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nagarjuna
These essays are about Nagarjuna, the Madhyamika (Mulamadhyamakakarika) and the development of "the Middle Way" and "emptiness" in Zen Buddhism. Includes some relevant book reviews.
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Translations

Romanized Tibetan text of Nagarjuna’s Mulamadhyamakakarika together with a literal English translation by Stephen Batchelor

Nagarjuna: The Precious Garland Ratnavali of Nagarjuna also known as Nagarjuna's Letter to a Friend, this is advice given by Nagarjuna to the Southern Indian King Surabhidhadra in 123 four-line verses. This version has broken the writing down into 500 verses.

Book Reviews


William Edelglass: reviews David F. Burton's Emptiness Appraised: a critical study of Nagarjuna's philosophy originally published in Philosophy East and West Vol. 53 No. 4 Oct. 2003


Alan Fox : reviews Hsueh-Li Cheng's Nargarjuna's Twelve Gate Treatise: translated, with Introductory Essays, Comments, and Notes . book review from Journal of Chinese Philosophy , 1985

Karen Lang: reviews: Nagarjuna's Seventy Stanzas: A  Buddhist  Psychology  of Emptiness by David Ross Komito;
Philosophy East & West Vol. 40 No.2, 1990.Apr

Frederivk J. Streng: reviews C. W. Huntington, Jr's The Emptiness of Emptiness: an introduction to Early Indian Madhyamika
book review from Philosophy East and West, Volume 42, No.2, 1992


Essays

Douglas L. Berger Illocution, No-Theory and Practice in Nagarjuna’s Skepticism: Reflections on the Vigrahavyavartani " I want to argue that there are certain senses in which it seems that Nagarjuna’s resorting to the illocution we find in the Vigrahavyavartani may not have been necessary for the maintenance of his skeptical position, for he has recourse to prasanga counter-arguments which can always offset the metaphysical and epistemological claims of the Hindu and Buddhist philosophers whom he confronts. "
Berger has also written a nice, quite long introduction to Nagarjua available at the The Internet Encylcopedia of Philosophy.


Michael Berman: Time and Emptiness in the Chao-Lun Berman looks at the Madhyamika Buddhist-Taoist Seng-chao's Book of Chao and discusses the use of language and how Seng-chao, through sunyata and marga, understood time. from Journal of Chinese Philosophy Vol 24, 1997 pp43-58

Anthony Birch: Enlightenment and Time: An Examination of Nagarjuna's Concept of Time A short treatise on Nagarjuna concepts from the Mulamadhyamakakarikas about time, space and objects.


David Burton: Is Madhyamaka Buddhism Really the Middle Way? Burton explores the basics of Madhyamaka and the charge that emptiness is fundamentally nihilistic. Recognizing the inherent difficulty of understanding Madhyamaka, Burton offers 3 alternative interpretations of emptiness. from Western Buddhist Review, Vol. 3


Hsueh-Li Cheng : The Roots of Zen Buddhism Cheng points out the contribution Maadhyamika Buddhism, founded by Nagarjuna, made to Zen. An excellent essay that anyone interested in the roots of Zen should read. from Journal of Chinese Philosophy V. 8 (1981) pp. 451-478
Causality As Soteriology: An Analysis of The Central Philosophy of Buddhism : Cheng continues his exploration of Nagarjuna and the San-lun Tsung school, this time looking at "the problem of causality" and "how the San-lun Madhyamikas repudiate the intellectual justification of causality as the ultimate principle of the universe". A demanding essay requiring focus. from: Journal of Chinese PhilosophyVol.9 1982 P.423-440

Ewing Chinn: Nagarjuna's fundamental doctrine of Pratityasamutpada "Nagarjuna contends that the doctrine of Pratityasamutpada (dependent origination), properly understood, constitutes the philosophical basis for the rejection and avoidance of all metaphysical theories and concepts (including causation). The companion doctrine of sunyata constitutes the denial of metaphysical realism (or "essentialism") but does not imply an anti-realist, conventionalist view of reality (as Jay Garfield maintains)." from Philosophy East and West  Jan 2001 Vol. 51, Iss. 1 



The Zen Teachings of Nagarjuna My essay on the Madhyamika and Zen teachings. Nagarjuna is the 14th Patriarch of Zen but he is usually studied as a philosopher rather than a teacher. This may well be a mistake. Buddhist teaching can be just upaya and Nagarjuna clarified much that became the basis of Zen.

Neil Donner: Emptiness and the Institutional Suicide of Chinese Buddhism Donner argues that the Mahayana philosophy of emptiness (sunyata) was a self-destructing philosophy which led to the inevitable decline of Mahayana Buddhism in China. He presents an interesting case well-worth reading.

James L Fredericks: The Incomprehensibility of God: A Buddhist reading of Aquinas "I propose a rereading of the Thomistic doctrine of the incomprehensibility of God by means of a reading of Nagarjuna's The Stanzas on the Middle Path. This will entail a three-part structure. The first part is devoted to a analysis of selected texts from Thomas's Commentary on John, with the aim of clarifying some ambiguities attending his doctrine of divine incomprehensibility. The second part is given to an analysis of Nagarjuna's text. The aim here is to reach an understanding of this philosopher's approach to the seminal Buddhist notion of emptiness. The third part seeks to work a comparison of Thomas and Nagarjuna in which the familiar (Thomas) is reinterpreted with the unfamiliar (Nagarjuna)." from Theological Studies, Vol. 56, Iss. 3, Sept. 1995


Jay L Garfield Dependent Arising and the Emptiness of Emptiness: Why did Nagarjuna start with causation? Garfield argues that Nagarjuna's doctrine of the emptiness of causation is based on two possible views of dependent origination. He goes on to link emptiness and dependent origination and develops the emptiness of emptiness. Includes translation of Chapters 1, 2 and 24 of the Mulamadhyamikakarika. from Philosophy East & West; Apr94, Vol. 44 Issue 2, p219, 32p


Jay Garfield & Graham Priest Nagarjuna and the Limits of Thought In this lengthy essay Garfield and Priest explore the "paradox of Nagarjuna" in his critique of essence. Roaming through the tetralemma, two realities, ultimate truth, and no nature, the authors find "connections between ontological and semantic contradictions" and the "profound-limit contradiction" leads back to the conventional world. from Philosophy East & West, Vol 53, No.1, 2003


Richard P Hayes Nagarjuna: Master of Paradox, Mystic or Perpetrator of Fallacies? Is Nagarjuna really an important "masterful philosopher" or just a trickster? Hayes has "not ...developed a deep respect for his thought" nor does he regard him as a "masterful philosopher". A contrarian viewpoint on Nagarjuna. This paper was prepared to be read before the Philosophy Department at Smith College, 11 April 2003


Ming-Wood Liu :The Yogaacaaraa and Maadhyamika interpretation of the Buddha-nature concept in Chinese Buddhism Liu looks at the concept of Buddha-nature:“In examining and comparing the Buddha-nature teachings of Hui-yuan and Chi-tsang our present study attempts to show how the Buddha-nature concept has come to assume divergent significances when read in the context of the two main streams of thought in Mahaayaana Buddhism: Yogaacaara and Maadhyamika.” from: Philosophy East and West, Volume 35, no. 2, April 1985
A Chinese Madyamaka Theory of Truth: The case of Chi-tsang :"Chi-tsang was the key figure in the revival of Chinese Madhyamaka in the late sixth century, and his teaching is commonly acknowledged to be the apex of the development of Madhyamaka thought in China. This essay attempts to examine the conception of truth underlying a number of ideas generally considered as central to Chi-tsang's philosophy, including "refutation of falsehood", "revelation of truth", and "two truths". "from: Philosophy East and West, Volume 43, Number 4, October 1993


David R Loy: Language against its own mystifications: Deconstruction in Nagarjuna and Dogen Loy compares these two great thinkers because "Nagarjuna and Dogen ... point to many of the same Buddhist insights because they deconstruct the same type of dualities, most of which may be understood as versions of our commonsense but delusive distinction between substance and attribute, subject and predicate." He then goes on to look at the differences between the two. from Philosophy East and West  1999. Vol. 49, Iss. 3 

Second Buddha : Nagarjuna—Buddhism's Greatest Philosopher David Loy provides a simple, clear explanation of the core of Nagarjuna's Buddhist philosophy. Recommended.


Ian Mabbett: The Problem of the Historical Nagarjuna Revisited Mabbett looks at the historical record to try to find the real Nagarjuna. Strictly for the academics. from The Journal of the American Oriental Society Vol.118 No.3 July 1998

Robert Magliola: Nagarjuna and Chi-Tsang on the Value of 'This World': a reply to Kuang-ming Wu's critique of Indian and Chinese Madhyamika Buddism Magliola's paper is a response to Kuang-ming Wu's criticism of the Madhyamika and Buddhism. "This paper aims to show that classical Indian and Chinese Madhyamika Buddhism, when properly understood, are not ‘worldnegating’ in any sense that precludes the positive fullness of mundane life." from Journal of Chinese Philosophy 31:4, Dec. 2004 pp505-516


Gudo Nishijima: Japanese Buddhism and the Meiji Restoration: includes Nishijima's introduction to Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika, which Nishijima claims is "identical to the theories of Dogen".


John Schroeder: Nagarjuna and the doctrine of "skillful means" "A skillful means reading of Nagarjuna does not ask what it means for causality, the self or consciousness to be "empty" in a very general sense, but how emptiness relates to the soteriological practices of Buddhism. It is argued that this situates Nagarjuna's philosophy within a highly critical, self-reflective movement in the Buddhist tradition." from Philosophy East and West, Vol. 50, Iss. 4; Oct. 2000


Mark Siderits: On the Soteriological Significance of Emptiness What role does 'emptiness' play in ending suffering? Siderits tackles this question: "The doctrine of emptiness is said to be the remedy that purges itself along with the cause of one’s lingering illness. One sometimes senses that critics of the semantic interpretation believe it would be just too disappointing if this turned out to be all there were to the doctrine of emptiness. Perhaps the feeling of disappointment is a sign that emptiness is doing the purging work for which it was intended." from: Contemporary Buddhism, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2003


Avi Sion: Buddhist Illogic: a critical analysis of Nagarjuna's arguments Sion has made this book available on the net and for those interested in logic, his essay "... demonstrates the many sophistries involved in Nagarjuna’s arguments. He uses double standards, applying or ignoring the laws of thought and other norms as convenient to his goals; he manipulates his readers, by giving seemingly logical form (like the dilemma) to his discourse, while in fact engaged in non-sequiturs or appealing to doubtful premises; he plays with words, relying on unclear terminology, misleading equivocations and unfair fixations of meaning; and he ‘steals concepts’, using them to deny the very percepts on which they are based."

Joseph Walser: Nagarjuna And The Ratnavali: New Ways To Date An Old Philosopher The title pretty well sums up the content. Walser looks into the dating of this rather mysterious personage. from Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies Volume 25 Number 1-2 2002


John P Walsh: Integrating Buddhist Philosophy and Peacemaking Theory: Further Thought for Development Walsh explores Nagarjuna's thoughts on the two truths, the middle way and inter-connectedness to see if Buddhist thought can be applied to "peacemaking criminology". The essay offers a succinct explanation of the basics of Madhyamaka philosophy. from The Online Journal of Peace and Conflict Resolution, Issue 2.2, 1999

Jonah Winters Nagarjuna's Middle Way This bachelor's thesis covers the historical context of Nagarjuana, the Mulamadhyamakakarika and the philosophy of the Madhyamika.