Central Philosophy of Buddhism: A Study of Madhyamika System

Language: English

Pages: 372

ISBN: 8121510805

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


There is a class of scholars who are of the opinion that Buddhism in general, and Madhyamaka of Nagarjuna in particular, is not only deconstructionistic in orientation, but also nihilistic in content. How far this assertion is tenable or valid depends from what perspective we look at the Middle Way philosophy of Nagarjuna. While analyzing the general orientation of Buddhist thought, Prof. Murti shows that Nagarjuna's philosophy, although deconstructionistic in its approach, is not at all nihilistic in orientation. The dialectical methods of the reductio ad absurdum, which Murti employs as a basic tool of critique, is meant to show that reason cannot reach or comprehend that which is a priori of the Beyond, or what we call Transcendent.

It is through the method of negation that Nagarjuna, on the one hand, affirms the Buddha's noble silence concerning that which is inexpressible, and confirms, on the other hand, that the Absolute as Emptiness can be intuited only through the silence of negation. The Emptiness of the Madhyamaka, thus, must not be seen as a philosophy of nihilism; rather it must be viewed as pointing out the limitations of reason, or what we call conceptual knowledge, in the context of that which is beyond reason, and therefore transcendent to thought and language. This book is a veritable treasure of information concerning the evolution of human thought in the East and West. This book is a must for such seekers of truth who would like to plunge to the depths of knowledge.

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of the universe. His position is analogous to that of God of Rational Theology (ens realissimum). The thesis accepts the absolute existence of the Tathagata free from his empirical adjuncts. The phrase param mara1.1at-really means existence apart from relation to phenomena. The antithesis denies the existence of any such reality. The implication of this would be the confining of the real to be empirical-the sense-experience. This amounts to Positivism and Nihilism. The questions are threefold, as

interpretation, the doctrine of elements was necessary as a preliminary step. If there had been only the substance-view (atma-vada) in the field, Buddha could not have been led to the dialectical consciousness. A modal view too was necessary. A thesis had to be opposed by a counter-thesis before there could emerge the dialectical consciousness. Then alone could there be a Conflict in Reason and the attempt to transcend it. As a matter of dialectical necessity then did Buddha so The Central

still they are two sides and must be considered as distinct. It might be thought that affirmation and negation being both exclusive and exhaustive, there is no scope for other alternatives, and that the affirmation and denial of both of them at once do not mean new attitudes. This may be the dictum in formal logic which works within a restricted sphere. The acceptance of both 'is' and 'is not' may be affirmation; but it is on a different footing, as here we have the consciousness of the

kinds of Silnyata: Silnyata of external objects (bahirdha-siinyata), of internal states (adhyatma) etc. See AAA. pp. 8g ff; Satasiihasrikii Prajnii Par. pp. 77, 886, 1407; M ahiivyutpatti Sect. 37ยท Dharma Sa'I'Jgraha, section 41. BCAP. p. 416. Pancavimsati pp. 195-8. See Appendix I. The Twenty Modes of Sunyatii. Some Objections against the Dialectic Considered r6r that criticism itself is a position. As such one can be treated as the converse of the other. Both these objections spring from a

effect is produced? They belong to two different moments of time. It is inexplicable how they can be related to each other as cause and effect. The two relata must be present together for the relation to obtain between them. 3 Relation presupposes, as an essential condition, the togetherness of the relata. It might be argued that there is no interval between the destruction of the seed and the emergence of the sprout; the occurrence of the one means the occurrence of the other. Cause and effect

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