Philosophy of No-Identity (With Philosophical Translation of Madhyamaka Karika, Sunyata-Saptati and Vigrahavyavartani)
Philosophy of No-Identity
This work breaks a new ground for the study of the philosophy of great Buddhist scholar Nagarjuna. As a part of the UGC project on Philosophical Foundations of Value-Oriented teaching it tries to project for the first time that Nagarjuna has propounded his philosophy his philosophy, concerning the methodology of the Buddha’s teachings .He is of the view that Identity [svabhava] of reality cannot be obtained through system-bound language, which canonly reveal the superficial aspect of realit . To find Identity, a new form of life it needed.
The book contains a full translation of the Karikas of the Madhyamika-Sastra, ktogether with the translations of the sunyata-saptati and the Vigrahavyavartani. The original texts are added for ready reference.
Ramachandra Pandeya [Vyakaranacharya, M.A.Ph.D] is a senior Professor of Philosophy in the University of Delhi and is the Principal Investigator of the major U.G.C. Research Project on Philosophical Foundations of Value-Oriented Teaching.
Manju, M.A. Ph.D [B.H.U] is a specialist scholar of Advaita Vedanta and Buddhist Philosophy on which she has written several books. She is at present the senior Research Associate in the UGC project on Philosophical Foundations of Value-Oriented Teaching in the Department of Philosophy, University of Delhi.
This work represents a part of our research done under a Major Research Project on ‘Philosophical Foundations of Value-Orientation in Teaching’ sponsored by the University Grants Commission. In course of our investigation as to what ancient Indian philosophers thought about the sense of value that a teacher brings into his teaching, thereby maintaining a continuity of tradition [sampradaya] through generations to follow, we found that there was not much material available in the extant literature on the subject. It is very much true that each philosopher inherits certain values and propagates them with his contributions through his oral or written teachings. But it is a different matter to recollect, not so much upon the nature of those values, as upon the philosophical methodology of teaching adopted forinculcating those values in pupils. We find some stray reflections of this kind in the Upanisadic dialogues but there is hardly any work presenting a systematic study of the available to us.
We were surprised when we looked for this kind of treatment in the works of treat Buddhist philosophers, particularly those of Nagarjuna. The works of Nagarjuna have been studied extensively but scholars so far failed to notice the fact that his magnum opus the Madhyamika-Sastra is actually a work devoted to the exposition of the Buddha’s teaching method. The first and the last verses of this work testify to the fact that the Great Teacher [Vadatam vara] that the Buddha has adopted a method suited to the propagation of the value of No-Identity [our translation for Nihsvabhavata].
Nagarjuna presents an exposition of this method through the analysis of system-formation and the exposition of this method through the analysis of system-formation and theexamination of the role that language and logic play in it. His insistence on the fact that Identity [svabhava] cannot be revealed in any system, as it is necessarily bound by the limitation of language expressing it, has presented in its turn a logic consisting of purely formal syntactical and semantical relations. Thus the quest for obtaining Identification will have to be directed towards that realm where language - logic - bound systems do not operate. For us, therefore, the realm of Sunyata, as clarified by Nagarjuna, is indicative of the limitation of language-logic on the one hand and it h olds out the availability of an altogether new approach to truth and reality of Identity on the other. All this, as we have understood the views of Nagarjuna concerning the teaching method of the Buddha, is possible in a new form of life admitting no distinctions of the kind we are used to hold.
This is what we have tried in brief to bring out in the first part of this work. The second part consists of a philosophical restatement [not to be confused with literal translation] of the Karikas of the Madhyamaka Sastra. We thought it necessary to provide direct basis for our approach to Nagarjuna’s philosophy of No-Identity by bringing out full and complete English rendering of one of the most difficult text for the first time. By way of explanation of crucial points, explanatory notes have been added, mainly based on Candrakirti’s famous commentary. Of course, the text of the Karikas is given for ready reference mainly on the lines of Prof. P L Vaidya’s edition. In the third part, we have given a free translation of Nagarjuna’s Sunyata-saptati based on its Tibetan versions and CHR Lindtner’s translation contained in his Nagarjuniana. The second text included here is Vigrahavyavartani and its translation done independently by us. These two texts, in our opinion, provide effective and valuable exposition of major philosophical points discussed in the Madhyamaka-sastra.
In order to understand the nature of the philosophical enterprises revealed in the text of the Mandhyamaka-sutra by Nagarjuna, one has to understand the exact context in which the foremost treatise of the Madhyamika School is written. Nagarjuna’s philosophy has been subjected to very unkind and uneven treatment by both ancient as well as modern scholars. Even in the Buddhist fold, Nagarjuna did not enjoy as much respect and reverence as many other old acaryas like Asanga ,Vasubandhu, Dignaga etc, did. The reason for this comparatively low esteem in which Nagarjuna was placed is mainly provided by his terse, is leaning towards negative conclusions. The same reason mentioned above, coupled with Brahmanical egoism, depicted Nagarjuna in the Brahmanicalfold as a staunch nihilist, a philosopher having no conclusions but displaying sophistry.
It is true that to a reader ancient or modern, Nagarjuna’s statements would appear having no philosophical contents in the form of expressly propounded metaphysics and epistemology. In the absence of any clear philosophical conclusion stated by Nagarjuna modern scholars are tempted to draw their own conclusion, relating Nagarjuna’s philosophy, on the other hand, to stark nihilism and agnosticism in the modern times, Nagarjuna’s philosophy seems to be like a rudderless ship tossed in themidst of huge waves, currents and cross currents of philosophical argumentation. It is all, as has been pointed out above, due to the methodological peculiarity of Nagarjuna’s philosophical enterprise.
One has to acknowledge the fact that the philosophical method of Nagarjuna is unique in the history of Indian and Asian philosophy in general and Western philosophy, which commands today a universal respect, in particular. In order, therefore, to understand what Nagarjuna is addressing himself to, without letting our acquired philosophical understanding interfere, we should look into the method adopted by him in his writings. In fact, some of the scholars have tried to look into his method for some kind of dialectics or to look at it as a method of reduction-and-absurdum resulting in withering away of all the possible philosophical ideas at the end.
There appears a definite positive goal which Nagarjuna attempts to achieve through his novel method, totally misunderstood and at times maligned. A careful study of the Madhyamaka-sastra reveals the purpose for writing the book under consideration. Just in the introductory verse of salutation to the Buddha, Nagarjuna, pays homage to homage to him who has propounded relational origination, which is said to be the termination of all linguistic descriptions and is quintessence.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Item Code: NZN628 Author: Ramchandra Pandeya & Manju Cover: HARDCOVER Edition: 2010 Publisher: Eastern Book Linkers ISBN: 9788178541808 Language: English Size: 8.50 X 5.50 inch Pages: 191 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 0.4 Kg