Speaking of Nagarjuna ....

Discussion of the nature of Ultimate Reality and the path to Enlightenment.

Speaking of Nagarjuna ....

Postby David Quinn » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:29 pm

Here are a couple of his pieces. Like the best thinkers, he cuts straight to the heart of the matter with admirable efficiency.

The Heart of Interdependent Origination

The whole world is cause and effect; excluding this, there is no sentient being.

From factors which are empty, empty factors originate.

Those who impute origination to even very subtle entities are unwise and have not seen the meaning of conditioned origination.

There is nothing to be denied and nothing to be affirmed.

See the real correctly, for he who sees the real correctly is released.



Mahayanavimsaka

Adoration to the Three Treasures

1

I bow down to the all-powerful Buddha
Whose mind is free of attachment,
Who, in his compassion and wisdom,
Has taught the inexpressible.

2

In truth there is no birth -
And thus no cessation or liberation;
The Buddha is like the sky
And all beings have that nature.

3

Neither Samsara nor Nirvana exist.
All things originate from their conditions
With an intrinsic face of void -
The object of ultimate awareness.

4

The nature of all things
Appears like a reflection,
Pure and naturally quiescent,
With a non-dual identity of suchness.

5

The common mind imagines a self
Where there is nothing at all,
And from this arise emotional states -
Happiness, suffering, and equanimity.

6

The six states of being in Samsara,
The happiness of heaven,
The suffering of hell,
Are all false creations, figments of mind.

7

Likewise the ideas of bad action causing suffering,
Old age, disease and death,
And the idea that virtue leads to happiness,
Are mere ideas, unreal notions.

8

Like an artist frightened
By the devil he paints,
The sufferer in Samsara
Is terrified by his own imagination.

9

Like a man caught in quicksands
Thrashing and struggling about,
So beings drown
In the mess of their own thoughts.

10

Mistaking fantasy for reality
Causes an experience of suffering;
Mind is poisoned by interpretations
Of the nature of objects.

11

Dissolving figment and fantasy
With a mind of compassionate insight,
Remain in perfect awareness
In order to help all beings.

12

By developing unsurpassable bodhi,
One should become a Buddha.
A Buddha is a friend of the world,
Being freed from the bondage of false notions.

13

Knowing the relativity of all,
The ultimate truth is always seen;
Dismissing the idea of beginning, middle and end
The flow is seen as Emptiness.

14

So all samsara and nirvana is seen as it is -
Empty and insubstantial,
Naked and changeless,
Eternally quiescent and illumined.

15

As the figments of a dream
Dissolve upon waking,
So the confusion of Samsara
Fades away in enlightenment.

16

Idealising things of no substance
As eternal, substantial and satisfying,
Shrouding them in a fog of desire
The samsaric round of existence arises.

17

The nature of beings is unborn
Yet commonly beings are conceived to exist;
Both beings and their ideas
Are false beliefs.

18

It is nothing but an artifice of mind
This birth into an illusory becoming,
Into a world of good and evil action
With good or bad rebirth to follow.

19

When the wheel of mind ceases to turn
All things come to an end.
There is nothing inherently substantial
And all things are utterly pure.

20

Who can reach the other side of samsara,
Which is full of the water of false notions?
How can these false notions arise in a man
Who thoroughly knows this world?

***


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Re: Speaking of Nagarjuna ....

Postby RobertGreenSky » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:16 pm

While there is some good thinking in this material, authorship by Nagarjuna of those and other pieces is disputed by scholars.

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), which contains the essentials of his thought in twenty-seven short chapters. According to Lindtner[5] the works definitely written by Nagarjuna are:

* Mūlamadhyamaka-kārikā (Fundamental Verses of the Middle Way)
* Śūnyatāsaptati (Seventy Verses on Emptiness)
* Vigrahavyāvartanī (The End of Disputes)
* Vaidalyaprakaraṇa (Pulverizing the Categories)
* Vyavahārasiddhi (Proof of Convention)
* Yuktiṣāṣṭika (Sixty Verses on Reasoning)
* Catuḥstava (Hymn to the Absolute Reality)
* Ratnāvalī (Precious Garland)
* Pratītyasamutpādahṝdayakārika (Constituents of Dependent Arising)
* Sūtrasamuccaya
* Bodhicittavivaraṇa (Exposition of the Enlightened Mind)
* Suhṛllekha (To a Good Friend)
* Bodhisaṃbhāra (Requisites of Enlightenment)

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

[Lindtner, btw, I think fatuously argues that Buddhism directly influenced Christianity.]

Note however of Sūtrasamuccaya or 'Compendium of Scriptures', ...as the Lankavatāra-sutra is cited several times, and the Mādhyamika Nāgārjuna surely precedes this scripture, it is highly unlikely that this Sūtrasamuccaya is by Nāgārjuna. The fourth century AD is the earliest possible period for such a compendium. (Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutrasamuccaya )
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Re: Speaking of Nagarjuna ....

Postby Kelly Jones » Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:08 pm

Who guards the guards?

Who authorises the authorities who authorise the scholars?


...
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Re: Speaking of Nagarjuna ....

Postby jufa » Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:32 pm

Kelly Jones wrote:Who guards the guards?

Who authorises the authorities who authorise the scholars?


...

Any individual who accept, then envision, then builds, then exist in a world which they have not experienced personally because they have not taken the responsibility to know what is right for them according to the same Something which gave revelations to the Buddha, Laotzu, Jesus, the Great White Spirit American Indians speak of.

It is man, in his self-righteous religious thought who authorize man's hearsay of words of relativity as truth. Is this not giving power to what someone else believes is their source of strength?

Never give power to anything a person believes is their source of strength - jufa
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Re: Speaking of Nagarjuna ....

Postby Diebert van Rhijn » Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:56 am

RobertGreenSky wrote:While there is some good thinking in this material, authorship by Nagarjuna of those and other pieces is disputed by scholars.

The same with so much crucial material in especially Buddhist and Christian traditions. This is because the issue of authorship was viewed in a radically different way compared to more modern times. If a text was deemed similar enough in its school of thought and quality by the keepers of the tradition, the name of a (historical or not) representative of the school was chosen as "author", perhaps even as a manifestation of the same essence. This is pretty standard and as such a discussion on exact origination of a spiritual text nearly pointless - as if spiritual wisdom could have such beginning or authority in labels!

From The problem of the historical Nagarjuna revisite by Ian Mabbett
The Journal of the American Oriental Society Vol.118 No.3 ( July 1998 )

Claims about the life of Nagarjuna are often asserted as if the facts were known and secure, when they are not. Those who explore the evidence in quest of more secure facts come up with contradictory conclusions. Even the century or centuries in which Nagarjuna lived cannot be confidently identified.

It was merely pretended that what was now set down had once been taught by such or such an Ancient. Had this method not been adopted the people could not have been induced to read the books, any more than travelers could have been persuaded to enter a railway carriage if it had not looked something like a stage coach.

Anyway, when seeing this in context, the issue of authorship becomes a red herring. What counts in authorship is how tradition has categorized it and as such it can be used freely.
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Re: Speaking of Nagarjuna ....

Postby David Quinn » Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:51 am

Hey Robert, do you have any copies of those Nagarjuna works? Or a link to where some of these works are stored?

(I'm not interested in other people's commentaries on him, just the original works themselves.)

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Re: Speaking of Nagarjuna ....

Postby RobertGreenSky » Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:33 am

David,

These days it's harder to find translations, except in books which are becoming outrageously expensive.

Here are some, including Fundamental Wisdom for your readers who don't have it.


Causality and Emptiness, The Wisdom of Nagarjuna, in .pdf, has The Good Hearted Letter (To a Good Friend), The Heart of Independent Origination, The Sixty Stanzas, and The Seventy Stanzas.

- Peter Della Santina, http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/nagarjuna.pdf

_____

A different Mahayanavimsaka is here: http://www.dabase.org/vimsaka.htm

_____


The Precious Garland, http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/Nag ... avali.html

_____


Verses from the Center, http://www.stephenbatchelor.org/nagarju ... entre.html

The online translation differs from the book published under the same name, and from which I've been quoting.
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Re: Speaking of Nagarjuna ....

Postby David Quinn » Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:21 am

Thanks for that, I'll look into those. What I would really like to do is create a proper anthology of his work, which would mean having access to all of his writings so that I can pick out the best bits. I could buy all the books (if I had the money) or I could go to the state library (if I wasn't so lazy), but I was kind of hoping that you or someone else would already have copies stored on their computer that they could send me......

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Re: Speaking of Nagarjuna ....

Postby RobertGreenSky » Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:40 am

David,

You can save those pieces to your computer although the Batchelor Fundamental Wisdom, by far the most important of the works, is arranged absolutely deplorably. It is one huge page and it is without hyperlinks. I bet you have regulars at Genius Forum who could sensibly arrange it. Just the other day someone did Wisdom of the Infinite in .pdf and maybe they could be prevailed upon to undertake the project either as html or .pdf.
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Re: Speaking of Nagarjuna ....

Postby David Quinn » Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:19 pm

Kunga has kindly sent me a link to this one: She-rab Dong-bu (The Tree of Wisdom).

http://theology101.org/bud/srdb/index.htm

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Re: Speaking of Nagarjuna ....

Postby RobertGreenSky » Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:35 pm

I've added it to my growing collection.
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Re: Speaking of Nagarjuna ....

Postby Kunga » Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:18 pm

Here, fry your brains out:

Everything is real, not real; both real and not real; neither not real nor real: this is the teaching of the Buddha. [Nagarjuna]


http://www.stephenbatchelor.org/index.p ... the-center
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Re: Speaking of Nagarjuna ....

Postby movingalways » Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:47 pm

Kunga wrote:Here, fry your brains out:

Everything is real, not real; both real and not real; neither not real nor real: this is the teaching of the Buddha. [Nagarjuna]


http://www.stephenbatchelor.org/index.p ... the-center


Wise is the Child who knows this truth, saying neither this way of thinking or that way of thinking is the way Everything thinks.
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Re: Speaking of Nagarjuna ....

Postby Kunga » Tue May 01, 2012 4:00 am

"In the transcendental truth there is no origination (utpada), and in fact, there is no destruction (nirodha). The Buddha is like the sky (which has neither origination nor cessation), and the beings are like him, and therefore they are of the same nature."

"He who realizes the transcendental truth knowing the pratītyasamutpāda (or the manifestation of entities depending on their causes and conditions), knows the world to be śūnya and devoid of beginning, middle or end."

"One who imagines that even the most subtle thing arises: Such an ignorant man does not see what it means to be dependently born!"
(i.e. Nothing is being reborn or liberated: One has to see the real nature of being dependently born, of rebirths. There is no continuity, nor discontinuity between lives, or from saṃsāra to nirvāṇa. To think that things are really arising or ceasing with dependent origination is to miss the point of this teaching.)

"Neither atom of form exists nor is sense organ elsewhere;
Even more no sense organ as agent exists;
So the producer and the produced
Are utterly unsuited for production."

"In brief from empty phenomena
Empty phenomena arise;
Agent(cause), karma(action), fruits(effect), and their enjoyer(subject) -
The conqueror taught these to be [only] conventional.

Just as the sound of a drum as well as a shoot
Are produced from a collection [of factors],
We accept the external world of dependent origination
To be like a dream and an illusion.

That phenomena are born from causes
Can never be inconsistent [with facts];
Since the cause is empty of cause,
We understand it to be empty of origination."

- Nāgārjuna
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