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A Juggernaut of the Non-Dual View by Tony Duff
A Juggernaut of the Non-Dual View: Ultimate Teachings of the Second Drukchen Gyalwang Je by Tony Duff


 
This is a remarkable book with many interesting themes. It presents a translation of the text entitled “Chariot of Establishment”, Treasure Trove of a Mind Absorbed in the Profound Meaning by the second Drukchen [1428-1476 C.E.] or leader of the Drukpa Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. To begin with, it is of interest simply because it is the first major text of Drukpa Kagyu teachings to have been translated into English.

The text is a compilation of over sixty different oral teachings given by the second Drukchen. The compiler, an attendant, tells us that the teachings included were selected because they establish the ultimate, non-dual view of the Kagyu tradition as it is presented by the Drukpa Kagyu. The text begins with a long teaching on the view of the Kagyu in general, making it of interest to all Kagyu followers. An important feature of this teaching is that it clearly shows the Other Emptiness approach which is at the root of the Kagyu view, though does so according to the earliest teachings of the Kagyu lineage in which the name “Other Emptiness” is not mentioned. Through it, we see how Other Emptiness was taught originally in the Kagyu and we see how the Drukpa Kagyu in particular presents the Other Emptiness view of the Kagyu without using the name “Other Emptiness”.

The text continues to a second long teaching in which the second Drukchen neatly establishes the view of the tantras as non-dual wisdom seen in direct perception. In doing so, he cleanly chops the Tibetan Buddhist schools who are infamous for insisting that the emptiness of the second turning of the wheel of the sutra teaching is the utltimate non-dual view. This is a fascinating chapter because it shows a logic to establishing the view which has rarely been seen in the West to this point. It will certainly give academics who have thought that the emptiness of the Middle Way is the ultimate presentation of the view something to think about.

The text then presents many smaller teachings on the view, always with reference to the non-dual view of Kalachakra as the ultimate way to establish the view. Thus, the book also contains many teachings on tantra in general as well as many interesting points from the Kalachakra. For instance, there are clear explanations of mother, father, and non-dual tantra and how each demands a different approach. One chapter has a fascinating presentation which shows the meaning of Kalachakra; it shows that the commonplace translation of Kalachakra as “Wheel of Time” is mistaken.

A long introduction by the author, giving a history of the lineage, a guide to the Other Emptiness view and how it is presented in the various Kagyu schools, and more will be of great help to readers of all levels. A second chapter by the author is dedicated to clarifying the meaning of the first and largest chapter on the view.

Obviously, the book will be of great interest to Drukpa Kagyu followers. However, it should be of great interest to a wider audience because it shows how the Kagyus express the ultimate, non-dual view and it also shows how the practice of tantra is the ultimate approach to the Buddha’s teaching. Personally, I find this a difficult book to summarize because it has so many different threads, all of which are of interest.


297 pages. Paperback.

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