Book cover of Realizing the Profound View

Realizing the Profound View

The Library of Wisdom and Compassion | Volume 8

This 8th volume in The Library of Wisdom and Compassion series, the second of three focusing on emptiness, presents the analysis and meditations necessary to realize the ultimate nature of reality.

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About the book

Realizing the Profound View challenges the ways we view the self and the world and brings us that much closer to liberation by guiding us in the analysis and meditations necessary to realize the ultimate nature of reality.

With attention to Nagarjuna’s five-point analysis, Candrakirti’s seven-point examination, and Pali sutras, the Dalai Lama leads us to investigate who or what is the person. Are we our body? Our mind? If we are not inherently either of them, how do we exist, and what carries the karma from one life to the next? As we explore these and other fascinating questions, he skillfully guides us along the path, avoiding the chasms of absolutism and nihilism, and introduces us to dependent arising. We find that although all persons and phenomena lack an inherent essence, they do exist dependently. This nominally imputed mere I carries the karmic seeds. We discover that all phenomena exist by being merely designated by term and concept—they appear as like illusions, unfindable under ultimate analysis but functioning on the conventional level. Furthermore, we come to understand that emptiness dawns as the meaning of dependent arising, and dependent arising dawns as the meaning of emptiness. The ability to posit subtle dependent arisings in the face of realizing emptiness and to establish ultimate and conventional truths as non-contradictory brings us to the culmination of the correct view.


  1. The Seven-point Analysis: How Does a Car Exist?
  2. Refutations Similar to Candrakīrti’s Seven Points
  3. The Selflessness of Persons: Seven Points
  4. The Person is Not the Six Elements
  5. Ultimate Analysis and Conventional Existence
  6. The Selflessness of Phenomena: Diamond Slivers
  7. Does the World Exist Objectively?
  8. The Selflessness of All Existents: Dependent Arising
  9. Gaining the Correct View
  10. The Path Pleasing to the Buddha
  11. Illusion-like Existence
  12. Self and Selflessness in the Pali Tradition
  13. The Pāli Tradition: Eliminating Defilements
  14. The Pāli Sutras and the Prāsaṅgika View

Background and inspiration for the book

Introduction to refutations on inherent existence

Venerable Chodron reads an excerpt


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This book is a treasure. The appeal of the text does not merely sit in the intellect but is a comprehensive toolkit that is easily applied to changing one’s attitudes for the better and enabling spiritual potential to be actualized.

— Ajahn Amaro, abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery

A beautiful addition to the golden rosary of the “Library of Wisdom and Compassion,” this invaluable text generously introduces us to the actual analytic practices that help us realize the true nature of reality.

— Judith Simmer-Brown, Distinguished Professor of Contemplative and Religious Studies, Naropa University, author of "Dakini's Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism"

The authors’ approach is genuinely Rimé (nonsectarian) and not exclusivist, but rather a process of humility and genuine interest in different interpretations of the Buddha’s teaching despite significant diversity, demonstrating how living traditions can learn from one another.

— Dr. Carola Roloff (Bhiksuni Jampa Tsedroen), professor, Buddhism and Dialogue, the Academy of World Religions, University of Hamburg

Enriched by Ven. Chodron’s skillful presentation of discussions from the Pali tradition, “Realizing the Profound View” is among the clearest and most detailed analyses of the Buddhist wisdom of no-self ever published and should be in the library of every serious student of Buddhism.

— Roger R. Jackson, John W. Nason Professor of Asian Studies and Religion, Emeritus, Carleton College

About the series

The Library of Wisdom and Compassion is a special multi-volume series in which His Holiness the Dalai Lama shares the Buddha’s teachings on the complete path to full awakening that he himself has practiced his entire life. The topics are arranged especially for people not born in a Buddhist culture and are peppered with the Dalai Lama’s own unique outlook. Coauthored by one of his long-standing Western disciples, the American nun Thubten Chodron, each book can be enjoyed on its own or read as the logical next step in the series.