Foundations of T'ien T'ai Philosophy: The Flowering of the Two Truth Theory in Chinese Buddhism (Nanzan Studies in Religion and Culture) Paperback – 1 Jun 1989
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The first comprehensive study in English of the teaching of the threefold truth, perhaps the single most important doctrine in T'ien-t'ai Buddhism, also including a translation of Chih-i's Fa hua hsuan i. The T`ien-t`ai school, or Tendai as it is known in Japan, was one of the major Chinese Buddhist schools and the key to its philosophy was Chih-I`s concept of the threefold truth - emptiness, conventional existence, and the middle. Chih-I (538-597) was one of the greatest Chinese Buddhist philosophers, and the earliest to successfully synthesize the various aspects of Buddhism in his time into a truly Chinese school. The central insight around which all else revolved was the threefold truth, which provided the principle for bringing together the disparate elements of Buddhism into a cohesive system of teaching and practice. The background to this was an extension of the Madhyamika idea of the two truths - mundane worldly truth and supreme truth. "The development of Madhyamika in China beyond the classic two truths theory of Nagarjuna is an important part of that tradition`s history. The author has brought to the study not just the traditional T`ien T`ai interpretations but also its historical background in the Six Dynasties since Kumarajiva." Whalen Lai.
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