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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 1:36 am 
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Greetings. :-)

A while back I purchased Jay Garfield's translation of and commentary on Nagarjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā (The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way). After keeping it tucked away on the virtual (Kindle) shelf for a few months, I'm getting ready to dive in.

Two questions:

1. Do any of you who've worked through the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā have tips/advice for me as I embark on this philosophical journey?

2. Is there a Mūlamadhyamakakārikā reading group in this forum? If not, would anyone like to work through the book with me?

Thanks,

rachMiel

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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 1:58 am 
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I have that book, and also the much older K Venkata Ramanan Philosophy of Nagarjuna and T R V Murti Central Philosophy of Buddhism. I am interested in the topic.

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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 2:03 am 
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Might you be interested in reading/working through the book, chapter by chapter: original (translated) text + commentaries (by book author) + discussion?

We could give it a shot, do a chapter, see how it goes, and decide at that point if we want to forge ahead or take a break.

rachMiel

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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 3:07 am 
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You might want to read this first:

Nāgārjuna in Context: Mahāyāna Buddhism and Early Indian Culture

http://books.google.com/books/about/N%C ... edir_esc=y

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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 3:19 am 
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Indrajala wrote:
You might want to read this first:

Nāgārjuna in Context: Mahāyāna Buddhism and Early Indian Culture

http://books.google.com/books/about/N%C ... edir_esc=y

Thanks, Indrajala. Why first?

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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 3:45 am 
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rachmiel wrote:
Might you be interested in reading/working through the book, chapter by chapter: original (translated) text + commentaries (by book author) + discussion?

We could give it a shot, do a chapter, see how it goes, and decide at that point if we want to forge ahead or take a break.

rachMiel


I would be interested. I have completed a Buddhist Studies degree in the last two years and I am looking for ways to stay engaged with Buddhist studies. So it would be a constructive undertaking.

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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 4:51 am 
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Cool.

How about we create a set of threads in this forum -- one for each chapter and one for general postings that don't apply to any specific chapter -- so we can discuss and perhaps be joined by others along the way?

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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 4:52 am 
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rachmiel wrote:
Indrajala wrote:
You might want to read this first:

Nāgārjuna in Context: Mahāyāna Buddhism and Early Indian Culture

http://books.google.com/books/about/N%C ... edir_esc=y

Thanks, Indrajala. Why first?


Without the context it is unclear exactly who the treatise is directed against.

The MMK is basically a refutation rather than a systematic explanation.

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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 6:02 am 
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T R V Murti's book (The Central Philosophy of Buddhism) does go into that point in quite some detail, also. I am aware that Murti's book has been criticized by subsequent scholars on the grounds that it is rather too idealist (in a technical/philosophical sense) but he does go to great lengths to show how the Madhyamika grew out of a critique of other Buddhist, as well as Hindu, schools of thought.

Regardless, the Walser book is available for loan from my University library, and I shall borrow it.

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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 8:15 am 
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rachmiel wrote:
1. Do any of you who've worked through the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā have tips/advice for me as I embark on this philosophical journey?

2. Is there a Mūlamadhyamakakārikā reading group in this forum? If not, would anyone like to work through the book with me?

Thanks,

rachMiel

I think that reading MMK with pure mind (uncontaminated by interpretations) is a very valuable experience, and can happen only once :smile: . Don't waste that opportunity. It may create a tsunami... or mere ripple, if you approach it with fixed view.

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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 9:03 am 
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It's up to you, but I'd recommend studying Chandrakirti's Guide to the Middle Way, a commentary to Nagarjuna's work which is (for me) a lot clearer and more wide ranging. There are many excellent commentaries.

What's even better would be to attend a Buddhist Centre and receive an oral transmission of teachings on emptiness as this will make it much easier to understand. It can be hard trying to work through a philosophical text without any support and without oral teachings - it can be very hard going and intellectual, and the practical application is not so obvious. These original Indian texts by Nagarjuna, Aryadeva and Chandrakirti are written in a very terse style and require a considerable amount of commentary by a skilled Teacher who has also meditated and gained insight into the true meaning. Basically, please don't put yourself off emptiness as it is the most important and meaningful subject in the universe - choose a skilful approach to learning with good support.


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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 9:24 am 
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Getting started with the text is probably the most difficult part, but if you can understand the way it gives its reasons in the first two chapters then I think you will have little problem with the rest. I recommend you just start reading and if you have questions start a topic for it in the Mahayana or Academic section.

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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 1:06 pm 
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oushi wrote:
rachmiel wrote:
1. Do any of you who've worked through the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā have tips/advice for me as I embark on this philosophical journey?

2. Is there a Mūlamadhyamakakārikā reading group in this forum? If not, would anyone like to work through the book with me?

Thanks,

rachMiel

I think that reading MMK with pure mind (uncontaminated by interpretations) is a very valuable experience, and can happen only once :smile: . Don't waste that opportunity. It may create a tsunami... or mere ripple, if you approach it with fixed view.

Nice. I was going to begin by reading the verses *with* the commentaries ... but maybe I'll just read the verses first time through and see what resonates. The tabula rasa approach. :-)

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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 1:12 pm 
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Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Basically, please don't put yourself off emptiness as it is the most important and meaningful subject in the universe - choose a skilful approach to learning with good support.

Emptiness has been my (non-)foundation for a long time. It's one of the things that attracted me to Nagarjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā (from descriptions I read about it).

I was a student of Advaita for a time, but never felt comfortable with Brahman -- it seemed an arbitrary leap of faith to me -- so ended up "dropping out." :-)

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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 1:16 pm 
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Astus wrote:
Getting started with the text is probably the most difficult part, but if you can understand the way it gives its reasons in the first two chapters then I think you will have little problem with the rest. I recommend you just start reading and if you have questions start a topic for it in the Mahayana or Academic section.

Excellent advice. Thanks! :-)

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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 10:01 pm 
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I'd concur with Astus, just read it.
I'd also say read it once, just the verses, meditate on it a few days, then read it again.
And don't worry about you whether you understand it or not. I have realized I hadn't understood a passage until that moment when I thought I had, and later realized later I still hadn't understood it until seeing into it even more.


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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 10:14 pm 
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Thanks dude. :-)

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