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Introduction To Emptiness: As Taught In Tsong-Kha-Pa's Great Treatise On The Stages Of The Path [Paperback]

Guy Newland

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Book Description

Oct. 16 2009
Readers are hard-pressed to find books that can help them understand the central concept in Mahayana Buddhism—the idea that ultimate reality is emptiness. In clear language, Introduction to Emptiness explains that emptiness is not a mystical sort of nothingness, but a specific truth that can and must be understood through calm and careful reflection. Newland's contemporary examples and vivid anecdotes will help readers understand this core concept as presented in one of the great classic texts of the Tibetan tradition, Tsong-kha-pa's Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. This new edition includes quintessential points for each chapter.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Snow Lion; New Revised Edition edition (Oct. 16 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559393327
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559393324
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.2 x 1.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #202,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


New Age Retailer The author makes it clear that emptiness is not a certain spacey-ness, but rather it is reality as it is. The 13 pages of Chapter Bullet Points is an innovative way to provide an outline of this seminal work in Buddhist thought. (New Age Retailer The)

Newland has once again tackled the central concept of Mahayana Buddhism in this improved presentation. The book is actually a reworked and fine-tuned version of his earlier edition, and brings greater clarity to Tibetan Buddhism's essential philosophical point ... Using contemporary examples and vivid anecdotes, the author clearly shows us how to find the answers to what is emptiness. - Mandala Editor's Choice (Newland has once)

About the Author

Guy Newland is Professor of Religion and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Central Michigan University, where he has taught since 1988. He has authored, edited, and translated several books on Tibetan Buddhism, including the three-volume translation of The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crystal clear guide to why our choices matter March 5 2008
By globally homeless - Published on
Buddhists say that all things are empty, but it is hard to get a really thorough explanation of this that one can read without knowing technical jargon. Newland uses vivid examples to show exactly what emptiness is, why it matters, and why--in a world of emptiness and relativity--our choices are morally crucial. This book is designed for the intelligent beginner or near-beginner, but the content is illuminating even to those who have studied Buddhism for years. The brevity of the book derives from the fact that it illuminates the meaning of emptiness based on a single source, a major work on emptiness by the founder of the Dalai Lama's sect. Includes a useful glossary. Highly recommended for anyone with a more than superficial interest in Buddhist practice or philosophy.
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource for beginners and Buddhist scholars alike March 18 2008
By P. Cabrera - Published on
Dr. Newland's book tackles a tenet of Buddhist cosmology that often mystifies novices and advanced practitioners alike: The notion of emptiness. For those of us with a superficial understanding of Buddhism, Newland provides a firm foundation in the concept of emptiness that will allow the reader to pursue a more in-depth exploration of this seemingly chimerical concept. Don't let the small size of this book fool you: Each paragraph contains a wealth of information, and certain passages will require the reader to engage in deep reflection on the concepts presented in the book. Although the book is dense with complex philosophical arguments, Dr. Newland remains true to the title of the book by distilling these arguments in such a manner that they remain quite accessible to the average reader. It is important to note that this distillation of complex ideas is not a "watering down" of complex concepts and arguments.

One of the best features of this book is Dr. Newland's use of metaphor to convey complex philosophical ideas. This book would be an ideal text for any introductory-level course on Buddhism or eastern religions. It would also be a valuable resource for professors teaching survey courses on world religions who are looking for a text on Buddhism. Finally, this book is also a great read for both novice and advanced practitioners alike who are interested in learning more about emptiness. Do yourself a favor and read this book!
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fine western author makes classic Tibetan text accessible April 14 2008
By C. G. Henderson - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Great Treatise is a foundational text of Tibetan Buddhism, especially for the Gelugpa lineage (best known as the lineage associated with the Dalai Lama). Although recently translated into English, this key text is still very challenging for western students. That makes this explanatory volume especially welcome.

In this book Professor Newland brings together both his informal, humorous teaching style and his deep scholarly knowledge of the text and its traditions. He does a beautiful job of making clear the main concepts of "emptiness" for a more general western reader, while at the same time producing a book which amply rewards the serious student and practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism.

An exceptionally valuable contribution to the English language literature on Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and practice. Highly recommended.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to a central Buddhist concept. June 29 2008
By David - Published on
This is a very useful and enjoyable summary of, and introduction to, one of the most important, and most difficult, concepts in Buddhism: emptiness. This book is a welcome change from the many poor presentations in English of this key Buddhist idea. The author is clearly practiced in presenting emptiness to an audience that may have little prior exposure to it. Using commonplace examples and modern language, the author--an authoritative and experienced writer and speaker on Buddhism--discusses emptiness as presented by one of the great Tibetan Buddhists sages and scholars, Tsong-kha-pa, in his greatest work, "The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment." "Introduction to Emptiness" is well written, easy to read, and true to Tsong-kha-pa's meaning, and will make significantly easier and more beneficial the study of "The Great Treatise," a large and often difficult work. If you are interested in the study and practice of Buddhism, and one of its most key concepts, this small volume could make a large contribution.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Paradigm Shifter April 2 2011
By Donna J. Blass - Published on
I would say that this has been one of the most paradigm shifting books that I have ever read. Although it is a slim paperback at about 110 pages, it is deceptively weighty. The concept of 'emptiness' is one of the central concepts in mainstream Buddhism in general and Tibetan Buddhism in particular. The author Guy Nuland (is a university professor) who comes across as down to earth and engaging despite being a renowned master of Eastern languages. Reading this book makes you wish that you had a chance to take one of his courses. I only wish I had read it a lot sooner as the key concepts are very useful in everyday life.

The idea as I understand it is that whatever is not 'self-originating' or brought about by a chain of causality is empty in that it results from a set of conditions that brought it into existence and it is always changing. We may perceive it as constant like the Himalayas but under the conventional surface it is changing imperceptibly from moment to moment as we all are. For not only are physical objects empty or (insubstantial) but people are as well. This concept may seem frightening or confusing but once you take the time to digest it, you will find it very comforting. I am on my third go-round with this little book and every time I read it, its like picking up a new book as the ideas are so profound. Although the concepts were originally expounded thousands of years ago they mesh well with cutting edge developments in quantum mechanics. Introduction to Emptiness is intended as a guide to reading the The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, Volume Three: Lam Rim Chen Mo which I am as yet to humble to take on.

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