Gorampa Sonam Senge (1429-1489[1]) was an important philosopher in the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism. He was the author of a vast collection of commentaries on sutra and tantra whose work was influential throughout Tibetan Buddhism. He instituted the formal study of logic in the Sakya tradition and established one of the definitive Tibetan understandings of Prasangika Madhyamika. He was the student of Rongtön.[1] He founded the Thupten Namgyal Ling monastery in Tanag.

Philosophic views

One of his most important and popular works is 'Distinguishing the Views' (Tibetan: ལྟ་བའི་ཤན་འབྱེདWylie: lta ba'i shan 'byed) in which he argues for his view of Madhyamaka. He and other Sakya teachers classify themselves as presenting the "Freedom from Proliferation" (Wylie: spros bral, Tibetan: སྤྲོས་བྲལ་) Madhyamaka.[2]

A critic of both Dolpopa and Je Tsongkhapa, he joined into the polarized Prasangika and Svatantrika debate at that time, but he attempted a moderate position between their extreme, opposing views. Dolpopa disregarded the distinction between Prasangika and Svatantrika and considered them a later elaboration that damages the non-conceptual view of the ultimate. Gorampa sides more closely with Tsongkhapa that a distinction is reasonable to make and he also critiques the traditional Svatantrika approach. However, he disagreed with Tsongkhapa's "Eight Difficult Points" and instead posited his own sixteen points of distinction between the two views.

Of particular note in his characterization, he does not agree with Tsonghkapa that the Prasangika and Svatantrika methods produce different results nor that the Prasangika is a "higher" view. He does also critique the Svatantrika approach as having too much reliance on logic, because in his view the component parts of syllogistic logic are not applicable in the realm of the ultimate. But this critique is constrained to the methodology, and he believed both approaches reach the same ultimate realization.[3]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Dreyfus (2003) p.301
  2. Dreyfus (2003) p.302
  3. Dreyfus (2003) pp.302-306
  • Cabezon, Jose Ignacio & Geshe Lobsang Dargyay. (2007) Freedom from Extremes: Gorampa's "Distinguishing the Views" and the Polemics of Emptiness (Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism) Wisdom. ISBN 0-86171-523-3
  • Dreyfus, Georges B. J. and McClintock, Sara (2003) The Svatantrika-Prasangika Distinction ISBN 0-86171-324-9
  • Thakchoe, Sonam (2007) The Two Truths Debate: Tsongkhapa and Gorampa on the Middle Way Wisdom ISBN 0-86171-501-2

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.