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date: 24 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

There are two main loci of contemporary debate about the nature of Madhyamaka ethics. The first investigates the general issue of whether the Madhyamaka philosophy of emptiness (śūnyavāda) is consistent with a commitment to systematic ethical distinctions. The second queries whether the metaphysical analysis of no-self presented by Śāntideva in his Bodhicaryāvatāra entails the impartial benevolence of a bodhisattva. This chapter critically examines these debates and demonstrates the ways in which they are shaped by competing understandings of Madhyamaka conventional truth or reality (saṃvṛtisatya) and the forms of reasoning admissible for differentiating conventional truth from falsity and good from bad.

Keywords: Madhyamaka, emptiness, Śāntideva, conventional truth, ethics, compassion, prāsaṅgika, altruism, no-self

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