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I am one of the (Taiwanese) fans of the Dalai Lama for a long time. Currently I am studying the subject "the four Buddhist schools/systems of tenets (of mainly Indian Buddhism before its decline)" both in Chinese (but actually translations from Tibetan) and in English, wishing to learn and to grow like the Dalai Lama.

"The four Buddhist schools/systems of tenets" are standardly named: Vaibhashika (Skt. Vaibhāṣika), Sautrantika (Skt. Sautrāntika), Chittamatra (Skt. Cittamātra), Madhyamika (Skt. Mādhyamika).

I am having the following questions and looking for guidance and/or instruction.

  1. What English book(s) or document or study material on the subject is(/are) the most easily-learnable or learner-friendly?

  2. What English book(s) or document or study material on the subject is(/are) the most rigorously- and detailedly- and thoroughly- written?

  3. What English book(s) or document or study material on the subject is(/are) the most faithful and accurate and precise presentation(s) of real historical facts?

Thank you in advance.

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I would recommend Insight into Emptiness by by Khensur Jampa Tegchok and Thubten Chodron. This book discusses the tenets of all four of these schools and compares and contrasts them. Further, the authors are of the same branch of Tibetan Buddhism as His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the latter author also works very closely with the Dalai Lama and is a co-author with him on many books for the western audience.

Here are images of some handy charts you can find in this book that talk about the four schools views:

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If you want a short free resource, please read the 13-page "The Four Buddhist Tenet Systems: Variations on a Theme of Wholeness" by David Paul Boaz.

On Youtube, there's a summary in the video "Elucidating The Tenet Systems of Buddhist Philosophy" by H.E. Abhaya Rinpoche.

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