Is Madhyamaka Really the Middle Way?

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Is Madhyamaka Really the Middle Way?

Post by LauraJ on Fri Dec 26, 2008 7:03 am

Some have said that Madhyamaka is that it entails nihilism. Does Madhyamaka assert that nothing exists, or is it really the middle way?


Is Madhyamaka Buddhism Really the Middle Way?
by David Burton
(Dharmachari Asanga)

Thus, the Madhyamaka teaching of emptiness appears to be a re-statement of the venerable and central Buddhist teaching of dependent origination (pratiityasamutpaada). Indeed, Naagaarjuna proclaims in the auto-commentary to the Refutation of Objections that emptiness and dependent origination are synonyms. [8] And in the Seventy Stanzas on Emptiness he declares that ‘since all entities are empty of inherent existence, the unequalled tathaagata taught the dependent origination of entities.’ [9] This Madhyamaka rejection of the accusation of nihilism is expressed succinctly by Candrakiirti, in his commentary on Naagaarjuna’s Stanzas on the Middle Way:

Some people insist that the Maadhyamikas are not different from nihilists, since the Maadhyamikas say that good and bad acts, the agent, the consequences of acts, and the entire world are empty of an inherently existing nature. As the nihilists also say that these things do not exist, the Maadhyamikas are the same as nihilists. We reply that this is not the case. Why? Because Maadhyamikas are proponents of dependent origination. Having apprehended causes and conditions, they explain that the entire present and future world is without inherent existence, because dependently originated.

Entire article here.

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Is Madhyamaka Really the Middle Way?

Post by Mahadhat on Sat Dec 27, 2008 11:25 pm

From the Article, Nargajuna states about emptiness & nirvana:
Not dependent on another, calm, not diffused by verbal diffusion, free from conceptual discrimination, without diversity—this is the description of reality.
From the Theravada suttas, Buddha states:
The cessation of greed, hatred & delusion is Nibbana.

Emptiness is empty of self & anything belonging to self.

Unsurpassed emtpiness is empty of sensual desire, empty of becoming (egoism) & empty of ignorance.
Nargajuna's description is a description of a mind with a unified state of consciousness. My opinion is it is not the Middle Way because this state of mind is both impractical and cannot be maintained permanently because a human being cannot live without conceptual thought and cannot function skilfully without understanding diversity. Thus, it cannot be Nibbana or salvation. In Theravada MN 1, Buddha states both unity and diversity are not Nibbana.

A mind free from greed, hatred & delusion can function freely in life plus be free from suffering. A mind free from greed, hatred & delusion is a mind with wisdom, understanding & dispossession. Possessing wisdom, it functions with active engagement rather than conceptual retraction.

The maintaining of a mind free from conceptual discrimination and without diversity is disfunctional and actually a conditioned state, potentially subject to attachment. It is limited and restricted rather than free. In MN 140, the Buddha states the following:
One neither fabricates nor mentally fashions for the sake of becoming or un-becoming. This being the case, one is not sustained by anything in the world (does not cling to anything in the world).

My opinion,

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Re: Is Madhyamaka Really the Middle Way?

Post by sherab zangpo on Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:58 pm

Drolma wrote:Some have said that Madhyamaka is that it entails nihilism. Does Madhyamaka assert that nothing exists, or is it really the middle way?



Nagajuna would say.

To say "it is" is to grasp for permanence.
To say "it is not" is to adopt the view of nihilism.
Therefore a wise person
Does not say "exists" or "does not exist".
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Re: Is Madhyamaka Really the Middle Way?

Post by dorje on Tue Dec 30, 2008 2:11 pm

Madhyamaka is proliferation from the 4 extremes of eternalism, nihilism, both and neither.
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Re: Is Madhyamaka Really the Middle Way?

Post by sherab zangpo on Sat Apr 25, 2009 8:49 pm

For anyone interested, the key might be to study praityasamutpada, conditioned co-production. The point being if we understand that fully.....Then we can see the 12 nidanas in correct way.

Who knows?

Maybe we can discover something?
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