sunyata

Realizing Dependent Designation: The Buddha's Middle Way

 

“If you perceive the existence of all things

In terms of their essence,

Then this perception of all things

Will be without the perception of causes and conditions.

 

Effects and causes

And agent and action

And conditions and arising and ceasing

And effects will be rendered impossible.

 

Whatever is dependently co-arisen

That is explained to be emptiness.

That, being a dependent designation,

Is itself the middle way.”

- Nagarjuna 1

 

 

The above verse is a rather dense, or concise, explanation of the Buddhist principle of Emptiness in terms of Middle Way fundamental philosophy. The author, Nagarjuna, is considered by many to have expressed what is known as the 2nd turning of the great Wheel of Dharma, or truth, of Buddhist thought. His school founded what eventually launched all of Mahayana Buddhism, which includes the school of Buddhism that is His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s own branch of Tibetan Buddhism, and also spreads out to include Thich Nhat Hahn’s particular brand of Zen Buddhism.

Nagarjuna, as foundational as his work is, can be a head scratcher, for sure. This post takes a close look at what he is trying to tell us here, as it's understanding is garaunteed to be rewarding, if not merely intellectually entertaining.

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