Madhyamaka

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GlossaryMadhyamaka

Sanskrit School

Madhyamaka

Middle Way school
मध्यमक
དབུ་མ་
中觀見

Basic Meaning

Along with Yogācāra, it is one of the two major philosophical schools of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Founded by Nāgārjuna around the second century CE, it is rooted in the Prajñāpāramitā Sūtras, though its initial exposition was presented in Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā.

Associated People

Candrakīrti
c. 570 ~ c. 640
Nāgārjuna
ca. 2nd century
On this topic
Term Variations
Key Term Madhyamaka
Topic Variation Madhyamaka
Tibetan དབུ་མ་  ( uma)
Wylie Tibetan Transliteration dbu ma  ( uma)
Devanagari Sanskrit मध्यमक
Romanized Sanskrit Madhyamaka
Chinese 中觀見
Chinese Pinyin Zhōngguān Jìan
Buddha-nature Site Standard English Middle Way school
Jeffrey Hopkin's English Term Middle Way School
Term Information
Source Language Sanskrit
Basic Meaning Along with Yogācāra, it is one of the two major philosophical schools of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Founded by Nāgārjuna around the second century CE, it is rooted in the Prajñāpāramitā Sūtras, though its initial exposition was presented in Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā.
Did you know? A proponent of the Madhyamaka philosophy is known as a Mādhyamika.
Related Terms rangtong, zhentong
Term Type School
Definitions
Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism See p. 487: In Sanskrit, “Middle Way (school)”; a proponent or follower of the middle way” (madhyamapratipad); Buddhism is renowned as the middle way between extremes, a term that appears in the Buddha’s first sermon (see P. Dhammacakkappavattanasutta) in which he prescribed a middle path between the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification. Thus, all proponents of Buddhism are in a sense proponents of the middle way, for each school of Buddhist philosophy identifies different versions of the two extremes and charts a middle way between them. The term Madhyamaka has however come to refer more specifically to the school of Buddhist philosophy that sets forth a middle way between the extreme of eternalism (śāśvataḍṛṣṭi) and the extreme of annihilationism (ucchedaḍṛṣṭi)- The Madhyamaka school derives from the works of Nāgārjuna, the c. second century CE philosopher who is traditionally regarded as its founder. His major philosophical works, especially his Mūlamadhyamakakārikā (a.k.a. Madhyamakaśāstra), as well as the writings of his disciple Āryadeva, provide the locus classicus for the school (which only seems to have been designated the Madhyamaka school after Āryadeva’s time). Commentaries on their works (by such figures as Buddhapālita, Bhāvaviveka, and Candrakīrti) provide the primary medium for philosophical expression in the school. Madhyamaka was highly influential in Tibet, where it was traditionally considered the highest of the four schools of Indian Buddhist philosophy (Madhyamaka, Yogācāra, Sautrāntika, and Vaibhāṣika). Tibetan exegetes discerned two branches in the Madhyamaka, the Prāsaṅgika (associated with Buddhapālita and Candrakīrti) and the Svātantrika (associated with Bhāvaviveka and Śāntarakṣita). The works of Nāgārjuna and Āryadeva were also widely studied in East Asia, forming the basis of the “Three Treatises” school (C. San lun zong ; K. Sam non chong; J. Sanronshū), where the three treatises are the Zhong lun (the “Middle Treatise,” or Madhyamakaśāstra), the Shi’ermen lun (“Twelve Gate Treatise,” or *Dvādaśamukhaśāstra), and the Bai Lun (“Hundred Verses Treatise,” *Śataśāstra), the latter two attributed to Āryadeva. The Madhyamaka school is most renowned for its exposition of the nature of reality, especially its deployment of the doctrines of emptiness (śūnyatā) and the two truths (satyadvaya).
Tshig mdzod Chen mo rtag chad kyi mtha' gnyis dang bral ba bden gnyis zung du 'jug pa'i lta ba rtsal du 'don mkhan grub mtha' smra ba bzhi'i ya gyal zhig ...