Thoughts on Buddhism – Logic – Part 1 – Confused about Nagarjuna

Just as a moving thing is not stationary,
A non-moving thing is not stationary.
Apart from the moving and the non-moving,
What third thing is stationary?

Mūlamadhyamakakārikā by Nagarjuna

Like I’ve mentioned before, there seem to be some fundamental flaws in Buddhist logic and theology, largely due to a lack of explanation concerning various doctrinal points. It has been stated that several facets of their beliefs are simply taken as natural laws, prima facia with no further consideration. Karma is a law, as is reincarnation, and that’s all there is to it.

Reading Nagarjuna, though I’m not far into it, feels like reading Ayn Rand. Attempting to redefine words and twist them so they support one’s philosophy seems fundamentally wrong to me. It simply doesn’t work.

A definition is, to be fair, simply what a word or thought means according to the majority. The majority of a society has settled upon what the word/idea means, and agreed upon it. We agree that “two apples” means that we have one apple and another apple. Putting these together gives us two. Just the same, we agree that the word stationary in the context of discussing motion means not moving.

So stating “a non-moving thing is not stationary” just seems nonsensical to me. One might argue that it has potential energy, but the entire point of potential is that it’s not happening now.

Nagarjuna is attempting to prove that everything is empty, that there is neither existence nor non-existence. I’m familiar with the style of logical argument he is using, building upon previous statements, but at certain points he makes assumptions that fail, in my opinion. You can’t get halfway in and then redefine a term.

It’s like saying, “Let apple pie equal the world. Because apple pie has a crust, the earth has a crust, and this we know from science. Therefore, just like apple pie is filled with apples, the earth must be filled with apples.”

A non-moving thing is not stationary? Sorry, but unless you suddenly shifted gears to begin talking about posting letters and birthday cards, I don’t think that argument works.

One thought on “Thoughts on Buddhism – Logic – Part 1 – Confused about Nagarjuna

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s