CAUSALITY AND EMPTINESS THE WISDOM OF NAGARJUNA PDF

According to Christopher I. This is so because all things arise always dependently: not by their own power, but by depending on conditions leading to their coming into existence , as opposed to being. Nothing is possible when emptiness is impossible. He discusses the problems of positing any sort of inherent essence to causation, movement, change and personal identity.

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E is regarded as the founder of the Madhyamaka school of Mahayana Buddhism. Another important development in Mahayana Buddhism was the Yogachara School, founded by Vasubandu and by Asanga in the fourth century C. While the Yogachara School agreed with the Madhyamaka that all things are empty of self-existence, it differed in that it asserted that all things exist in consciousness only thus, it is referred to as the Mind-Only or Consciousness-Only School.

Nagarjuna says that phenomena are not inherently existent, because they are dependent-arising. Dependent-arising refers to the fact that phenomena arise dependently in relation to their causes and conditions of existence.

The arising of phenomena dependently in relation to their causes and conditions of existence means that phenomena are in cause-and-effect relationships. Phenomena are not inherently the cause of their own existence.

The continuation or cessation of phenomena is also dependent upon causes and conditions of existence, and is not inherently existent. The unity or plurality of phenomena is not inherently existent, but is dependent on causes and conditions of existence verse 7.

Moreover, phenomena are not inherently permanent or temporary verse 9. To say that phenomena are not inherently existent is not to say that phenomena are non-existent. The statement that phenomena are not inherently existent means that phenomena depend upon causes and conditions of existence.

If phenomena did not depend on causality, they would not exist. Therefore, to say that phenomena exist inherently is actually to say that they do not exist verse If phenomena were inherently existent, they would be independent of causes and conditions of existence. But any such phenomena would be non-existent, if they were independent of causes and conditions of existence. According to Nagarjuna, the way that phenomena appear to us is different from the way that they actually exist.

Although phenomena appear to exist inherently, they are actually empty of inherent existence. If it is understood that phenomena are not inherently existent, it can be seen that suffering does not exist inherently.

Recognition of this teaching can help us to attain nirvana, which is the cessation of suffering. Since, phenomena do not inherently exist, consciousness of the phenomenal world is not inherently existent. Life and death do not inherently exist. Time does not inherently exist, because the past, the present, and the future are dependent on each other verse Phenomena which are time-dependent, in their beginning, continuing, and ending in relation to each other, are thus not inherently existent.

Nagarjuna says that to know the non-inherent existence of phenomena is to understand the reality of their emptiness. To know the emptiness of phenomena is to overcome our ignorance about reality verse To understand the emptiness of inherent existence is to know dependent-arising as the reality of all phenomena verse The Seventy Verses do not address the question of whether there can be any inherently existent being which transcends the emptiness of the phenomenal world.

Nagarjuna says, however, that non-inherent existence is the ultimate reality of phenomena. Nagarjuna regards nihilism as a form of error.

Nagarjuna views the concept of emptiness as a Middle Way between both sides of the argument about what does exist or does not exist. Emptiness transcends the duality of being and non-being, unity and plurality, subject and object, self and non-self. For Nagarjuna, emptiness is not nothingness, or non-being. Emptiness is absence of inherent existence. Emptiness is also non-inherent existence. For Nagarjuna, emptiness is the true reality of the phenomenal world.

An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, history and practices. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , pp. Komito, David Ross. Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications , pp. Powell, Jim. Eastern Philosophy for Beginners. New York: Writers and Readers Publishing , pp. Skilton, Andrew. A Concise History of Buddhism.

Birmingham: Windhorse Publications , pp. Williams, Paul. Mahayana Buddhism: The doctrinal foundations. London: Routledge , pp.

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Causality and Emptiness

References and Further Reading 1. The two most extensive biographies of Nagarjuna, one in Chinese and the other in Tibetan, were written many centuries after his life and incorporate much lively but historically unreliable material which sometimes reaches mythic proportions. However, from the sketches of historical detail and the legend meant to be pedagogical in nature, combined with the texts reasonably attributed to him, some sense may be gained of his place in the Indian Buddhist and philosophical traditions. The dates of his life are just as amorphous, but two texts which may well have been authored by him offer some help. These are in the form of epistles and were addressed to the historical king of the northern Satvahana dynasty Gautamiputra Satakarni ruled c. This emigration to the north perhaps followed the path of the Shaka kings themselves. In the vibrant intellectual life of a not very tranquil north India then, Nagarjuna came into his own as a philosopher.

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causality and emptiness - The Wisdom of Nagarjuna

E is regarded as the founder of the Madhyamaka school of Mahayana Buddhism. Another important development in Mahayana Buddhism was the Yogachara School, founded by Vasubandu and by Asanga in the fourth century C. While the Yogachara School agreed with the Madhyamaka that all things are empty of self-existence, it differed in that it asserted that all things exist in consciousness only thus, it is referred to as the Mind-Only or Consciousness-Only School. Nagarjuna says that phenomena are not inherently existent, because they are dependent-arising. Dependent-arising refers to the fact that phenomena arise dependently in relation to their causes and conditions of existence.

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Nagarjuna (c. 150—c. 250)

The teachings of Nagarjuna CE widely considered the most important Buddhist philosopher after the founding Buddha, begins his profound Middle Way treatise by challenging the notion of an independent cause and effect process. He draws a distinction between independent causation and interdependent conditions and reasons that independent cause and effect activity does not even exist. He refers to this absence as emptiness. Since all phenomena are empty of an independent nature, any causal process could not involve independent entities either. Nagarjuna challenges the notion of cause and effect by showing how this would exclude all possibility of change.

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