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The Dalai Lama opens The Middle Way with an elegant argument for the power of compassion in cultivating a happy life. From there, he connects core ideas of Buddhist philosophy to the truths of our shared condition. His Holiness delivers a sparklingly clear teaching on how the Buddhist ideas of emptiness and interdependency relate to personal experience and bring a deeper understanding of the world around us.
In down-to-earth style, this book sets forth a comprehensive explanation of the foundational teachings of the Mahayana tradition based on the works of two of Buddhism's most revered figures. Using Nagarjuna's Middle Way, the Dalai Lama explores Buddhist understandings of selflessness, dependent origination, and the causal processes that lock us in cycles of suffering. He grounds these heady philosophical discussions using Tsongkhapa's Three Principal Aspects of the Path, presenting a brief explanation of how to put ethical discipline, wisdom, and compassion into practice.
Through these beautifully complementary teachings, His Holiness urges us to strive, "with an objective mind, endowed with a curious skepticism, to engage in careful analysis and seek the reasons behind our beliefs."read more
Reviews for The Middle Way: Faith Grounded in Reason
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.read more
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