Nagarjuna's Middle Way: Mulamadhyamakakarika (Classics of Indian Buddhism) (Paperback)
This is a very dense, methodical work of Buddhist philosophy that I’ve read through at least three times. I also spend time with individual chapters or individual verses almost on a daily basis. It’s safe to say this is a book that one can never quite finish. Some background is needed; if you’re not familiar with the Four Noble Truths, dependent arising, the five agreggates, etc., the book to start with is Walpola Rahula’s What the Buddha Taught. If you do have that acquaintence with Buddhism then you’ll find Nagarjuna’s precise lucidity nothing short of stunning.— From Andy's Staff Favorites
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.
About the Author
Mark Siderits was trained in Asian and Western philosophy at the University of Hawaii and Yale University. He has taught both Asian and Western philosophy, for many years at Illinois State University, and most recently as Professor of philosophy at Seoul National University, from which he retired in 2012. He is the author or editor of five books and has published numerous articles on a wide variety of subjects in Indian Buddhist philosophy and comparative philosophy. Much of his work aims at building bridges between the classical Indian tradition and contemporary philosophy, by using insights from one tradition to cast light on problems arising in the other. Professor Shoryu Katsura received his training in Sanskrit and Buddhist Studies at Kyoto University and the University of Toronto. From 1974 to 2004 he taught in the Department of Indian Philosophy at Hiroshima University; from 2004 he was Professor of Buddhist Philosophy at Ryukoku University, Kyoto, until his retirement in 2012. He remains active at Ryukoku University, where he is Director of their Research Center for Buddhist Cultures in Asia. He is the author or editor of seven books, and has published over sixty articles on various facets of classical Indian Buddhist thought. He is perhaps best known for his work on Buddhist epistemology-the thought of Dignaga, Dharmakirti, and their commentators-but has also made important contributions to the study of Madhyamaka, Abhidharma, and later Mahayana thought. In addition he serves as chief priest of Kodaiji, a small Jodo-shinshu temple in Shiga Prefecture.
"Nagarjuna’s Mulamadhyakamakarika has long been one of the most important works in the Asian philosophical traditions. Access to it is difficult for Western philosophers, scholars, and others interested in Buddhist thought, however. Even those who read Sanskrit or Tibetan can find Nagarjuna’s thought cryptic and elusive. Katsura and Siderits’ translation and commentary renders the work accessible in an outstanding fashion. The scholarship is of the very highest quality. The translation is authoritative, and the commentary, drawing on the texts of the most notable Indian commentators, provides a picture of Nagarjuna’s thought that is vivid and illuminating."-Graham Priest, author of Logic: A Very Short Introduction