This article was written in 2008 for entry into the Ph.D program at the University of Tasmania. I'm publishing it now and here for those interested and following the story from my book, which is yet to be published.
Please note, although the formatting has been tweaked for published here, the content of the article is exactly as it was submitted for the entrance exam.I hope you enjoy the read.Clarke
Persons, according to Tsongkhapa are illusory-like. They are illusory- like for while existing truly in one sense they are nonetheless thoroughly unreal. For Superiors (ārya, 'phags pa) this seemingly paradoxical statement is, in fact, a straightforward description of how persons exist in reality. Ordinary beings, however, do not apprehend persons as illusory-like. Rather persons appear and are conceived to exist, as if by way of their own character (svalakśaṅasiddha, rang gi mtshan nyid kyis grub pa) or established through their own power (svairīsiddhi, rang dbang du grub pa). For Tsongkhapa, the appearance of intrinsically real persons is false and deceptive.
Tsongkhapa’s philosophical analysis of personhood is about solving the problem of existential suffering. The solution to this problem is found in the extirpation of the conceptions of reified essence. The conception that persons possess intrinsic essence functions as the root cause of existential suffering, as it is a necessary condition for the arising of afflicted states of mind. Thes...
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