The Philosophy of the Middle Way

By David J. Kalupahana

Series: SUNY series in Buddhist Studies
Paperback : 9780887061493, 429 pages, January 1986
Hardcover : 9780887061486, 429 pages, January 1986

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Table of contents




The Middle Path

Nagarjuna: The Myth

Nagarjuna: The Philosopher and Grand Commentator

Nagarjuna and Kumarajiva

Nagarjuna's Buddha

Analysis of the Kaccayanagotta-Sutta

Buddha's Conception of Language and Truth

Period of the Sravakas

Moggaliputta-tissa: The First Reformer

Early Mahayana: The Second Reform Movement

Structure of the Mulamadhyamakakarika

Analysis of the Karika

Nagarjuna's Philosophical Enterprise

Sanskrit Text, Translation and Annotation

Sanskrit Index to the Karika

Index of Nominal Forms

Index of Verbal Forms

General Index


This is a completely new translation of Nagarjuna's major work, the Mulamadhyamakakarika, accompanied by a detailed annotation of each of the verses. The annotation identifies the metaphysical theories of the scholastics criticized by Nagarjuna, and traces the source material and the arguments utilized in his refutation back to the early discourses of the Buddha.

The Introduction presents a completely new hypothesisthe nature of the treatise. The work is a grand commentary on the Buddha's "Discourse to Katyayana" (Kaccayanaqotta-sutta). The concluding part of the Introduction compares the teachings of the Buddha and Nagarjuna in regard to epistemology, ontology, ethics and philosophy of language indicating how the latter was making a determined attempt to reconstruct the Buddha's teachings in a very faithful manner, avoiding the substantialist metaphysics of the scholastics.

The book shows that Nagarjuna's ideas are neither original nor are they an advancement from the early Buddhist period. Nagarjuna is not a Mahayanist.

David Kalupahana is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hawaii.