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Title: When Madhyamaka is Not the Middle Path
Subtitle: Ratnākaraśānti on Yogācāra, Nāgārjuna, and the Madhyamapratipadā
Author(s): MCNAMARA, Daniel
Journal: Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies
Volume: 40    Date: 2017   
Pages: 189-207
DOI: 10.2143/JIABS.40.0.3269008

Abstract :
In several of his philosophical and tantric works, the Vikramaśīla scholar-saint Ratnākaraśānti (c. 970-1040 CE) makes the curious claim that 'Yogācāra and Madhyamaka are in accord' (sadṛśa, mtshung pa). This article clarifies the meaning of such statements: while Nāgārjuna is widely considered the founding father of Madhyamaka siddhānta, Ratnākaraśānti distinguishes between Nāgārjuna and his followers. While Nāgārjuna’s own writing accords with the views of Maitreya and Asaṅga, his followers misinterpret his views, resulting in a philosophical system that Ratnākaraśānti calls 'a mere reflection of the Middle Way' (dbu ma’i ltar snang). In light of this, I argue that Ratnākaraśānti’s claim is limited to Madhyamaka’s founder, Nāgārjuna, whose view ultimately agrees with Yogācāra siddhānta.

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