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Verses from the Center: A Buddhist Vision of the Sublime Paperback – July 1, 2001
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My acts are irrevocable--Brian Bruya --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Because they have no essence...
Where are the doers of deeds
Absent among their conditions?
Imagine a magician
Who creates a creature
Who creates other creatures.
Acts I perform are creatures
Who create others.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Moreover as a vertebra in the backbone of the student-centric disclosure of emptiness, MMK is indeed an essential read for those of us who tread the fascinating and beautiful road to insight.
The MMK is not about Philosophy or Sanskrit but of sharing a direct, living experience of emptiness through the medium of writing; using language and concept to reveal a non-conceptual experience of emptiness. In my mind this would be the only way of 'translating' a text such as the MMK. A good re-presentation of the MMK must be memorable and life-changing. Self-grasping must be left with nothing to hold onto and be clearly revealed as the unskilful, foolish enemy that it is.
I feel that with this book, Batchelor is attempting to offer an alternative experience of MMK to those that are currently presented by the linguists and philosophers who have chosen MMK as belonging to their respective domains. His arguments are at their strongest when he resists ownership of the text by intellectualising academics. For this alone he gets a star. For his provocative alternative rewriting of the MMK, (helping us remember that there are alternative approaches to translation) he gets one more star.
Batchelor wishes to share with us the spontaneity of the verse form without getting lost in a rarified explication of his own understandings of the intellectual import of the verses, which is indeed a lofty and noble goal, but the question arises over whether or not Batchelor is up to the challenge; I believe that he is not.Read more ›
True, not everyone wants to read Nagarjuna with a close eye on all the interpretive questions that might be raised about the place this text occupies in Buddhism. Nevertheless, the wish to present the Madhyamaka - shorn of its traditional trappings, Buddhist-scholastic exegeses etc. - means that we are left wholly dependant upon the 'Batcheloresque' exegesis.
Other reviewers have pointed out some of the textual issues involved here - viz. Stephen's reading of the karikas. We might add that - contrary to what some of Stephen's observations suggest, Nagarjuna saw the Madhyamika as 'marga' centered - i.e. that it presupposed the Buddhist path. Even though it forsakes all dualism (advayavada) and allied thought constructs (drsti), Nagarjuna made it clear that this was in the interest of a religious ideal - viz. realization of the unconditioned (absolute), as against nihilism, scepticism or agnosticism etc. The Buddha said: 'two things only do I teach, suffering and its cessation.' The first - suffering (duhkha) is a corollary of impermanence (antiya) and 'dependent origination (pratitya-samutpada). Hence, Stephen's reference to the fact that we are (relatively) 'contingent beings.' But this is only half the picture. Buddhism is not just a philosophy of 'shifting sand' and the Madhyamika does not stop there.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The introduction to this book contains the very best explanation of what is meant by the Buddhist term, emptiness. Read morePublished 3 months ago by K. Peffley
Beautiful. Must reading. Stephen's introduction - almost half the book - is a compelling and accessible introduction to Nagarjuna and 'emptiness" -- the best presentation of... Read morePublished 8 months ago by S. Carduner
here is an interview of Batchelor describing the method of his translating of this great philosophical work of Nagarjuna:
DV: How did you approach the translation given... Read more
I'm a huge fan of Stephen Batchelor's books. Although I thoroughly enjoyed this book, my only criticism is that I would have liked to have seen more discussion of each of the... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Tom T.
I find Stephen Batchelor's insights very helpful in my own journey. He has a refreshing honesty and realism about his approach to the path. Read morePublished 22 months ago by johnjayr
The author of "Verses from the Center" takes old texts and looks into the concept of "Emptiness" first mentioned by the Buddha, I think. Read morePublished on October 5, 2012 by Frances Haas
Nagarjuna, Batchelor, the other reviewers and I share a common problem: our grasp of reality is hampered by our brains' conceptual and perceptual limitations. Read morePublished on December 27, 2009 by Norman Bearrentine
In some ways I agree with "Jim Williams" review, though I do not see this commentary as harshly as he does -- and I see Batchelor as I always do, as a commentator, not a teacher. Read morePublished on February 12, 2008 by Cat Smiles