Within this project, research is being done on the Tibetan Madhyamaka tradition in the era before prāsaṅgika became the dominant orientation. Being investigated in particular are the earliest Madhyamaka works currently available from the interpretative lineage stemming from rNgog Blo ldan shes rab (1059–1109).
Hugon 2015 “Proving Emptiness – The Epistemological Background for the ‘Neither One nor Many’ Argument and the Nature of its Probandum in Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge’s Works,” Journal of Buddhist Philosophy 1, pp. 58–94.
The Analysis of the Essence of Madhyamaka of rGya dmar ba Byang chub grags
Research: Pascale Hugon, Kevin Vose (College of William & Mary, Virginia)
Running period: since June 2017
The Analysis of the Essence of Madhyamaka is one of three texts by the twelfth-century scholar rGya dmar ba that are currently known to be extant. rGya dmar ba was an important figure in the rNgog lineages of both Madhyamaka and epistemology, preceding Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge and following Khyung Rin chen grags, the foremost disciples of rNgog Blo ldan shes rab in these areas.
Our aim is to produce a critical edition and an English translation of the work, including the abundant marginal notes found in the manuscript. This will moreover enable a detailed study of specific topics, also as related to parallel discussions in rGya dmar ba’s other works and in the works of later scholars, notably, rGya dmar ba’s students.
Our edition is based on a unique 31-folio manuscript preserved in 'Bras spungs ('Bras spungs dkar chag under No. 015397), which has been published in the second set of the bKa’ gdams gsung ’bum collection, vol. 31, 7–67.
The latest version of our edition and translation in progress is available for download on the project’s webpage.
Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge's Commentary on the Madhyamakāloka
Research: Pascale Hugon, Jongbok Yi (The Richard Stockton University of New Jersey)
Running period: since July 2019
This joint project aims at the critical edition of Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge’s commentary on Kamalaśīla’s Madhyamakāloka.
Kamalaśīla’s Madhyamakāloka (MA) is one of the three most important works for the so-called Svātantrika branch of Madhyamaka – the other two being Śāntarakṣita’s Madhyamakālaṅkāra and Jñānagarbha Satyadvayavibhaṅga . The MA has been preserved only in its Tibetan translation. There is no known Indian commentary on this work. The commentary by Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge (who also wrote commentaries on the other two works) is the earliest available Tibetan commentary on this treatise. There are only two other later commentaries, both by Mongol scholars: the dBu ma snang ba’i brjed tho by bsTan dar sNgags rams pa bShad sgrub bstan dar (1835–1915), and, restricted to the topic of conventional truth, the dBu sems kyi kun rdzob tu yod tshul las brtsams pa’i rtsod lan dbu ma snang ba las byung ba rnams dang / bsdus nas bshad pa’i kun rdzob tu yod tshul bcu gcig gsal bar byed pa’i tshig gi sgron me by Ngag dbang mkhas grub (1779–1838).
Phya pa’s commentary offers new insight into Phya pa’s Madhyamaka thought, and constitutes one of the rare pieces of evidence for the early tradition of Madhyamaka in Tibet, in the period before the prāsaṅgika orientation became dominant.
Two manuscript exemplars of Phya pa’s text have been preserved in the gNas bcu lha khang collection at ’Bras spungs Monastery, one of which has been published in the bKa’ gdams gsung ‘bum collection. The edition will be made available both as a print publication and (with the technological support of Patrick McAllister) as a digital edition.
An English translation of the text is also being undertaken.