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Classicism in Commentarial Writing: Exegetical Parallels in the Indian Mūlamadhyamakakārikā Commentaries
Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies
Format: Journal Article
Publication Date: 2009-12
Publisher: Tibetan and Himalayan Library
Sources ID: 128178
Visibility: Public (group default)
Abstract: (Show)

Creator's Description: The Tibetan concept of canon and of schools of thought pertaining to Indian Buddhism presents a way of looking at Indian Buddhist texts which has been predominant in modern scholarship. Yet, this notion appears to be anachronistic in that it proposes to think of Indian literature as stratified by canonical groupings of texts and to think of authors as united or opposed by belonging to various schools of philosophical thought at a time in India when no such canon existed and when the literature of the time did not speak of such schools. Would it be possible to move away from the Tibetan concept of Indian Buddhist history and read the Indian literature in novel ways that could reveal the texts' interrelatedness in a manner that would be closer to the environment in which they were written? This article suggests a method of reading such texts comparatively in order to identify the extent to which a series of commentaries can be said to be tied together as forming a single commentarial tradition. It does so by using a snippet of the Middle Way School (Madhyamaka, Dbu ma) and examining the Indian commentaries on the seventeenth chapter of Nāgārjuna's (first to second century CE) Root Verses of the Middle Way School (Mūlamadhyamakakārikā).