Nagarjuna’s Philosophy of ContentlessnessJune 27, 2021
Nagarjuna’s purpose was to bring a new understanding to the views of Sarvastivadin and Sautrantikas, in line with the Buddha’s second stage teachings. In this respect, Nagarjuna became the founder of both the new school and Mayahana Buddhism. He examined important Buddhist issues from the perspective of existence and the equivalence of “Void”. Thus, he laid the foundations of the “Middle Way” teachings and started by rejecting the following eight concepts:
The Sarvastivadins and Sautrantikas, who do not die, do not form, do not leave, do not continue, do not unite, do not become alone, do not become visualized, do not disappear, do not adopt Nagarjuna’s views because they find them too conservative. For example, according to Sarvastivadins there is eternity, according to Sautrantikas there is no concept of eternity. Both of these schools have moved away from the original teaching logic of Buddha because of their views. Buddha’s view can be explained in the short sentence: “I teach only one thing: pain and the elimination of suffering.”
According to Nagarjuna, ignorance is the source of suffering and it is necessary to minimize ignorance in order to get rid of suffering. His views yield logical, reliable information that is of purely practical utility. Nagarjuna views are all contained in the Prajnaparamita (Mahayana) texts.
As for the concept of contentlessness, Nagarjuna has studied all the phenomena of mortality down to the last detail. He questioned whether the facts were without content because they could exist or not. He emphasized that getting rid of suffering is possible with the “Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path” and therefore he stated that existence and death are meaningless. According to him, if the facts were not without content, they could not develop at all, everything would be static, unchanging, rather dull. Objects would also be motionless. As a result, Nagarjuna revealed that objects do not exist in a particular place.
For example, a tree; It depends on different factors such as branches, stems, roots, leaves, nutrition, wind, rain, sunlight. The entire universe, like a tree, is not independent of other factors. If the tree were independent of these factors, it would not be able to grow, develop, and would not be dependent on the existence-death cycle, but would be immortal.
Objects have no content on their own, they can never exist on their own because they are dependent on some factors. The concepts of “being yourself” or “being yourself” have been studied as science in Indian philosophy. It means to exist alone, without needing any support. Nagarjuna rejects this view, because according to him everything depends on a factor, a rule. According to Nagarjuna, the universe does not exist continuously. Objects do not have different shapes, they continue in the same way. Mortality and death are addiction and meaninglessness:
Mortality and immortality may appeal to you. But what you see is just an illusion. According to these two different views on eternity and immortality, since everything in the phase of formation does not have permanence in its essence, it neither lasts (infinity), nor ends (annihilation), is neither one (monism), nor pluralism (pluralism).
Nagarjuna also associated the notions of essence, existence and death with fantasy and magic. Accordingly, emptiness is the independent, free, absence of reality. Objects cannot fill the beings. Just as the waves in the sea cannot exist without water, the phenomena of existence and death are like a mirage, we think they exist, but they do not exist. Facts are not eternal. They do not come from the void as they will exist in the void to disappear. These are the foundations of emptiness anyway, so they neither exist nor do not exist. At the end of this determination, Nagarjuna wrote a quatrain quoting the sentences of Mūlamadkyamakakārikā. This stanza explains that there is no difference between the concepts of Samsar and Nirvana:
There is nothing that separates Samsar from Nirvana, and Nirvana from Samsar. The limit of Nirvana is the same as the limit of Samsar. There is not even the slightest difference between the two.
In terms of salvation, there is no difference between the formation of the absolute world of existence and the indefinite concept of Nirvana. Emptiness means salvation.
The concept of “void” has the function of reconciling different layers as a central element of Nagarjuna. In addition, this concept serves to change and relativize the indifference of existing realism perceptions such as language and thought. In this way, some grounded assumptions are removed, and they are replaced by deeper knowledge and, accordingly, the “Void Experience”. Dulled and stereotyped thoughts and opinions are no longer stuck in an extreme view, thanks to this experience of emptiness. For example; “Being Yourself” “Being a Stranger”, “Originality” and “Diversity”. Thus, all concepts are broken and replaced by the perceptive and permanent essence of thought. Nagarjuna, with the concept of conceptual opening, specifically meets this way of thinking in a calming and therefore analytic way of all fixations.
Liberation comes through the removal of Karmas and dependencies. Karma and dependency consist of different expectations, expectations from abstract objects. But these abstract objects get lost in space. Nagarjuna