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Research Paper | Philosophy | India | Volume 9 Issue 6, June 2020
The Philosophy of Nagarjuna Onsunyata
Nguyen Thien Hau
Abstract: The present essay is an attempt at the philosophy of Nagarjuna on Sunyata. Nagarjuna is indeed well known, in India and abroad, as philosophers of the highest rank. Karl Jaspers, the famous existentialist philosopher, has placed him among the great thinkers of the world, whom all agree in terming philosophers All classical philosophers of India present Nagarjuna’s philosophy as the doctrine of pure Void. Nagarjuna, they hold, considers the entire world with all its contents to be altogether illusory, and does not accept anything real even as the basis of this illusion. The illusory appearance of the world is, like an embroidery on the Void, absolutely empty, unsubstantial or vacuous at the core; and this Vacuity or Void (Sunyati) itself is, in his view, the ultimate Truth (Tattva) of the universe. Nagarjuna’s denial of the reality of the world of individual things, they think, constitutes only the negative aspect of his philosophy. He rejects the reality of the objects of the world on the ground of their essentially relative nature and calls them sunya or devoid of essence. But behind this empty show, Nagarjuna also accepts, so they think, an absolute Reality (Tattva) which, like the Brahman of Advaita-Vedahta, is free from all conceptual determinations and, therefore, appears to be Void or Sunya from the empirical stand-point. Hence Sunyata as the ultimate Truth (Tattva), in the view of these scholars, stands not for a bare Void but for a Plenum-Void, i. e. , for an absolute Reality which is completely indeterminate and indescribable in nature.
Keywords: Nagarjuna, Sunyata, Space and Time
Edition: Volume 9 Issue 6, June 2020,
Pages: 951 - 953