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Introduction To Emptiness: As Taught In Tsong-Kha-Pa's Great Treatise On The Stages Of The Path Paperback – October 16, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Snow Lion; New edition (October 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559393327
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559393324
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #561,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Written with illumination from a terrific scholar."—Jeffrey Hopkins, author of A Truthful Heart 

"This magnificent, readable, and thoroughly engaging work is a modern classic in the making. It invites new practitioners and learned scholars alike to look afresh at the dazzling array of teachings from one of the greatest figures in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition."—Anne Carolyn Klein , author of Meeting the Great Bliss Queen and Unbounded Wholeness

"Introduction to Emptiness is a marvelously clear, marvelously precise exposition of Tsong-kha-pa's understanding of emptiness and of the two truths as presented by Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti. . . . While the exposition is rich in technical detail and textual reference, it is absolutely accessible to the beginning student. It will be required reading in my Buddhist philosophy courses."—Jay L. Garfield, author of Ocean of Reasoning and Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way

"Understanding emptiness is the key to the most important aspects of Buddhism—wisdom, compassion, tantra—but is difficult to teach. Guy Newland has drawn on long experience with college students to write a short but rich and pithy guide to emptiness that brims with common sense and apt examples. Anyone interested in Buddhism would benefit from reading it."—Daniel Cozort, author of Buddhist Philosophy and Highest Yoga Tantra

"A guide that furnishes the tools and motivation for further exploration and even the confidence to take the next step, whatever that might be. . . . Introduction to Emptiness is an open-armed invitation into an important and all-too-often forbidding realm of study."—Tricycle

"Fresh and straightforward. . . . Complete and comprehensive."—Buddhadharma: The Practitioner's Quarterly

"Newland has written a guide that furnishes the tools and motivation for further exploration and even the confidence to take the next step, whatever that might be for the readers to try to comprehend clearly the difficult subject of emptiness, which forms the most crucial aspect of Mahayana Buddhism."—Eastern Horizon

"Guy Newland performs a remarkable feat by presenting the complex concept of emptiness with great clarity and lucidity. The book is highly recommended for those who are at the initial stage of entry into the vast realm of the Buddhist thought. It is equally useful for those who have traversed their journey quite a bit."—Tibet Journal

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

"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 Magazine

From the Back Cover

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 be helpful to students trying to understand one of the great classic texts of the Tibetan tradition, Tsong-kha-pa's Great Treatise.

"This magnificent, readable and thoroughly engaging work is a modern classic in the making. It invites new practitioners and learned scholars alike to look afresh at the dazzling array of teachings from one of the greatest figures in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Je Tsongkhapa, writing to teach his own students the most profound meaning of all, the core of the path to liberation."--Anne Carolyn Klein, Professor, Rice University; author of Unbounded Wholeness and Meeting the Great Bliss Queen

Guy Newland is Professor of Religion at Central Michigan University. He lives in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


More 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 holds a Ph.D. in the history of religions from the University of Virginia, where he studied Tibetan Buddhism with Jeffrey Hopkins. Newland has also studied with many Tibetan scholars in the U.S. and India. He is an editor of the three-volume translation Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment and Changing Minds. He is the author of three other books on Tibetan Buddhism, including The Two Truths and Appearance and Reality.

Customer Reviews

One of the best features of this book is Dr. Newland's use of metaphor to convey complex philosophical ideas.
P. Cabrera
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).
C. G. Henderson
I guess I was looking for something a little more easy on the eyes to read so to speak... It seemed a bit too text book style for me.
tre

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By globally homeless on March 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
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.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By P. Cabrera on March 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
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!
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By C. G. Henderson on April 14, 2008
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.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By David on June 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
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.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Donna J. Blass on April 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
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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