The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way: Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika

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Oxford University Press, Nov 9, 1995 - Philosophy - 400 pages
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The Buddhist saint N=ag=arjuna, who lived in South India in approximately the second century CE, is undoubtedly the most important, influential, and widely studied Mah=ay=ana Buddhist philosopher. His many works include texts addressed to lay audiences, letters of advice to kings, and a set of penetrating metaphysical and epistemological treatises. His greatest philosophical work, the Mūlamadhyamikak=arik=a--read and studied by philosophers in all major Buddhist schools of Tibet, China, Japan, and Korea--is one of the most influential works in the history of Indian philosophy. Now, in The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way, Jay L. Garfield provides a clear and eminently readable translation of N=ag=arjuna's seminal work, offering those with little or no prior knowledge of Buddhist philosophy a view into the profound logic of the Mūlamadhyamikak=arik=a. Garfield presents a superb translation of the Tibetan text of Mūlamadhyamikak=arik=a in its entirety, and a commentary reflecting the Tibetan tradition through which N=ag=arjuna's philosophical influence has largely been transmitted. Illuminating the systematic character of N=ag=arjuna's reasoning, Garfield shows how N=ag=arjuna develops his doctrine that all phenomena are empty of inherent existence, that is, than nothing exists substantially or independently. Despite lacking any essence, he argues, phenomena nonetheless exist conventionally, and that indeed conventional existence and ultimate emptiness are in fact the same thing. This represents the radical understanding of the Buddhist doctrine of the two truths, or two levels of reality. He offers a verse-by-verse commentary that explains N=ag=arjuna's positions and arguments in the language of Western metaphysics and epistemology, and connects N=ag=arjuna's concerns to those of Western philosophers such as Sextus, Hume, and Wittgenstein. An accessible translation of the foundational text for all Mah=ay=ana Buddhism, The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way offers insight to all those interested in the nature of reality.
 

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The fundamental wisdom of the middle way: N├„ g├„ rjuna's M├…┬źlamadhyamakak├„ rik├„

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Professor of philosophy and director of Hampshire College's exchange program with exiled Tibetan scholars, Garfield provides the first Tibetan-to-English translation of eminent second-century Buddhist ... Read full review

Contents

Examination of Compounded Phenomena
xiii
Examination of Connection
xiv
Examination of Essence
xv
Examination of Bondage
xvi
Examination of Actions and Their Fruits
xvii
Examination of Self and Entities
xviii
Examination of Time
xix
Examination of Combination
xx
Examination of Motion
ii
Examination of the Senses
iii
Examination of the Aggregates
iv
Examination of Elements
v
Examination of Desire and the Desirous
vi
Examination of the Conditioned
vii
Examination of the Agent and Action
viii
Examination of the Prior Entity
ix

Examination of Becoming and Destruction
xxi
Examination of the Tathgata
xxii
Examination of Errors
xxiii
Examination of the Four Noble Truths
xxiv
Examination of Nirvna
xxv
Examination of The Twelve Links
xxvi
Examination of Views
xxvii
Part Two The Text and Commentary
xxxii
Introduction to the Commentary
xxxiii
Dedicatory Verses
xlvi
Examination of Conditions
l
Examination of Fire and Fuel
x
Examination of the Initial and Final Limits
xi
Examination of Suffering
xii
Examination of Compounded Phenomena
xiii
Examination of Connection
xiv
Examination of Essence
xv
Examination of Bondage
xvi
Examination of Actions and Their Fruits
xvii
Examination of Self and Entities
xviii
References
xlv
Index
liv

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About the author (1995)

Jay L. Garfield is Professor of Philosophy at Smith College and Director of the Hampshire in India Program (an exchange program with the Tibetan universities in exile) at Hampshire College. He is the author of Belief in Psychology, Cognitive Science: An Introduction, and Western Idealism and Its Critics: A Textbook For Use in Tibetan Monastic Universities.

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