Nāgārjuna (c. 150 – c. 250 CE) is widely considered one of the most important Buddhist philosophers after Gautama Buddha. This article features some Inspirational Nagarjuna Quotes. Along with his disciple Āryadeva, he is considered to be the founder of the Madhyamaka school of Mahāyāna Buddhism.
Nāgārjuna is also credited with developing the philosophy of the Prajñāpāramitā sūtras and, in some sources, with having revealed these scriptures in the world, having recovered them from the nāgas (water spirits often depicted in the form of serpent-like humans). Furthermore, he is traditionally supposed to have written several treatises on rasayana as well as serving a term as the head of Nālandā.
Nagarjuna also taught the idea of relativity; in the Ratnāvalī, he gives the example that shortness exists only in relation to the idea of length. The determination of a thing or object is only possible in relation to other things or objects, especially by way of contrast. He held that the relationship between the ideas of “short” and “long” is not due to intrinsic nature.
“Although you may spend your life killing, you will not exhaust all your foes. But if you quell your own anger, your real enemy will be slain.”
“No suffering is self-caused.
Nothing causes itself.
If another is not self-made,
How could suffering be caused by another?
“If suffering were caused by each,
Suffering could be caused by both.
Not caused by self or by other,
How could suffering be uncaused?”
“Just as it is known
That an image of one’s face is seen
Depending on a mirror
But does not really exist as a face,
So the conception of “I” exists
Dependent on mind and body,
But like the image of a face
The “I” does not at all exist as its own reality.”
“The victorious ones have said
That emptiness is the relinquishing of all views.
For whomever emptiness is a view,
That one has achieved nothing.”
“All philosophies are mental fabrications. There has never been a single doctrine by which one could enter the true essence of things.”
“The science, which teaches arts and handicrafts
Is merely science for the gaining of a living;
But the science which teaches deliverance from worldly existence,
Is not that the true science?”
“All is possible when emptiness is possible.
Nothing is possible when emptiness is impossible.”
“All things (dharma) exist: affirmation of being, negation of non-being
All things (dharma) do not exist: affirmation of non-being, negation of being
All things (dharma) both exist and do not exist: both affirmation and negation
All things (dharma) neither exist nor do not exist: neither affirmation nor negation. ”
“I am not, I will not be.
I have not, I will not have.
This frightens all children,
And kills fear in the wise.”
“True knowledge is a virtue of the talented, But harmful to those without discernment. Spring water free of impurity, entering the ocean, becomes undrinkable.”
“He who does not try a remedy For the disease of going to hell What will he do when he reaches that place Where there is no cure to be found.”
“Although a cloth be washed a hundred times, How can it be rendered clean and pure If it be washed in water which is dirty.”
“Whatever is dependently co-arisen
That is explained to be emptiness.
That, being a dependent designation
Is itself the Middle Way.”
“Even three times a day to offer
Three hundred cooking pots of food
Does not match a portion of the merit
In one instant of love.”
“He who pursues people for what they can give, And yet pays no heed to those who have offered much, Is like the man who thinks only of the butter to come, And pays no heed to what has already been churned.”
“If you are truly persevering in virtue, What is the place of a haughty attitude The cow which has no milk will not be purchased, Even though equipped with a pleasant-sounding bell.”
“A hero is born among a hundred, A wise man is found among a thousand, But an accomplished one might not be found Even among a hundred thousand men.”
“The pacification of all cognitive grasping and the pacification of conceptual proliferation are peace.”
“He who knows one thing, knows all things And he who knows all things, knows one thing. He who is careless in all respects, is in danger he who is not careless in all respects, is free from danger.”
“Without a foundation in the conventional truth, The significance of the ultimate cannot be taught. Without understanding the significance of the ultimate, Liberation is not achieved. By a misperception of emptiness A person of little intelligence is destroyed. Like a snake incorrectly seized Or like a spell incorrectly cast. For that reason—that the Dharma is Deep and difficult to understand and to learn— The Buddha’s mind despaired of Being able to teach it.”
“A highly learned man has two sources of happiness Either he abandons all earthly interests Or else he possesses much which could be abandoned.”
“If you desire ease, forsake learning.
If you desire learning, forsake ease.
How can the man at his ease acquire knowledge,
And how can the earnest student enjoy ease?”
“When possessed of wealth or learning, Low people become proud. But even when doubly honored, The wise become more humble.”
“Those who speak with discretion Are respected by mankind, As the sun, emerging from the shadows, By its rays creates great warmth.”
― Nāgārjuna quotes
“Things derive their being and nature by mutual dependence and are nothing in themselves.”
“The teachings of elegant sayings Should be collected when one can. For the supreme gift of words of wisdom, Any price will be paid.”
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