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Central Philosophy of Buddhism: A Study of Madhyamika System Paperback – January 1, 2003
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- Publisher : Munshiram Manoharlal (January 1, 2003)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 372 pages
- ISBN-10 : 8121510805
- ISBN-13 : 978-8121510806
- Item Weight : 1.05 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.75 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,314,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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But i mean its good in many other superficial ways i suppose .
Reading this its like a 400 page description of a sun set . But you never get to the see the sunset.
Let me explain this book is a cyclopean and detailed expansive work that really goes to the bones of buddhism but it all really means nothing in the end. example the author goes into a 3 thousand word explanation of the buddhas silence . and goes on chapter after chapter about why the buddha was silent on metaphysics as such.
Its like a technical book on buddhism which all the knowledge is categorized and the genealogy of the concepts, words,ideas, all traced back to the source and fits neatly into a system of knowledge . But reading it i just wanted to go back and re read nagarjuna or the pali works and skip this book altogether. I don't really know what someone could learn from this exhaustive work that is mostly just comparing buddhism to theories of the time and after in an attempt to understand the roots and concepts of buddhism while also looking at nagarjuna vansbandu etc but in the end it just scholarly academic pile of papers that really teach you nothing, and i mean nothing. But don't get me wrong its good for what it is academically . it does go into details about buddhist concepts and the meaning of Sanskrit words as well as comparing vedanta to buddhism and the original texts of the buddha and how they were maybe shaped over time and a rich detailed history of the figures of buddhism through out history but all that is largely superficial as such you see going into details about them won't help you understand them. sorry if you bought this for that reason you wasted your money .
There are three levels of Right View on the first step on the Noble Eightfold Path, and the Buddha would teach one thing or another depending on the needs and spiritual development of the individual he as conversing with at the moment. All too often, especially within the Theravada tradition, the second level of 'no-self/anatta' view is taken to an extreme and they teach liberation from the false view of self as final. This is great misunderstanding the Buddha clearly did not expound this view. He did not want to side with the Eternalists (who are helped by the anatta doctrine) nor with the Nihilists (who are helped by the 1st level of Right View of self, karma, freedom from compulsion/addiction).
The ultimate teaching of the Buddha was to not take hold of any view and this is the final liberation, which is the third and final level Buddhism has to offer. To apprehend the absolute, to 'attain' Final Liberation, one must free oneself of all conceptualization and give in to Intellectual Intuition-Prajna-Paramita. Reason can only take you so far and at some point you must let go of all viewpoints that only serve to negate reality.
I cannot speak highly enough of this work. It's a classic you will find it referenced by authors such as Alan Watts and Ken Wilber, which most certainly had an influence on their work.