The Treasury of Knowledge - Book 7 and 8, parts 1 & 2


Subtitle: Foundations of Buddhist Study and Practice
Author: Jamgon Kongtrul
Translated by Richard Barron (Chökyi Nyima)
Hardcover ~ 438 pages

In Tibetan religious literature, Jamgon Kongtrul`s Treasury of Knowledge in ten volumes stands out as a unique encyclopedic masterpiece embodying the entire range of Buddhist teachings. This volume combines the seventh and eighth books of the Treasury. Book seven provides a detailed exposition of contemplation, which consists of reflecting repeatedly on the points one has already understood in order to deepen one's appreciation of them. It includes a lucid discussion of various interpretations of the meaning of emptiness.

Once one has gained certainty about the teachings through hearing and contemplation, the logical next step is that of integrating them into one's experience through the process known as meditation. This is the main focus of book eight. Part One of Book Eight presents the practice of meditation as a twofold process comprising elements of calm abiding and a deeper awareness of the nature of reality. Part Two of Book Eight treats the stages of meditation as these are described in the sutra tradition that includes the three paths of the sravaka, pratyekabuddha, and the bodhisattva. Jamgon Kongtrul explains how the teachings are to be integrated into one's life through the practice of meditation, which unites a state of one pointed attention with profound insight into emptiness.

Jamgon Kongtrul's evenhanded, elegant and authoritative statement of such controversial doctrines as unqualified emptiness ("self empty") and qualified emptiness ("other empty"), provisional and definitive meaning, and conventional and ultimate truth as presented in the various schools of Tibetan Buddhism will appeal to both serious Dharma practitioners and advanced students and scholars.

"Jamgon Kongtrul was a true saint, a great scholar, an exemplary teacher, a renowned physician, a peacemaker, and one of the most prolific writers of Tibet. The Five Great Treatises of Kongtrul enshrine all the wisdom of Tibet . . . This volume of the Treasury of Knowledge is especially important in that it provides a basis for looking at the whole body of the Buddhist teachings and coming to a deeper understanding, free from fragmented ideas. I would like to congratulate Richard Barron for his excellent translation of this challengingly compact work." - Ringu Tulku