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The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way: Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā Paperback – November 9, 1995
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Professor of philosophy and director of Hampshire College's exchange program with exiled Tibetan scholars, Garfield provides the first Tibetan-to-English translation of eminent second-century Buddhist N ag arjuna's greatest work: M ulamadhyamik arik a. Reflecting Indo-Tibetan Pr asangika-M adhyamika (Middle Path) School commentaries by Buddhap alita and Candrakirti, it is aimed at Western philosophers, not philologists. Throughout this profoundly logical text, N ag arjuna meets contrasting dialectical arguments, thereby proving that all phenomena are empty of inherent existence and nothing originates independently of anything else. He forges a middle path between conventional and ultimate truths. In his comments, Garfield compares this complex doctrine with Western philosophical concepts of emptiness and essence, demonstrating its empirical stature. Kenneth Inada's Sanskrit translation, N ag arjuna (1970) is more accessible to general readers, emphasizing the Buddhist mentor as a benign mediator rather than a strict logician. Garfield's text successfully appeals to scholars and is recommended for academic rather than public libraries.?Dara Eklund, Los Angeles P.L.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Will be...enormously beneficial."--Guy Newland, Central Michigan University
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Top customer reviews
A more poetically compelling translation of the Mulamadhyamikakarika, along with a very thought-provoking introduction, is to be found in Stephen Batchelor's "Verses from the Center."
In reading the entire text, i found the arguements quite overwelming, however the beginning buddhist is not without help. In searching for applicatons to the examinations it can be said that madhyamaka is the synthsis of all other schools. This is a great starting place for organization. monastics usually study these topics for 20 years intensively , they relate most to the abidharma. Having said this , i would reccomend Geshe Tashi Tsering's Foundations book series, especially Relative truth , ultimate truth ( Vol 2) as the companion to this text. In learning the divisions of the two truths by the four major schools one may place the examinations of nagarjuna in thier context and avoid misintrepretation which garfield says " the danger is to mistakenly view the subtleties of emptiness as nihlism". ( paraphrase) So this would be a great guide to the study applicaton and classification of the book's chapters .. July 8, 2010
I am not a monk, nor have i been given a systematic , structured schooling in buddhist philosophy. My review is based solely upon comparison with my limited understanding of the subtleties of madhyamaka. Nagarjuna is called a master by many prominent buddhist thinkers, to note Tsong khapa. It is said that Nagarjuna is an "Arya" being. "Arya" meaning sees all subtle levels of Dukkha. ( Rather elementary) However it is said repeadedly that without ethics,concentration and then wisdom the madhaymaka is an enigma. Thats why the dalai lama explains it as such. Presupposing the student has built this foundation - Ethics, Concentration, Wisdom. Then one is ready for Madhyamaka.
Garfield gives the best version to western philosophers. I would caution though taking Garfield's view as the monastic view. Even though he gives a great explanation , thouroughly extensive and simplifies deep points in the madhyamaka, he is not able to approach it from the soterilogical point of view, as compared to that of an Arya being. in the madhyamakaavatara, which is like an introduction to Nagarjuna, chandrakirti says that he isn't even an Arya, of the 6th bhumi. Im sure Garfield would agree, that to have a thourough understanding of this text one would have to explain from that view.
This text would be greatly understanded by the most extensive commentary extant by Rje Tsong Khapa. (Ocean of reasoning) with this commentary one would get the jest of the major commentaries from Chandrakirti, Buddhapalita, and Tsong Khapa. Ocean is a great companion to this text.
With this in mind this version of Nagarjuna's seminal treatise is the best buddhist book available, aside from Lamrim Chenmo.
100% gift to the west, Thank you Garfield,Newland and everyone else for this gift to us all.