Gone Beyond (Volume 2)
A nice review of the Gone Beyond volumes on H-NET.
The Abhisamayalamkara summarizes all the topics in the vast body of the Prajnaparamita Sutras. Resembling a zip-file, it comes to life only through its Indian and Tibetan commentaries. Together, these texts not only discuss the "hidden meaning" of the Prajnaparamita Sutras—the paths and bhumis of sravakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas—but also serve as contemplative manuals for the explicit topic of these sutras—emptiness—and how it is to be understood on the progressive levels of realization of bodhisattvas. Thus these texts describe what happens in the mind of a bodhisattva who meditates on emptiness, making it a living experience from the beginner's stage up through buddhahood.
Gone Beyond contains the first in-depth study of the Abhisamayalamkara (the text studied most extensively in higher Tibetan Buddhist education) and its commentaries in the Kagyu School. This study (in two volumes) includes translations of Maitreya's famous text and its commentary by the Fifth Shamarpa Goncho Yenla (the first translation ever of a complete commentary on the Abhisamayalamkara into English), which are supplemented by extensive excerpts from the commentaries by the Third, Seventh, and Eighth Karmapas and others. Thus it closes a long-standing gap in the modern scholarship on the Prajnaparamita Sutras and the literature on paths and bhumis in mahayana Buddhism.
The first volume presents an English translation of the first three chapters of the Abhisamayalamkara and its commentary by the Fifth Shamarpa. The second volume presents an English translation of the final five chapters and its commentary by the Fifth Shamarpa.
"Concise, pithy, and easy to understand. That it has been augmented with commentaries by the Seventh and Eighth Karmapas makes this a valuable volume indeed, one that will benefit many people. I am grateful that this book has been published." —Thrangu Rinpoche, author of Medicine Buddha Teachings
"Maitreya's Ornament of Clear Realization, along with its commentaries, opens a window into the vast landscape of the Prajnaparamita Sutras territory that has been largely left unexplored by Western scholars and practitioners. . . . Karl Brunnhölzl's breathtaking scholarship, lucid translations, and deep insight into the meaning of these texts brings this vast body of teachings to life. Gone Beyond is bound to be an invaluable reference work for scholars and practitioners for years to come." —Andy Karr, author of Contemplating Reality
"In a stimulating and accessible way, Karl Brunnhölzl's Gone Beyond brings us into the vast and profound world of prajaparamita literature. In these two volumes of Gone Beyond (with a companion volume soon to follow), we discover the foundation of the Mahayana path in all its glory." —Elizabeth Callahan, translator of The Treasury of Knowledge: Book Six, Part Three
"These two volumes of Gone Beyond are a groundbreaking work and a great treasure for Western Buddhism." —Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, from the Foreword to Volume 1
"Prajnaparamita literature, which deals with the Mahayana doctrine of emptiness, is notoriously impenetrable, certainly not the sort of material that one can jump right into no matter how fine the translation. However, Brunnhölzl provides a masterful introduction that surveys the history of the text and its many Tibetan commentaries and makes sense of the complex subject matter." —Buddhadharma: The Practitioners Quarterly