The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way: Nagarjunas Mulamadhyamakakarika

Paperback | November 1, 1995

EditorNagarjunaTranslated byJay L. Garfield

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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 ofpenetrating 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 TheFundamental 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 ultimateemptiness 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, andconnects 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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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 ofpenetrating metaphysical and epistemological tr...

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 ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 5.39 × 7.99 × 0.79 inPublished:November 1, 1995Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195093364

ISBN - 13:9780195093360

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"Excellent. Clear translation and discussion." --Tim Triplett, "University of New Hampshire"