Nagarjuna's Middle Way: Mulamadhyamakakarika (Classics of Indian Buddhism)
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Winner of the 2014 Khyenste Foundation Translation Prize.
Nagarjuna's renowned twenty-seven-chapter Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way (Mulamadhyamakakarika) is the foundational text of the Madhyamaka school of Mahayana Buddhist philosophy. It is the definitive, touchstone presentation of the doctrine of emptiness. Professors Siderits and Katsura prepared this translation using the four surviving Indian commentaries in an attempt to reconstruct an interpretation of its enigmatic verses that adheres as closely as possible to that of its earliest proponents. Each verse is accompanied by concise, lively exposition by the authors conveying the explanations of the Indian commentators. The result is a translation that balances the demands for fidelity and accessibility.
the existence of the faculty of vision 3.5cd–6 Refutation of the existence of the seer and the field of the visible 3.7 Consequences of the nonexistence of the faculty of vision and the field of the visible 3.8 Generalization of the argument to the other sense faculties and fields darśanaṃ śravaṇaṃ ghrāṇaṃ rasanaṃ sparśanaṃ manaḥ | indriyāṇi ṣaḍ eteṣāṃ draṣṭavyādīni gocaraḥ || 1 || 1. Vision, hearing, taste, smell, touch, and the inner sense (manas) are the six faculties; the visible and so
a conceptual construction. But the Pudgalavādins claim that in addition to the upādāna skandhas, there is the subject or person that appropriates them. ātmanaś ca satattvaṃ ye bhāvānāṃ ca pṛthak pṛthak | nirdiśanti na tān manye śāsanasyārthakovidān || 16 || 16. They are not considered by us to be wise instructors in the teachings of the Buddha who describe the subject and existents [i.e., the appropriated] in terms of identity and difference. Recall that the Pudgalavādin introduced the
ajātasya syāj jarāmaraṇaṃ katham || 4 || 4. Suppose birth were later and old age and death came first; how could there be a causeless old age and death of one who is not born? If the series began with old age and death (as cause of rebirth), then since these would not themselves have birth as cause, they would be causeless. Since nothing is without cause, this must be ruled out. na jarāmaraṇaṃ caiva jātiś ca saha yujyate | mriyeta jāyamānaś ca syāc cāhetukatobhayoḥ || 5 || 5. And it is
dissolution. But neither can they be distinct. For there is invariable concomitance between arising and dissolution: Wherever there is the one, the other is also found. And if they were distinct, it would be possible to find an occurrence of the one without the other. dṛśyate saṃbhavaś caiva vibhavaś ceti te bhavet | dṛśyate saṃbhavaś caiva mohād vibhava eva ca || 11 || 11. If you maintained that arising and dissolution of existents are indeed seen, arising and dissolution are only seen
nājyate | na bhavaty ubhayaṃ ceti nobhayaṃ ceti nājyate || 18 || 18. Indeed it is not to be asserted that “The Buddha exists while remaining [in this world],” nor “does not exist” nor “both exists and does not exist,” nor “neither exists nor does not exist”—none of these is to be asserted. As Bhāviveka makes explicit, the reference here is to the indeterminate questions (avyākṛta) discussed at S III.112, M I.483–88, and S IV.374–402. These are questions to which it was commonly assumed an