Fourfold Dependent Arising and the Profound Prajnaparamita
Fourfold Dependent Arising and the Profound Prajnaparamita

Fourfold Dependent Arising and the Profound Prajnaparamita

Regular price $34.95

ISBN 978-1-896559-54-4 / 428 pages, paperback, 6 x 9 inches

Nyingma Vajrayana, Madhyamaka + Yogacara Philosophy

Publication date: November 26 New Moon, 2019

Fourfold Dependent Arising and the Profound Prajnaparamita

Master Tam Shek-wing

Mahayana Buddhism includes the teachings of Madhyamaka, Yogacara, and Tathagatagarbha – three inseparable systems highlighting its foundation, path, and fruition. Yet, in recent years, there has been an alarming trend of taking one perspective and rejecting the other two, thereby distorting the teaching of Mahayana and making complete understanding difficult. Tam builds on the foundation of generations of Nyingma masters in writing this book, illustrating the framework of the three teachings – the essence, the training, and the realization.

The book begins with The Heart Sutra. Based on commentaries by four masters (Atisa, Vimalamitra, Srisimha, and Kamalasila), it is an overview of Prajnaparamita practice, in that The Heart Sutra is the heart (hridaya) of the Prajna series in the Buddhist canon. Then, according to the Nyingma tradition of the Ultimate (or Yogacaran) Madhyamaka, he uses Fourfold Dependent Arising to spell out the essence of Prajnaparamita. In the final chapter, Tam discusses Tathagatagarbha, the fruition of Mahayana training, free from conceptuality and obscuration, which is also the teaching of Non-duality in the Mahayana scriptures on Manjusri.

To further clarify the umbilical relationship of the three teachings, Tam includes a rendition of Nagarjuna’s In Praise of Dharmadhatu (Dharmadhatustava), a translation and a commentary on Vasubandhu’s The Treatise on the Three Natures (Trisvabhava-nirdesa), and a commentary on The Seventy Stanzas on Emptiness (Sunyatasaptati), as well as a translation of Atisa’s Esoteric Instruction on the Middle Way (Madhyamakopadesa-nama) by his disciple, Henry Shiu, as part of the corresponding chapters for the reader’s perusal.

With Tam’s attempt to capture the heart of the three systems, it is his hope that the book illuminates the way for future scholars and practitioners alike.


Tam Shek-wing (1935- ) is a Buddhist scholar, painter, poet, writer and social critic. He is the founder of the Vajrayana Buddhism Association and Sino-Tibetan Buddhist Studies Association in North America. He lives in Toronto, Canada, with his family.

Born in Guangzhou, China, Tam was exposed to subjects ranging from the arts to philosophy and science, laying the foundation for a long, multi-faceted career. As a young man, he received systematic training in the Nyingma tradition under the guidance of H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche. At the age of 38, he was ordained a Vajra Archarya by H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche and was given the responsibility to spread Buddhism in the West.

Tam has published over 80 books on Buddhism; the most recent series is called Beyond Words, aiming to highlight key teachings beyond the surface meaning. His works have sparked interest in new curricula in Buddhism at universities such as Renmin and Tsinghua in China, where he is now a visiting professor.

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