Nagarjuna

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:15 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Sanghamitta wrote:Where would we be without the endless vigilance of the Buddhist Ecumenicists..

Damdifino what you mean by this. As I said, Nagarjuna is not necessary, contrary to what some of his followers might say, for the Theravadin to attain full awakening, nor does the Nagarjunian critique fall upon the Theravadin position without distorting the Theravadin position, contrary to what some of his followers might say.

On the other hand, if one is interested in looking at what Nagarjuna has to say there is no reason not to read what he has to say. It is not a bad thing for a Theravadin to have some familiarity of the Mahayana.

My tongue was firmly in my cheek Tiltbillings.

Tongue in cheek. Okay dokey then.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19584
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:21 pm

Mike wrote:it suggests a weakening from equality to "samsara shares some characteristics with nirvana", which removes the fundamental objections about the equality. However, since this is way outside what I even imagine I understand, I would welcome further clarification from my knowledgeable friends here.

Becasiclly, it is saying there is no thingness/selfness to be found in either samsara or nibbana
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19584
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby Jechbi » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:36 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Your point is?
um ... that we should be mindful of the predilections and perspectives we bring to this type of discussion. Was that somehow not clear?

Here's another way you could have responded: "Good point. Worth remembering. Thanks." To each his own, I guess...
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
User avatar
Jechbi
 
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby BlackBird » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:22 pm

Okay everyone, I'm sorry this has gone off track

:focus:


Paññāsikhara wrote:To what extent are the writings of Nagarjuna in line with Theravadin thought?

What do you mean by "Theravadin"? If it is the commentaries of the Theras, their Abhidhamma, and so forth, then there is quite a distance between them. If you mean sutra based Sthaviras, then there is a lot of overlap. However, I agree with Walser, and think that a look into the south-eastern Mahasamghikas may be the best place to start looking. There are strong connections, though over divergent, between the Mahavihara and the Andhakas.


Hi Bhante, thank you for your response.

It's good to know there's quite some overlap in regards to the Suttas. I had initially meant a Mahavihara-whole kit and caboodle definition of Theravada. But perhaps it's much like taking apart an engine, stripping back the outer pieces 'till you get to the core, then seeing how the new bits fit in the with the core, before reapplying the outer pieces and seeing if it can all fit in somewhat, if not where these outer pieces don't fit together.

Paññāsikhara wrote:Though the MMK doesn't mention it, other works of Nagarjuna are strongly Mahayana, and advocate the Bodhisattva path. This is well before the Theravadin Dhammapala wrote anything about it, by maybe 500 years.


This is intriguing, I saw a little passage (albeit on wikipedia) which raises an interesting point:

There exist a number of influential texts attributed to Nāgārjuna, although most were probably written by later authors. The only work that all scholars agree is Nagarjuna's is the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā (Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way)

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagarjuna#Writings

Now knowing next to nothing on this topic, I don't attempt to assume the weighting of the above quote, knowing wikipedia's track record of innaccuracy, but how does this sit with you Bhante?

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
User avatar
BlackBird
 
Posts: 1861
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:41 pm

Hi Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:
Mike wrote:it suggests a weakening from equality to "samsara shares some characteristics with nirvana", which removes the fundamental objections about the equality. However, since this is way outside what I even imagine I understand, I would welcome further clarification from my knowledgeable friends here.

Basically, it is saying there is no thingness/selfness to be found in either samsara or nibbana

Thanks, that's how I was interpreting it from my perspective. As I have frequently chanted:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... cteristics
[And Dhammapada 279 http://home.nethere.net/dsparks/narada/20-Magga%20Vagga.htm]
Sabbe dhammā anattā'ti
Yadā paññāya passati,
Atha nibbindati dukkhe:
Esa maggo visuddhiyā.
All phenomena are not-self:
When one sees this with discernment,
One grows disenchanted with stress —
This is the path to purity.


Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10398
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:02 pm

BlackBird wrote:
There exist a number of influential texts attributed to Nāgārjuna, although most were probably written by later authors. The only work that all scholars agree is Nagarjuna's is the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā (Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way)

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagarjuna#Writings

Now knowing next to nothing on this topic, I don't attempt to assume the weighting of the above quote, knowing wikipedia's track record of innaccuracy, but how does this sit with you Bhante?

With scholars there is always going to be differing of opinions. The number of works that seem to be authentic Nagarjuna is a lot smaller than those claimed of him. The MMK is the key work by him, and a few others are held to be from his hand without question.

As for "Mahavihara-whole kit and caboodle definition of Theravada," nothing I have said above would be out of line with the Mahavihara position.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19584
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:04 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:
Mike wrote:it suggests a weakening from equality to "samsara shares some characteristics with nirvana", which removes the fundamental objections about the equality. However, since this is way outside what I even imagine I understand, I would welcome further clarification from my knowledgeable friends here.

Basically, it is saying there is no thingness/selfness to be found in either samsara or nibbana

Thanks, that's how I was interpreting it from my perspective. As I have frequently chanted:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... cteristics
[And Dhammapada 279 http://home.nethere.net/dsparks/narada/20-Magga%20Vagga.htm]
Sabbe dhammā anattā'ti
Yadā paññāya passati,
Atha nibbindati dukkhe:
Esa maggo visuddhiyā.
All phenomena are not-self:
When one sees this with discernment,
One grows disenchanted with stress —
This is the path to purity.


Mike

And I think that is to the point. I think there is a real danger of reading way too much into Nagarjuna.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19584
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby BudSas » Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:38 am

Hi,

Just to change the subject, I wonder if Ven Pannasikhara or any learned friends could comment on the origin of the Māhaprajñāparamitopadeśa, a commentary on the Large Prajñāparamita? I always thought it was written by Ven Nagarjuna, until I saw the following text from the Wikipedia:

"Lindtner considers that the Māhaprajñāparamitopadeśa, a huge commentary on the Large Prajñāparamita not to be a genuine work of Nāgārjuna. This is only extant in a Chinese translation by Kumārajīva. There is much discussion as to whether this is a work of Nāgārjuna, or someone else. Étienne Lamotte, who translated one third of the Upadeśa into French, felt that it was the work of a North Indian bhikkhu of the Sarvāstivāda school, who later became a convert to the Mahayana. The Chinese scholar-monk Yin Shun felt that it was the work of a South Indian, and that Nāgārjuna was quite possibly the author. Actually, these two views are not necessarily in opposition, and a South Indian Nāgārjuna could well have studied in the northern Sarvāstivāda. Neither of the two felt that it was composed by Kumārajīva which others have rashly suggested."

BDS
BudSas
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:12 am

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 10, 2009 2:07 am

BudSas wrote:Hi,

Just to change the subject, I wonder if Ven Pannasikhara or any learned friends could comment on the origin of the Māhaprajñāparamitopadeśa, a commentary on the Large Prajñāparamita? I always thought it was written by Ven Nagarjuna, until I saw the following text from the Wikipedia:

"...a South Indian Nāgārjuna could well have studied in the northern Sarvāstivāda. Neither of the two felt that it was composed by Kumārajīva which others have rashly suggested."

BDS

Walser presents in his book a persuasive argument that Nagarjuna was a Mahasanghika, not a Sarvastivadin.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19584
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby pink_trike » Tue Nov 10, 2009 2:20 am

Sanghamitta wrote:It seems to me that the mahayana is more like a Russian doll...joke... :smile:

The whole of Buddhism resembles a Russian doll.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
User avatar
pink_trike
 
Posts: 1038
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby pink_trike » Tue Nov 10, 2009 2:23 am

Aloka wrote:If anyone is interested in reading a Tibetan Buddhist commentary on the key verses of each chapter of Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika I suggest "The Sun of Wisdom" by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso.

Kind regards,

Aloka

Excellent, clear book. Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso is a wonderful teacher. :)
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
User avatar
pink_trike
 
Posts: 1038
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby pink_trike » Tue Nov 10, 2009 2:25 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Dan74 wrote:Emptiness sickness?

One might add "Nagarjuna Sickness," which is a very common side effect of studying Nagarjuna.

Unless one has a skillful meat space teacher. I don't think Nagarjuna envisioned that his works would be available to the masses of read-only Buddhists, most of whom have never met a teacher.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
User avatar
pink_trike
 
Posts: 1038
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Nov 10, 2009 2:40 am

Kare wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:It is not a bad thing for a Theravadin to have some familiarity of the Mahayana.


I agree. And in that connection I would like to recommend Vasubandhu, especially his Madhyantavibhaga. The first chapter of this work is analyzed in Kochumuttom, "A Buddhist Doctrine of Experience". Although Vasubandhu often is counted as one of the establishers of the "Mind-only-school", the Madhyantavibhaga presents a view on reality which for the most part is quite in line with Theravada, although one might say that he develops some themes a bit further than what the Pali texts did. Anyway, he is definitely worthwhile to read. A few years ago I translated the entire Madhyantavibhaga into Norwegian. This was published with an analysis and commentary of the text, that I wrote in cooperation with a Zen practicioner (Svein Myreng). It was a brave act of the publisher to accept this book ... I do not think he has sold many copies ... :shrug:


Great work, Kare! :D

In the context here, though, of "Theravada", I think that it is essential to note the Vasubandhu is working from, and also contra, the Sarvastivadins, especially the orthodox Kasmiri Vaibhasikas. So, he is definitely going to have ideas that are more related to this school, than the Sri Lankan Mahaviharins. So, it may be getting a bit off topic, perhaps (?)
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.
Paññāsikhara
 
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Nov 10, 2009 2:49 am

mikenz66 wrote:The article Tilt quoted above is interesting, in that it argues that Nagarjuna's argument follows logically from the Pali Suttas:
The fact that both samsara and nirvana in terms of emptiness does not make them identical in terms of dependent arising.

In conclusion, Nargajuna’s famous identification of samsara and nirvana and his defending the emptiness of svabhava of all dharmas, and his equating emptiness and dependent arising are not revolutionary innovations but orthodox philosophical moves entailed by the early teachings of Buddhism.

I've always ignored the non-duality ideas, since a literal "samsara=nirvana" appears to be inconsistent with the early suttas and totally opposed to the expositions in the Theravada Abhidhamma and Commentary. However, as I understand the article, it suggests a weakening from equality to "samsara shares some characteristics with nirvana", which removes the fundamental objections about the equality. However, since this is way outside what I even imagine I understand, I would welcome further clarification from my knowledgeable friends here.


Hi Mike

This is quite a complex one, and the general term can be read in a number of ways, only one of them being a literal "samsara = nirvana".
The usage in the MMK is most commonly cited in the verse:

Na saṃsārasya nirvāṇāt kiṃ cid asti viśeṣaṇam, Na nirvāṇasya saṃsārāt kiṃ cid asti viśeṣaṇaṃ.

There does not exist any remainder of samsara from nirvana.
There does not exist any remainder of nirvana from samsara.

Key terms to sort out are, what is meant by "remainder" (viśeṣaṇaṃ)?

The earliest commentary we have on the MMK is preserved in Chinese, well before the much more commonly cited Candrakirti. It states on this verse:

《中論》卷4〈25 觀涅槃品〉:
「五陰相續往來因緣故。說名世間。五陰性畢竟空無受寂滅。此義先已說。以一切法不生不滅故。世間與涅槃無有分別。涅槃與世間亦無分別。」
(CBETA, T30, no. 1564, p. 36, a6-9)

Due to the causal condition of the five aggregates continuously revolving (=samsara), it is said to be "the world".(1)
The nature of the five aggregates is ultimate emptiness, without remainder, pacification. This idea has already been explained previously.
Due to all dharmas neither arising nor ceasing, the world and nirvana are without any distinction(2), nirvana and the world are without any distinction.

(1) The text translates "samsara" as 世間 = "the world" = "loka".
(2) "Distinction" as translation for "visesa".

The basic gist of "all dharmas neither arising or ceasing" is based on the rejection of dharmas having / being "own natures", and has its own line of argumentation.
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.
Paññāsikhara
 
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby enkidu » Tue Nov 10, 2009 2:53 am

pink_trike wrote:read-only Buddhists

:jumping:

Awesome.
enkidu
 
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:55 am

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:01 am

BlackBird wrote:Okay everyone, I'm sorry this has gone off track

:focus:


Paññāsikhara wrote:To what extent are the writings of Nagarjuna in line with Theravadin thought?

What do you mean by "Theravadin"? If it is the commentaries of the Theras, their Abhidhamma, and so forth, then there is quite a distance between them. If you mean sutra based Sthaviras, then there is a lot of overlap. However, I agree with Walser, and think that a look into the south-eastern Mahasamghikas may be the best place to start looking. There are strong connections, though over divergent, between the Mahavihara and the Andhakas.


Hi Bhante, thank you for your response.


You are welcome. :D

It's good to know there's quite some overlap in regards to the Suttas. I had initially meant a Mahavihara-whole kit and caboodle definition of Theravada. But perhaps it's much like taking apart an engine, stripping back the outer pieces 'till you get to the core, then seeing how the new bits fit in the with the core, before reapplying the outer pieces and seeing if it can all fit in somewhat, if not where these outer pieces don't fit together.


Well, one of the biggest problems in earlier scholarship, and one that is certainly very rife on Internet Buddhist Discussion Forums, is the approach which assumes that there are only two schools - Theravada and Mahayana. (Or maybe three, if one adds Tibetan Vajrayana.) Then, people try to argue that if one makes a Mahayana point, then it must be contra Theravada, etc. etc. Actually, this is extremely dubious indeed.

First of all, it has now been shown quite clearly by a number of brilliant scholars, that at the time in question - that of Nagarjuna, c. 2nd-3rd cty CE - the Mahayana was a very low key and unimportant group, and even the Sri Lankan Mahavihara was not really that important at all. The big schools, and thus the main line of thinking, was held by the various Pudgalavadins, the Sarvastivadins, and some other groups such as general Mahasamghikas and so on. Without considering these groups at all, then one will almost certainly come to completely bizarre conclusions. Sadly, this has often been the case.

Paññāsikhara wrote:Though the MMK doesn't mention it, other works of Nagarjuna are strongly Mahayana, and advocate the Bodhisattva path. This is well before the Theravadin Dhammapala wrote anything about it, by maybe 500 years.


This is intriguing, I saw a little passage (albeit on wikipedia) which raises an interesting point:

There exist a number of influential texts attributed to Nāgārjuna, although most were probably written by later authors. The only work that all scholars agree is Nagarjuna's is the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā (Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way)

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagarjuna#Writings

Now knowing next to nothing on this topic, I don't attempt to assume the weighting of the above quote, knowing wikipedia's track record of innaccuracy, but how does this sit with you Bhante?


There are a number of text attributed to (a / the / some) Nagarjuna. True.
"Most" written by later authors? Some, yes. Many, probably. Most? - not so sure.

One of the problems is this - we have the text, but not the author. So, nowadays, the very definition of "Nagarjuna" has virtually become "whoever wrote the Mulamadhyamaka Karika". So, with this in mind, the above statement is kind of tautological, and doesn't really say anything at all.

Most scholars in this area still agree that he wrote some other texts, including: Suhrllekha, Ratnavali, Vigrahavyavatani, and others. Walser bases himself mainly on the Ratnavali, which has its pros and cons.

One big discussion is on the commentary to the Prajnaparamita, the Mahaprajnaparamita Upadesa 大智度論, which is only preserved in Chinese. Lamotte worked on a huge five volume translation of only 1/3 of it, over decades. In the third volume, he concluded that the author of this text is a former Sarvastivadin Abhidharmika, and this, and other reasons, led him to conclude that it was not written by Nagarjuna. This is now the standard view on this text in the West. Yinshun wrote an interesting response to this, but it is unknown outside of Chinese circles.

There is a similar issue with a commentary on the Dasabhumika Sutra, part of the Avatamsaka Sutra, too, also attributed to Nagarjuna. Again, only in Chinese.
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.
Paññāsikhara
 
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:16 am

tiltbillings wrote:
BudSas wrote:Hi,

Just to change the subject, I wonder if Ven Pannasikhara or any learned friends could comment on the origin of the Māhaprajñāparamitopadeśa, a commentary on the Large Prajñāparamita? I always thought it was written by Ven Nagarjuna, until I saw the following text from the Wikipedia:

"...a South Indian Nāgārjuna could well have studied in the northern Sarvāstivāda. Neither of the two felt that it was composed by Kumārajīva which others have rashly suggested."

BDS

Walser presents in his book a persuasive argument that Nagarjuna was a Mahasanghika, not a Sarvastivadin.


Yes, he does. However, I think that first of all, Walser really wants him to be one, to fit with the rest of his theories. Secondly, he argues more that he "lived in a Mahasamghika monastery", but this does not necessarily mean that he himself was 100% Mahasamghika. Thirdly, there is no reason to think that while he lived in a Mahasamghika monastery, that he was also not very familiar with Sarvastivadin lines of thought. Nagarjuna reportedly lived to an old age - even 100 yrs if we discount the more incredible centuries of later hagiography - and thus may have spent even decades in a number of different monastery surroundings. Walser bases himself largely on the Ratnavali, but this is perhaps only one of his works. And then, we are not sure if he wrote it during his younger, or older, years.

Back to the question of authorship. I was going to cut-and-paste from my dissertation, but then, when I submit it, the plagiarism checking software is going to freak out when it matches up whole paragraphs with this web-site! What a hassle!

Lamotte 2001: 897-898:
From these investigations we may conclude that the author is later than the first Madyhamikas and should not be identified with Nāgārjuna the author of the Madhyamaka śāstra. … Here, in its main features, is the picture that emerges from his work. A native of the north-west and steeped in his Indian nationality, he became a monastic in some monastery of Kaśmir- Gandhāra of Sarvāstvādin persuasion. He devoted himself passionately to the study of the Tripiṭaka and specialized in the Ṣaṭpādābhidharma and its various Vibhāṣās. He acquired such mastery of them that he was probably in charge of teaching them. Devoured by curiosity, he showed a pronounced taste for reading and soon the golden legend of Buddhism which was flourishing in the north-west no longer held any secrets for him. He did not, however, dissociate himself from the heretics with whom he was in close contact on their alms-rounds: he had a sufficient rather than schematic acquaintance with Vedic literature, of the Brahmanic systems, especially the Sāṃkhya and Vaiśeṣika, as well as the Hindu doctrines (Śivaism and Viṣṇuism). He took part in internal debates between the Sarvāstivādin-Vaibhāṣikas and the Dārṣṭāntika-Sautrāntikas of Kumāralāta and did not hide his preference for the former. … … Becoming progressively more familiar with the Mahāyāna sūtras that were published, becoming familiar with the mode of reasoning of a Nāgārjuna or a Deva, he thought he had discovered the ‘true nature of things‘ and resolutely became a Mahāyānist. Such a turnabout did not provoke any moral or intellectual crisis in him. Convinced of the advantages of the monastic life, not for a moment did he think of leaving (hīnāyāvarte) it to return to lay life. His Buddhist faith was in no way shaken since he remained faithful to the Word of the Buddha ‘such as it was in the Sūtra and appeared in the Vinaya’ and, although he adhered preferentially to the sūtras of profound meaning, supramundane and associated with emptiness, he was aware of ‘not straying from the true nature of things’, but on the contrary, of staying even closer to it. When he compared the fantasy and exaggerations of the texts of lengthy development with the tidy and methodical texts of the Tripiṭaka, his sense of moderation was not offended, but the uneasiness that he felt did not prevent him from discovering in the new literature a fire and heat lacking in the old literature. When this Abhidharma teacher examined the sibylline kārikās of a Nāgārjuna or a Deva closely, not only could he admire their precision and their terseness but he had to notice, on his own part that, compared with the enormous production of Kātyāyanīputra and the Kaśmir arhats, these opuscules, which did not even reach five hundred verses, were rather lightweight. This is why he undertook to compose, in the form of a commentary on the Mahāyānā prajñāpāramitā sūtra, an exegetical treatise that would be the Mahāyānist replica of the Sarvāstivādin Abhidharma.

But, Yinshun shows that there are more sources from the Mahasamghika used in this Upadesa than Lamotte realizes, and not all the earlier source material is Sarvastivada at all. Some of it is southern, such as the explanations used for the dharanis, and also references to the Petaka method, which may just be the Petakopadesa of southern India.

(Hf) ... we may note that both Lamotte and Yinshun do accept that the Upadeśa is definitely an Indian and not a Chinese work, which accurately reflects a commentarial tradition on the Pañcaviṃśati- Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra, at least in the style of Nāgārjuna’s Madhyamaka philosophy. With the amendments of Yinshun and Conze on the author being more inclinded towards the Western Gandhāri Sarvāstivādins rather than the orthodox Kaśmīri Vaibhāṣikas, and probably of South Indian origins as shown by Yinshun's findings, we find that Lamotte’s summary above is sufficient basis for our purposes here.


Whatever the case, even if it is not by Nagarjuna himself, it still is definitely a brilliant example of his philosophy, and may just be the first such example of Madhyamaka being used as the nitartha explanation for a large and important Mahayana text.
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.
Paññāsikhara
 
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:22 am

BudSas wrote:Hi,

Just to change the subject, I wonder if Ven Pannasikhara or any learned friends could comment on the origin of the Māhaprajñāparamitopadeśa, a commentary on the Large Prajñāparamita? I always thought it was written by Ven Nagarjuna, until I saw the following text from the Wikipedia:

"Lindtner considers that the Māhaprajñāparamitopadeśa, a huge commentary on the Large Prajñāparamita not to be a genuine work of Nāgārjuna. This is only extant in a Chinese translation by Kumārajīva. There is much discussion as to whether this is a work of Nāgārjuna, or someone else. Étienne Lamotte, who translated one third of the Upadeśa into French, felt that it was the work of a North Indian bhikkhu of the Sarvāstivāda school, who later became a convert to the Mahayana. The Chinese scholar-monk Yin Shun felt that it was the work of a South Indian, and that Nāgārjuna was quite possibly the author. Actually, these two views are not necessarily in opposition, and a South Indian Nāgārjuna could well have studied in the northern Sarvāstivāda. Neither of the two felt that it was composed by Kumārajīva which others have rashly suggested."

BDS


As far as I know, Lindtner does read Chinese, how would he know? He is just repeating Lamotte. Lindtner is not the man to ask about this one. In the West, almost everybody quotes Lamotte, who is, indeed, a most brilliant scholar! However, as far as sheer depth of reading in this millieu goes, Yinshun is simply amazing. Also, given that it is in Chinese, Yinshun reads it better than Lamotte, who still makes a few confused mistakes about the actual Chinese wording / phrasing, and so forth. A classic example is how so many people completely botched the number of fascicles in this text, and thought that "originally it was 1000", and thus had serious doubts about the validity of such statements. Yinshun explains this very clearly, although the wording of Sengrui back in the early fifth century is indeed rather ambiguous.

A real interesting issue, is that regards the date of this text, a lot hinges on the date of Kaniska, and this has recently been moved forward in time, which thus opens the gap for the MppU to be a work of a southern Nagarjuna with northern sarvastivadin experience, writing in the later years of his life and hence dropping in the verse of Rahulabhadra, his (possibly?) own disciple.

Note:
Maybe some people are wondering why all this importance placed on this so-called Mahaprajnaparamita Upadesa? Most Western Buddhists have barely or never even heard of it, even if they are serious Mahayana practitioners and study Nagarjuna. This is simply due to the fact that it does not exist in Sanskrit or Tibetan, and thus is overlooked by most Western scholars and practitioners, or easily rejected as "not written by Nagarjuna" (even though the same people often study a lot of Candrakirti, Santideva, and the like). In China and East Asia, this is an extremely important text. It is not only one of the most important texts for the East Asian Sanlun - Madhyamaka school, but also is cited by pretty much every other school as well (except maybe the Tantric and Vijnaptimatra schools). Problem is, it is in Chinese, and it is also very, very huge. Still, if one is looking for a single text which is representative of much of Chinese Buddhism, this is probably the best one in the end.
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.
Paññāsikhara
 
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:45 am

Dear Paññāsikhara,
Paññāsikhara wrote:I was going to cut-and-paste from my dissertation, but then, when I submit it, the plagiarism checking software is going to freak out when it matches up whole paragraphs with this web-site! What a hassle!

Interesting. We don't run plagiarism software on theses here. The examiners are supposed to check the old-fashioned way ... by reading paper copies. :reading:

Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10398
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Nagarjuna

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:50 am

mikenz66 wrote:Dear Paññāsikhara,
Paññāsikhara wrote:I was going to cut-and-paste from my dissertation, but then, when I submit it, the plagiarism checking software is going to freak out when it matches up whole paragraphs with this web-site! What a hassle!

Interesting. We don't run plagiarism software on theses here. The examiners are supposed to check the old-fashioned way ... by reading paper copies. :reading:

Mike


Good grief!

You know that there are a couple of different types of free software that can do this? After all, this sort of thing is becoming even more rampant in the digital-age, as I am sure you already know! It is probably worse in the Arts, though, I suspect. After all, we deal more with just texts and words. I use this sort of software for some suspect undergrad essays that land in my hard-drive. hehehe. :spy:

However, inspired by an English scholar who recently used such software to identify a new hitherto unknown play co-authored by Shakespeare, I am also thinking of what other nefarious and textual scholarship uses I can put this stuff too. :coffee:

Actually, that software would probably already have been flashing and bleeping with all the stuff I copied out and pasted on E-Sangha in the past. :P

:focus:
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.
Paññāsikhara
 
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 5 guests