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Musashi Tachikawa, Rolf W. Giebel

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Nagarjuna

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Nagarjuna

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This book is a study of the Mulamadhyamakakarika (Middle Stanzas), the

chief work of Nagarjuna (2nd-3rd cent.), who established the theoretical

foundations of Mahayana Buddhism and is known in Japan as "the founder of

the eight Sects." The Middle Stanzas is a treatise that integrates the

concepts of dependent co-arising (Pratityasamutpada) and emptiness

(Sunyata), fundamental to the thought of Mahayana Buddhism, but the manner

in which Nagarjuna develops his arguments is unusual and the middle Stanzas

has acquired a reputation as a difficult work. The present book attempts to

elucidate the distinctive and abstruse arguments presented in the Middle

Stanzas by means of an original method not previously used in this context.

In addition to its examination of the logic of emptiness, this book also

aims to explore the idea of emptiness from the perspective of religious

studies. That is to say, the author seeks to situate the intuitive wisdom

of emptiness within the full compass of religious experiences. Towards this

end, he employs the concepts of "the sacred" and "the profane," basic

concepts in the field of religious studies, and proposes a method for

considering the experience of the wisdom of emptiness within the same

framework as Tantric practices such as mandala visualization and group

rituals such as funeral rites.

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