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Progress in Meditation: The Three Bhavanakramas of Kamalashila
By: Laul Jadusingh

The Progress in Meditation: The Three Bhavanakramas of Kamalashila, Laul Jadusingh


 
Our Price: $29.00
Author: Laul Jadusingh
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781660901135
Publication Date: 2020

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The title, THE PROGRESS IN MEDITATION: THE THREE BHAVANAKRAMAS OF KAMALASILA refers to the Sanskrit tile BHAVANAKRAMA composed in Tibet between the years 792-794 CE on the occasion of the the so-called bSam Yas debate or the Council of Lhasa which featured the historic encounter between the Indian Buddhist scholar Kamalasila and the Chinese Chan monk Hva Shang Mahayana. The completed translation of the three Bhavanakramas of Kamalasila represents for me the grateful fulfillment of a task originally undertaken over 40 years ago when I first encountered Prof. Giuseppe Tucci's editions of the trilogy. In my peregrinations and vicissitudes over these years, I have actually lost three earlier translations but so committed have I been to getting a complete translation done that I began anew over three years ago with a determined effort to get the task done in a reasonable time-frame. Thanks to my experience with the earlier (lost) completed translations, my latest attempt was much obviated. I am pleased to present to interested readers these most celebrated treatises on Buddhist meditation according to the standpoint of the hybrid Yogacara-Svatantrika Madhyamaka school represented by Santaraksita and Kamalasila. My Introduction does not cover all important topics in the trilogy but focuses primarily on some topics of polemical significance such as gradual versus instantaneous enlightenment (kramika vs. yugapat bodhi) 'discriminating wisdom and skillful-means' (prajnopaya), the importance of the balanced practice of tranquility and insight (samatha-vipasyana-yuganaddha) and the proper role of mindfulness and attention (smrti-manasikara) in the practice of samadhi (samadhi-bhavana). The headings in square brackets are not part of the original texts (Sanskrit or Tibetan) but were deemed necessary to delineate the various topics. The Bhavanakrama-s of Kamalasila are of particularly foundational importance in the history of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and more generally to Buddhist soteriology in the matter of the sudden-gradualist controversy concerning enlightenment (bodhi), an issue which figures greatly in some Mahayana schools, both exoteric (Sutra-based) and esoteric (Tantra-based). From a modernist perspective, the trilogy may be characterized as partly religious and partly philosophical: it has the pervasive tone of Buddhist piety in its extolment of the bodhisattva-practice involving the Six (or Ten) Perfections (paramita) and Ten Stages (bhumi) as found in the Mahayana Discourses (Sutras) and Expository Treatises (Sastras), amply quoted in the trilogy, but its rigorous arguments and polemics are entirely consistent with the author's commentary (Panjika) to his teacher Santaraksita's Compendium of Philosophical Tenets (Tattvasamgraha). The logical arguments of the Bhavanakramas (BKs) are also entirely consistent with those found in his Madhyamakaloka. The Bhavanakrama-s can be classed with the Bodhisattvabhumi, Bodhicittopada-Sutrasastra and the Bodhicaryavatara. In an even wider comparison, it is comparable in part to the Buddhaghosa's Visuddhimagga in exposition of the theme of the integration of tranquility and insight (samatha-vipasyana-yuganaddha) and the Tian Ta'i patriarch Chi-I's monumental The Great Calming and Contemplation (Mo ho chih kuan), devoted entirely to the subject of samatha-vipasyana. Translated from the original Sanskrit with footnotes and appendices of the Sanskrit texts in Devanagari and Roman, this present translation is only the second complete translation from Sanskrit. The other pioneering translation by Paramananda Sharma (Aditya Prakashan, Delhi 1997, 2004)) from the Sanskrit is entirely welcome but the scholarship in this area requires the more complete treatment that I have given to this trilogy.

The Progress in Meditation: The Three Bhavanakramas of Kamalashila, Laul Jadusingh, Independently published, Paperback, 425 pp, $29.00

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