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The Sound of Two Hands ClappingThe Education of a Tibetan Buddhist Monk$
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Georges B.J. Dreyfus

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520232594

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520232594.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 25 July 2021

Debate as Practice

Debate as Practice

(p.195) 10 Debate as Practice
The Sound of Two Hands Clapping

Georges B. J. Dreyfus

University of California Press

The author's first encounter with Tibetan debates occurred during his stay at Nam-gyel in the spring of 1972, when monks from the three seats gathered in Dharamsala for a special session of debate. Because his Tibetan was then still rather poor and his knowledge of the tradition even more limited, he understood none of the debates. Nevertheless, he was fascinated by these dialectical encounters, which seemed so lively. He enjoyed their intensity and the dramatic atmosphere that surrounded them, an atmosphere that was greatly enhanced by physical gestures and sometimes playful verbal exchanges. The author was also struck by the good humor of these spirited clashes. This chapter examines Tibetan dialectic debate, explains the rules of debate and how they are learned, and considers the apprenticeship of debaters through the study of the Collected Topics. It focuses primarily on Ge-luk education, the tradition that most upholds the value of debate. In addition, the chapter looks at the role of debate in India and Tibet, arguments and consequences in debates, and the physicality of Tibetan debates.

Keywords:   dialectical debate, Nam-gyel, apprenticeship, Collected Topics, Ge-luk education, India, Tibet, arguments

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