptual Minds must use Correct Inferential Reasoning to realize Hidden phenomena (that are not accessible to sense consciousnesses).

Track 3  - Eight Pivotal Points of Logic (rtog ge'i tshig don rgyad - རྟོག་གེའི་ཚིགས་དོན་རྒྱད་):
1.    Correct Inferential Cognizers (rjes dpag yang dag - རྗེས་དཔག་ཡན་དག་)
2.    False inferential cognizers (rjes dpag ltar snangརྗེས་དཔག་ལྟར་སྣང་)
3.    Correct direct perceivers (mngon sum yang dag - མངོན་སུམ་ཡན་དག་)
4.    False direct perceivers (mngon sum ltar snang - མངོན་སུམ་ལྟར་སྣང་)
5.    Correct proof statements (sgrub ngag yang dag - སྒྲུབ་ངག་ཡན་དག་)
6.    False proof statements (sgrub ngag ltar snang - སྒྲུབ་ངག་ལྟར་སྣང་)
7.    Correct refutations (sun ‘byin yang dag - སུན་འབྱིན་ཡན་དག་)
8.    False refutations (sun ‘byin ltar snang - སུན་འབྱིན་ལྟར་སྣང་)

 Introduction - Inferential Cognizers, Correct Inference &  Correct Syllogisms

Inferential Cognizers & Correct Inferential Cognizer are equivalent. Inferential Cognizers arise from logic & incorrect logic is not logic.


Correct Syllogism [ten dzig yang dag - གཏན་ཚིགས་ཡང་དག་] - explained.

  • Using Correct Syllogisms to overcome clinging to notion of my Self being permanent by generating a correct inferential cognition.
  • Correct inferential cognizers realize their objects irrefutably.

Track 4 - Pivotal Points 1 - 4:

1. Correct Inferential Cognition (rjes dpag yang dag - རྗེས་དཔག་ཡན་དག་) - explanations of the First Tool of Logic.  Before developing correct inferential cognitions, we must identify the misperceptions of reality that lead to our discomforts.  E.g., check your mind when you experience upsets such as irritation that your quiet time has been interrupted and notice how your misperception of permanence/impermanence leads to an exaggerated reaction of an unhappy mind.

 2. False Inferential Cognition (rjes dpag ltar snang - རྗེས་དཔག་ལྟར་སྣང་).
Often, we say we know something is true, when actually we are assuming it is true based on some "authorities" or on the basis of incorrect or false syllogisms [ten dzig ltar snang - གཏན་ཚིགས་ལྟར་སྣང་].

Introduction to Direct Perceivers (mngon sum yang dag - མངོན་སུམ་)
Due to our long familiarity or habituation with misperceptions of reality, they are very deeply ingrained.  Inferential cognizers weaken the strength of those misperceptions, but only Mental Direct Perception can fundamentally eradicate such wrong views.   Direct perceivers and inferential cognizers are two extremely important tools required for Buddhist practice.  Since we need to cultivate these minds, we need to understand them as otherwise, they are very difficult to cultivate.

3. Correct Direct Perceivers (mngon sum yang dag - མངོན་སུམ་ཡན་དག་), and 4. False Direct Perceivers (mngon sum ltar snang - མངོན་སུམ་ལྟར་སྣང་) - Distinguishing the two.


If any of the LINKS don't work, please leave a COMMENT or notify us by E-Mail.


This is the 2nd class of the Fall 2014 term of
the Pramanavarttika course - which examines the
Second Chapter of Dharmakirti's Commentary's on 
[Dignaga's] Compendium of Valid Cognition

 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Pramanavarttika - 1st Term - FALL 2014 Class 1

The 1st class of Fall 2014 term was held on Wednesday, the 1st day of October. This is the first class of the first term of a new Course in the IBD's program of English Classes in Advanced Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy:  Chapter 2 of Dharmakirti's Pramāņavarttika.

For several years, the ongoing course, in Spring and Fall terms, has been on the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras as illuminated in Maitreya's Ornament for Clear Realizations [Abhisamayalamkara]. 

In accordance with the suggestion of H.H. Dalai Lama to our teacher, Geshe Kelsang Wangmo, several months ago, that course is in a temporary hiatus and will resume upon completion of this course.

Following His Holiness' advice, Geshe Wangmo is translating the Second Chapter of Dharmakirti's Commentary on [Dignaga's] Compendium of Valid Cognition along with the other commentarial materials that are used in Tibetan Monastic institutions to present this very important text and its deep meaning to students.

DOWNLOAD PDF files for this CLASS

INTRODUCTION to Pramanavarttika course.

CHARTS & ILLUSTRATIONS. 

DRAFT Transcript of Class 1 (Oct. 1, 2014) - Text PDF material appears in body of transcript when Geshe-la reads it out loud and, otherwise, in footnotes.

DOWNLOAD Recorded MP3 Tracks of Class 1:

Track 1 - Introduction to Text materials compiled and translated by Geshe Wangmo for the Course

At the beginning of this class, students were given a copy of an Introduction to the Pramanavarttika, along with a document containing Charts and Illustrations  depicting concepts to addressed in the first term of this multi-term course.

Two Major Texts will be studied in this course: 
  • Second Chapter of Dharmakirti's Commentary on [Dignaga's] Compendium of Valid Cognition [Skt. - Pramāņavarttika; tshad ma ram 'gel - ཚད་མ་རྣམ་འགྲེལ་].
  • Gyaltsab Je's Elucidation of the Path to Liberation, a Detailed Explanation of the Verses of the Pramāņavarttika [tshad ma rnam 'grel gyi tshig le'ur byes pa rnam bshad thar lam gsal byed - ཚད་མ་རྣམ་འགྲེལ་གྱི་ཚིག་ལེའུར་བྱེས་པ་རྣམ་བཤད་ཐར་ལམ་གསལ་བྱེད།], commonly known as, Elucidation of the Path to Liberation [ཐར་ལམ་གསལ་བྱེད་].  The verses of the Pramāņavarttika are embedded into Gyaltsab Je's commentary.  They are distinguished in the course text by different formatting and fonts.
  • Geshe-la has translated relevant recordings and notes of oral teachings by prominent contemporary Geluk scholars and inserted those into the text to provide explanation of difficult points.  Some of those masters are:  Geshe Yeshe Thabgyal, Geshe Palden Drakpa, Geshe Wangchen, Geshe Gyatso, Geshe Tsering Norbu.
The translation of these materials that serves as the Fall 2014 course text will be distributed to students attending class on Friday, October 10, and posted here afterwards. 

Study Questions:  At the end of the Introduction (p. 10) and at the end of each section of the main course text, Study Questions are given.  Students are encouraged to read the text and the Questions before class.

Introduction to the Pramāņavarttika 

What is Pramana:    
  • Pramana is one of the Five Fields of Tibetan Monastic Study.
  • Pramana is often translated  as logic or epistemology, but its literal meaning is valid cognition or valid cognizer, i.e., an awareness that understands/realizes its object.
  • We "know" many things that later turn out not to be true.  You can only "realize" -- actually "know" -- something that actually exists.
  • A Valid Cognizer "incontrovertibly knows" its object.  So how does it do that?  These are some questions raised in the study of pramana.
Track 2 - Life Story of Dignaga

Track 3 - Life Story of Dharmakirti

The interesting stories of these great scholars' lives are presented.  Academic controversy began with regard to Dharmakirti and the Pramāņavarttika in his own time, and his verses of response may be misinterpreted by scholars today.  These controversies and interpretations are presented extensively in the class.

Some of Dharmakirti's colleagues tied this text to the tail of a dog and sent it forth to the villages.  He reputedly responded, ‘Oh, this is great.  The dog runs through the different villages and spreads my teachings.’

The verse that, in response to such negative reception, Dharmakirti inserted before the homage reads:
Most living beings are attached to the mundane and not endowed with the dexterity of wisdom.
Not only are they not interested in excellent teachings, they are hateful owing to the defilement of envy. 
This is why I do not think that this
[treatise] will be beneficial to others.
However, since I have generated great effort familiarizing
[my] mind with excellent teachings, I am happy [to compose the treatise].
The verse added after composition, when he realized that his disciple did not understand the implicit meanings of his text is:
Just as a river into the ocean, [the meaning of this treatise] will dissolve into my body and disappear.
Dignaga & Dharmakirti had a great impact on the course of Buddhist philosophy and Indian philosophy. "Their expositions on language, negation, direct perception, etc., were highly influential among both Buddhist and non-Buddhist philosophers, but their greatest impact derived from their analysis of inferential reasoning.

The debate format that is still very popular among Tibetan Buddhists is based largely on Dignaga and Dharmakirti’s works.  Dharmakirti’s Pramāņavarttika, in particular, provides Tibetan Buddhist philosophers with a standard vocabulary that is used as a framework for analysis of the various Buddhist scriptures.  It also represents the epistemological foundation of the curriculum in many Tibetan monastic institutions.

Study Questions (p. 10 of Introduction) related to Class 1:
  • Who composed the Compendium of Pramana and how many chapters does it have?
  • Who composed the Pramāņavarttika and how many chapters does it have?
  • Who composed the Elucidation of the Path of Liberation?
  • Which of these three commentaries are written in verse and which are written in prose?
  • On which text does the Pramāņavarttika primarily comment?
  • On which text does the Elucidation of the Path of Liberation primarily comment?
  • Which philosophical tenet school does Dignaga follow?
  • Which philosophical tenet school does Dharmakirti follow?
  • Which philosophical tenet school does Gyaltsab Je follow?
If any of the LINKS don't work, please leave a COMMENT or notify us by E-Mail.


This is the 1st class of the Fall 2014 term of
the Pramanavarttika course - which examines the
Second Chapter of Dharmakirti's Commentary's on 
[Dignaga's] Compendium of Valid Cognition



 






Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Spring 2014 Term - INFO & TEXT/Transcript DOWNLOADS

  The Spring 2014 term of IBD's [Institute for Buddhist Dialectical studies] Advanced (English language) Philosophy course taught by Geshe Kelsang Wangmo began Monday - 7 APRIL 2014.  The Term will end on 11 JUNE 2014.

The subject matter continues the Perfection of Wisdom studies based upon Maitreya's Ornament for Clear Realizations [Abhisamayalamkara] with the next two topics of Chapter 1:  the Mahayana Path of Preparation & Buddha Nature.

Reference Materials for Spring 2014 Term 

Class Prayers for setting motivation & dedication

Chapter 1 of Root Text -- the Ornament for Clear Realizations (Abhisamayalamkara) by Maitreya with interpolated Outline, published by Lama Tsong Khapa Institute, Italy (1998).

CHART - Sixteen Aspects of the Four Noble Truths.  

Mahayana Path of Preparation  
 Classes 1-16 - April 7 - May 12, 2014

DOWNLOADS
  
Text Handout includes a 25-page Review of subjects covered in prior Terms of this multi-year Perfection of Wisdom course followed by a 31-page text on the Mahayana Path of Preparation.

CLASS NOTES:

Class 16 - The final/pentultimate class on the Mahayana Path of Preparation.

BUDDHA NATURE
Began:  May 14, 2014

DOWNLOADS

Text Handout - Buddha Nature - COMPLETE.
As we go through the text in class some typographical errors are being noted so a final revision will be posted later.  However, this version contains the complete text on Buddha Nature.

CLASS NOTES:

Class 17 - 1st Class-Buddha Nature - general introduction per Mādhyamika (Middle Way - 'our system').
Class 18 -  Buddha Nature per Vaibhāṣika (Great Exposition) & Sautrāntika (Sutra school) and Cittamātra (Mind Only).
Class 19 -  Buddha Nature per Cittamātra, cont.
Class 20 -  Buddha Nature per Cittamātra, cont.
Class 21 -  Conclude General Meaning presentation of Cittamātra (Mind Only) assertions re Buddha Nature; & Arya Vimuktisena's critique.
Class 22General Meaning presentation of Buddha Nature per Mādhyamika.

General Course Information 

Texts.  Geshe Kelsang Wangmo has prepared a Handout for each subject.  These Handouts serve as the text for every class and include translations from the Tibetan & Indian commentaries that have not been previously translated into English.

DOWNLOAD The first Handout includes a 25-page Review of the subjects covered in prior Terms of this multi-year Perfection of Wisdom course followed by a 31-page text on the Mahayana Path of Preparation.  The Handout on Buddha Nature will be posted later.

Course Methodology:  The classes are based on the great Tibetan monastic universities’ curricula.  Students will have opportunities to discuss and debate the subject matter in class. 

Course Background:  This blog contains posts that provide general Background information to this Perfection of Wisdom course, suggested Reading List, outline notes of posted classes and MP3 recordings.  

Students:  The challenging course material is aimed at earnest students of Buddhist philosophy.  If you wish to check out the classes, you are welcome to visit before you enroll.

Weekly Class Schedule:


MONDAY, WEDNESDAY & FRIDAY
4:00 - 6:00 pm - MONDAY & FRIDAY
  4:00 - 5:30 pm - WEDNESDAY


Location:                   IBD's Prayer Hall - Main Temple complex
IBD's Prayer Hall is Up (to your right) the first set of Stairs 
of the first Building inside the main Temple Gate.
 **Fee:  300 Rupees per month
(All proceeds sponsor IBD students’ living expenses)

For Course Information details in India, you may call  Ven. Nordron (94592-01948) or Gilah (89881-56535).  You can also email Ven. Nordron at chogslags-ibd@yahoo.com.

If any of the LINKS don't work, please leave a COMMENT or notify us by E-Mail.