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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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].
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.
- 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?
Second Chapter of Dharmakirti's Commentary's on