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Contra the consensus that the Mādhyamika is a skeptical-mystical school which reflects the supposed “Hindu corruption of Buddhism,” it appears in this work as a critical-practical system of epistemological self-correction (blo-byong, buddhi-viśodhana *) central to the Mahāyāna move to extend the Buddhist tradition of universal education in liberative arts and human sciences. This study's nondualistic approach to Mādhyamika thought is based on comparative reading of YS/YSV with the writings of Wittgenstein and extended by comparing Candrakīrti's centrist solution to the objectivist-constructivist ( sautrāntika-vijñānavāda) debate in the classical Buddhist academy with Thomas Nagel's centrist approach to the objectivist-constructivist debate dividing the postmodern Western academy. First, this study reviews how the complementarity of the critical and practical aspects of Mādhyamika thought has eluded Buddhologists who presuppose the dualistic logic and epistemology of the modern West, arguing that Western Mādhyamika studies critically requires a comparative philosophical framework aligning the nondualism of Nāgārjuna and Candrakīrti with the post-Cartesian, post Kantian epistemology and logic of Western nondualists. Then, Nālandā is located at the epicenter of India's Gangetic civilization and linked to the “axial-age” traditions of rational individualism and social tolerance the region sustained due to its geopolitical stability and socioeconomic abundance. Next, Nāgārjuna and Candrakīrti's contribution to the “golden age of India” is explored as part of a Mahāyana Buddhist move to free Indian linguistics (śabdavidyā ) and self-regulation (yoga) from their religious matrix and revise them for use as the universal language and empirical method of a multidisciplinary human science of mind. Finally, this account of Mādhyamika thought is applied to a textual study of the Yuktis&dotbelow;as&dotbelow;t&dotbelow;ikāvr&dotbelow;tti (YSV), Candrakīrti's commentary on the Mādhyamika epistemology of Nāgārjuna's Yuktis&dotbelow;ast&dotbelow;ikā (YS), the textual link between the critical and practical aspects of his thought. An original translation of these two works is appended. This study of Candrakīrti uses insights gleaned from Tibetan scholarship on Indian texts to expose Western misunderstandings of Mādhyamika philosophy as skeptical or mystical and offers a corrective account of it as an ordinary language philosophy meant to refine the therapeutic philosophy of the noble truths and interdisciplinary method of reeducation basic to all Buddhist thought and practice. It shows how Western Mādhyamika scholars informed by modern dualistic theories and methods have persistently misread skeptical and mystical intent into the theory of voidness, by isolating the critical concepts and apophatic style of philosophical works from the practical methods and cataphatic style of ethical works written by the same authors. To correct such distortions, this Mādhyamika study offers an account of Candrakīrti's life and work at Nālandā Mahāvihāra based on alternative frameworks of comparative history and comparative philosophy more consistent with the historical record and with the Tibetan tradition of Indological scholarship, based on classical Indian nondualism.


Adviser: Robert A. F. Thurman. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 62-02, Section: A, page: 0603. Thesis (Ph.D.)--Columbia University, 2001. Electronic reproduction.Ann Arbor, MI :ProQuest Information and Learning Company,[200-]System requirements: Adobe Acrobat Reader.Available via World Wide Web.

Book Details

  • Language: eng
  • Physical Description: 849 p.


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