Aiming at Happiness, Aiming at Ultimate Truth—In Practice

Amber Carpenter

in Moonpaths

Published in print December 2015 | ISBN: 9780190260507
Published online September 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780190260538 | DOI:
Aiming at Happiness, Aiming at Ultimate Truth—In Practice

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This chapter provides an overview of Nāgārjuna’s ethics via a reading of Ratnāvalī (Precious Garland). The text incorporates into its moral advice some distinctively Madhyamaka commitments, familiar from the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā. Based on this, scholars have concluded that the Ratnāvalī was written by Nāgārjuna, founder of Madhyamaka thought. The Ratnāvalī presents a moral picture with two distinct and distinguishable ends. On the one hand is happiness, conceived of as real well-being, a genuinely elevated condition, with respect to which faithful good conduct is the proper means of attaining the pleasure or joy (sukha) we all want. On the other hand, there is the superior settled goodness of liberation, the proper attainment of which requires coming to see the nature of reality aright—specifically, the wisdom that grasps emptiness, no-self and dependent arising.

Keywords: ethics; Ratnāvalī; Mūlamadhyamakakārikā; Nāgārjuna; Madhyamaka; happiness; liberation

Chapter.  10395 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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