Translation of Ngrjuna's Mlamadhyamakakrik (The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way)

What is the best translation of Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā (The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way)? Nāgārjuna's Primary Literature Bibliography on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy lists five translations with commentary accessible to philosophers without specialized training in Indology:
>Jay Garfield, The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way. Translation and Commentary of Nāgārjuna’s Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
>Jay Garfield, Geshe Ngawang Samten, Ocean of Reasoning. A Great Commentary on Nāgārjuna’s Mūlamadhyamakakārikā by rJe Tshong Khapa, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
>Siderits, Mark and Shōryū Katsura: Nāgārjuna’s Middle Way. Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2013.
>Ian Coghlan, Buddhapālita’s Commentary on Nāgārjuna’s Middle Way: Buddhapālita-Mūlamadhyamaka-Vṛtti, Boston, Wisdom, 2022.
>Mabja Jangchub Tsöndrü, Ornament of Reason. The Great Commentary to Nāgārjuna’s Root of the Middle Way, Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion, 2011.
Is Wisdom Publications as academic as Oxford University Press?
How is Plato related to Nāgārjuna? How is Aristotle related to Nāgārjuna? How is Confucius related to Nāgārjuna? How is Epicurus related to Nāgārjuna?

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  1. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    > What is the best translation of Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā
    All of the translations you listed are fine, they each more or less present the view of different Buddhist interpretations of his thought, there is no “standard” interpretation because nobody agrees on what his basic views/position is.
    >How is Plato related to Nāgārjuna?
    Not related at all. Plato is an anti-hylic and anti-NPC philosopher who believed in an immortal soul. Nagarjuna… not so much…
    >How is Aristotle related to Nāgārjuna?
    Not related at all. Aristotle was more logically-minded than Nagarjuna.
    >How is Confucius related to Nāgārjuna?
    Not related at all, Nagarjuna doesn’t write about society.
    >How is Epicurus related to Nāgārjuna?
    Not really related except in the broad sense that both propound avoiding things or beliefs/conceptions that cause problems.

    Nagarjuna is probably the most underwhelming Buddhist author/philosopher to read.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Only npcs value "muh logic" so much.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        The only thing of any purported value in Nagarjuna's writings is his logic, there's no additional spiritual content besides his dry logical arguments which is uplifting, inspiring or enlightening such as you might find in the works of other religious philosophers who penned beautiful rhapsodies on God, gnosis, the soul, illumination etc. Nagarjuna's logic just isn't as rigorous as Aristotle's and at times he engages in fallacies.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          Wrong, Nagarjuna don't do logic but metalogic
          All the people who tried to find fallacies in Nagarjuna's work were amateurs, the most well know critique of the Mulamadhyamakakarika was writen by Richard Robinson, a guy who tried to hard to fit Nagarjuna's system into the analitical framework and his critique was so sloppy he got entire chapters mixed and got wrong a lot of fundamental aspect of the system, his chapter critisizing Nagarjuna's notion of space was already refuted on lit/ some years ago

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >the most well know critique of the Mulamadhyamakakarika was writen by Richard Robinson, a guy who tried to hard to fit Nagarjuna's system into the analitical framework and his critique was so sloppy
            That's just cope, Robinson points out a number of serious holes and outright fallacies in Nagarjuna's arguments, and people only cope in response but never actually refute Robinson's whole piece, at most they dance around one tiny part of it while ignoring the rest.

            You are just trying to have your cake and eat it too,
            >Nagarjuna was the greatest philosopher and refuted everyone with his logic
            >ummm... but what about these fallacies in his argu-
            >NOOO!!! You can't just be skeptical of his claims and see if they hold water... don't you understand?!?! It's uhhh... "metalogic"... it's not "analytical".... that makes the fallacies okay... you are just supposed to uncritically accept it as true

            https://i.imgur.com/Wnifn4q.jpg

            [...]
            [...]
            [...]
            I thank all of you anons very much! I want to dedicate my 2024 to the study of the Buddhist commentators and I am extremely grateful for all of your contributions.

            If you want to read a more critical view of Nagarjuna that just doesn't take for granted that he is right about everything then you may want to check out the book "Emptiness Appraised" by Burton and also use sci-hub to read Richard Robinson's classic refutation of Nagarjuna in the article called "Did Nagarjuna Really Refute All Philosophical Views?". Almost every Buddhist writer is extremely deferential to Nagarjuna and don't subject his thought to the same critical attitude that they treat other things because they have a "guruism" attitude towards him (Burton writes about this in the beginning of his book), he is in effect their guru or important to their line of guru's so that is an incentive against treating his claims with a critical attitude. So you can't expect them to be honest or forthcoming about possible contradictions/issues in Nagarjuna.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >Robinson points out a number of serious holes and outright fallacies in Nagarjuna's arguments
            Give us an example then, you provided no arguments, just Ad hominem fallacies
            Nagarjuna don't use logic to prove fallacies, which imply refuting the arguments, but metalogic, that is seeing the whole logical system and pointing out how the system itself lead to contradictions and over-conceptualisation, that's one of the many things Robinson got wrong, not to mention confusing whole chapters of the book, which is from an academic point of view pathetic, just show how sloppy Robinson was with his analisis, for a true study of Nagarjuna from an analitical point of view you can read the work of David Kalupahana, who studied with Wittgenstein, the most important analitical philosopher in history

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          Madhyamaka isn't philosophy, it's a method to exhaust conceptual proliferation. There is nothing more uplifting and inspiring than the vast, inexpressible, space like emptiness which Nagarjuna is pointing to. What point is there in poetically describing ultimate reality when you have the method to experience it?

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >There is nothing more uplifting and inspiring than the vast, inexpressible, space like emptiness which Nagarjuna is pointing to.
            I find the metaphysical/mystic texts of other religions to be more inspiring, reading Nagarjuna is like watching paint dry compared to reading the Upanishads, Zhuangzi, Plotinus, The Guru Granth Sahib, Sufi poetry etc.

            >What point is there in poetically describing ultimate reality when you have the method to experience it?
            You can't directly experience sunyata though, you are instead just encouraged to interpret your empirical experience in a way that is in accordance with Buddhist dogmas about emptiness, but that's not the same as directly experiencing the purported fact of sunyata.

            >b-b-but sunyata means that everything is mutually interdependent and you can experience this!
            No, you cannot experience that everything is mutually interdependent because not everything is accessible to our pramanas, only a tiny slice of the universe can be known through the pramanas at any one time, so you aren't experiencing "everything" being interdependent.
            >t-t-that's not what I meant, I rather meant that you can experience that the phenomena in your own empirical experience are mutually interdependent
            Even this is not experienceable because causation is not something which can be directly experienced, it's assumed/inferred but when you have the sensation of phenomena A and then see phenomena B that appears to be caused by A, you aren't directly perceiving any causality but you are just seeing the phenomena alone and then inferring the causal relation linking them (see Hume), so it's impossible to actually directly experience that anything is causally dependent on something else and thus empty, it's only inferred, there is no direct experiential confirmation of sunyata possible.
            >That's not what I meant either, I just meant that when you stop conceptual proliferation then the ultimate reality of sunyata that is inexpressible is automatically revealed
            This goes back to what I said about interpreting experience to be in accordance with Buddhist dogmas, other mystics of other traditions say that when proliferation stops that their own Absolute is known and not sunyata, so that's just repeating what basically every mystic tradition says.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >(see Hume)
            Interdependence and cause and effect are two different things, also if we follow Hume, then we're back to a Madhyamaka view, since he used this notion of cause and effect to show that there's no uncaused cause (god) and no self

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >Interdependence and cause and effect are two different things
            Obviously, but the point remains true that if you cannot empirically verify that cause and effect exists as a real relation linking phenomena A with phenomena B, then an automatic consequence of this is that you cannot verify whatsoever that phenomena A is dependent on phenomena B, which makes it impossible to verify that phenomena A is empty and lacks svabhava.

            >also if we follow Hume, then we're back to a Madhyamaka view, since he used this notion of cause and effect to show that there's no uncaused cause (god) and no self
            No he didn't, that's a lie and a foolish one at that.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >(see Hume)
            Interdependence and cause and effect are two different things, also if we follow Hume, then we're back to a Madhyamaka view, since he used this notion of cause and effect to show that there's no uncaused cause (god) and no self

            Addendum: Before you reply to me with some cringe ESL nonsense, I'll say it right now: Arguing that something like God is an unnecessary assumption in light of alternative models of the universe is not the same thing as showing (demonstrating or proving) that there is no God. For someone to say that the former constitutes the latter can only be the result of duplicity or stupidity.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            All the dharmas that arise arise by reason of the five causes and the four conditions that we have just explained. The world does not proceed from a single cause that is called God, or Purusa, or Pradhana, or any other name.

            How do you prove this thesis?
            If you think that the thesis is proven through arguments, you betray your doctrine that the world arises from a single cause.

            64d. Not from God or from any other cause, since there is a succession, etc.
            That things are produced by a single cause, by God, Mahadeva, or Vasudeva, is inadmissable for many reasons.

            1.) If things were produced by a single cause, they would arise all at the same time: now each of us knows that they arise successively.

            [The Theist:] They arise successively by virtue of the desires of God, who says, "May this arise now! May this perish now! May this arise and perish later!"

            If this were the case, then things do not arise from a single cause, since the desires (of God) are multiple. Moreover these multiple desires would have to be simultaneous, since God, the cause of these desires, is not multiple, and things would all arise at the same time.

            a. [The Theist:] The desires of God are not simultaneous, because God, in order to produce his desires, takes into account other causes.

            If this were so, then God is not the single unique cause of all things. And the causes that God takes into account are produced successively: they depend then on causes which are themselves dependent on other causes: an infinite regression.

            [The Theist:] It is admitted that the series of causes has no beginning.

            This would admit that samsara does not have an origin. You then abandon the doctrine of a single cause and return to the Buddhist theory of causes (hetus) and conditions (pratyaya).

            b. [The Theist:] The desires of God are simultaneous, but things do not arise at the same time because they arise as God wishes them to arise, that is, in succession.

            This is inadmissible. The desires of God remain what they are. Let us explain. Suppose that God desires "May this arise now! May that arise later!" We do not see why the second desire, at first nonefficacious, will be efficacious later; why, if it is efficacious later, it will not be so initially.

            What advantage does God obtain from this great effort by which he produces the world?

            [The Theist:] God produces the world for his own satisfaction (ptiti).

            He is then not God, the Sovereign (Isvara), in what concerns his own satisfaction, since he cannot realize it without a means (upaya). And if he is not sovereign with regard to his own satisfaction, how can he be sovereign with regard to the world?

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            Further, do you say that God finds satisfaction in seeing the creatures that he has created in the prey of all the sufferings of existence, including the tortures of the hells? Homage to this God! Well said, in truth, is the popular stanza, "He is called Rudra because he burns, because he is excited, ferocious, terrible, an eater of flesh, blood, and marrow"

            3.) The followers of God, the single cause of the world, deny visible causes,—causes and conditions,—the efficacy of the seed with regard to the sprout, etc. If, modifying their position, they admit the existence of these causes, and pretend that these causes serve God as auxiliaries, this then is no more that a pious affirmation, for we do not maintain any activity of a cause besides the activity of the so-called secondary causes. Furthermore, God would not be sovereign with regard to auxiliary causes, since these cooperate in the production of the effect through their own efficacy. Perhaps, in order to avoid the negation of causes, which are visible, and in order to avoid the affirmation of present action by God, which is not visible, the Theist would say that the work of God is creation: but creation, dependent only on God, would never have a beginning, like God himself, and this is a consequence that the Theist rejects.

            We would refute the doctrine of Purusa, of Pradhana, etc., as we have refuted the theist doctrine, mutatis mutandis. Thus, no dharma arises from a single cause.

            Alas, persons are unclear! Like the birds and the animals, truly worth of pity, they go from existence to existence, accomplishing diverse actions; they experience the results of these actions and falsely believe that God is the cause of these results. (We must explain the Truth in order to put an end to this false conception.)

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            These arguments can easily be answered by someone who believes in a more abstract Vedantic/Neoplatonic conception of the Absolute or a more personal Abrahamic conception of God. If you actually read primary source literature outside of Buddhism there is no way to take those kinds of arguments seriously. It's Sam Harris or Dawkins tier, interesting as a historical insight into how certain Buddhist philosophers thought but it doesn't hold up as a serious argument.

            > If things were produced by a single cause, they would arise all at the same time: now each of us knows that they arise successively.
            This is presuming without reason that the sole source (personal or impersonal) would not possess the ability to generate things at different times through a development of the different possible generations from possibility into actuality. Moreover the whole point can be skipped if one holds that the generation is timeless and that what appears as different creations in time are merely the resulting consequences of the one original timeless generation/creation resulting in something that expresses itself in different permutations in time, i.e. what are apparently different creations in the universe are just different resulting permutations of the single original timeless generation that generated the universe(s) from beyond time.

            >If this were the case, then things do not arise from a single cause, since the desires (of God) are multiple.
            I personally agree with a more impersonal view of God with divine simplicity, but even a believer in a personal God can answer this by saying that the desires are just different outward manifestations of the same will/inner orientation that is non-different from God, and that these are just different means towards fulfilling the same end and thereby reflect a single source. Moreover, there is no necessity that God not have multiple desires, various types of Christian, Muslim and Hindu thought conceive of God as existing with a certain level of plurality characterizing it that allows for God to have a plurality of desires/attributes. Simply saying that the same entity has multiple desires doesn't negate the fact that the creation is still proceeding from a singular source since God is still what is responsible for the creation and not the desire by itself.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >Moreover these multiple desires would have to be simultaneous, since God, the cause of these desires, is not multiple, and things would all arise at the same time.
            This is presupposing without reason that God wouldn't have the will to choose which desire to resolve according to his own timetable/plan, a believer in the personal conception of God would simply say that God has the freedom to choose, and an believer in an impersonal God would say something like the above point about timeless creation resulting in subsequent differentiation within time (which obviates this whole argument) or that the different creations are just different means directed towards a single end/desire/teleology, which each reflect that end in their own way.

            >If this were so, then God is not the single unique cause of all things.
            This is only relevant for a believer in the personal God, but he can simple answer this by saying that God's desires are not produced in response to anything else but that God already has omniscience foreknowledge of everything that will ever happen, and that this is possible is only because God is allowing it to happen because it reflects God's original intent underlying the whole of creation, so in such a case God's desire has not really been "produced" by anything that is itself a continent creation but all creation is a manifestation of God's desire/will and proceeds according to it. Moreover, even taking the argument at face value, the fact of the causal agent taking all the relevant facts into consideration doesn't make them cease to be the causal agent.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >This is inadmissible. The desires of God remain what they are. Let us explain. Suppose that God desires "May this arise now! May that arise later!" We do not see why the second desire, at first nonefficacious, will be efficacious later; why, if it is efficacious later, it will not be so initially.
            This argument appears to be based either on a genuine misunderstanding of the theist's position or on a deceitful and sophist-like verbal sleight of hand. The theist is saying that God desires "let A arise now" and also "may B arise later". In the response, the Buddhist writer here argues that "if the second desire is at first non-efficacious, then why will it be efficacious later and not at first", the answer to this is that it's simply included as part of the definition of the idea being talk about. If you aren't talking about the desire for B arising including within itself the intention for B to arise at that later date then you aren't even talking about the theist's position anymore.

            If we translate the Buddhist's argument here into another example it would be like a Buddhist arguing "how can you say that water with lemon juice added is sour? If that's true then water should always be sour", this is similarly wrong because just as the response leaves out and ignores the "lemon juice added" that answers why it's sour, the Buddhist argument here leaves out the intent for B to manifest at a later time, which answers why it's efficacious later and not now. It's clearly fallacious to pretend to be addressing your opponents position while slicing their explanation of an idea into halves that leaves out a critical component to the idea.

            >And the causes that God takes into account are produced successively
            This has already been answered through the above points

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >He is then not God, the Sovereign (Isvara), in what concerns his own satisfaction, since he cannot realize it without a means (upaya).
            For something to adhere to its own nature does not make it non-sovereign anymore, it does not make it non-sovereign anymore since sovereignty is relational and has to do with the relations between things, but if something is simply consistent with its own nature (like 1 equaling 1), that's not a relation of sovereignty between a plurality of entities but is just the absence of contradiction. If God lacks satisfaction until something is done, then God's satisfaction is dependent on other things, but if God is eternally satisfied and has no possibility of being dissatisfied and the creation is just the ongoing enactment of God's intent (it reflects it from below) which is consistent with God's nature then God's satisfaction doesn't depend on the means. Moreover this point is not relevant for the believer in an impersonal God that is beyond creaturely mental states like satisfaction and for whom creation happens as the outward expression of an inner nature that isn't driven in response to a lack of something.

            >Furthermore, God would not be sovereign with regard to auxiliary causes since these cooperate in the production of the effect through their own efficacy.
            If those auxiliary causes are themselves created by God, and then subsequently participate in the act of achieving God's ends after they have been created by him, then God is still sovereign over them in every sense, that Buddhist argument only holds water if the auxiliary causes have their own eternal and self-succent existence which almost no Theist believed ever.

            > but creation, dependent only on God, would never have a beginning, like God himself, and this is a consequence that the Theist rejects.
            That's not true, maybe in very specific kinds of Abrahamic theology that's true but there are plenty of Theistic western and eastern traditions and sub-schools that conceive of creation as beginningless and/or timeless such as Neoplatonism and certain types of Vedanta.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            if god has desires, god is being acted upon, and is therefore not the final or absolute cause of anything

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >if god has desires, god is being acted upon, and is therefore not the final or absolute cause of anything
            This doesn't refute the impersonal conception of God as being without desires, and a believer in the personalist type of God can simply answer that charge by saying that God's desire's proceed from within as the outward expression of God's nature instead of arising in response to exterior phenomena; that is to say that God has such-and-such beginningless nature that is non-different from himself and desires are just this nature manifesting itself according to its own character and not in response to anything that is exterior to God.

            So, that's not a good argument against either the impersonal God or the more refined personal conceptions of God like Aquinas, Maximus the Confessor, Bonaventure or even Ramanuja. And most serious theist philosophers would happily agree with you that a Zeus-like demiurge figure who feels a lack or incompleteness in response to external stimuli is not an absolute (being independent in every aspect) cause. When Buddhists want to argue against serious theistic philosophy they often disingenuously pretend that every kind of theology is like William Lane Craig's view of God but this couldn't be farther from being true.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >serious theistic philosophy
            you are being pretentious and making up obfuscating concepts

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >you are being pretentious and making up obfuscating concepts
            I've done neither, I simply pointed out that the arguments raised only apply to a very primitive and crude understanding of God that almost no significant religious philosopher/theologian adhered too and that they don't apply to or fail to refute the more abstract impersonal conceptions of God (Vedanta/Neoplatonism/Sikhism) or even the more philosophically sophisticated personal conceptions of God (Neoplatonic influenced Abrahamic theology and personalist Vedanta).

            If you believe that Buddhists refute God based on these kinds of arguments, and then when people point out that they are inapplicable to most serious theology and you respond by calling the other person "pretentious", then that suggests that you have no interest in ascertaining what the truth is but you're more concerned with keeping your worldview intact from being challenged.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >they are inapplicable to most serious theology
            But if the premise of even the most serious theology is pure fantasy what use is there to knock down all six quadrillion permutations of isvara/brahmā/yahweh/zeus/demiurge? Simply to entertain you? The theologies which shy away from a personal, active, and anthropomorphic god the most are virtually crypto-atheisms themselves, e.g. Spinoza, Shankara, etc., preserving the label of God but not its content. The final step is to admit the label is a placeholder, which the Buddhist does freely, and without insisting that being serious requires a deeper retreat into scholasticism. Of course, there is Buddhist scholasticism, but it exists comfortably alongside with, and is understood as merely preparatory to the practical religion. The cosmologies and devas and whatever else are mere representations to be focused on for higher understanding, and not actual. I hope that for all your expertise in "serious" and deep theological lore that you have maintained some sense of practical spirituality, and are not merely playing intellectual games with a revolving thesaurus, because outside of an intra-faith context, there is no concern for how well you can prove unaccepted premises.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >But if the premise of even the most serious theology is pure fantasy what use is there to knock down all six quadrillion permutations of isvara/brahmā/yahweh/zeus/demiurge?
            The use is to at least try to sustain the pretense of the absurd and laughable delusion that all other philosophical and religious views besides Buddhism have been refuted by Buddhist arguments. This is precisely what some online Buddhists currently claim including on IQfy, but they know little to nothing about the other religious doctrines which they claim are refuted.

            In order for this to not be a complete sham that exposes you as a bunch of fart-sniffing buffoons, you have to at least pretend to explain how it refutes other tradition; but when you claim it refutes them but then throw up your hands at the first sight of opposition and say "bah it's pointless!" when people reply by pointing out that it doesn't actually refute those traditions, then you no longer even have a pretense of seriousness since your bluff has been called and you are instead merely highlighting your foolishness for the whole world to laugh at.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >they know little to nothing about the other religious doctrines which they claim are refuted.
            Oh lets see what these special, super serious doctrines are...

            >He is then not God, the Sovereign (Isvara), in what concerns his own satisfaction, since he cannot realize it without a means (upaya).
            For something to adhere to its own nature does not make it non-sovereign anymore, it does not make it non-sovereign anymore since sovereignty is relational and has to do with the relations between things, but if something is simply consistent with its own nature (like 1 equaling 1), that's not a relation of sovereignty between a plurality of entities but is just the absence of contradiction. If God lacks satisfaction until something is done, then God's satisfaction is dependent on other things, but if God is eternally satisfied and has no possibility of being dissatisfied and the creation is just the ongoing enactment of God's intent (it reflects it from below) which is consistent with God's nature then God's satisfaction doesn't depend on the means. Moreover this point is not relevant for the believer in an impersonal God that is beyond creaturely mental states like satisfaction and for whom creation happens as the outward expression of an inner nature that isn't driven in response to a lack of something.

            >Furthermore, God would not be sovereign with regard to auxiliary causes since these cooperate in the production of the effect through their own efficacy.
            If those auxiliary causes are themselves created by God, and then subsequently participate in the act of achieving God's ends after they have been created by him, then God is still sovereign over them in every sense, that Buddhist argument only holds water if the auxiliary causes have their own eternal and self-succent existence which almost no Theist believed ever.

            > but creation, dependent only on God, would never have a beginning, like God himself, and this is a consequence that the Theist rejects.
            That's not true, maybe in very specific kinds of Abrahamic theology that's true but there are plenty of Theistic western and eastern traditions and sub-schools that conceive of creation as beginningless and/or timeless such as Neoplatonism and certain types of Vedanta.

            >If God lacks satisfaction until something is done, then God's satisfaction is dependent on other things, but if God is eternally satisfied and has no possibility of being dissatisfied and the creation is just the ongoing enactment of God's intent (it reflects it from below) which is consistent with God's nature then God's satisfaction doesn't depend on the means
            This is the exact sort of thing I hand waved, and with good reason—if you are asked what causes "God" to do this or that, you answer that it is in God's "nature" to not have such cause for anything because it is his nature to do everything as it is or has happened. You are answering a shrug with a shrug yourself, and pretending to be an intellectual for doing so.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >This is the exact sort of thing I hand waved, and with good reason—if you are asked what causes "God" to do this or that, you answer that it is in God's "nature" to not have such cause for anything because it is his nature to do everything as it is or has happened.
            Yes, that is the logical implication, and through it the Buddhist argument (based on the constant mistake of pretending that God is always a Zeus-like demiurge) is addressed and shown to be a failure. If God's desire is e.g. only for his own plans to be enacted that are derived from his own uncreated nature and if the totality of creation is merely this plan being enacted, then God doesn't have any desires that are arise in response to things happening within creation. God would already have complete foreknowledge of the entirety of creation anyway and the whole thing with all its warts would only take place in the first place due to it be in accordance with God's uncreated nature and the plans/intent that derive from it. There is no logical, theological, metaphysical other kind of necessity that Theists have to conceive of God as having human-like desires that arise in response to events within creation, and it's simply fallacious for you to pretend otherwise (it's engaging in the no true scotsmen fallacy).

            Lastly, that argument doesn't even imply to impersonal conceptions of God, any true refutation of God as the absolute principle and uncreated source of all would necessarily refute both the personal and impersonal versions, uses an argument that attacks one alone and saying it refutes God in every religion is inherently unserious.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >the constant mistake of pretending that God is always a Zeus-like demiurge
            If you are just using God as a label for a non-creative non-agent, for an all encompassing reality-concept, and slapping God on this to avoid the charge of atheism, you have appropriated a label from believing people who you evidently find both embarassing and vulnerable to Buddhist or other anti-theist critique. It's just dishonesty at this point. We could replace your "God" with "Big Bang Theory" and your arguments would be identical. Doesn't that set off any alarms in your mind, that the labels you are using for "absolute reality" might be totally arbitrary? Why even be a "theist" if your God is designed to avoid "acting" like God?

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >If you are just using God as a label for a non-creative non-agent, for an all encompassing reality-concept, and slapping God on this to avoid the charge of atheism, you have appropriated a label
            This is the "no true scotsman fallacy" by insisting that impersonal conceptions of God in Vedanta and Neoplatonism are not true theism. At the end of the day all the Buddhist arguments against God/the One boil down to these kinds of asinine fallacies. It's funny but it's also a little sad how someone can be so oblivious to their own foolishness.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >This is the "no true scotsman fallacy" by insisting that impersonal conceptions of God in Vedanta and Neoplatonism are not true theism
            That's a cute way to put it, but according to Buddhism, there is indeed literally no true scotsman, just a wee bit o' Pict, Gael, Roman, Angle, and Viking, and we could say the same for all of those. It is worth noting that Neoplatonism and Advaita Vedanta are intellectualized responses to the myths and religious literature produced by their respective cultures, and are indeed trying to preserve the concept of God without being overly folkish. Plato is embarassed by Homer, you are embarassed by...?

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >This is the "no true scotsman fallacy" by insisting that impersonal conceptions of God in Vedanta and Neoplatonism are not true theism. At the end of the day all the Buddhist arguments against God/the One boil down to these kinds of asinine fallacies. It's funny but it's also a little sad how someone can be so oblivious to their own foolishness.

            1/ the buddhists don't give a shit about the gods invented by the theists

            2/ the the buddhists have the supramundane knowledge that all 3 realms of life are conditioned, not self and suffering, which means whatever god lives in there, the god is tainted by suffering exactly like other living beings, and the supramundane knowledge of the existence of nirvana which is devoid of suffering and there's no need to have some god by some theist popping up in this ''realm'' (it's really not a realm). Just like the eternalists whine once they hear there's no reason for a ''self'' to pop up in nirvana out of nowhere.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            He gave plenty of examples of personal God theologies too. You're just being dishonest.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >You're just being dishonest.
            It is impossible to be more dishonest than a play-pretend scholastic theologian on an cephalopod erotica forum

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            > what use is there to knock down all six quadrillion permutations
            You can't even knock down the main four or five lmao

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            He's not, you're just not used to seeing actual theist arguments rather than stawmen
            > t. Ortho

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            https://i.imgur.com/QHuceWC.jpg

            > what use is there to knock down all six quadrillion permutations
            You can't even knock down the main four or five lmao

            by all means please continue to bloviate about how it is the nature of god to create things as if he were motivated to do so but isn't actually motivated because it is his nature to create things as if he were motivated to do so but isn't actually motivated because it is his nature to create things as if he were motivated to do so but isn't actually motivated because it is his nature to create things

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            > Arguing that something like God is an unnecessary assumption in light of alternative models of the universe is not the same thing as showing (demonstrating or proving) that there is no God.
            Why? By that logic i should be open tl the existence of the flying spaghetti monster
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell%27s_teapot

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            The first chapter of the Mulamadhyamakakarika is a refutation of causation, you have no idea what you're talking about about.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >The first chapter of the Mulamadhyamakakarika is a refutation of causation
            Yes, I know that Buddhists interpret Nagarjuna as refuting causal relations as existing absolutely, I wasn't denying that this is a typical Buddhist interpretation of him and I'm well aware of that but I was just pointing out that it's impossible to verify that things in your experience are other-dependent for more or less the same reason that it's impossible to empirically verify that causality truly exists.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            You're saying the impossibility of verifying causation refutes Nagarjuna, when that's one of his main points. Emptiness isn't "other-dependence," Nagarjuna refutes that too.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >You're saying the impossibility of verifying causation refutes Nagarjuna
            I actually never wrote that anywhere and I don't know why you would write that, I only mentioned the point by way of pointing out that one cannot experientially verify emptiness.
            >Emptiness isn't "other-dependence,"
            Emptiness is lack of svabhava (own-nature or own-being)
            things are said to lack svabhava if they depend on something else for their existence/function
            to say that something is dependent on something else is thus tantamount to saying it lacks svabhava and is hence empty
            This is a typical Buddhist understanding of Nagarjuna shared by multiple schools and it certainly isn't "refuted" by him, maybe you were misinterpreting what I wrote to mean something else.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            Things lack svabhava because they cannot be found under the sevenfold analysis. There is no chariot that can be found that is the same as its parts, different from its parts, which supports its parts, which is supported by its parts, which possesses its parts, which is the composite of its parts, or which is the shape of its parts. Lack of svabhava means that there is nothing on the side of any object that establishes its existence, all phenomena only exist through mere imputation.
            Emptiness really doesn't have anything to do with interdependence. Since nothing can be established as inherently existent, inherent difference cannot be established , so there is no basis to establish dependent existence, parabhava.
            >For the intrinsic nature of existents does not exist in the conditions
            >The intrinsic nature not occuring, neither is extrinsic nature found.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >Things lack svabhava because they cannot be found under the sevenfold analysis. There is no chariot that can be found that is the same as its parts, different from its parts, which supports its parts, which is supported by its parts, which possesses its parts, which is the composite of its parts, or which is the shape of its parts. Lack of svabhava means that there is nothing on the side of any object that establishes its existence, all phenomena only exist through mere imputation.
            That doesn't refute the notion or doctrine of an entity/principle which is partless/simple (like Brahman or the Neoplatonic One) having svabhava, it merely asserts that various examples of composite manifested phenomena lack svabhava. Simply because a chariot that is comprised of material parts and doesn't have svabhava doesn't mean that God/Brahman/the One lacks svabhava, there is no logical argument that can demonstrate how one leads to the other.

            Also, how is the chariot not the composite of its parts? Can not one point to the totality of the chariot and say that the totality is a composite of its parts?

            >Emptiness really doesn't have anything to do with interdependence.
            Are you saying that the Gelugs/Tsongkhapa are wrong then? Because they do write about it being connected with interdependence. Here is even a page talking about the (Gelug) Dalai Lama explaining emptiness in basically the same way that I just did, and he even quotes from where Nagarjuna says "Whatever is dependently arisen is said to be empty."

            >He (Dalai Lama) clarified that references to emptiness do not mean nothingness, rather that things lack independent existence. They don’t exist in and of themselves. Things are not solid and substantial the way they appear to be, they exist in dependence on other factors. Emptiness means dependently arisen; lacking independent existence. His Holiness mentioned the main forms of reasoning used to establish selflessness—diamond slivers, refutation of the four extreme types of production and the reasoning establishing the lack of being one or many. However, dependent arising is regarded as the king of reasonings because it looks at emptiness from the point of view of cause, nature and result.
            https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/second-day-of-chandrakirtis-entering-into-the-middle-way

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >an entity/principle which is partless/simple
            What reason is there to assume an uncompounded ultimate principle? If it existed, how would it interact with the compounded world?
            >how is the chariot not the composite of its parts?
            Is the composite something that exists on the side of chariot? The idea of a composite is an imputation as much as the concept of a chariot. Is there a composite that is the same as or different from the parts?
            >Gelugs/Tsongkhapa
            All dependently arisen phenomena are empty, but dependent origination is not equivalent to emptiness. Theravadins accept dependent origination, but not emptiness. When Gelugpas say things exist dependently, they primarily mean in dependence upon mental imputation, not conventional conditions. "Phenomena arise dependently" is a conventional truth, ultimately nothing at all ever arises.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >What reason is there to assume an uncompounded ultimate principle?
            There are plenty of reasons and arguments for why people choose to assume, infer or believe in such a principle, but nitpicking over these reasons is irrelevant to evaluating whether or not there is any argument that directly refutes the concept. That you are asking about reasons for believing in it has already given the game away that there is no Buddhist argument that directly refutes it so you are defaulting to the backup option.
            >If it existed, how would it interact with the compounded world?
            Different traditions would give different answers, but in most cases they would say by creating it and/or through ensuring its continued sustenance.
            >Is the composite something that exists on the side of chariot?
            Yes, by combining their functions the parts contribute to allowing the chariot-whole to behave or function in a certain way, e.g. the wheels allow the chariot to roll. That the wheels allow the chariot to roll is not merely imputed or imagined by us.
            >The idea of a composite is an imputation as much as the concept of a chariot.
            I don't see how

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >No he didn't
            Yes he did
            >For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe any thing but the perception
            >He may, perhaps, perceive something simple and continu'd, which he calls himself; tho' I am certain there is no such principle in me.
            This is a classic paragraph, the fact that you don't know it shows that you never read Hume

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >you cannot verify whatsoever that phenomena A is dependent on phenomena B
            That's one thing depending on another thing (causation) not interdependence

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            Guenongay is your mother really dead?

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >I find the metaphysical/mystic texts of other religions to be more inspiring
            They're just pretty words, they don't mean anything.
            >You can't directly experience sunyata
            Yes you can, the entire point of Mahayana practice is achieving a nonconceptual yogic direct perception of emptiness.
            >everything is mutually interdependent
            The profound emptiness of Mahayana isn't "everything is interdependent," it is nonarising, the complete inability to find any basis to phenomena. Madhyamaka negates any possible mode of existence. Arising is impossible, yet there are still ceaseless clear appearances.
            >causation is not something which can be directly experienced
            Yes, that's the point. Madhyamaka negates causation from self, other, both or neither, it's all impossible.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >Madhyamaka negates any possible mode of existence
            No it doesn't, it just gives a few weak arguments against certain conceptions of existence, but these few conceptions that are argued against don't encompass the wide variety of conceptions of existence that span western and eastern philosophy, so it's just disingenuous and outright silly to say that all philosophical views of existence are refuted. It is a special kind of learned stupidity, like neoliberal and progressive shibboleths.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >the wide variety of conceptions of existence that span western and eastern philosophy
            For example?

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            He can't give any examples, he doesn't know anything about madhyamaka, he just hate it because it refutes the ideas of vedanta and guenon, his hate is irrational and a product of ignorance, which to be honest is not uncommon on IQfy

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >causation is not something which can be directly experienced
            Yes, that's the point. Madhyamaka negates causation from self, other, both or neither, it's all impossible.
            >guenongay btfo again

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          >here's no additional spiritual content besides his dry logical arguments which is uplifting
          Spiritual value is not defined by that which is "uplifting", you sentimental little homosexual.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >if you point out that the aesthetic value of Nagarjuna's writings is lacking then you are le sentimentalist!

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      >Nāgārjuna is probably the most underwhelming Buddhist author/philosopher to read.

      The only thing of any purported value in Nagarjuna's writings is his logic, there's no additional spiritual content besides his dry logical arguments which is uplifting, inspiring or enlightening such as you might find in the works of other religious philosophers who penned beautiful rhapsodies on God, gnosis, the soul, illumination etc. Nagarjuna's logic just isn't as rigorous as Aristotle's and at times he engages in fallacies.

      >Nāgārjuna's logic just isn't as rigorous as Aristotle's and at times he engages in fallacies.
      Which books would you recommend that I study to understand the Buddhist confessions of momentariness, mereological nihilism, and nominalism? Many years ago, the Buddhists recommended that I study Nāgārjuna, Vasubandhu, Saṃghabhadra, Dignāga, and Dharmakīrti after studying Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, and Epicurus.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      The only thing of any purported value in Nagarjuna's writings is his logic, there's no additional spiritual content besides his dry logical arguments which is uplifting, inspiring or enlightening such as you might find in the works of other religious philosophers who penned beautiful rhapsodies on God, gnosis, the soul, illumination etc. Nagarjuna's logic just isn't as rigorous as Aristotle's and at times he engages in fallacies.

      Wrong, Nagarjuna don't do logic but metalogic
      All the people who tried to find fallacies in Nagarjuna's work were amateurs, the most well know critique of the Mulamadhyamakakarika was writen by Richard Robinson, a guy who tried to hard to fit Nagarjuna's system into the analitical framework and his critique was so sloppy he got entire chapters mixed and got wrong a lot of fundamental aspect of the system, his chapter critisizing Nagarjuna's notion of space was already refuted on lit/ some years ago

      Both Garfield and Sidertis are good in different ways, you should read both
      >How is Plato related to Nāgārjuna?
      They're on opposite sides of spiritual inquiry, Plato's saw eternity as something that granted "being" to existence, Nagarjuna saw eternity as something already present in existence, without any need of emanations or a "chain of being" much of his book shows how such a chain create paradoxes and contradictions(it's never clear if Plato actually believed on his two worlds system tho, books like the gorgias actually let that question open, a Plato's true system was lost in the agrapha dogmata)
      >How is Aristotle related to Nāgārjuna?
      Both of them saw the notion of a "two worlds system"(things/form) as fallacious, both saw the process as more important that "the thing" called sunyata by nagarjuna and energeia by aristotle, but Nagarjuna and buddhist in general find the theory of the uncaused cause contradictory and fallacious
      >How is Confucius related to Nāgārjuna?
      Both were highly influential in china
      >How is Epicurus related to Nāgārjuna?
      Both highly influenced helenic philosophy

      I thank all of you anons very much! I want to dedicate my 2024 to the study of the Buddhist commentators and I am extremely grateful for all of your contributions.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        This guy:

        > What is the best translation of Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā
        All of the translations you listed are fine, they each more or less present the view of different Buddhist interpretations of his thought, there is no “standard” interpretation because nobody agrees on what his basic views/position is.
        >How is Plato related to Nāgārjuna?
        Not related at all. Plato is an anti-hylic and anti-NPC philosopher who believed in an immortal soul. Nagarjuna… not so much…
        >How is Aristotle related to Nāgārjuna?
        Not related at all. Aristotle was more logically-minded than Nagarjuna.
        >How is Confucius related to Nāgārjuna?
        Not related at all, Nagarjuna doesn’t write about society.
        >How is Epicurus related to Nāgārjuna?
        Not really related except in the broad sense that both propound avoiding things or beliefs/conceptions that cause problems.

        Nagarjuna is probably the most underwhelming Buddhist author/philosopher to read.

        https://i.imgur.com/htQo0ay.jpg

        >Nāgārjuna is probably the most underwhelming Buddhist author/philosopher to read.
        [...]
        >Nāgārjuna's logic just isn't as rigorous as Aristotle's and at times he engages in fallacies.
        Which books would you recommend that I study to understand the Buddhist confessions of momentariness, mereological nihilism, and nominalism? Many years ago, the Buddhists recommended that I study Nāgārjuna, Vasubandhu, Saṃghabhadra, Dignāga, and Dharmakīrti after studying Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, and Epicurus.

        Has an anti-nagarjuna agenda, that's why he say things like that Nagarjuna commits fallacies without providing an example or calling nagarjuna hylic, npc, all pol/memes, he does that in every nagarjuna thread,he's know as the Guenongay because he's a fan of Rene Guenon a schizo christian/muslim that hated Buddhist for their negation of a creator god and a soul, ironically Nagarjuna was one of the system Guenon loved the most, Advaita Vedanta

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          OK, thank you for the information.
          I will study anti-Nāgārjuna arguments as another interpretation, but I would prefer that they cite many sources for further study. I have only read introductions to Nāgārjuna's metaphysics and have no strong opinions.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            I think one of the great things about Nagarjuna is how he at the forefront of a way to do philosophy and see the world that is now used to solve a lot of the metaphysical problems of modernity, in that regard i think reading western authors that sahe Nagarjuna's anti-sustantialist views is incredible rewarding, so reading authors like Hume, Hegel, Whitehead or Heidegger after Nagarjuna really show you the deeps you can achieve by thinking outside the framework of a primordial substance to understand being and reality

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          Ups i made a mistake i didn't mean this one:

          https://i.imgur.com/htQo0ay.jpg

          >Nāgārjuna is probably the most underwhelming Buddhist author/philosopher to read.
          [...]
          >Nāgārjuna's logic just isn't as rigorous as Aristotle's and at times he engages in fallacies.
          Which books would you recommend that I study to understand the Buddhist confessions of momentariness, mereological nihilism, and nominalism? Many years ago, the Buddhists recommended that I study Nāgārjuna, Vasubandhu, Saṃghabhadra, Dignāga, and Dharmakīrti after studying Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, and Epicurus.

          but this one

          The only thing of any purported value in Nagarjuna's writings is his logic, there's no additional spiritual content besides his dry logical arguments which is uplifting, inspiring or enlightening such as you might find in the works of other religious philosophers who penned beautiful rhapsodies on God, gnosis, the soul, illumination etc. Nagarjuna's logic just isn't as rigorous as Aristotle's and at times he engages in fallacies.

          >Nagarjuna's logic just isn't as rigorous as Aristotle's and at times he engages in fallacies.
          Aristotle was rigurous in propotitional logic, nagarjuna was a metalogician, you can check the works of Jan Westerhoff an analitical philosopher of logic for a more robust study on the subject, and the catuskoti system he used is more in line with the many-valued system of logic than propotitional logic, so comparing both will always end up with a shallow result at best and fallacious at worst

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      is probably the most underwhelming Buddhist author/philosopher to read.
      Nagarjuna has nothing to do with buddhism.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Yeah the second most important Buddhist after the Buddha has nothing to do with Buddhism...

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Even theravada schoolars recognize Nagarjuna as one of the great thinkers of the dharma

  2. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Both Garfield and Sidertis are good in different ways, you should read both
    >How is Plato related to Nāgārjuna?
    They're on opposite sides of spiritual inquiry, Plato's saw eternity as something that granted "being" to existence, Nagarjuna saw eternity as something already present in existence, without any need of emanations or a "chain of being" much of his book shows how such a chain create paradoxes and contradictions(it's never clear if Plato actually believed on his two worlds system tho, books like the gorgias actually let that question open, a Plato's true system was lost in the agrapha dogmata)
    >How is Aristotle related to Nāgārjuna?
    Both of them saw the notion of a "two worlds system"(things/form) as fallacious, both saw the process as more important that "the thing" called sunyata by nagarjuna and energeia by aristotle, but Nagarjuna and buddhist in general find the theory of the uncaused cause contradictory and fallacious
    >How is Confucius related to Nāgārjuna?
    Both were highly influential in china
    >How is Epicurus related to Nāgārjuna?
    Both highly influenced helenic philosophy

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