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The Central Philosophy of Buddhism (A Study of Madhyamika System)

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There is a class of scholars who are of the opinion that Buddhism in general, and Madhyamaka of Nāgārjuna in particular, is not only deconstructionistic in valid depends from what perspective we look at the Middle.

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Item Code: AZB122
Author: T.R. V. Murti
Language: English
Edition: 2020
ISBN: 9788121508346
Pages: 390
Other Details 8.80 x 5.80 inches
Weight 532 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

There is a class of scholars who are of the opinion that Buddhism in general, and Madhyamaka of Nāgārjuna in particular, is not only deconstructionistic in valid depends from what perspective we look at the Middle.

Way philosophy of Nāgārjuna. While analysing the general orientation of Buddhist thought, prof. Murit shows that Nāgārjuna's philosophy, although deconstructionistic in its approach, is not at all nihilistic in orientation. The dialectical methods of the reductio ad absurdum, which Nāgārjuna 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. The Emptiness of the Mādhyamaka, 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.

The emergence of the Mādhyamaka philosophy was redical turning point in the evolution of Buddhist thought in terms of which the untenability of realism of early Buddhism is established. Simultaneously the Mādhyamaka hastened the emergence of idealism in the form of Yogācāravijñānavāda school. Both the Mādhyamaka and Yogācāra-vijñānavāda schools of thought of Mahāyāna Buddhism gave a new direction to Indian philosophy as such, and found its ultimate expression in the philosophy of Advaita Vedānta of Samkara. This book is a must for such seekers of truth who would like to plunge to the depths of knowledge.

About the Author

Prof. T.R.V. Murti first submitted his thesis for the DLitt degree form Banaras Hindu University. The Work was undertaken under the inspiring guidance of Prof. S. Radhakrishnan. Prof. Murti was Deputy for the spaulding professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics for a Year at Oxford.


ALTHOUGH a hundred years have elapsed since the scientific study of Buddhism has been initiated in Europe, we are nevertheless still in the dark about the fundamental teachings of this religion and its philosophy. Certainly no other religion has proved so refractory to clear formulation.” This observation of the late Professor Stcherbatsky made in 1927 (The Conception of Buddhist Nirvāṇa, p. I) remains no less true today. It is also a measure of the difficulties which one encounters in this field. The vastness of Buddhism is surprisingly immense. An extensive and varied literature, canonical, exegetical and systematic, covering a period of more than fifteen centuries, is scattered in a score of languages, Sanskrit, Pāli, Tibetan, Chinese and several Mongolian languages. Its complexity is no less formidable; its schools and subschools are bewildering in their number and in the twists and turns of their thought. The greatest difficulty encountered is the lack of an accredited tradition of interpretation which might set aright many inaccuracies and shortcomings in our understanding. In spite of these admitted difficulties, a determined attempt should be made to understand Buddhism. This is essential for a correct and fruitful understanding of Indian philosophy and religion on which Buddhism has exercised a profound and permanent influence. Moreover, Buddhism forms the staple culture of the south, east and far-east Asian countries. A study of Buddhism should also prove valuable as a contribution to world-culture. And this may not be without significance in the context of the present-day world.

The Mādhyamika philosophy claims our attention as the system which created a revolution in Buddhism and through that in the whole range of Indian philosophy. The entire Buddhist thought turned on the Sūnyatā doctrine of the Mādhyamika. The earlier pluralistic phase of Buddhism, its rejection of substance and the rather uncritical erection of a theory of elements, was clearly a preparation for the fully critical and self-conscious dialectic of Nāgārjuna. The Yogācāra-Vijñānavāda Idealism explicitly accepts the śūnyatā of the Mādhyamika, and gives it an idealistic turn. The critical and absolutist trend in Brāhmanical thought is also traceable to the Mādhyamika.

Considering the rôle and the importance of the Mādhyamika, I have ventured to appraise it as the Central Philosophy of Buddhism.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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