Shākya mchog ldan on the Classification of the Mādhyamika Subschools
Phag mo , Tshe brtan
The purpose of this study is to clarify Shākya mchog ldan’s view of the classification of the Mādhyamika school and his understanding of the conventional truth. According to Shākya mchog ldan, Tibetan scholars before his time classified the Mādhyamika subschools into the following three:  the Sautrāntika-Mādhyamika (mdo sde spyod pa’i dbu ma pa who accept the conventional truth by the same logic as that of the Sautrāntika school (e.g., Bhāviveka and Jñānagarbha),  the Yogācāra-Mādhyamika (rnal ’byor spyod pa’i dbu ma pa) who accept it as the same logic as that of the Yogācāra school (e.g., Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla), and  the Mādhyamika following what is commonly acknowledged in the world (’jig rten grags sde spyod pa’i dbu ma pa) who accepts it in accordance with the worldly convention (e.g., Candrakīrti). Shākya mchog ldan, however, does not admit this classification and instead assert that all Indian scholars of the Mādhyamika school commonly accept the conventional truth as what is not to be analyzed by reasoning. He maintains that the difference among these three subschools lies in the method of leading the trainees to understand the ultimate truth of emptiness. One who first makes the trainees learn the Sautrāntika doctrine and then lead to the Mādhyamika’s view is the Sautrāntika-Mādhyamika; one who first makes the trainees learn the Sautrāntika doctrine, secondly makes them learn the Yogācāra doctrine, and finally lead to the Mādhyamika’s view is the Yogācāra-Mādhyamika; and one who lead the trainees to the Mādhyamika’s view on the basis of the worldly convention without making them learn other schools’ doctrine is the Mādhyamika following what is commonly acknowledged in the world. Shākya mchog ldan do not think that there is any difference in opinion as to the interpretation of the two truth (namely, the conventional truth and the ultimate truth) among the Indian Mādhyamikas. He finds difference only in their method of leading the trainees to understand the ultimate truth. It is at this point that his view of the Madhyamaka thought is different from his Dge lugs pa adversaries.
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