Nagarjuna's Precious Garland
Analyzed, translated and edited by Jeffrey Hopkins.
Nagarjuna is renowned for his penetrating analysis of reality. In the Precious Garland, he offers intimate counsel on how to conduct one's life and how to construct social policies that reflect Buddhist ideals. The advice for personal happiness is concerned first with improving one's condition over the course of lifetimes, and then with release from all kinds of suffering, culminating in Buddhahood. Nagarjuna describes the cause and effect sequences for the development of happiness within ordinary life, as well as the practices of wisdom, realizing emptiness, and compassion that lead to enlightenment. He describes a Buddha's qualities and offers encouraging advice on the effectiveness of practices that reveal the vast attributes of Buddhahood. In his advice on social and governmental policy, Nagarjuna emphasizes education and compassionate care for all living beings. He also objects to the death penalty. Calling for the appointment of government figures who are not seeking profit or fame, he advises that a selfish motivation will lead to misfortune. The book includes a detailed analysis of attachment to sensual objects as a preparation for realization of the profound truth that, when realized, makes attachment impossible.