The Conception of Nagarjuna in the Context of Philosophical Study of Buddhism from the Second Half of 20th and first half of 21 Century

I. S. Urbanaeva


This article discusses the causes of great interest to Nagarjuna in the West in the second half of the twentieth century and highlights the main trends in the interpretation of his philosophy. The main reason was the general intellectual and spiritual situation of the Western world, and especially religious world crisis, the general disappointment in metaphysics and philosophical systems, common philosophical criticism. In this situation, it began to grow interest in the Eastern teachings, including Buddhism, especially to the mystery aspects. Another reason is that in the writings of Nagarjuna provides a systematic theory in the Western sense of the word «philosophy», which expresses the unique content of the doctrine of “historical” Buddha. The author also discusses the fallacy of European interpretations of Madhyamaka (Jaspers, Jacobson, Shcherbatsky, Faton, Betty), Indian interpretations (Dasgupta, Radhakrishnan, Murthy, Narain), writes about the distorted interpretations of Madhyamaka in the Far Eastern Buddhism. In the author’s view, with the advent of high-quality translations of Tibetan texts and Buddhist studies made by Ruegg, Thurman, Hopkins, Kapstein, Garfield, Cabezon the West has had an opportunity to better understand the philosophy of Nagarjuna.


Buddhist philosophy, Madhyamaka, Nagarjuna, Western, Indian and Far Eastern interpretations of Nagarjuna’s teaching, Tibetology


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