Nagarjuna is renowned for his penetrating analysis of reality. In the Precious Garland , he offers intimate counsel on how to conduct ones life and how to construct social policies that reflect Buddhist ideals.
The advice for personal happiness is concerned first with improving ones condition over the course of lifetimes, and then with release from all kinds of suffering, culminating in Buddhahood.
Nagarjuna describes the cause and effect sequences for the development of happiness within ordinary life, as well as the practices of wisdom, realizing emptiness, and compassion that lead to enlightenment. He describes a Buddha's qualities and offers encouraging advice on the effectiveness of practices that reveal the vast attributes of Buddhahood.
In his advice on social and governmental policy, Nagarjuna emphasizes education and compassionate care for all living beings. He also objects to the death penalty. Calling for the appointment of government figures who are not seeking profit or fame, he advises that a selfish motivation will lead to misfortune.
The greater part of Buddhism taught in the West is done through modern commentators. Jeffrey Hopkins offers us an alternative in his translation of one of the most revered Mahayana Buddhist scriptures: the Precious Garland by Nagarjuna. Written more than 1,500 years ago, its advice is still lucid and fresh. As counsel for a king, the text is the polar opposite of Machiavelli's The Prince - it elucidates reality, announces the way to cultivate personal virtue, and suggests ways to implement that virtue in public policy. Former interpreter for the Dalai Lama, Hopkins has translated the Precious Garland in colloquial verse that belongs with the most inspiring of spiritual scriptures.
The book includes a detailed analysis of attachment to sensual objects as a preparation for realization of the profound truth that, when realized, makes attachment impossible.
Recommended for all graduate and undergraduate library collections.