chapter  1
66 Pages

The beginnings of Mādhyamika doxography

Bhāviveka’s MHK
WithKarl-Stéphan Bouthillette

Compared with other Indian philosophical figures, putting a date on the life of Bhaviveka is a relatively easy task. It is facilitated by the fact that his works involved many well-known Buddhist thinkers such as Dharmapala, Buddhapalita, Dinnaga, and Sthiramati. Concerning the significance of Bhaviveka’s work within the history of Buddhist philosophy, to better grasp the impact and method of his thought, one must locate the author within the Madhyamaka trend of Mahayana Buddhism chiefly initiated by Nagarjuna. In India, according to reports of Chinese pilgrims, Bhaviveka’s influence was so important that he came to be considered as the legitimate successor of Nagarjuna. Although the trend was already set in the second to third centuries, by the works of Nagarjuna and Aryadeva, for example, argumentative philosophy reaches a new systematic height in Bhaviveka, which is worth examining.