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Nagarjuna was a Buddhist monk and philosopher in the Mahayana tradition, known for the Madhyamaka school of Buddhism.[1] He is highly regarded as one of the most important Buddhist philosophers, and credited as the founder of Madhyamaka philosophy.[2]

Statue of monk Nagarjuna.

His key work is the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā (Root Verses on Madhyamaka), and is a important text explaining the philosophy of emptiness in Madhyamaka. Jan Westerhoff considers Nagarjuna to be among the greatest thinkers in the history of Asian philosophy.[3]

Early life[change | change source]

We have limited reliable information about Nagarjuna's life, and historians disagree on when and where he lived (possibly 1st to 3rd century CE in various places).[4] The earliest surviving accounts were written in Chinese and Tibetan centuries after his death and are mostly hagiographical accounts that are historically unverifiable.[4] The earliest accounts were written centuries later in Chinese and Tibetan, mainly offering hagiographical, unverifiable details.[5]

Some scholars, like Joseph Walser, suggest Nagarjuna served as an advisor to a king of the Satavahana dynasty in the 2nd century, possibly Yajna Sri Satakarni, based on archaeological findings at Amaravati. This places Nagarjuna around 150250 CE.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Nagarjuna - Greatest Buddhist Philosopher | Founder of Madhyamaka School". Original Buddhas. Retrieved 2023-12-13.
  2. "Nagarjuna | Biography, Philosophy, & Works | Britannica". Retrieved 2023-12-13.
  3. Westerhoff, Jan Christoph (2022), Zalta, Edward N. (ed.), "Nāgārjuna", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2022 ed.), Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University, retrieved 2023-12-13
  4. 4.0 4.1 Walser (2005), p. 60.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Walser (2005), p. 61.

Other Websites[change | change source]