Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way

Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way

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Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika

Nagarjuna (Author), Brad Warner (Editor), Gudo Wafu Nishijima (Translator)

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US $18.95 /CAN $21.50

This is not a standard translation of Mulamadhyamakakarika. Translator Nishijima Roshi believes that the original translation from Chinese into Sanskrit by the Ven. Kumarajiva (circa 400 C.E.) was faulty and that Kumarajiva's interpretation has influenced every other translation since. Avoiding reference to any other translations or commentaries, Nishijima Roshi has translated the entire text anew. This edition is, therefore, like no other. An expert in the philosophical works of Dogen Zenji (1200-1254 CE), Nishijima says in his introduction, "My own thoughts regarding Buddhism rely solely upon what Master Dogen wrote about the philosophy. So when reading the Mulamadhyamakakarika it is impossible for me not to be influenced by Master Dogen’s Buddhist ideas." Thus this book is heavily and unabashedly influenced by the work of Master Dogen. Working with Brad Warner, Nishijima has produced a highly readable and eminently practical translation and commentary intended to be most useful to those engaged in meditation practice.

The Mulamadhyamakakarika (MMK) was written by Master Nagarjuna, an Indian Buddhist philosopher of the second century. Mahayana Buddhism had arrived at its golden age and Nagarjuna was considered its highest authority. The MMK is revered as the most conclusive of his several Buddhist works. Its extraordinarily precise and simple expression suggests that it was written when Master Nagarjuna was mature in his Buddhist practice and research.


"This presentation invites the serious student of Buddhism down the path to find meaning." —New York Journal of Books


Gudo Wafu Nishijima is a Japanese Zen Buddhist priest who began practicing zazen as a teenager. He is the author of several books on Zen Buddhism in Japanese and English. He is also a notable translator of Buddhist texts. Working with Chodo Cross, Nishijima compiled one of the three complete English versions of Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Nishijima was ordained as a priest by the late Master Rempo Niwa, who was head of the Soto Sect in Japan. During the 1960s Nishijima began giving regular public lectures on Buddhism and Zen meditation. He taught in English and Japanese for four decades. In 2005 he retired from lecturing and now devotes his time to writing and publishing a blog about Buddhism: He celebrated his 91st birthday in 2010.

Brad Warner is a Soto Zen monk, author, blogger, and occasional punk rock bass guitarist (Zero Defex). His books include Hardcore Zen, Sit Down & Shut Up, Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate and Sex, Sin & Zen. His writings can also be found in Tricycle and Shambhala Sun and on In 1993 he moved to Japan, where he landed a job with the company founded by Eiji Tsuburaya, the creator of Godzilla. The following year he met Gudo Nishijima Roshi, who later ordained him as a Zen monk and made him his dharma heir. These days Brad travels widely, leading retreats and giving lectures around the world, and is reported to be living in Brooklyn. Visit him online at