Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Re: Nagarjuna

Post by tobes » Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:50 am

This is a really excellent thread.

Ven. Huifeng has got me wondering if there are good philological reasons to support the claim that the Ratnavali has a different author to the MMK and the Vigrahavyavartarni. And perhaps the possibility that it is a later text.

It seems to be taken as a given in most scholarship that even though there is quite a lot of ambiguity about other texts, these three are taken to be authentically attributed to this mysterious figure "Nagarjuna".

But I must say that prima facie, without hearing his reasons, I can definitely understand Gombrich's sense that the MMK may not be a Mahayana text. In terms of content, there is nothing distinctly Mahayana asserted. I think the Vig is very similar in this regard, and it seems very plausible that both were written by the same author...if only because there is such a cogent philosophical continuity between them.

Yet the Ratnavali is manifestly Mahayanist in orientation, with constant references to the Mahayana as a vehicle, as well as constant accounts of bodhicitta.

It seems like something of a lazy inference to say: well, the first two are about metaphysics and epistemology, and the third is about ethics; that is what explains the difference.

If it is the case that the Ratnavali has a different author, then what does this do to Walser's thesis? i.e. Which Nagarjuna are we talking about and which context!


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