Mo, 27.05.2024 – 29.05.2024

Two works on the two truths

International source reading workshop


The development of Tibetan Madhyamaka in the early centuries of the Later Diffusion of Buddhism to Tibet is marked by analyses of the nature and relation between the two truths preeminently referencing to the Satyadvayavibhaṅga of Jñānagarbha (8th c.), while ideas influenced by Candrakīrti’s interpretation also make headway within bKa’ gdams pa circles. Active from the late eleventh century into the mid-twelfth century, rGya dmar ba Byang chub grags belonged to the lineage stemming from rNgog Blo ldan shes rab (1059–1109). He stands as a popular teacher who counted as his students numerous famous figures of the twelfth century, including Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge (1109–1169), and his influence extended to the Tangut empire. Four Madhyamaka works by rGya dmar ba were preserved in the gNas bcu lha khang at ’Bras spungs monastery, three of which were published in the bKa’ gdams gsung ’bum collection. These offer not only firsthand access to the author’s own position, but also a fascinating panorama of the active intellectual environment of 11th/12th-century Tibet. rGya dmar ba has been getting increased attention from modern scholars interested in the development of Madhyamaka in this period. In this international source reading workshop, we will read passages on the two truths from two of his works, his “Thorough investigation of the essentials of Madhyamaka” (dbu ma de kho na nyid rnam par dpyod pa) and his commentary on the Satyadvayavibhaṅga, in which rGya dmar ba also takes up explanations from Śāntarakṣita’s Satyadvayavibhaṅgapañjikā. Connecting parallel discussions in these two works — and drawing as well from the Tangut version of the former — will enable us to better understand the author’s own views on the two truths and his strategy to align these views with Jñānagarbha’s treatise, and to explore some debates on the topic among scholars within his intellectual circle.


This workshop is being organized by the Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia (IKGA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW) with support from the project “The Dawn of Tibetan Buddhist Scholasticism (11th-13th c.)” (TibSchol). This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No. 101001002).


To register for on-site participation, please write to hermine.huber(at) before May 17, 2024.

For online participation, please register at



Time: May 27–29, 2024

Austrian Academy of Sciences
Room 1, 3rd floor
Georg-Coch-Platz 2

and online via Zoom (registration link)

Pascale Hugon

Program (PDF)

Poster (PDF)