24 Facts About Nagarjuna


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

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Nagarjuna is widely considered to be the founder of the Madhyamaka school of Buddhist philosophy and a defender of the Mahayana movement.

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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 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 Nagarjuna wrote the Ratnavali, he lived in a mixed monastery in which Mahayanists were the minority.

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Traditional religious hagiographies credit 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, Nagarjuna is often depicted in composite form comprising human and naga characteristics.

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Kumarajiva's biography for example, has 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 Nagarjuna, while according to Taranatha only the first five are the works of Nagarjuna.

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Ruegg notes various works of uncertain authorship which have been attributed to 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 Nagarjuna are extant in Tibetan translation": Prajnasatakaprakarana, Nitisastra-Jantuposanabindu and Niti-sastra-Prajnadanda.

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

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

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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 Nagarjuna is the truth that everything is empty of essence, this includes emptiness itself .

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

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

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

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

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