One of the most intriguing themes in the works of Longchen Rabjampa (kLong chen rab ‘byams pa, 1308–1364), one of Tibet’s greatest thinkers is the “rhetoric of negation.” This is the focused and intense critique of philosophical views and spiritual practices, pointing to their incapability of directly causing liberation. Such negation aimed to dismantle compulsive conceptualizing mental processes, creating absence, a vacuity. But in order to overcome the problem of the futility of spiritual practices in relation to liberation, Longchenpa creatively transforms his rhetoric of negation into a transmission of knowledge, capable of facilitating the experience of natural awareness or liberation. In demonstrating Longchenpa’s process from Negation to Natural awareness, and the questions it invokes concerning nonduality, emptiness, abiding in natural awareness, et cetera, a contemporary form of negation, the twentieth-century French philosopher George Bataille’s discussions of “contestation,” will be used to illuminate the subjective experience of the praxis of negation in relation to what the latter termed “Inner Experience.”


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pp. 177-193
Launched on MUSE
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