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The Karmapa's Middle Way: Feast for the Fortunate, A Commentary on Chandrakirti's Madhyamakavatara Hardcover – October 1, 2008


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Review

"The Ninth Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje's succinct commentary on the Madhyamakavatara is one of the finest masterpieces of the Kagyu tradition. The remarkable translation by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and Tyler Dewar does superb justice to this text. This is the way an authentic translation should sound: a partnership of the pandit and the lotsawa both working with love of their mother tongues."—E. Gene Smith, author of Among Tibetan Texts and founder of the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center

"Anyone wishing to understand the special teachings of Middle Way philosophy taught in the Kagyu tradition of Tibet should read The Karmapa's Middle Way. Tyler Dewar has spend many years studying this subject with several Kagyu masters. His intimate familiarity with the tradition's literature and history deeply informs his introduction and enriches his marvelous translation of Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje's Feast for the Fortunate. This book is an indispensable contribution to the study of Buddhist philosophy in Tibet."—Cyrus Stearns, author of Taking the Result as the Path and King of the Empty Plain

"It is important for our meditation to develop certainty in emptiness. In order to gain certainty, studying the Entrance to the Middle Way helps up completely comprehend the Prasangika view. The Eighth Karmapa Mikyo Dorje wrote an important and extensive commentary on the Entrance to the Middle Way called the Chariot of the Takpo Kagyu Siddhas. The Ninth Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje then distilled the key spiritual instruction of the Eighth Karmapa's text into this book. I think it is wonderful that his work is now available in English."—Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, author of Vivid Awareness


"Of all the philosophical traditions that claim to be the Middle Way, it is only the view of Nagarjuna, the Middle Way tradition’s progenitor, that is universally accepted as the Middle Way. Chandrakirti's Madhyamakavatara moreover is renowned in all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism as the supreme commentary on Nagarjuna's approach to emptiness and is considered mandatory reading in all Tibetan Buddhist colleges. The Karmapa’s Middle Way is a presentation of the full text of the Madhyamakavatara along with an illuminating and at times controversial commentary by the Ninth Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje of Tibet’s Karma Kagyü lineage. By elucidating the intention of the Eighth Karmapa Mikyo Dorje’s Chariot of the Takpo Kagyü Siddhas, this book will provide a great contribution to the field of Middle Way studies and enlighten English language readers as to a unique and relatively unexplored presentation of the vital concept of emptiness."—Dzogchen Ponlop, author of Rebel Buddha

From the Back Cover

Marked by eloquent poetry, vigorous and extensive analysis, and heart instructions on breaking through the veils of confusion to independently experience the true nature of things, The Karmapa's Middle Way contains the Ninth Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje's comprehensive commentary on the Indian master Chandrakirti's seminal text, the Entrance to the Middle Way.

This commentary, Feast for the Fortunate, is the Ninth Karmapa's abridgement of the Eighth Karmapa Mikyo Dorje's masterpiece, the Chariot of the Takpo Kagyu Siddhas. In it readers will find previously unavailable material on the Karmapa's Middle Way view and a rare window into a philosophically charged era of Middle Way exposition in Tibetan Buddhism. In this book, Chandrakirti and the Karmapa present in precise detail the vital Buddhist concept of emptiness, through which the Mahayana path of compassionate altruism becomes complete.

The Ninth Karmapa, Wangchuk Dorje (1556-1603), was a prolific author on a wide range of sutra and tantra topics and is most renowned in the Kagyu tradition for his instructions on Mahamudra.

"Of all the philosophical traditions that claim to be the Middle Way, it is only the view of Nagarjuna, the Middle Way tradition's progenitor, that is universally accepted as the Middle Way. Chandrakirti's Madhyamakavatara, moreover, is renowned in all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism as the supreme commentary on Nagarjuna's approach to emptiness and is considered mandatory reading in all Tibetan Buddhist colleges. The Karmapa's Middle Way is a presentation of the full text of the Madhyamakavatara along with an illuminating and at times controversial commentary by the Ninth Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje of Tibet's Karma Kagyu lineage. By elucidating the intention of the Eighth Karmapa Mikyo Dorje's Chariot of the Takpo Kagyu Siddhas, this book will provide a great contribution to the field of Middle Way studies and enlighten English language readers as to a unique and relatively unexplored presentation of the vital concept of emptiness."--Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

"Anyone wishing to understand the special teachings of Middle Way philosophy taught in the Kagyu tradition of Tibet should read The Karmapa's Middle Way. Tyler Dewar has spent many years studying this subject with several Kagyu masters. His intimate familiarity with the tradition's literature and history deeply informs his introduction and enriches his marvelous translation of Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje's (1556-1603) Feast for the Fortunate. This book is an indispensable contribution to the study of Buddhist philosophy in Tibet."--Cyrus Stearns, author of Taking the Result as the Path and King of the Empty Plain

Tyler Dewar lives in Seattle, WA.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 794 pages
  • Publisher: Snow Lion; 1St Edition edition (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559392894
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559392891
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 2.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jiri Hladis on June 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is said that Madhyamaka philosophy is very difficult to penetrate, and even more so if presented through a medium of a traditional commentary, written hundreds years ago in a very different cultural context.

However, The Karmapa's Middle Way: Feast for the Fortunate defies these characteristics. It indeed is a thorough introduction to the view and practice of the Middle Way philosophy, and it is a traditional commentary written in 16th century Tibet, but it is easy to follow and understand, compared with any other comparable book on this topic.

This ease of presentation and accessibility for a curious newcomer makes this book an exceptional masterpiece. It is easy to make Madhyamaka complicated, difficult and an exclusivist topic for specialists. It is equally easy to write about Madhyamaka on a mere superficial level, not really touching its subtlety and profundity and quickly moving on to more "attractive" topics. Feast for the Fortunate is not falling into either of these two extremes.

How is it done? How is it accomplished? Being the lucky students of this book, we benefit from an auspicious coincidence of several factors:

- The author of this book, Wangchuk Dorje, the ninth manifestation of Gyalwang Karmapa in the lineage of enlightened masters of Tibetan Buddhism, is regarded as the expression of the principle of universal compassion. Hence his primary approach is to present Madhyamaka in a skilful way so that many beings can benefit from it: understand it first and then actualize it in their life, and thus transcend their suffering.
- Wangchuk Dorje's Feast for the Fortunate is a summary of much more extensive and difficult work written by 8th Karmapa Mikyo Dorje, called Chariot of the Takpo Kagyu Siddhas.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A reader from on November 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
First, I want to say that I bought this book due to the very good review written by Jiri Hladis. I trusted this review and I am glad I did.

I was looking for a book on Chandrakirti so I browsed the books here and I came on that one. It was strange: only one review ! Usually good books have many 5 stars reviews. I decided to buy the book since the review was very good and seemed sincere. Also, I did not know that a Kagyu Karmapa has written a commentary on Chandrakirti's Entrance in the middle way.

I can just tell you that this book is awesone. I will not try to repeat the previous excellent review and I urge people to read that review. I will just add my opinion:

1) Physically, the book is very nice. Big Hardback book. So nice, that I covered it with a plastic sheet. The book commmands respect, it is not a cheap paperback book whose pages will fall apart.

2) The layout is very nice, Chandrakirti's stanzas are in bold while the commments by the ninth Karmapa are not. The books is not cluttered and "packed". There is ample space between lines and paragraphs.

3) Who should read that book? Well, if you don't know the terms gelug, kagyu, emptiness, Mahayana, Hinayana, Shantideva, Chandrakirti, Tsong Khapa, you may want to read an intoductory book that explains what is Mahayana, the four traditions in Tibet and an introductory book on emptiness. From my side, I had read many books on Tibetain buddhism but I was affraid to read Chandrakirti because I thought he would be very difficult to understand. However I have been very surprised to see how reading that book was very straight-forward: thanks for the translator good translation ( very modern english rendering), incredible introduction and copious notes every time a term is new to the reader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James Portocarrero on August 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This text is definitely aptly named as "Feast for the Fortunate". No other treatise on Madhyamaka is as lucid and "pithy", getting at the very core, the very essence of the Madhyamaka of Arya Nagarjuna and dissecting it in such a way that elaborates on Nagarjuna's, and Chandrakirti's, meaning to the utmost extent.

Nagarjuna was prophesied by the Buddha to come to the Earth and elaborate on the profound meaning of dependent origination, the crux of the Buddha's philosophy, and expound the profound Mahayana.

Chandrakirti was the moon who reflected the bright sun of Nagarjuna's magnum opus "Mulamadhyamakakarika", in his exegesis on this work titled "Prasannapada".

This text is a commentary on this text of Chandrakirti's by the 9th Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje, and should serve as a proper guide to Madhyamaka for those who wish to have a more traditional scriptural understanding of Madhyamaka free from the creative innovations of the Gelugpa school which now tends to be the dominant Tibetan Buddhist school.

That there exists such a critical study of Madhyamaka from the eyes of the 9th Karmapa in English is a true blessing and "Feast for the Fortunate" indeed, as those who come upon this text and who have a serious devotion (and capacity) for Mahayana Buddhism will find a lucid and clear view of the Prasangika Madhyamaka school that sees the farthest out of all of the great works to be written on the subject.

I can't recommend this book enough for those who are serious students of Madhyamaka, if you consider yourself as such, buckle down and buy this text, you'll carry it with you your whole life like a Bible!
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