Other Emptiness, or Zhantong in Tibetan, is the most profound view taught by the Buddha. It is the very basis of the majority of Tibetan Buddhist schools, though it has been overshadowed by the views of some schools who have argued against it. As a result, it has not been well understood in the West, where it is often thought of as a complicated and possibly questionable philosophical view. In fact, Other Emptiness is the penultimate teaching of the sutras and the root of all tantras. This book shows for the first time that the Buddha did not teach this ultimate of views as a complicated philosophy for scholarly argument but as a practical view to be used for the attainment of enlightenment.
The teachings of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism have been based on Other Emptiness from the beginning. The early lineage-holder Milarepa sang many songs which present it and two especially important ones are presented in this book. Fresh translations of the songs come with full explanations based on teachings heard from the Kagyu masters Khenpo Tsultrim Gyatso, Thrangu Rinpoche, and others. These explanations have the special feature of being the actual instructions of the lineage. They are practical in nature and free of the convoluted philosophical argument often but mistakenly claimed to be the meaning of Other Emptiness. Thus, for the first time in English, the teaching of Other Emptiness is clearly shown as a practical instruction, using the teachings of the Kagyu lineage.
The author has received extensive explanations on the Middle Way view during nearly forty years of close association with eminent teachers of all four Tibetan Buddhist schools, so has an unusually clear and comprehensive understanding of the Other Emptiness view. He has recently written a series of books to clarify the meaning of Other Emptiness. This book has an extensive introduction which will go far towards clarifying the view and meditation of Other Emptiness for scholars and practitioners alike. Practitioners who are scared off by books on philosophy should not be put off by talk of the view-this is a book for every practitioner because it shows how to use the ultimate view and meditation taught by the Buddha a path to enlightenment.