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Bhāvaviveka (Tib. ལེགས་ལྡན་འབྱེད་, Wyl. legs ldan 'byed), aka Bhāviveka (སྣང་བྲལ་, snang bral) or Bhavya (སྐལ་ལྡན་, skal ldan) (c.500-570), was a sixth century master of the Svatantrika school of Madhyamika. He was critical of Buddhapalita’s interpretation of Nagarjuna’s classic work The Root Verses on the Wisdom of the Middle Way, because he believed Buddhapalita should have put forward independent logical arguments, rather than simply pointing out the flaws in others’ positions. The great master Chandrakirti later defended Buddhapalita’s approach and sought to refute Bhavaviveka.



ཡང་དག་ཀུན་རྫོབ་རྣམས་ཀྱི་སྐས། །

མེད་པར་ཡང་དག་ཁང་ཆེན་གྱི། །
སྟེང་དུ་འགྲོ་བར་བྱ་བ་ནི། །

མཁས་ལ་རུང་བ་མ་ཡིན་ནོ། །

Trying to reach the great mansion
Of the authentic nature of reality
Without the steps of the authentic relative
Is not an approach the wise should take.[1]

Bhāvaviveka, Heart of the Middle Way, III, 12

Further Reading

  • David Seyfort Ruegg, The Literature of the Madhyamaka School of Philosophy in India, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1981
  • David Seyfort Ruegg, 'On the Authorship of Some Works Ascribed to Bhā(va)viveka/Bhavya' in The Buddhist Philosophy of the Middle, Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2010
  • Lobsang N. Tsonawa, Indian Buddhist Pandits from The Jewel Garland of Buddhist History, Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1985.


  1. This verse is also found in Atīśa’s Introduction to the Two Truths (བདེན་གཉིས་ལ་འཇུག་པ་)