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By Paul Williams

Williams' paintings is the 1st book-length scholarly learn committed solely to Santideva's philosophy and as such it merits our awareness and appreciation. Williams is a proficient and fascinating author a really attention-grabbing and energetic book.--Eli Franco, Bulletin of SOAS

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Extra info for Altruism and Reality: Studies in the Philosophy of the Bodhicaryavatara

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In Bodhicaryavatara 8 : 89ff - the Chapter on Meditative Absorp­ tion ( dhyanaparamitapariccheda) which occurs immediately prior to his chapter on prajiiii - Santideva develops a meditation which 29 Altruism and Reality involves an analysis that has become central to the Tibetan vision of how to cultivate the bodhisattva aspiration and path. This meditative analysis is known as 'equalising of self and other' ( bdag gzhan mnyam brje) , and in it Santideva starts to touch on some rather interesting issues of practical philosophical ethics.

While we can speak of the present person protecting him or herself against sufferings in future lives - speaking conventionally and ignoring the issue of what exactly is being protected here - we cannot speak of protecting the present body against sufferings in future lives. Thus if Bu ston's addition of 'present' refers to the body he faces problems not faced by bSod nams rtse mo in using 'present' for the present time, the present moment, with reference to the wider application. We can make sense in conventional terms of acting in the present moment to protect oneself from future sufferings, without specifying any particular further reference either as to when in the future the sufferings would be expected or to what will be the subj ect ( body or not) which might otherwise undergo the sufferings, in a way that we cannot make sense of protecting the present body against sufferings in future lives.

Since the gang zag is conceptualised in dependence upon the aggregate( s ) rGyal tshab rje is saying that the conceptualisations which enable the construction of a person - Blackmore's self - are different in different lives. We are dealing with a different set of constructions and thus for rGyal tshab rje's interpretation of Santideva there is no sense in which I survive death. For the I (the self) in the only way in which it can exist is a conceptual construct for rGyal tshab rje and Blackmore, and that construct does not survive death.

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