23 Facts About Acharya Nagarjuna


Acharya Nagarjuna is widely considered one of the most important Buddhist philosophers.

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Acharya Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika is the most important text on the madhyamaka philosophy of emptiness.

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Some scholars such as Joseph Walser argue that Acharya Nagarjuna was an advisor to a king of the Satavahana dynasty which ruled the Deccan Plateau in the second century.

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Walser thinks that it is most likely that when Acharya Nagarjuna wrote the Ratnavali, he lived in a mixed monastery in which Mahayanists were the minority.

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Traditional religious hagiographies credit Acharya Nagarjuna with being associated with the teaching of the Prajnaparamita sutras as well as with having revealed these scriptures to the world after they had remained hidden for some time.

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Indeed, Acharya Nagarjuna is often depicted in composite form comprising human and naga characteristics.

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Kumarajiva's biography for example, has Acharya Nagarjuna making an elixir of invisibility, and Bus-ton, Taranatha and Xuanzang all state that he could turn rocks into gold.

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Tibetan historian Buston considers the first six to be the main treatises of Acharya Nagarjuna, while according to Taranatha only the first five are the works of Acharya Nagarjuna.

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Ruegg notes various works of uncertain authorship which have been attributed to Acharya Nagarjuna, including the Dharmadhatustava, Mahayanavimsika, Salistambakarikas, the Bhavasamkranti, and the Dasabhumtkavibhasa.

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Furthermore, Ruegg writes that "three collections of stanzas on the virtues of intelligence and moral conduct ascribed to Acharya Nagarjuna are extant in Tibetan translation": Prajnasatakaprakarana, Nitisastra-Jantuposanabindu and Niti-sastra-Prajnadanda.

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Acharya Nagarjuna means by real any entity which has a nature of its own, which is not produced by causes, which is not dependent on anything else.

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Acharya Nagarjuna discusses the problems of positing any sort of inherent essence to causation, movement, change and personal identity.

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Acharya Nagarjuna makes use of the Indian logical tool of the tetralemma to attack any essentialist conceptions.

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Acharya Nagarjuna was instrumental in the development of the two truths doctrine, which claims that there are two levels of truth in Buddhist teaching, the ultimate truth and the conventional or superficial truth.

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The ultimate truth to Acharya Nagarjuna is the truth that everything is empty of essence, this includes emptiness itself.

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Acharya Nagarjuna has no uncertainty or doubt that just stress, when arising, is arising; stress, when passing away, is passing away.

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Jay L Garfield describes that Nagarjuna approached causality from the Four Noble Truths and dependent origination.

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Acharya Nagarjuna distinguished two dependent origination views in a causal process, that which causes effects and that which causes conditions.

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Acharya Nagarjuna taught the idea of relativity; in the Ratnavali, he gives the example that shortness exists only in relation to the idea of length.

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Acharya Nagarjuna held that the relationship between the ideas of "short" and "long" is not due to intrinsic nature.

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Acharya Nagarjuna was fully acquainted with the classical Hindu philosophies of Samkhya and even the Vaiseshika.

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Acharya Nagarjuna assumes a knowledge of the definitions of the sixteen categories as given in the Nyaya Sutras, the chief text of the Hindu Nyaya school, and wrote a treatise on the pramanas where he reduced the syllogism of five members into one of three.

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Acharya Nagarjuna was conversant with many of the Sravaka philosophies and with the Mahayana tradition; however, determining Acharya Nagarjuna's affiliation with a specific nikaya is difficult, considering much of this material has been lost.

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