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Nagarjuna-upaya.pdf
Nagarjuna-upaya.pdfNāgārjuna and the Philosophy of Upāya 1227 viewsThe purpose of this article is to offer a different account of Nāgārjuna than is found in contemporary Western scholarship. It will not ask what it means for causality, truth, the self, or consciousness to be "empty" in a very general sense, but rather how Nāgārjuna’s philosophy relates to the soteriological practices of Buddhism and what it means for those practices to be "empty" of inherent nature. Rather than describing Nāgārjuna as a metaphysician this study will situate him squarely within the early Mahāyāna tradition and the philosophical problem of practice that is expressed through the doctrine of “skill-in-means” (upāya-kauśalya). It should become evident in what follows that the doctrine of upāya has little in common with Western metaphysics. It is unconcerned with problems regarding causality, personal identity, consciousness, logic, language, or any other issues that are unrelated to specific problems surrounding the nature and efficacy of Buddhist practice. Given that every major tradition in Buddhism stresses the indispensable nature of practice, it is highly unlikely that Nagarjuna’s philosophy is concerned with metaphysical issues or that his doctrine of “emptiness” can be separated from the soteriological practices of Buddhism.
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