The Commitments of a Madhyamaka Trickster: Innovation in Candrakīrti's Prasanna-padā

Eviatar Shulman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This paper challenges the notion that there is a complete continuity between the thought of Nāgārjuna and the thought of Candrakīrti. It is shown that there is strong reason to doubt Candrakīrti's gloss of Mūla-madhyamaka-kārikā (MMK) 2.1, and that Candrakīrti's peculiar reading of this verse causes him to alter the context of the discussion in the four cases in which Nāgārjuna quotes MMK 2.1 later in the text-MMK 3.3, 7.14, 10.13 and 16.7. The innovation produced by Candrakīrti is next contrasted to Nāgārjuna's style of argument, and it is shown that these two author's notions of emptiness, as well as their particular implementation of Madhyamaka logic, significantly diverge from each other. Finally, Candrakīrti's reading of these verses is compared with his commentary on MMK 15 so as to suggest a possible subtle metaphysical position that is at the base of his thinking.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)379-417
Number of pages39
JournalJournal of Indian Philosophy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010


  • Candrakīrti
  • Madhyamaka
  • Middle-way
  • Mūlamadhyamakakārikā
  • Nāgārjuna
  • Prasannapadā


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