Filed in Mahayana, Tibetan

Nagarjuna's Verses from the Center

Stephen Batchelor

Wisdom Collection

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Nagarjuna Tibet HouseThe second version of Nagarjuna’s life, however, is not only less historically plausible but reveals through its overlay of mythical elements how Nagarjuna came to be represented as a founder of Mahayana Buddhism. Yet nowhere in Verses from the Center is there a reference to either the Buddha’s Wisdom Discourses or the Mahayana ideal of the bodhisattva. Not only does Nagarjuna fail to mention the bodhisattva, he explicitly understands the Buddhist path to be the way of the liberated sage (arhat). Since the Buddha compared this sage to a naga, it could be that Nagarjuna received teachings on emptiness that had been preserved as an oral tradition in the early schools.

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