Great Minds 14, Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu

Great Minds 14, Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu

This is the 14th talk that Dr. Hardy from the University of North Carolina gave on the Great Minds of the Eastern intellectual tradition for the Great Courses series.

In this talk Dr Hardy is concerned with two of the greatest thinkers in the Buddhist tradition, Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu, who laid the foundations of the Madhyamaka and Yogācāra schools respectively.

To begin the lecture Dr Hardy reminds students of some of the fundamental teachings of the Buddha regarding dependent origination and the noble truths. He also introduces the logic of the tetralema.

Then in very short order we get an introduction to the thought of Nagarjuna as contained in the Fundamental Verses of the Middle Way, and their relation to the Prajñāpāramitā literature, before passing on to a similarly brief history of Vasubandhu and his teachings. The lecture concludes by looking at the fate of the Nalanda University in the 12th century.

Dr Hardy is very good at getting the essence of the matter over to his audience, but really we see the difficulties also of trying to teach a course on great minds in such short lessons. The only thing we can really hope for is that the brief intros will stimulate students to explore more on their own.


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