Also found in: Dictionary.


(mädyŭ`mĭkə) [Skt.,=of the middle], philosophical school of Mahayana BuddhismBuddhism
, religion and philosophy founded in India c.525 B.C. by Siddhartha Gautama, called the Buddha. There are over 300 million Buddhists worldwide. One of the great world religions, it is divided into two main schools: the Theravada or Hinayana in Sri Lanka and SE Asia, and
..... Click the link for more information.
, based on the teaching of "emptiness" (see sunyatasunyata
[Skt.,=emptiness], one of the main tenets of Mahayana Buddhism, first presented by the Perfection of Wisdom (Prajna-paramita) scriptures (1st cent. B.C. on) and later systematized by the Madhyamika school.
..... Click the link for more information.
) and named for its adherence to the "middle path" between the views of existence or eternalism and nonexistence or nihilism. The school was founded by Nagarjuna (2d cent. A.D.) who came from S India to the Buddhist university of Nalanda and entered into debate with other schools including the Hindu logic school, or Nyaya, and the Buddhist AbhidharmaAbhidharma
[Skt.,=higher dharma, or doctrine], schools of Buddhist philosophy. Early Buddhism analyzed experience into 5 skandhas or aggregates, and alternatively into 18 dhatus or elements.
..... Click the link for more information.
. About 25 works are attributed to Nagarjuna, the most important being the Middle Stanzas (Madhyamika Karika). Nagarjuna took key ideas from early Mahayana scriptures and expounded them using a rigorous dialectic. He attacked the concept of essence or "self-nature" (svabhava) as self-contradictory, holding that nothing self-existent can be subject to change. He then refuted all possible answers to philosophical problems such as causality, identity, and change by showing their logical inconsistency, with the aim of freeing the mind from all speculative views, which are the source of attachment that prevents enlightenment. He claimed to have no view of his own and to be attempting only to refute the views of his opponents. Nagarjuna's ultimate principle of emptiness was equated by him with "dependent co-arising," the causally conditioned, relative nature of all phenomena. He declared that there is no distinction between nirvananirvana
, in Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism, a state of supreme liberation and bliss, contrasted to samsara or bondage in the repeating cycle of death and rebirth.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and samsara (bondage in birth-and-death) when the latter is seen without delusory concepts. He recognized two levels of truth, the absolute and the conventional. Thus his system does not deny the validity of empirical experience in its own sphere, although it does not accept the possibility of statements about absolute reality, which is beyond conceptualization. Nagarjuna's immediate disciple Aryadeva carried on his teaching. About A.D. 500 Bhavaviveka, heading the Svatantrika school of the Madhyamika, held that the Buddhist position can be put forward by positive argument. The Prasanga school, championed by Candrakirti, opposed him and reaffirmed the simple refutation of opponents by reductio ad absurdum as the true Madhyamika position. Santideva (691–743) wrote the philosophical and inspirational classic Bodhicaryavatara (tr. by M. L. Matics, Entering the Path of Enlightenment, 1970). Santaraksita and Kamalasila were the chief representatives of the Madhyamika's last phase, a syncretism with the YogacaraYogacara
[Skt.,=yoga practice], philosophical school of Mahayana Buddhism, also known as the Vijnanavada or Consciousness School. The founders of this school in India were Maitreya (270–350), his disciple Asanga (c.
..... Click the link for more information.
 school that was transmitted to Tibet. Madhyamika was also transmitted to China as the San-lun, or Three Treatises, school, introduced by KumarajivaKumarajiva
, 344–413, Buddhist scholar and missionary, b. Kucha, in what is now Xinjiang, China. When his mother, a Kuchean princess, became a nun, he followed her into monastic life at the age of seven.
..... Click the link for more information.


See T. R. V. Murti, The Central Philosophy of Buddhism (2d ed. 1960, repr. 1970); D. T. Suzuki, Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism (1963); R. H. Robinson, Early Madhyamika in India and China (1967); F. Streng, Emptiness: A Study in Religious Meaning (1967).



(Sanskrit, “the mean”), the basic philosophical doctrine of Mahayana Buddhism, which arose in India in the second century A.D. and developed during the second through ninth centuries in India, as well as in China (from the fourth century), Tibet (from the ninth century), Mongolia, and Japan. The founder of Madhyamika is traditionally considered to have been Nagarjuna. The doctrine is based on the idea that truth cannot be perceived in categories of being or nonbeing. Instead, the concept of shunyata (“emptiness,” the “zero” characteristic) is introduced as the absolute condition, from the standpoint of which all reality lacks essence and is pure form or energy.

The epistemological position of Madhyamika is characterized by consistent methodological criticism. The dialectical method of Madhyamika is applied in order to demonstrate that any mental concept whatsoever is an illusion. The ethics of Madhyamika, flowing naturally from its metaphysical and epistemo-logical assertions, teaches that the “middle way” is the optimal means of religious salvation. The views of Madhyamika had an influence on the development of Indian mathematics (the discovery of zero) and the dialectical logic of the Advaita Vedanta. Outside of India, Madhyamika contributed directly to the genesis of Zen.


References in periodicals archive ?
For translations of the latter three commentaries on the eighteenth chapter of MMK into Western languages, see Lindtner 1981: 187-217; Malcolm David Eckel, "A Question of Nihilism: Bhavaviveka's Response to the Fundamental Problems of Madhyamika Philosophy" (Ph.
1) Elizabeth Napper, Dependent Arising and Emptiness: A Tibetan Buddhist Interpretation of Madhyamika Philosophy (Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, 1989).
What Remains in sunyata: A Yogacara Interpretation of Emptiness", Madhyamika and Yogacara, Delhi, Sri Satguru Publications, 1992, pp.
1991 Madhyamika and Yogacara(Albany, NY: State university of New York Press).
En la teoria del budismo madhyamika hasta se llega a negar el propio yo; postula un nihilismo en el que la realidad ultima es el vacio (sunya) o la vacuidad en si.
Considered to have been a brilliant young monk who was the principal person responsible for the transmission of Madhyamika teaching in China," Seng Zhao, as Jeffery Dippmann puts it, "has received a great deal of attention from scholars interested in resolving the question of the extent to which the Chinese fully understood the Indian religio-philosophical system and its relationship to the indigenous Daoist and Confucian traditions" (1, emphasis added).
a philosophical expression of the paradoxical thought that is found running throughout the whole tradition of madhyamika Buddhism, from Nagarjuna's phenomenism to the enigmatic formulations of the Zen koans'.
But even Bhattarcharyya's concept of Buddhist Tantras from Yogachara is inaccurate as all Buddhist Tantras follow the Madhyamika, but that is besides the point.
Nagarjuna's philosophy, known as Madhyamika or the "Middle Way," offers a dialectic that steers between the extremes of nihilism and a sort of "naive realism.
4) For a perceptive discussion of some aspects of the oral tradition in Tibetan Buddhism, see Anne Carolyn Klein, Path to the Middle: Oral Madhyamika Philosophy in Tibet (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994), 99.
Taken together, Robinson claims his writings "constitute the largest surviving set of documents on the earliest Chinese Madhyamika thought" (Robinson 1967, 123), thus presenting a treasure trove of early Chinese prajnaparamita doctrine.
The second part of this essay bears not on the sutra itself, but on its uses and interpretations in the framework of the scholastic controversy that opposed the Pudgalavadins (mainly affiliated with the Vatsiputriya and Sammitiya sects) and the "mainstream" Buddhist intellectuals (representatives of the Madhyamika, Yogacara, Sautrantika, and Vaibha[section]ika schools).

Full browser ?