中観派 (Skt; Jpn Chugan-ha)
Also known as the Madhyamaka school. A Mahayana school based on Nagarjuna's Madhyamaka-karika, or Verses on the Middle Way.
The Madhyamika school was one of the two major Mahayana schools in India, the other being the Vijnanavada, or Consciousness-Only, school, also known as the Yogachara school.
It upholds the doctrines of nonsubstantiality and dependent origination, which maintain that all phenomena arise inter-dependently and are without distinctive natures of their own, i.e., that they are non-substantial.
In addition, it teaches that, by recognizing the interdependence of all phenomena, one can rid oneself of illusions and perceive the ultimate truth of the Buddha—the Middle Way that is beyond the two extremes of existence and nonexistence.
Nagarjuna (c. 150-250) is regarded as the founder of the school, from which emerged later important figures such as Aryadeva, Rahulabhadra, and Pingala.In the sixth century, two scholars, Buddhapalita and Bhavaviveka, wrote conflicting commentaries on the Madhyamaka-karika.
Their opinions differed on the method of approaching and demonstrating the truth of nonsubstantiality.
As a result, the Madhyamika school divided into two—the Prasangika school, led by Buddhapalita, and the Svatantrika school, led by Bhavaviveka.
From the Prasangika school emerged the scholar Chandrakirti; and from the Svatantrika school, Avalokitavrata, Shantarakshita, and his disciple Kamalashila.
Later Shantarakshita and Kamalashila established close doctrinal ties with the Vijnanavada, or Yogachara, school, which gave rise to the Yogachara-Madhyamika school.
In China and Japan, the Three Treatises (Chin; Sanlun; Jpn Sanron) school inherited the philosophy of the Madhyamika school. Madhyamika philosophy spread also to Tibet, and its concept of nonsubstantiality formed a basis for Tibetan Buddhism.