Madhyamaka - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Emptiness as Lack of Intrinsic Nature

When the Mādhyamikas say that all things are empty (śūnya), what they mean is that nothing bears an intrinsic nature (svabhāva). To understand this claim, one must consider the concept of intrinsic nature as it was developed in the scholastic Abhidharma phase of Buddhist philosophy. It is a basic teaching of Buddhism that suffering is caused by one's ignorance of the truth of nonself: that one does not have a separately existing self and that what one thinks of as an enduring person just consists in a causal series of impermanent, impersonal physical and mental events. Philosophers of the Abhidharma schools sought to buttress this conclusion by arguing that all partite entities (wholes made up of parts) are conceptually constructed and thus not ultimately real. This would enable them to claim that the person is...

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This section contains 5,153 words
(approx. 18 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Madhyamaka Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Madhyamaka from Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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