NāGāRJUNA (c. 150 – c. 250 CE) is widely considered one of the
Mahayana philosophers. Along with his disciple
Āryadeva , he is considered to be the founder of the Madhyamaka
school of Mahāyāna
* 1 History * 2 Writings
* 3 Philosophy
* 4 Iconography
* 5 English translations
* 5.1 Mūlamadhyamakakārikā * 5.2 Other works
* 6 See also * 7 References * 8 Bibliography * 9 External links
Very little is reliably known of the life of Nāgārjuna, since the surviving accounts were written in Chinese and Tibetan centuries after his death. According to some accounts, Nāgārjuna was originally from South India. Some scholars believe that Nāgārjuna was an advisor to a king of the Satavahana dynasty . Archaeological evidence at Amarāvatī indicates that if this is true, the king may have been Yajña Śrī Śātakarṇi , who ruled between 167 and 196 CE. On the basis of this association, Nāgārjuna is conventionally placed at around 150–250 CE.
Some sources claim that in his later years, Nāgārjuna lived on the
mountain of Śrīparvata near the city that would later be called
Nāgārjunakoṇḍa ("Hill of Nāgārjuna"). The ruins of
Nāgārjunakoṇḍa are located in
Guntur district ,
There exist a number of influential texts attributed to Nāgārjuna though, as there are many pseudepigrapha attributed to him, lively controversy exists over which are his authentic works. The only work that all scholars agree is Nagarjuna's is the _Mūlamadhyamakakārikā _ (Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way), which contains the essentials of his thought in twenty-seven chapters.
According to one view, that of Christian Lindtner, the works
definitely written by
* _Mūlamadhyamaka-kārikā_ (Fundamental Verses of the Middle Way) * _Śūnyatāsaptati_ (Seventy Verses on Emptiness) * _Vigrahavyāvartanī_ (The End of Disputes) * _Vaidalyaprakaraṇa_ (Pulverizing the Categories) * _Vyavahārasiddhi_ (Proof of Convention) * _Yuktiṣāṣṭika_ (Sixty Verses on Reasoning) * _Catuḥstava_ (Hymn to the Absolute Reality) * _Ratnāvalī_ (Precious Garland) * _Pratītyasamutpādahṝdayakārika_ (Constituents of Dependent Arising) * _Sūtrasamuccaya_ * _Bodhicittavivaraṇa_ (Exposition of the Enlightened Mind) * _Suhṛllekha_ (Letter to a Good Friend) * _Bodhisaṃbhāra_ (Requisites of Enlightenment)
Buston considers the first six to be the main treatises of Nagarjuna,
while according to Taaranaatha only the first five are the works of
Nagarjuna. TRV Murti considers Ratnaavali, Pratitya Samutpaada Hridaya
In addition to works mentioned above, several others are attributed to Nāgārjuna. There is an ongoing, lively controversy over which of those works are authentic. Contemporary research suggest that these works belong to a significantly later period, either to late 8th or early 9th century CE, and hence can not be authentic works of Nāgārjuna.
However, several works considered important in esoteric
Lindtner considers that the _Māhaprajñāparamitopadeśa_ "Commentary on the Great Perfection of Wisdom" is not a genuine work of Nāgārjuna. This work is only attested in a Chinese translation by Kumārajīva .There is much discussion as to whether this is a work of Nāgārjuna, or someone else. Étienne Lamotte , who translated one third of the work into French, felt that it was the work of a North Indian bhikṣu of the Sarvāstivāda school who later became a convert to the Mahayana . The Chinese scholar-monk Yin Shun felt that it was the work of a South Indian and that Nāgārjuna was quite possibly the author. These two views are not necessarily in opposition and a South Indian Nāgārjuna could well have studied the northern Sarvāstivāda. Neither of the two felt that it was composed by Kumārajīva, which others have suggested.
From studying his writings, it is clear that Nāgārjuna was conversant with many of the Śrāvaka philosophies and with the Mahāyāna tradition. However, determining Nāgārjuna's affiliation with a specific nikāya is difficult, considering much of this material has been lost. If the most commonly accepted attribution of texts (that of Christian Lindtner) holds, then he was clearly a Māhayānist, but his philosophy holds assiduously to the Śrāvaka _ Tripiṭaka _, and while he does make explicit references to Mahāyāna texts, he is always careful to stay within the parameters set out by the Śrāvaka canon.
Because of the high degree of similarity between Nagarjuna's
Pyrrhonism , particularly the surviving works of Sextus
Thomas McEvilley suspects that
Nāgārjuna's major thematic focus is the concept of śūnyatā , or
"emptiness," which brings together other key Buddhist doctrines,
particularly anātman "not-self" and pratītyasamutpāda "dependent
origination", to refute the metaphysics of some of his contemporaries.
For Nāgārjuna, as for the
Chapter 24 verse 14 of the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā provides one of Nagarjuna's most famous quotations on emptiness and co-arising:
sarvaṃ ca yujyate tasya śūnyatā yasya yujyate sarvaṃ na yujyate tasya śūnyaṃ yasya na yujyate
All is possible when emptiness is possible. Nothing is possible when emptiness is impossible.
As part of his analysis of the emptiness of phenomena in the
To say that all things are 'empty' is to deny any kind of ontological foundation, therefore Nagarjuna's view is often seen as a kind of ontological anti-foundationalism or a metaphysical anti-realism .
Understanding the nature of the emptiness of phenomena is simply a means to an end, which is nirvana . Thus Nagarjuna's philosophical project is ultimately a soteriological one meant to correct our everyday cognitive processes which mistakenly posits svabhāva on the flow of experience.
Some scholars such as
Fyodor Shcherbatskoy and T.R.V. Murti held that
Nāgārjuna was also instrumental in the development of the two
truths doctrine , which claims that there are two levels of truth in
Buddhist teaching, the ultimate truth (_paramārtha satya_) and the
conventional or superficial truth (_saṃvṛtisatya_). The ultimate
Suppose that we take a conventional entity, such as a table. We analyze it to demonstrate its emptiness, finding that there is no table apart from its parts . So we conclude that it is empty. But now let us analyze that emptiness . What do we find? Nothing at all but the table’s lack of inherent existence. . To see the table as empty is to see the table as conventional, as dependent.
In articulating this notion in the _Mūlamadhyamakakārikā_, Nāgārjuna drew on an early source in the _ Kaccānagotta Sutta _, which distinguishes definitive meaning (_nītārtha_) from interpretable meaning (_neyārtha_):
By and large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by a polarity, that of existence and non-existence. But when one reads the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, "non-existence" with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one reads the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, "existence" with reference to the world does not occur to one.
By and large, Kaccayana, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings (sustenances), and biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on "my self". He has no uncertainty or doubt that just stress, when arising, is arising; stress, when passing away, is passing away. In this, his knowledge is independent of others. It's to this extent, Kaccayana, that there is right view.
"Everything exists": That is one extreme. "Everything doesn't exist": That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle...
The version linked to is the one found in the nikayas, and is
slightly different from the one found in the _Samyuktagama_. Both
contain the concept of teaching via the middle between the extremes of
existence and non-existence.
See also: Causality
Jay L. Garfield describes that Nāgārjuna approached causality from the four noble truths and dependent origination . Nāgārjuna distinguished two dependent origination views in a causal process, that which causes effects and that which causes conditions. This is predicated in the two truth doctrine , as conventional truth and ultimate truth held together, in which both are empty in existence. The distinction between effects and conditions is controversial. In Nāgārjuna's approach, cause means an event or state that has power to bring an effect. Conditions, refer to proliferating causes that bring a further event, state or process; without a metaphysical commitment to an occult connection between explaining and explanans. He argues nonexistent causes and various existing conditions. The argument draws from unreal causal power. Things conventional exist and are ultimately nonexistent to rest in the middle way in both causal existence and nonexistence as casual emptiness within the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā doctrine. Although seeming strange to Westerners, this is seen as an attack on a reified view of causality.
NAGARJUNA AS AYURVEDIC PHYSICIAN
According to Frank John Ninivaggi,
Nāgārjuna is often depicted in composite form comprising human and nāga characteristics. Often the nāga-aspect forms a canopy crowning and shielding his human head. The notion of the naga is found throughout Indian religious culture, and typically signifies an intelligent serpent or dragon, who is responsible for the rains, lakes and other bodies of water. In Buddhism, it is a synonym for a realised arhat , or wise person in general.
Main article: Mūlamadhyamakakārikā
The _Mūlamadhyamakakārikā_ is Nagarjuna's best-known work. It is "not only a grand commentary on the Buddha's discourse to Kaccayana, the only discourse cited by name, but also a detailed and careful analysis of most of the important discourses included in the Nikayas and the agamas, especially those of the _Atthakavagga_ of the _Sutta-nipata_.
Utilizing the Buddha's theory of "dependent arising"
In the _Mūlamadhyamakakārikā_, "ll experienced phenomena are empty (_sunya_) . This did not mean that they are not experienced and, therefore, non-existent; only that they are devoid of a permanent and eternal substance (_svabhava_) . Since they are experienced, they are not mere names (_prajnapti_) ."
AUTHOR TITLE PUBLISHER NOTES
Jones, Richard H. Nagarjuna: Buddhism's Most Important Philosopher. Jackson Square Books, 2014. Translation and summary of the six works of Nagarjuna's "philosophical canon" with explanatory essays.
Nagarjuna's Reason Sixty (Yuktisastika) with Candrakirti's
Columbia University Press, 2007
Standing midway between his other masterpieces on philosophy and
religion, in the Reason Sixty
Kawamura, L. Golden Zephyr Dharma, 1975 Translation of the Suhrlekkha with a Tibetan commentary
Bhattacharya, Johnston and Kunst The Dialectical Method of Nagarjuna Motilal, 1978 A translation of the Vigrahavyavartani
Lindtner, C. Master of Wisdom: Writings of the Buddhist Master Nāgārjuna Dharma, 1986 An introduction to Madhyamika, Master of Wisdom contains two hymns of praise to the Buddha, two treatises on Shunyata, and two works that clarify the connection of analysis, meditation, and moral conduct. Includes Tibetan verses in transliteration and critical editions of extant Sanskrit.
Tibetan Translation (product ID: 0-89800-286-9)
Shunyatasaptati, Vaidalyaprakarana, Vyavaharasiddhi (fragment),
Yuktisastika, Catuhstava and Bodhicittavivarana. A translation only of
the Bodhisambharaka. The
Komito, D. R. Nagarjuna's "Seventy Stanzas" Snow Lion, 1987 Translation of the Shunyatasaptati with Tibetan commentary
Tola, Fernando and Carmen Dragonetti Vaidalyaprakarana South Asia Books, 1995
Westerhoff, Jan Nāgārjuna’s Vigrahavyāvartanī: The Dispeller of Disputes Oxford University Press, 2010.
Jamieson, R. C. Nagarjuna's Verses on the Great Vehicle
and the Heart of Dependent Origination D.K., 2001 Translation and edited Tibetan of the Mahayanavimsika and the Pratityasamutpadahrdayakarika, including work on texts from the cave temple at Dunhuang, Gansu, China
Hopkins, Jeffrey Nagarjuna's Precious Garland: Buddhist Advice for Living and Liberation Snow Lion Publications, 2007 ISBN 1-55939-274-6
Brunnholzl, Karl In Praise of Dharmadhatu Snow Lion Publications, 2008 Translation with commentary by the 3rd Karmapa
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Kalupahana, David. _A History of Buddhist
Philosophy._ 1992. p. 160
* ^ Garfield, Jay L. (1995), The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle
Way, Oxford: Oxford University Press
* ^ Hsing Yun, Xingyun, Tom Manzo, Shujan Cheng Infinite
Compassion, Endless Wisdom: The Practice of the
* Garfield, Jay L. (1995), _The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle
Way_. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
* Garfield, Jay L. and Graham Priest (2003), “Nāgārjuna and the
Limits of Thought”, Philosophy East and West 53 (January 2003):
* Jones, Richard H. (2014), _Nagarjuna: Buddhism's Most Important
Philosopher_, 2nd ed. New York: Jackson Square Books.
* Kalupahana, David J. (1986),_The Philosophy of the Middle Way_.
Albany: SUNY Press.
* Kalupahana, David J. (1992), _The Principles of Buddhist
Psychology_, Delhi: ri Satguru Publications
* Kalupahana, David J. (1994), _A history of Buddhist philosophy_,
Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited
* Lamotte, E., _Le Traite de la Grande Vertu de Sagesse_, Vol I
(1944), Vol II (1949), Vol III (1970), Vol IV (1976), Institut
* Mabbett, Ian, (1998, “The problem of the historical Nagarjuna
revisited”, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 118(3):
* Murti, T. R. V. (1955), _The Central Philosophy of Buddhism_.
George Allen and Unwin, London. 2nd edition: 1960.
* Murty, K. Satchidananda (1971), _Nagarjuna_. National Book Trust,
New Delhi. 2nd edition: 1978.
* Ramanan, K. Venkata (1966), _Nāgārjuna's Philosophy_. Charles E.
Tuttle, Vermont and Tokyo. Reprint: Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi. 1978.
(This book gives an excellent and detailed examination of the range
and subtleties of Nagarjuna's philosophy.)
* Ruegg, D. Seyfort (1981), _The literature of the
of philosophy in India (A History of Indian literature)_,
Harrassowitz, ISBN 978-3-447-02204-0 .
* Sastri, H. Chatterjee, ed. (1977), _The Philosophy of Nāgārjuna
as contained in the Ratnāvalī_. Part I . Saraswat Library, Calcutta.
* Streng, Frederick J. (1967), _Emptiness: A Study in Religious
Meaning_. Nashville: Abingdon Press.
* Tuck, Andrew P. (1990), _Comparative Philosophy and the Philosophy
of Scholarship: on the Western Interpretation of Nāgārjuna_, Oxford:
Oxford University Press.
* Walser, Joseph (2002),
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