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Shentong (Tibetan: གཞན་སྟོང་, Wylie: gzhan stong, also transliterated zhäntong or zhentong), literally "other-emptiness" is an essentialist sub-school found in Tibetan Buddhism, which was systematized and articulated under that name by Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen.

Shentong is closely related to the Great Madhyamaka and Yogācāra schools and the concept of Buddha-nature. It interprets śūnyatā (emptiness) in a specific way, stating that there is a substratum or essence underlying phenomenal reality, which does inherently exist, and is "empty" of all qualities other than its own inherent existent. This view has many points of contact with the teachings of H. P. Blavatsky in regards to the absolute.

Shentong was suppressed by the dominant Gelug school for several hundred years, both for political and doctrinal reasons. This view has being traditionally supported by Lamas of the Jonang tradition (notably Jamgon Kongtrul, a nineteenth-century ecumenical (rimé) scholar), although after the suppression of the Jonang school in the seventeenth century, various shentong views were propagated by Karma Kagyu and Nyingma lamas. Recently, the eminent Kagyu Lamas Kalu Rinpoche and Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche supported this view.

See also

Online resources