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Mulamadhyamika-karika (Skt. Prajñā-nāma-mūlamadhyamakakārikā; Tib. དབུ་མ་རྩ་བ་ཤེས་རབ་, Uma Tsawa Sherab, Wyl. dbu ma rtsa ba shes rab; Trad. Chin. 中論), The Root Verses on the Wisdom of the Middle Way — the most famous and important treatise on Madhyamika philosophy, composed by the great master Nagarjuna. It is included among the so-called "thirteen great texts", which form the core of the curriculum in most shedras and on which Khenpo Shenga provided commentaries.


There are twenty-seven chapters:

  1. Examination of Conditions
  2. Examination of Motion
  3. Examination of the Senses
  4. Examination of the Skandhas
  5. Examination of the Dhatus
  6. Examination of Desire and the Desirous
  7. Examination of the Conditioned
  8. Examination of the Agent and Action
  9. Examination of the Prior Entity
  10. Examination of Fire and Fuel
  11. Examination of the Initial and Final Limits
  12. Examination of Suffering
  13. Examination of Compounded Phenomena
  14. Examination of Connection
  15. Examination of Essence
  16. Examination of Bondage
  17. Examination of Actions and their Fruits
  18. Examination of Self and Entities
  19. Examination of Time
  20. Examination of Combination
  21. Examination of Becoming and Destruction
  22. Examination of the Tathagata
  23. Examination of Errors
  24. Examination of the Four Noble Truths
  25. Examination of Nirvana
  26. Examination of the Twelve Links
  27. Examination of Views

Tibetan Text



It is said there were eight important commentaries on the text in India, but only four of them have been translated into Tibetan and subsequently found their way into the Tengyur.

  • Akutobhayā (Skt. Akutobhayā, Wyl. dbu ma rtsa ba'i 'grel pa ga las 'jigs med) [1]
  • Buddhapalita, Mula Madhyamaka Vritti (Skt. Mūla-madhyamaka-vṛtti, in Tibetan referred to as the Buddhapalita commentary; Wyl. dbu ma rtsa ba'i 'grel pa buddha pā li ta)
  • Bhavaviveka, The Wisdom Lamp: A Commentary on the Root Verses on the Wisdom of the Middle Way (Skt. Prajñā-pradīpa-mūla-madhyamaka-vṛtti, Wyl. dbu ma'i rtsa ba'i 'grel pa shes rab sgron ma)
TBRC-tag.png དབུ་མ་རྩ་བའི་འགྲེལ་པ་ཚིག་གསལ་བ་, dbu ma rtsa ba'i 'grel pa tshig gsal ba


TBRC-tag.png དབུ་མ་རྩ་བའི་ཚིག་ལེའུར་བྱས་པ་ཤེས་རབ་ཅེས་བྱ་བའི་མཆན་འགྲེལ་, dbu ma rtsa ba'i tshig le'ur byas pa shes rab ces bya ba'i mchan 'grel
TBRC-tag.png དབུ་མ་རྩ་བའི་མཆན་འགྲེལ་གནས་ལུགས་རབ་གསལ་ཀླུ་དབང་དགོངས་རྒྱན་, dbu ma rtsa ba'i mchan 'grel gnas lugs rab gsal klu dbang dgongs rgyan


  • Garfield, Jay. The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way. Oxford University Press 1995, ISBN 978-0195093360
  • Inada, Kenneth. Nagarjuna: A Translation of his Mulamadhyamikakarika. Tokyo: The Hokuseido Press, 1970, ISBN 978-0893460761
  • Kalupahana, David. Nagarjuna: The Philosophy of the Middle Way. Albany: State University, 1986, ISBN 978-0887061493
  • Nagarjuna. The Root Stanzas on the Middle Way (translated by Padmakara Translation Group). Padmakara, 2008, ISBN 978-1611803426
  • Streng, Frederik. Emptiness: A Study in Religious Meaning. Nashville: Abdingdon Press 1967, ISBN 978-0687117086


  1. Some attribute the text to Nagarjuna, but others cite the fact that the text quotes Aryadeva as evidence that it could not have been composed by Nagarjuna, who was Aryadeva's teacher.

Further Reading

  • Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso, The Sun of Wisdom, translated and edited by Ari Goldfield, Boston: Shambhala Publications, 2003, ISBN 978-1570629990

Internal Links

External Links

  • Chapters 18, 24 & 26 translated into French and English by the Padmakara Translation Group and published on the occasion of the teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nantes, 15—20 August 2008. Available at