Essential & Useful Reading on Abhidharma and Prajnaparamita/Madhyamaka

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
Post Reply
Norwegian
Posts: 1923
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:36 pm

Essential & Useful Reading on Abhidharma and Prajnaparamita/Madhyamaka

Post by Norwegian »

Essential & Useful Reading on Abhidharma and Prajnaparamita/Madhyamaka

Note: I provide Amazon links for ease, if one prefers to buy elsewhere, just use the title and ISBN information for that. Prices can vary from store to store. Some titles may be out of stock/print, check used market for cheaper copies. And as always, as it goes without saying, these topics are difficult to learn by reading alone. It's imperative to receive teachings on them from a qualified teacher. Progress is made that way, not by reading books alone.

This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, merely a collection of some of the more important or well-regarded publications on these topics.

[b]ABHIDHARMA[/b]:

1. Abhidharmakosha, by Vasubandhu:

-- Pruden, 4 volumes (paperback):
Vol. 1: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0875730078/
Vol. 2: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0875730086/
Vol. 3: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0875730094/
Vol. 4: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0875730108/

-- Pruden, 4 volumes (hardcover):
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0895819139/

-- Gelong Lodrö Sangpo (based on Pruden), 4 volumes:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/8120836073/

2. Ornament of Abhidharma, by Chim Jampalyang ([i]commentary[/i]):
-- https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0861714628/

3. Arthaviniscaya Sutra ([i]functions as a helpful summary of the topics in Abhidharma[/i]):
-- https://shop.dharmapublishing.com/colle ... e-meanings ([i]the main text and commentary[/i])
-- https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/ ... iscaya.pdf ([i]Only the discourse itself, without the nibandhana, or commentary[/i])

4. Gateway to Knowledge, by Mipham Rinpoche, 4 volumes:
Vol. 1: https://www.amazon.com/dp/9627341290/
Vol. 2: https://www.amazon.com/dp/9627341428/
Vol. 3: https://www.amazon.com/dp/9627341460/
Vol. 4: https://www.amazon.com/dp/9627341681/

5. The Six Topics That All Buddhists Learn, by Khenpo Shenga:
-- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0073NB1RS/ ([i]Similar to Mipham Rinpoche's series, except it's much shorter[/i])


[b]PRAJNAPARAMITA[/b]:

[u]Abhisamayalamkara[/u] ([i]a commentary on the hidden meaning of the Prajnaparamita Sutras, by Maitreya, directly revealed to Asanga[/i]):

Abhisamayalamkara with Vritti by Arya Vimuktisena and Haribhadra's Aloka, (Sparham):
Vol.1: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0875730116/
Vol.2: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0875730124/
Vol.3: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0875730132/
Vol.4: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0875730140/

Golden Garland of Eloquence by Tsongkhapa, (Sparham) ([i]Commentary on the Abhisamayalamkara[/i]):
Vol.1: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0875730159/
Vol.2: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0875730167/
Vol.3: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0875730175/
Vol.4: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0875730140/

Groundless Paths ([i]Nyingma commentaries on the Abhisamayalamkara[/i]), (Brunnhölzl):
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1559393750/

Gone Beyond ([i]Kagyu commentaries on the Abhisamayalamkara[/i]), (Brunnhölzl):
Vol.1: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1559393564/
Vol.2: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1559393572/

[i]According to Acharya Malcolm, the Indian commentaries of Arya Vimuktisena and Haribhadra are the most important to study first. Then, Tsongkhapa's commentary is best of the Tibetan ones.[/i]

[b]Akshayamatinirdesha Sutra[/b] (A very important sutra for the Madhyamaka tradition, much-cited by many masters):

- Aksayamatinirdesasutra Vol. II: Tradition of Imperishability in Buddhist Thought, Braarvig: https://www.amazon.com/dp/8256009179/
- https://www2.hf.uio.no/polyglotta/index ... me&vid=424 ([i]Online version[/i])

The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “The Teaching of Akṣayamati”: A new and updated online translation, based on Braarvig: https://read.84000.co/translation/toh175.html

With regards to all the other texts in the Prajnaparamita collection, along with commentaries, I have not made a list over essential English translations, as I don't have a proper overview of the many online and book translations that are out there.

[b]MADHYAMAKA[/b]:

The MMK:

- Nagarjuna's Middle Way: Mulamadhyamakakarika, Siderits/Katsura: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1614290504/

- The Root Stanzas of the Middle Way: The Mulamadhyamakakarika, Padmakara Translation Group: https://www.amazon.com/dp/161180342X/

- Nagarjuna in China: A Translation of the Middle Treatise (Studies in Asian Thought and Religion), Bocking: ([i]Out of print[/i]) STUDIES IN ASIAN THOUGHT AND RELIGION (Book 18), ISBN-13 978-0773489813, 1995

- Ornament of Reason: The Great Commentary To Nagarjuna's Root Of The Middle Way, by Mabja Jangchub Tsondru and Dharmachakra Translation Committee: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1559393688/

- Aryadeva's Four Hundred Stanzas on the Middle Way: With Commentary by Gyel-Tsap: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1559393025/

- Introduction to the Middle Way: Chandrakirti's Madhyamakavatara with Commentary by Ju Mipham, Padmakara Translation Group: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1590300092

Also: I would've enjoyed posting a link to a full proper translation of Buddhapalita's MMK commentary, but there seems to be none. There was a translation project for this that started a decade ago, but clearly it seems to have failed as there's been no news for years, and the website for it has been parked. Very disappointing.


[u]More Nagarjuna, on the topic of emptiness, and related to it[/u]:

- Master of Wisdom: Writings of the Buddhist Master Nagarjuna, Lindtner ([i]Book includes Lokatitastava, Acintyastava, Bodhicittavivarana, Yuktisastika, Shunyatasaptati, Vyavaharasiddhi, Bodhisambharaka[/i]): https://www.amazon.com/dp/0898002869/

- Nagarjuna's Reason Sixty (Yuktisastika) with Candrakirti's Commentary (Yuktisastikavrrti), Loizzo: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0975373420/

- The Dispeller of Disputes: Nagarjuna's Vigrahavyavartani, Westerhoff: https://www.amazon.com//dp/0199732701/

- Crushing the Categories (Vaidalyaprakarana), Westerhoff: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1949163008/


[u]General books on Madhyamaka[/u]:

- Madhyamaka Schools in India - A Study of the Madhyamaka Philosophy and of the Division of the System into the Prasangika and Svatantrika Schools, Santina: https://www.amazon.com/dp/8120801539/

- Nagarjuna's Madhyamaka: A Philosophical Introduction, Westerhoff: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0195384962/

If I'm to suggest some Tibetan works to be read on Madhyamaka, I'd go with Gorampa and Gendun Chöphel. But don't start there, start with the Indian masters also known as the Nalanda tradition. This is the advice of many masters, in particular His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Last edited by Ayu on Mon Nov 16, 2020 11:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Reported by Norwegian « Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:56 pm When you edit the post, please use "Disable BBCode" - because right now, the links are making the post look a little strange. Thanks!
"The Guru is the Buddha, the Guru is the Dharma,
The Guru is the Sangha too,
The Guru is Śrī Heruka.
The All-Creating King is the Guru."

-- The Secret Assembly Tantra
User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 11205
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Essential & Useful Reading on Abhidharma and Prajnaparamita/Madhyamaka

Post by Queequeg »

:thanks:
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
User avatar
jake
Global Moderator
Posts: 1479
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:13 pm

Re: Essential & Useful Reading on Abhidharma and Prajnaparamita/Madhyamaka

Post by jake »

Thank you, this is great!

I would be happy to participate in a book club reading of some of these texts if there is interest among others?
User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 11205
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Essential & Useful Reading on Abhidharma and Prajnaparamita/Madhyamaka

Post by Queequeg »

jake wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 4:15 pm Thank you, this is great!

I would be happy to participate in a book club reading of some of these texts if there is interest among others?
+1
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
avatamsaka3
Posts: 638
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:11 am

Re: Essential & Useful Reading on Abhidharma and Prajnaparamita/Madhyamaka

Post by avatamsaka3 »

Thanks, this is great. Could anyone comment on starting with Chim Jampalyang rather than Vasubandhu's original text?
Malcolm
Posts: 32778
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Essential & Useful Reading on Abhidharma and Prajnaparamita/Madhyamaka

Post by Malcolm »

avatamsaka3 wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 7:50 pm Thanks, this is great. Could anyone comment on starting with Chim Jampalyang rather than Vasubandhu's original text?
Very difficult.
Sennin
Posts: 913
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:19 am

Re: Essential & Useful Reading on Abhidharma and Prajnaparamita/Madhyamaka

Post by Sennin »

5 star thread. :thumbsup:
Observe the difference between the Lord of All Victors, Padmasambhava, and the mahasiddhas of India and Tibet.
avatamsaka3
Posts: 638
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:11 am

Re: Essential & Useful Reading on Abhidharma and Prajnaparamita/Madhyamaka

Post by avatamsaka3 »

So Vasubandhu first then.
User avatar
Grigoris
Former staff member
Posts: 21590
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Essential & Useful Reading on Abhidharma and Prajnaparamita/Madhyamaka

Post by Grigoris »

avatamsaka3 wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 10:10 pm So Vasubandhu first then.
It makes sense to read a text, before the commentary on the text.

Or one could read a chapter of the original text, followed by the chapter of the commentary on the original text. And keep going like that until they have finished both.

But to read the commentary first? Nope.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 7983
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Essential & Useful Reading on Abhidharma and Prajnaparamita/Madhyamaka

Post by Astus »

1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
User avatar
tobes
Posts: 1818
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am

Re: Essential & Useful Reading on Abhidharma and Prajnaparamita/Madhyamaka

Post by tobes »

Asanga.; Abhidharmasamuccaya. Trans: (into French) W. Rahula, trans (from French into English) S. Boin-Webb, Asian Humanities Press: Fremont, 2001.

Guenther, H.V.; Philosophy and Psychology in the Abhidharma. Motilal Barnarsidass: Delhi, 1991.

Haldar, A.; Some Psychological Aspects of Early Buddhist Philosophy Based On Abhidharmakośa of Vasubandhu. The Asiatic Society: Calcutta, 1981

Suen. S.; Methods of spiritual praxis in the Sarvāstivāda:A Study Primarily Based on the Abhidharma-mahāvibhāṣā. Unpublished PhD thesis: University of Hong Kong, 2009.

Westerhoff, J.; ‘The Madhyamaka Concept of Svabhāva: Ontological and Cognitive Aspects’ in Asian Philosophy Vol. 17, No. 1. Routledge, March 2007.
User avatar
Manjushri
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:11 pm

Re: Essential & Useful Reading on Abhidharma and Prajnaparamita/Madhyamaka

Post by Manjushri »

jake wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 4:15 pm Thank you, this is great!

I would be happy to participate in a book club reading of some of these texts if there is interest among others?
I would surely be happy to join such a group, as I'm about to start proper study of some of these fundamental works.
Malcolm wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 8:53 pm
avatamsaka3 wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 7:50 pm Thanks, this is great. Could anyone comment on starting with Chim Jampalyang rather than Vasubandhu's original text?
Very difficult.
This is quite unfortunate. I had Vasubandhu's Treasury of Abhidharma with Ninth Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje's commentary already ordered, but I've swapped with Ornament of Abhidharma, after reading the Chimzö was considered the definitive commentary studied on all Tibetan schools. I thought that having Vasubandhu's text together with Chim Jampalyang's commentary would be an accessible study endeavour but now I'm not so sure I did the right thing.
User avatar
jake
Global Moderator
Posts: 1479
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:13 pm

Re: Essential & Useful Reading on Abhidharma and Prajnaparamita/Madhyamaka

Post by jake »

Manjushri wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:37 pm
jake wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 4:15 pm Thank you, this is great!

I would be happy to participate in a book club reading of some of these texts if there is interest among others?
I would surely be happy to join such a group, as I'm about to start proper study of some of these fundamental works.
Hello Manjushri, I've added you to the group so you should now be able to read and post here: https://www.dharmawheel.net/viewforum.php?f=133
User avatar
Manjushri
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:11 pm

Re: Essential & Useful Reading on Abhidharma and Prajnaparamita/Madhyamaka

Post by Manjushri »

jake wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:09 pm
Manjushri wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:37 pm
jake wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 4:15 pm Thank you, this is great!

I would be happy to participate in a book club reading of some of these texts if there is interest among others?
I would surely be happy to join such a group, as I'm about to start proper study of some of these fundamental works.
Hello Manjushri, I've added you to the group so you should now be able to read and post here: https://www.dharmawheel.net/viewforum.php?f=133
Oh great, thanks! As soon as I start reading it, I'll join the conversation.
Post Reply

Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”