The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way: Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā

The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way N g rjuna s M lamadhyamakak rik The Buddhist saint Nagarjuna who lived in South India in approximately the second century CE is undoubtedly the most important influential and widely studied Mahayana Buddhist philosopher His many

  • Title: The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way: Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā
  • Author: Nāgārjuna Jay L. Garfield
  • ISBN: 9780195093360
  • Page: 105
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Buddhist saint Nagarjuna, who lived in South India in approximately the second century CE, is undoubtedly the most important, influential, and widely studied Mahayana 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 wThe Buddhist saint Nagarjuna, who lived in South India in approximately the second century CE, is undoubtedly the most important, influential, and widely studied Mahayana 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 Mulamadhyamikakarika 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 Nagarjuna s seminal work, offering those with little or no prior knowledge of Buddhist philosophy a view into the profound logic of the Mulamadhyamikakarika.Garfield presents a superb translation of the Tibetan text of Mulamadhyamikakarika in its entirety, and a commentary reflecting the Tibetan tradition through which Nagarjuna s philosophical influence has largely been transmitted Illuminating the systematic character of Nagarjuna s reasoning, Garfield shows how Nagarjuna 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 Nagarjuna s positions and arguments in the language of Western metaphysics and epistemology, and connects Nagarjuna s concerns to those of Western philosophers such as Sextus, Hume, and Wittgenstein.An accessible translation of the foundational text for all Mahayana Buddhism, The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way offers insight to all those interested in the nature of reality.

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    One Reply to “The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way: Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā”

    1. In my opinion, Nagarjuna is the greatest philosopher who has ever lived, and this is his magnum opus. In a series of reductio ad absurdum-like analyses of various types of phenomena, Nagarjuna demonstrates the incoherence of the belief in an inherently existent basis for objects of awareness. Phenomena are in fact dependent on the transient aggregation of their spatial and temporal parts, and cannot be described without invoking the process by which they are registered by a conscious entity. The [...]

    2. This book is hella good. Excellent introduction to Mahayana Buddhism straight from the monk's mouth. Jay Garfield really knows his shit, and draws apt parallels with Hume and Wittgenstein without meandering into comparative philosophy.The actual text of Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way is way too obscure for anyone who hasn't been schooled in this stuff, and Garfield does a great job of explicating the text, as well as giving references to alternate interpretations and guidance to the differ [...]

    3. Hold up, folks, this gets scholarly.As interpreted by Garfield, Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika is most everything I ever wanted to say to the "early" Platonic dialogues but didn't quite have the sharp vocabulary as a college freshman to do so: you only get to worrying about ultimate forms and causes if you think people have to have a coherent meaning when they talk about them, and you don't have to think we're in Berkelian idealism-land otherwise. In other words: in Garfield's Western-via-Tibe [...]

    4. I was about to write that this is one of the dozen most important and influential philosophical works I've ever read. But I must delete "philosophical." This is one of the dozen most important and influential books I've read in any genre. Nagarjuna seems to be little known or read in the West; at least I rarely encounter anyone who has heard of him. He was a 2nd century Buddhist. Let me quote from Library Journal: "Nagarjuna meets contrasting dialectical arguments, thereby proving that all pheno [...]

    5. I had the extreme good fortune to be Jay Garfield's teaching assistant when he was writing this book and got to read (and proofread!) an early draft. More importantly, Prof Garfield explained the text with such clarity and intensity that the wisdom of the middle way was layed before me. Truly changed my life, and continues to inform my priorities. Thanks Jay, Thanks Nagarjuna. OmAhUm Benza Guru Patna Siti Om

    6. Read it cos I had to s my Guru suggested it. Actually maybe he didn'tybe I only read it because I needed to use it to rebut a particular stupid and pointless series of dogmatism by the pathetlic loser that was my Guru's translatork, nothing like having some sort of ex-harvard creep who was born in the Middle of a Republican Conventionah his mom broke water there and then stayed until the end and dropped him on his head and kept Cheering Ronald Reagan! Lol. Jokeupid not speed-dial your lawyers! Y [...]

    7. Nagarjuna is one example of a philosopher that says enough provocative things to hold peoples' interest, but is not quite clear enough for any one interpretation to win out, thus keeping his name on the lips of Indian and Buddhist philosophers for the last 1,800 years. Nagarjuna has come to be interpreted in a wide variety of ways by Indian, Tibetan, Chinese and Western readers. I myself favor the skeptical interpretation that Garfield favors in this translation and which is also one of the main [...]

    8. This is a truly eye-opening book, especially if you're not familiar with Madhyamika philosophy. A little background in western epistemology and ontology is helpful (Plato, Hume, Kant) but not absolutely necessary if you're willing to let Garfield lead you through the arguments. My only worry about this is that Garfield is almost too good at this -- it's hard to read this as critically as one should. On the other hand, Nagarjuna is a ferocious logician and his arguments -- incredibly compact as t [...]

    9. My interest in buddhism waxes and wanes but I'll always have this book nearby. Whether a spiritual read, or merely philosophical exercise, Nagarjuna's work is simply amazing. There is so much in so few words that it will forever be a book that can be read over and over again. I also appreciate the translators notes in this edition, without them much of the power of this book would be lost.

    10. Nagarjuna present an abrupt distillation of Buddhism that I find more concise and to-the-point than even the Dhammapada. Difficult reading, this is bare bones Mahayana Buddhism.

    11. This is the single greatest philosophical text I have ever read, and also it was the most difficult for me to understand. Nagarjuna tackles just about everything, and somehow, through language, shows the woeful inadequacy of language itself in describing ultimate reality.The commentary is phenomenal, and yet, understanding both Nagarjuna's points, as well as the commentary, takes great patience. However, every time I "got it", and understood exactly, and deeply, what he was trying to say, I felt [...]

    12. Fantastic. I know this will be a resource I’ll be reading and rereading again and again. Loved the blend of east and west. Helped my interpretation immensely.

    13. Rating translations of traditional texts is difficult. There's the text itself, the translation and the commentary. Nagarjuna gets five stars. This is an excellent text for anyone interested in really getting down to the nitty gritty of Madhyamika teachings and emptiness. Garfield's commentary gets four stars. It adds quite a lot and many of the footnotes with commentary on other translations are amusing. I can't rank the translation as I am not a translator myself, nor able to read Sanskrit or [...]

    14. I Gave it only 4 stars because besides the translation of Nagarjuna Middle Way, has the commentaries of Jay L. Garfield, it would have been perfect if this book had only the translation of Nagarjuna words. This book cannot be read like a normal book, you need tot enter with a clear mind, without thoughts,without feelings, you need to read the book and the book needs to read you, and then you will understand.

    15. The following is an essay in which I investigate the relevance of Nagarjuna to the poetry of contemporary poet Leslie Scalapino. In my discussion of Nagarjuna, I am indebted to Garfield’s clear analyses of the often puzzling and obscure verses of the Mulamadhyamakakarika:Reading the Minds of Events: Leslie Scalapino’s Plural Time

    16. remarkable tract essentially displaying the ultimate arrogance and failure of using mind made concepts to comprehend phiolosphical aspects which origionate outside of mindflecting on the relationship between the ultimate and the relative.written long before the fashion for trite, candy coated buddhist truisms,If you have any interest in buddhism i would say this book is a must.

    17. I got interested in reading this book after I read a paper that criticizes Derrida for not going far enough in his deconstruction and pointed to Nagarjuna's work as a true radical deconstruction. The book really goes beyond deconstruction the opposite to finally deconstruct deconstruction itself. It is not easy to read and a bit tedious at times but worth the effort.

    18. It is very educational. However, a person has to have a background to eastern philosophy to understand it.

    19. For the serious reader in Religious Studies or the student of Mahayana Buddhist philosophy, it's a must read!

    20. A little confusing, in my opinion. Garfield attempts to translate the original texts, but it seems like he's only restating them in equally confusing terms.

    21. A difficult text, but an amazing explication on the Buddhist view of emptiness, and, especially important for a western audience, how that differs from mere nihilism. Essential root text.

    22. only read assigned chapters. An awesome translation, and generative reading of this Indian-Tibetan classic.

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