Five College Consortium


Subject Name: 
Humanities Arts Cultural Stu
Course Number: 
Hampshire College
"For whom there is emptiness, there are all things, mundane and ultimate" - Nagarjuna. This course serves as a thorough introduction to one of the most philosophically profound and historically influential of all Mahayana Buddhist schools of thought and practice: the Madhyamaka or Middle Way School, also known as the School of Emptiness. Founded by Nagarjuna (c. 150-250), who is typically considered by Buddhists as second in importance only to the Buddha himself, the Madhyamaka came to dominate all subsequent Buddhist debates in India and Tibet, exert a seminal influence on Mahayana developments in East Asia such as Chan and Zen, and is still studied and taught by modern figures such as the Dalai Lama and Thich Nh?t H?nh. Nagarjuna's towering influence on subsequent Buddhist thought stems from his central insight that emptiness (sunyata) is itself the Middle Way: the true nature of reality. In this course we will focus on Nagarjuna's major works, including the Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way, Dispeller of Disputes, and Precious Garland. We will explore topics such as the emptiness of emptiness, the two truths (conventional and ultimate), the abandonment of all views, and also investigate how Nagarjuna constructs systems of personal ethics as well as social and governmental policy on the basis of emptiness.
Independent Work Multiple Cultural Perspectives Writing and Research Students are expected to spend 8-10 hours weekly on work and preparation outside of class time.
Instructor Permission: 
Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.
Schedule #: 

Course Sections

Sect # Credits Instructor(s) Instructor Email Meeting Times Location
1 4.0 Rafal Stepien 10:30AM-11:50AM TU;10:30AM-11:50AM TH Emily Dickinson Hall 4;Emily Dickinson Hall 4