Tag Archives: Nagarjuna

Primordial Voidness

Primordial Voidness (ádiśunyatá) refers to the intrinsic nature, which is the self-same Voidness. Everything we are conscious of, both inwardly and externally, is representative of this Voidness. From time immemorial the entire cosmos and its substrata dharmata hinges upon this magnificent Voidness. Our apparent origin is from Voidness, we are within (IT), and in the final scheme of this fragile samsaric bubble we shall dissolve back into Essential Voidness. In order to see this (clearly) it behooves us to Contemplate upon this Great Voidness. Upon our initial recognition, we need to stabilize IT within the very core of our beingness, which within a Buddhaic framework refers to remaining stable in our Natural State. There is no higher Self-Realization other than this and it can only be contemplated within the Clear Light of the Unborn Buddha Mind. read more

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Nāgārjuna’s Nirvana

Nāgārjuna’s stance on Nirvana is best illustrated in his Magnum Opus, The Mūlamadhyamakakārikā. In Sanskrit it is translated as “Root Verses on the Middle Way”. The work is comprised of 448 verses in twenty-seven chapters. Chapter twenty-five is on Nirvana. As a whole this philosophic-wonder is an inexorable analysis of many of the most central categories of Buddhist thought, exposing them to a scrutiny that disclosures the absurd consequences that follow from envisioning any of them to be real in the sense of possessing an independent and intrinsic nature (Svabhāva). Nāgārjuna drives-home the realization that all these categories exist only relationally but do not exist in an Absolute sense. In the Twenty-fifth chapter, he subjects Nirvana to a similar critique, finding it to be neither existent, nonexistent, both existent and nonexistent, nor neither existent nor nonexistent. These, of course, are his “four alternatives” or tetralemma. Hence, Nirvana like Samsara is self-empty of that intrinsic nature. In this sense there is no-difference between them. This chapter consists of 24 aphorisms that concisely strips-down Nirvana bare and reveals for us what it is and is not. The rest of this blog will present each of these with accompanying commentary. read more

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Nāgārjuna and the Two Truths

Nāgārjuna is perhaps the most celebrated philosopher-sage of Mahayana/Mādhyamika Buddhism. Despite the enormous popularity very little is actually known concerning his Biographical details apart from the generally-held belief that he lived during the 2nd century CE. While rooted in rich mythical soil, his name is in reference to the “Nagas” from whom he received the Prajnaparamita teachings. The Śatasāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā, which the Buddha had especially entrusted to the Nagas for safekeeping, was handed over to Nāgārjuna who later propagated the teachings. In the west, he is best known for his teachings on emptiness, (śūnyatā), which he espoused during his formation of the Mādhyamika School. For our purposes in this series, his own nuanced views on śūnyatā follows most closely from the doctrine of Dependent-Origination which states that nothing within the created-order has an intrinsic-existence of its own. Indeed, the term śūnyatā has an “entirely different nuance in the Mādhyamika thought from that of other Buddhist schools and traditions.” read more

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Nothingness in Nāgārjuna and John of the Cross

Our offering for this autumn season is a series based on the Negative-Way as found in the notion of Nothingness. Two proponents of this Way are Nāgārjuna and John of the Cross. From the Mādhyamika thrust of Nāgārjuna it is considered as śūnyatā, and from the mystic-pen of the Discalced Carmelite John of the Cross it is coined as nada. Thus we have emptiness clearly exhibited in two diverse spiritual traditions yet containing a kernel of comparability, although singularly expounded in each. Our main resource for this series is a marvelous text written by C.D. Sebastian entitled, The Cloud of Nothingness: The Negative Way in Nāgārjuna and John of the Cross. Professor Sebastian initiates his study with two prominent quotes: read more

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Black Naga

Rounding-out this series revolving around all-things-Naga, it needs to be stated unequivocally that what was represented early-on was no figment of an active imagination or some attempt to engage in any form of, let us say, “role-playing”—as if encountering nagas and their singular Naga-Gnosis is like partaking in a “game”, such as Dungeons and Dragons. Denny Sargent states in his Naga Magick: The Wisdom of the Serpent Lords, read more

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