Chapter

Commentary and Meditation

Georges B. J. Dreyfus

in The Sound of Two Hands Clapping

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780520232594
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928244 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520232594.003.0009
Commentary and Meditation

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The interpretive practices of a tradition are revealed when one examines its message, the audience to which the message is addressed, and how the message is intended to influence its audience. Hence, this chapter considers both hermeneutical and pragmatic dimensions of Tibetan scholasticism. It examines how commentary functions in the Tibetan tradition and the pragmatic dimensions of commentary, focusing on the ways in which traditions and institutions use texts to form their members and orient them toward their religious goals. In general, communities can use texts for a variety of purposes, which often revolve around the desire for sociopolitical power. That such is the case with Tibetan monastic education as well should be no surprise. The chapter looks at the soteriological role of commentary, its relation to meditation, and its participation in the construction of meaning, particularly in relation to the study of the path. The study of the path plays an important role in constructing a religious worldview and developing virtues such as faith and confidence.

Keywords: scholasticism; commentary; meditation; path; texts; monastic education; virtues; faith; confidence

Chapter.  8356 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Buddhism

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