Tā ra nā tha’s dBu ma theg mchog. Translation and Analysis of his gZhan stong Presentation


Sina Joos

From the time of Dol po pa Shes rab rgyal mtshan (1292-1361) onward, gzhan stong has remained a controversial topic in Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. The Jo nang pas assert that the ultimate is an affirming negation (Tib. ma yin dgag) free of accidental stains and therefore “other-empty” (gzhan stong), while according to the commonly accepted Madhyamaka hermeneutics the ultimate is a non-affirming negation (med dgag) that is "empty of self" (rang stong) and impermanent.

With regards to the proclamation of gzhan stong and the number of authored works, Tā ra nā tha (1575-1635) is considered second in importance only to Dol po pa. He clarifies and expands Dol po pa's exegesis of gzhan stong unlike anyone before him, covering all the crucial points of Yogācāra and Madhyamaka philosophy in his dBu ma theg mchog. This dissertation project will include a critical edition of the Tibetan text, an annotated translation as well as a comparison of Tā ra nā tha’s presentation of gzhan stong to that of Dol po pa and other proponents.