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The Meaning of rigs shes in the Geluk Tradition

Jongbok Yi 1

1Stockton University

Candidate

ABSTRACT

A rational consciousness is a crucial concept that can explain Tsongkhapa’s and the Geluk Tradition’s path to enlightenment. There are two types of rational consciousness: a conceptual and a non-conceptual rational consciousnesses. A conceptual rational consciousness is regarded as a concordant ultimate because, while a conceptual rational consciousness itself is not an ultimate due to relying on signs to examine the ultimacy of true existence, this type of rational consciousness concords with an ultimate which is the result of the ultimate reasoning. On the other hand, a non-conceptual rational consciousness is an actual ultimate since it directly perceives the selflessness of persons and phenomena. The former is, according to Sonam Thakchöe’s formulation, ontologically deceptive but epistemologically correct; the latter is correct ontologically and epistemologically. This paper tries to find answers on the two questions. First, how can these two rational consciousnesses—a conceptual rational consciousness and a non-conceptual rational consciousness—be related to each other in meditation on emptiness? A conceptual rational consciousness and a non-conceptual rational consciousness are cause and effect, respectively. That is, by means of refuting both objects of negation in this way, throughout rigorous and constant meditative cultivation to the limit of one’s thought, at the last moment, a conceptual rational consciousness will become a non-conceptual rational consciousness, which is a yogic direct perception. Second, when these two types of rational consciousness have separate designations as a subtle inference analyzing ultimacy and a Superior’s pristine wisdom of meditative equipoise, why are they both still called “rational consciousness”? Although there are two types of rational consciousness, both are called rational consciousness because not only does a rational consciousness indicate the two separate functions which are in the relation of cause and effect, but also the term is an epitome describing the whole process of realizing emptiness. A rational consciousness is a description of the whole process from refuting other systems (the intellectually imbued apprehension of true existence) to clearly understanding the Middle Way School tenets, confirming the nonexistence of true existence, and attaining and sustaining a yogic direct perception that directly perceives the mere absence of true existence.

Citation status

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