The Sakya thinkers whose views were addressed in this paper are consistently in agreement regarding what freedom from proliferations is, how it is utilized in contemplative practice, and how it is located within the broader universe of non-tantric and tantric Buddhism. Freedom from proliferations is not an object, and transcends all categories of existence, nonexistence, etc. Consequently, it cannot be approached and described in the same way we understand and describe colors, tastes, ideas, etc. Yet, it is also not a nonexistent thing similar to rabbit horns and other types of falsely imagined phenomena. It can be realized, but only in a negative, deconstructive way: by stripping away all conceptual constructs, and ‘seeing by way of not seeing’. Freedom from proliferations is just this very non-findability, non-apprehending of anything at all. To free mind from proliferations, to reach this state of non-apprehending, one has to resort to contemplative practice which incorporates Madhyamaka reasoning negating extremes, and/or realizations based on quintessential instructions, tantric empowerments, blessings, and practice of the two stages.
This approach to freedom from proliferations suggests that to understand the Sakya take on the Madhyamaka view of reality, we have to pay close attention not only to how Sakya thinkers articulate the ‘object’ realized, but also—and even more importantly—to how they present the way the ‘subject’ realizes that ‘object’. In other words, rather than trying to find the most adequate definition of freedom from proliferations, we have to examine the process wherein mind frees itself from proliferations. And that, in turn, cannot be done without exploring how the Madhyamaka view is supposed to be incorporated into contemplative practice.