Mo, 02.03. – 06.03.2020

Candrakīrti’s Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya, Chapters 7‒12

International workshop

Candrakīrti’s main independent, i.e., non-commentarial, work on Madhyamaka thought, namely, the Madhyamakāvatāra together with its bhāṣya, is of crucial importance for our understanding of his interpretation of the views expressed by the school’s founder, Nāgārjuna. It additionally provides insight into Candrakīrti’s seventh-century Buddhist intellectual environment, its self-understanding, and its challenges. Although the impact the Madhyamakāvatāra had on Madhyamaka exegesis during Candrakīrti’s lifetime and in the years following his death remains controversial, his views are known to have influenced later Indian scholars such as Śāntideva, Prajñākaramati, Atiśa, and Abhayākaragupta; Ratnākaraśānti considered some of his prominent theories to be threatening enough as to be deserving of refutation. The twelfth-century Tibetan scholar Phya pa Chos kyi seng ge also rejected his views and analyses, but by the fourteenth century Candrakīrti’s interpretation of Madhyamaka had come to dominate Tibetan philosophical discourse.

The Madhyamakāvatāra and bhāṣya have the past centuries been accessible only via their Tibetan translations. The discovery of a single Sanskrit manuscript of the Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya now allows for the preparation of pioneering Sanskrit editions of the chapters of the work. In the workshop we will read passages from Prof. Yonezawa’s draft Sanskrit edition of chapters 7‒12. These chapters focus primarily on soteriological goals and on Candrakīrti’s radical portrayal of the knowledge and activities of a buddha.

The workshop is open to interested scholars, as well as to graduate and undergraduate students. Please register by 25 February 2020 with Anne MacDonald ( to facilitate our planning.

This workshop is generously supported by the FWF project “The Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya. Unveiling the Sixth Bhūmi” (Project 32118-G32, Project Leader: Anne MacDonald).



2–6 March 2020
14:00–17:00, daily

2nd floor, room 2.25, Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia
Hollandstraße 11-13, 1020 Vienna

Anne MacDonald