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? Union of Yogācāra/Cittamatra/Madhyamaka/Shentong ?[edit]

(Copied from SOURCES section below): "Karl Brunnhölzl argues that ... orthodox Yogācāra philosophy (when understood properly) is entirely compatible with Madhyamaka". It would be very helpful if a page numbers' citation re this argument was included for reader follow-up, and even more helpful if the points of such an important argument--Brunnhölzl's and/or Mipham's--were summarized as a section in the body of the article.Dechog (talk) 23:25, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

This subject-matter is both contentious and difficult; it could do with at least looking-over by a topic expert. --MrDemeanour 16:56, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

Yeah - I'm not sure we can safely say "Madhyamaka Buddhism" - even though Shentong practitioners call themselves "Madhyamaka", as discussed elsewhere. I changed this to say "Tibetan Buddhism" I will look further into this, possibly from the opponents (rather than the apologists) views. (20040302)

I have concerns about the rest of the article - AFAIK Maitreya/Asanga and the Uttaratantra are all recognised as founders of Cittamatra/Yogacarya and not Madhyamaka sources - which were resyncretised by Santaraksita and Kamalasila as the Yogacarya-Svatantrika-Madhyamaka

It appears that the shentong/rangtong division is a popular didactic framework used by non-geluk schools. Berzin states that non-geluk schools differentiate Gelug and non-Gelug schools, there are

  • Geluk: Hinayana, Madhyamaka, and Chittamatra
  • Non-Geluk Shentongpas: Hinayana, Madhyamaka rangtong, Madhyamaka shentong

Berzin appears to neglect Non-Geluk Rangtongpa divisions in his article.

I don't know if Berzin is even right - certainly it looks to me that the Yogacarya-Svatantrika-Madhyamaka movement of Santaraksita/Kamalasila could be the foundation for Shentong - but as I understand it, Shentong's views do not sit easily with my understanding of the (idealist/transcendantalist) Yogacarya; it fails to meet the basic (anti-essentialist) tenets of the Madhyamaka, and completely fails the (vehemently anti-essentialist) tenets of the Madhyamaka-Prasangika, especially as delineated by Tsongkhapa. But maybe I'm missing something. (20040302)

Why on earth is Yogācāra Madhyamaka being re-directed to this page? There may be overlaps but they are not synonymous. The Yogacarya-Svatantrika-Madhyamaka of Santaraksita is not Shentong. Chris Fynn (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 06:38, 23 April 2008 (UTC)


"i.e., empty of emptiness;[clarification needed] a fecund, fullness:[clarification needed]" This is just plain wrong. In Buddhism the emptiness of emptiness is not fullness, what it means is that even emptiness as the ultimate nature of reality is not absolute, nor does it exist independently. Personally I find the whole preceeding paragraph to be a bit obtuse.

The rangtong doctrine is concerned with destroying any sort of conceptual formulation of the nature of things. But from the standpoint of the shentong madhyamaka this implies that absolute truth is simply the absence of conceptuality. This formulation fails to account for the existence of things which are therefore accounted for in the shentong philosophy as the radiance of the clear light nature of mind. It is better descibed as "potentiality" rather than fecundity. Generally the shentong doctrine is seen as a progression from the rantong, however it does not supersede it, and contemporary formulations emphasise the unity of emptiness and clarity/radiance. (talk) 04:23, 10 August 2012 (UTC)


Who added the wikilink on the word "coalescence"? It links to a disambiguation page that only lists articles in other fields that are irrelevant to the topic here. Ideally whoever wrote that would provide a more informative link or explanation of what "coalescence" means in this context. Less ideal would be to remove the link, or to remove the reference to "coalescence" altogether. I feel like it's probably something interesting, though, so I hope someone can provide improved information. Omgoleus (talk) 15:30, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

According to shentong...[edit]

According to shentong, it is true that phenomena are empty of self-nature; but they are not empty of what they truly are.

Well, according to all Buddhist schools, phenomena are not empty of what they truly are. I thought that the Shentong distinction was that phenomena are empty of being something other than what they are:– A chair is empty of being a table, but it is not empty of being a chair.

In Madhyamaka, a chair is empty of essential (or inherent) existence: It solely exists as a chair in those conventions that assert it as one, so it's existence is necessarily conventional. This does not mean that a chair is not empty of what it truly is at all. It is empty of essence, and is not empty of it's ultimate nature, but of course it's ultimate nature is likewise empty of essential (or inherent) existence. So in Madhyamaka, "chair" is a rule-of-thumb concept, a convention, a provisional, or placement term used to identify what is known as a "chair", solely within conventions that assert "chairs". It's 'emptiness' is a referent to the lack of any substance-ontology, essentialist stance or transcendentalist stance regarding it's being. It is merely a chair. (20040302 22:25, 19 October 2005 (UTC))

I find it uncontroversial to discuss chairs and tables in this way. The problem arises when contemplating something like 'The Nature of Mind', 'Tathagatagarbha' or or 'Dharmakaya'. These terms may incidentally have a conceptual referent, but they are really intended to refer to something non-conceptual, and their existence is not 'convential' - at least, it doesn't seem so to me. They are not 'rule-of-thumb' concepts, they are not considered to arise dependent on causes and conditions, and they are not susceptible to prasangika-style analysis to destruction. --MrDemeanour 11:20, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
The point from Nagarjuna's Madhyamaka is that Dharmakaya, Tathagatagarbha, etc. have exactly the same ontological status as a chair - they are merely conventions, rules-of-thumb, etc. Not to be so would be to assert some 'three truth' doctrine - one for chairs, one for Dharmakaya, one for ultimate truths. The fact that these objects may refer to something non-conceptual is not relevant - absolute truths are merely the way things are - and that is (as a rule-of-thumb definition goes) without essence, without foundation, etc. For Nagarjuna it is not meaningful to state that Nirvana / Dharmakaya etc. are not dependant arisings; to be so would to be to say that they were not empty. Moreover, Dharmakaya (as Nirvana) has been subjected to prasangika-style analysis by Nagarjuna himself: try MMK-XXV, or MMK-XXII for similar treatment to the Tathagata. As I understand Candrakirti's analysis of Nagarjuna, Nagarjuna does not (and would not) subscribe to some form of transcendancy - indeed Nagarjuna says (MMK-XXV:19) There is not the slightest difference between samsara and nirvana. There is not the slightest difference between nirvana and samsara. To me this suggests that we should not be looking 'behind' or 'beyond ' the world for some ultimate state or nature. The profound issue here is that there is no essence - no objective truth - no acontextual position; and moreover, if it wasn't that way, the universe could not function. (20040302 14:31, 26 October 2005 (UTC))

As a quick text byte.. and 8 years later... there are a few interesting additional takes on this whole thing, and there are even some Rinpoches who state that BOTH zhentong and rantong are "bullshit" (which is literally what he said.. Younge Khachab Rinpoche). He has a very good discussion of this, which I will reduce to "You cannot discuss the essence of Mind with Mind. It does not work, and so these positions are nonsense." (my words.. he spent the better part of an hour talking about it) Krishnamurti had some very good things to say about this as well. (talk) 08:10, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Latest changes[edit]

Though I'm not a scholar, I'm going to try to introduce a little more clarity into this. Judging by the previous posts here, it seems like a lot of knowledgable contributions have been made. Why not have the article should reflect the discussion here? That is to say, we should use that Berzin info. NPOV doesn't require us to make everything vague, it only requires that disagreements are acknowledged and treated evenhandedly. --GZ 10/21/05

OK, I've expanded the article considerably, in what I hope is a fair and balanced manner.

--GZ 10/21/05

Delisted GA[edit]

It seems that this article did not go through the GA nomination process. Looking at the article as is, it fails on criteria 2 in that it does not cite any sources. Most Good Articles use inline citations. I would recommend that this be fixed and submit the article through the nomination process. --RelHistBuff 11:08, 8 August 2006 (UTC)


Karl Brunnhölzl argues that ... orthodox Yogācāra philosophy (when understood properly) is entirely compatible with Madhyamaka. It would be very helpful if a page numbers citation for this argument was included for reader follow-up, and even more helpful if the points of such an important argument were summarized as a section in the body of the article. Dechog (talk) 17:07, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Reigle, David & Reigle, Nancy (2007). Jonangpa and Shentong: A Bibliography of English Language Materials. Eastern Tradition Research Institute.
O = O = O = O = O = O = O = O = O
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo
Spirit Dance = Ghost Dance = Hummingbird Dance = The return of the buffalo...
Is this [water] Buffalo heĀrd?
B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 14:09, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Uh, What? What are you trying to convey with these nonsensical ramblings? Please confine such drivel to your user page and not article/talk space. If (?) you have anything of value to contribute, wouldn't it make about a billion times more sense to do it in a coherent manner that other people could benefit from instead of typographical and linguistic gymnastics that serve _no purpose_ (certainly not clarity of expression)? Zero sharp (talk) 16:51, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
Own your words! With dilligence and deep grazing: in the aforecited "nonsensical ramblings" reside Truth unfettered. Own YOUR ignorance (Tibetan: ma-rigpa) don't project it onto others. This information has been set in stone here with sublime intentionality. Mysterium Magnum: The central hub of the wheel = the exteriority beyond the circumference.
Sarva mangalam Walk in Beauty!
B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 15:02, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
Please review the page concerning no personal attacks. I did not call you ignorant, I said your edits were incomprehensible. What is the purpose of the line of 'O's, which link to a bunch of different words? Why hide them with links? Why not just say what you mean, if indeed you mean anything at all? "...reside Truth unfettered?" Give me a break. Zero sharp (talk) 16:51, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
The Holy Trinity: Hypothesis, Antithesis, Synthesis. Thank you my nemesis.
Blessings in the Mindstream of Jigme Lingpa.
B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 02:15, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Related issue: rangtong[edit]

As it stands, rangtong is a redirect to prasangika, which frankly is reductively incorrect. While prasangika is a rangtong view, it's certainly not the only one and advocates of prasangika do not self-categorise as rangtong. Frankly, rangtong needs its own page, no matter how short, which would link to other pages of Madhyamaka. Ogress smash! 18:01, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to one external link on Shentong. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

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Question? Archived sources still need to be checked

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 13:06, 29 February 2016 (UTC)