Does anyone have a good tip for literature about different varieties of rangtong (empty of self) and shentong (empty of other) perspectives on emptiness?


1 Answer 1


Judging from your answer to this, it sounds like you're more interested in different varieties of Madhyamaka and how they treat the subject of Relative Truth and Ultimate Truth. As for Relative Truth, some schools say that all phenomena exist as nominal designations, while others say that to assert any existence or non-existence of phenomena is a mistake - although we may go with the conventions of the majority for practical purposes. As for the Ultimate Truth, some schools says any assertions about it are empty but the Truth beyond assertions is not empty, while others say that this was an assertion as well - and the best thing is to avoid any assertions.

In my opinion, as long as you get what the argument is about there is not much sense in nitpicking the exact words. However, some traditional teachers - particularly in Gelug school - insist that these polemics facilitate analysis and therefore deeper understanding of emptiness.

There are many works comparing Madhyamaka flavors - it would be excessive to list them all here.

One work have I recently read that comes to mind is The Ri-me Philosophy of Jamgon Kongtrul the Great: A Study of the Buddhist Lineages of Tibet

  • Thanks for telling me what I'm interested in. As far as I can understand, the shentong and rangtong is varieties of emptiness, ultimate truth. I am curious as to how it's consisten to deduce such a concept - shentong - of emptiness on the basis of Nagarjunas writings. Ri-me writers might not be the most unbiased in that respect Nov 19, 2015 at 15:02
  • From what I know about Ri-me, the explicitly non-sectarian movement, they are supposed to be the most unbiased of them all. They compare and contrast the views of all the different (Tibetan) sects, and how they emerged from the writings of Chandrakirti, Buddhapalita, Bhaviveka, Tsongkhapa, Ju Mipham, Jamgon Kongtrul and others.
    – Andriy Volkov
    Nov 19, 2015 at 15:54
  • I think how unbiased the Rime is, varies very much. Some times, yes they are purely non-secterian. And that is also supposed to be the inention. But I've read stuff from Ringu Tulku that completely mistreats and ignores Gelug. And directliy misunderstands Tsongkhapa. But the intention is pure, sure. And thanks Nov 20, 2015 at 5:56
  • He is a Kagyupa
    – Andriy Volkov
    Nov 20, 2015 at 12:25

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