Madhyamika books

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Madhyamika books

Postby Joseph89 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:13 am

Hello,

My primary interest for now is Madhyamika and I'm wondering if someone could offer suggestions about books on this topic. I am interested in the "heaviest" stuff around. Google research identified a couple of books, "The emptiness of emptiness: an introduction to early Indian Madhyamika", by C.W. Huntington, however Streng doesn't give it the best review. And then there is Streng's book, "Emptiness: a study in religious meaning". Any thoughts on those books?

I've already read Garfield's "The fundamental wisdom of the Middle way", and Napper's "Dependent-Arising and Emptiness (which contains some English translations from Dzong-ka-ba), as well as most of Wittgenstein (who also discovered the middle way).

Also, a related question is can anyone help me with the suttra's or texts that Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti must have read/heard to formulate their work on the middle way?

A final question. I read on another Buddhist site that a contributor to that site feels that the essence (probably not the best word here) of Nagarjuna can be found in the original Pali sutta's and that reading Nagarjuna was not necessary for him/her. I suppose that would be true as Buddha did expound the middle way, but did Nagarjuna add anything NEW in addition to what Buddah expounded?

Thanks in advance,

Cheers,
joseph.
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Re: Madhyamika books

Postby Paul » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:22 pm

Joseph89 wrote:My primary interest for now is Madhyamika and I'm wondering if someone could offer suggestions about books on this topic. I am interested in the "heaviest" stuff around.


This is a VERY good book: http://www.amazon.com/Center-Sunlit-Sky ... 1559392185

It is also heavy, both literally and with respect to the depth of the subject matter covered.
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Re: Madhyamika books

Postby gad rgyangs » Tue Nov 15, 2011 3:44 pm

heres a few to start with:

Westerhoff- Nagarjuna's Madhyamaka A Philosophical Introduction

Sonam Thakchoe - The Two Truths Debate Tsongkhapa and Gorampa on the Middle Way

Thupten Jinpa - Self, Reality and Reason in Tibetan Philosophy

Tsong-Kha-Pa The Great Treatise on the Stages of the The Path to Enlightenment Vol 3

Lopez - The Madman's Middle Way: Reflections on Reality of the Tibetan Monk Gendun Chopel

Dreyfus & McClintock, eds - The Svatantrika-Prasangika Distinction What Difference Does a Difference Make?

Ruegg - The History of the Madhyamaka School in India (out of print. available here:http://www.4shared.com/document/_qSKwxCV/ruegg_literature_of_madhyamaka.htm
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Re: Madhyamika books

Postby conebeckham » Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:25 pm

All good suggestions.
Also, this: http://www.amazon.com/Karmapas-Middle-Way-Chandrakirtis-Madhyamakavatara/dp/1559392894

In response to your question about the origination of the Madhyamika, ......the Prajnaparamita Sutras are the main source. As such, there are a bunch of good analyses of the Heart of Wisdom Sutra,Prajnaparamita Hridaya Sutra, from various traditions, that will give you the quickest introduction to the main ideas.

The 9th Chapter of Shantideva's Bodhisattvacharyavatara is also a great source text.
But you've already read some fairly heavy academic presentations, so you must know this already....!
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Re: Madhyamika books

Postby mint » Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:54 pm

What about "The Sun of Wisdom: Teachings on the Noble Nagarjuna's Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way" by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso?
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Re: Madhyamika books

Postby Joseph89 » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:57 am

Thanks everone, I'll follow up your suggestions.

Cheers,
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Re: Madhyamika books

Postby maybay » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:53 am

mint wrote:What about "The Sun of Wisdom: Teachings on the Noble Nagarjuna's Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way" by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso?

This is like an exercise book. Meditations on Madhyamika made fun.
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Re: Madhyamika books

Postby maybay » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:56 am

"Freedom from Extremes" - Cabezon
People will know nothing and everything
Remember nothing and everything
Think nothing and everything
Do nothing and everything
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Re: Madhyamika books

Postby mint » Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:45 pm

Are there any books in this thread which could be recommended for someone largely unfamiliar with Madhyamaka philosophy - at least, in philosophical terminology?

Is it best to start with a summary of Madhyamaka or Nagarjuna himself?
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Re: Madhyamika books

Postby Zenda » Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:04 pm

There are free teachings by DJKR on Chardrakirti's Madhyamakavatara. You will just need to request them from Siddhartha's Intent. Very comprehensive. I came to them as a beginner and found them understandable; your mileage may vary.

http://www.siddharthasintent.org/teachi ... ntary.html
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Re: Madhyamika books

Postby Indrajala » Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:54 am

Joseph89 wrote:Also, a related question is can anyone help me with the suttra's or texts that Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti must have read/heard to formulate their work on the middle way?


The whole Prajñāpāramitā collection of scriptures forms the basis for emptiness as taught in the Mahāyāna.

Nāgārjuna was probably a monk within the Mahāsāṃghika lineage and his main opponent was the Sarvāstivāda tradition.

It would be best to familiarize yourself with Abhidharma and early Buddhist thought as that was the environment in which Nāgārjuna operated. One problem he addressed was the tendency of many thinkers at the time to reify Abhidharmic categories and turn them into absolute metaphysical principles. To understand this you need to know something about both early Buddhism in India as well as Abhidharma.

To get an understanding of Abhidharma, the key text to study is the Abhidharma-kośa by Vasubandhu. There is an English translation available. Pdf versions are to be found online, but a printed edition can also be purchased from http://www.abebooks.com. It isn't cheap unfortunately, though maybe another source can be located.

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchR ... =t&x=0&y=0

That being said, if you can study this text and familiarize yourself with the material, you'll have a solid foundation in Buddhism on a scale not a lot of practitioners really have. It will also allow you to understand Nāgārjuna on Indian Buddhist terms rather than through some western philosophical lens, which in my opinion is almost always distorted and fails to really understand Buddhist thought. The material contained in the Abhidharma-kośa would have been well understood by Nāgārjuna regardless of his own opinions.

A final question. I read on another Buddhist site that a contributor to that site feels that the essence (probably not the best word here) of Nagarjuna can be found in the original Pali sutta's and that reading Nagarjuna was not necessary for him/her. I suppose that would be true as Buddha did expound the middle way, but did Nagarjuna add anything NEW in addition to what Buddah expounded?


The long-standing idea in Mahāyāna Buddhist thought is that while Hīnayāna schools touch on emptiness, they only realize the emptiness of the person and not the emptiness of phenomena. Some schools asserted that while the person is impermanent and lacking self, the impersonal mental-physical phenomena are existent and have a "self-existence" (svabhava). The simile for this kind of understanding is a termite tunnelling through a piece of wood with columns or walls still intact within the wood. It is not thorough.

In other words, the material contained in Nikāya scriptures, both sūtra and śāstra, is insufficient for realization of emptiness as taught in the Prajñāpāramitā scriptures and then elucidated at length by Nāgārjuna.

The Pāli suttas are appropriate for attainment of arhatship, but not the bodhisattva path, let alone buddhahood.

The simple reason for this is that the Nikāya-based schools of Buddhism do not realize the emptiness thoroughly enough to generate great compassion where compassion and emptiness are non-dual. They thus seek personal liberation from saṃsāra and have no ultimate concern for all sentient beings. If they understood emptiness thoroughly, they would have ultimate concern for all sentient beings and follow the bodhisattva path unto buddhahood. However, they seek arhatship.

To realize emptiness thoroughly one must follow and realize the meaning in Mahāyāna scriptures. It is Nāgārjuna's analysis that is best suited for the task of doing just that. To understand Nāgārjuna an understanding of Abhidharma is essential.
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