Stairway to Nirvana: A Study of the Twenty Samghas Based on the Works of Tsong Kha Pa (Hardcover). James B. Apple.

Stairway to Nirvana: A Study of the Twenty Samghas Based on the Works of Tsong Kha Pa (Hardcover)

State University of New York SUNY. 6 x 9.25", vii, 275 pp., notes, glossary, references, index, pictorial boards, Albany, 2008. Item #35311
ISBN: 9780791473757

James B. Apple examines one of the formative subjects in traditional Buddhist studies, the Twenty Varieties of the Samgha. The Samgha (community) is one of the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma, Samgha) universally revered by all Buddhists. While the Samgha is generally understood as the community of Buddhist ordained monks and nuns, along with lay adherents, the Twenty Varieties of the Samgha concerns an exemplary community of the twenty types of Noble Beings (arya-pudgala) who embody the Buddha’s teachings.

Focusing on the interpretation of the Samgha given by the fourteenth-century Tibetan scholar Tsong kha pa, Apple provides a comprehensive typology and analysis of the stages through which Noble Beings pass in their progress toward enlightenment through multiple lifetimes in various cosmological realms. He explains the cosmographic formations and complex structures of Buddhist spiritual cultivation, illustrating how Tibetan and Indian Buddhists conceptualize all possible states on the path to enlightenment.

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