Classics and Religious Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



“Śākya Chokden.” In The Treasury of Lives: A Biographical Encyclopedia of Tibet, Inner Asia, and the Himalaya, 2017.


During his long writing and teaching career, Śākya Chokden (1428-1507) developed a novel, and in many respects unusual approach to the key systems of Buddhist thought and practice. A recurrent theme given special attention in his numerous works is the question of the relationship between conflicting conceptual models of ultimate reality and the means of its realization on the one hand, and practical outcomes of utilizing those models in contemplative practice on the other. The position he articulates based on critical comparison of several Buddhist systems of thought and practice, is that despite their different, and often conflicting, conceptual approaches to reality, when put into contemplative practice those approaches can bring their followers to the same direct realization of reality.