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Thursday, 05 February 2015 18:22

Philosophy of the Middle Way

Mulamadhyamakakarika of Nagarjuna - The Philosophy of the Middle Way
— by David J. Kalupahana

This is a completely new translation with a different slant of Nagarjuna's major work - the Mulamadhyamakakarika , from the Chinese and Sanskrit, accompanied by a detailed annotation of each of the verses.


Mulamadhyamakakarika of Nagarjuna - cover"The book represents a bold, new and independent approach to the problem of Nagarjuna's philosophical stance and provides a readable and stimulating addition to the already existent literature on the subject. The index to the Karika and the general index appended to the work increase its research value for the serious investigators and students of Buddhist thought." ~ R.T. Vyas - Journal of the Oriental Institute

"In this book, which is a new translation of Nagarjuna's work - Mulamadhyamakakarika , Prof. Kalupahana has given a new interpretation of Sunyavada of Nagarjuna who is the reputed scholar of Buddhism. Sanskrit text and its translation have precision in presenting the exact nature of Nagarjuna as a truest interpreter of Buddha's teachings. The author begins with a brilliant exposition of middle path Madhyama Marga, for about hundred pages, and then presents the Sanskrit text of Madhyamakakarika, translating all the 448 verses of the text, covering 200 pages; and the last 20 pages are devoted to index. The introduction is a discussion of all metaphysical problems raised in 27 chapters of the text." ~ Prof. T.F. Bidari - Pathway to God

"Kalupahana relies on one verse to argue that the entire Mulamadhyamakakarika is a grand commentary on the Discourse to Katyayana. While this sutta is clearly important for Nagarjuna, nothing in the text justifies this global interpretation. The range of topics Nagarjuna considers far exceeds the scope of that sutta, and no other passage from that sutta is mentioned in the Mulamadhyamakakarika." ~ Prof. Jay L.Garfield

The author - Sri Lankan scholar Kalupahana, claims Nagarjuna was not a Mahayanist and presents a completely new hypothesis about the nature of the treatise. Kalupahana argues that Nagarjuna's main work is actually a grand commentary on the Buddha's Discourse to Katyayana - the Kaccayanaqotta Sutta.

The concluding part of the introduction compares the teaching of the Buddha and Nagarjuna in regard to epistemology, ontology, ethics and philosophy of language indicating how the latter was making a determined attempt to reconstruct the Buddha's teachings in a very faithful manner, avoiding the substantialist metaphysics of the scholastics.

The annotation identifies the metaphysical theories of the scholastics criticized by Nagarjuna, and traces the source material and the arguments utilized in his refutation back to the early discourses of the Buddha.

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