Using Logic to Make Infinity: Limitlessness in Mahayana Buddhism
Title: Using Logic to Make Infinity: Limitlessness in Mahayana Buddhism
Creator: Hannah Nailor
Nagarjuna’s Mulamadhyamaka-karika (The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way) uses complex logic to prove that logic is an illusion. Nagarjuna systematically dismantles the illusory belief in an ‘ultimate reality,’ instead positing that the only reality which exists is conventional, everyday reality, which is empty or void of independent or ultimate existence. The concept of emptiness can therefore seem nihilistic. This research paper seeks to describe how emptiness is not negative, but instead has the capacity to demonstrate the interdependence of conventional and ultimate reality, of the finite and the infinite. In exploring these concepts, we show that emptiness is not empty and that illusion can illuminate.
This paper was originally written for Dr. Domenico Napoletani’s Interterm course “Pythagoras Revisited: A Quest for Interior Precision.”
Hannah Nailor graduated from Chapman University with a B.A. in Screenwriting in May 2016. She thoroughly misses essay writing and leapt at the opportunity to participate in Sapere Aude once again. Hannah is currently employed as the office coordinator and receptionist for Content Media, an international film sales and distribution company in Santa Monica, just two blocks from the ocean. She is also currently teaching herself to cook, with marginal success.