Some Notes on Kamalasila’s Understanding of Insight Considered as the Discernment of Reality (bhuta-pratyaveksa)
Keywords:Meditation, Insight, Kamalaśīla, Bhāvanākrama
The present article aims to explain Kamalasila’s understanding of the nature of insight, specifically considering it as the ‘discernment of reality’ (bhuta-pratyaveksa) -- a technical term identified with insight (vipasyana) in the author’s well known Bhavanakramah texts. I approach my analysis of bhuta-pratyaveksa from three different angles. I begin by providing a rationale for its translation. This is followed by an account of Kamalasila’s reading of key passages in the Lankavatara Sutra describing the process to which the term refers. Here the aim is to illustrate Kamalasila’s understanding of bhuta-pratyaveksa as it is actually experienced in meditation. The final section examines bhuta-pratyaveksa in relation to other important technical terminology employed in the course of making arguments against his historical rival in debate, the Ch’an monk Mo ho yen. By providing these three different perspectives on the same process it is my hope that both scholars and practitioners will be able to more fully comprehend and benefit from the instructions provided by the ancient master Kamalasila.
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