Nirvana in Candrakirti's Prasannapada: A Study in the Madhyamika Concept of Nirvana in the Context of Indian Thought

Physical Description: 
Publication Year: 

About this Book

The present work is an analytical philosophic enterprise dealing with a specific topic, viz. nirvana, in Candrakirti's Prasannapada, which represents and is a standing testimony to the Buddhist critical philosophy par excellence. A unique revolution in the world of thought has been brought about by Acarya Candrakirti, the great Prasangika Madhyamika thinker of 7th century C.E., through his theory of nirvana as sarva/nirvasesa Kalpanaksaya (cessation of essentialist thought-constructions/speculative picture-thinking) developed in his magnum opus, Prasannapada, thus giving the idea of nirvana a novel turn, viewing it from a fresh perspective.

The idea may have had its basis in Mula Madhyama Karika/Madhyamaka Sastra of Nagarjuna, the unique philosophical master-mind of the world of 2nd century C.E., and of course in the enlightenment of the Buddha, the credit goes to the author of this volume, however, for bringing to the fore the genius of Candrakirti in working out the theoretical and practical implications of this idea by a rigorous analysis of the logic of essences (Svabhava) and allied concepts. A critical and comparative study of nirvana of Prasannapada with that of early Buddhism on the one hand and of nirvana with the concept of Vedantic moksa on the other as well as points of comparison and contrast brought out with such pioneers of Western thought as Aristotle and Wittgenstein are features of special interest in the volume, meant for promoting a greater clarity in understanding.

The volume, primarily aiming at an understanding of the Buddhist concept of nirvana in its proper perspective, through eradication of certain earlier misconceptions, highlights for this purpose Candrakirti's unique critical philosophy advocated and worked out so diligently in Prasannapada which is a significant milestone in the development of the Buddhist thought. It is expected to be of interest for all scholars of Indian thought. At the same time it is likely to prove itself to be of value for further intensive research in the field.