Bhāviveka (ca. 500–560 CE) lived at a time of unusual creativity and ferment in the history of Indian Buddhist philosophy. The Mahayana movement was emerging as a vigorous and self-conscious intellectual force, while the earlier traditions of the eighteen “schools” (nikaya) resisted the authority of the Mahayana and continued to elaborate the fundamental concepts of Buddhist thought.
Bhāviveka’s “Verses on the Heart of the Middle Way” (Madhyamakahrdayakārikā) with their commentary, known as “The Flame of Reason” (Tarkajvālā), give a unique and authoritative account of the intellectual differences that stirred the Buddhist community in this creative period.
Bhāviveka and His Buddhist Opponents gives a clear and accessible translation of Chapters 4 and 5 of this text: the chapters on the Śrāvakas, or eighteen schools, and the Yogācāra, Bhāviveka’s most important Mahayana opponents. The translation is introduced by an essay that situates Bhāviveka in the intellectual context of sixth-century India, and it is accompanied by copious notes, commenting on Bhāviveka’s sources and explaining his controversial method. The book also contains a critical edition of the Sanskrit text of Bhāviveka’s verses and the Tibetan translation of the verses and commentary.