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Acharya Nāgārjuna (Devanagri:नागार्जुन, Telugu: నాగార్జున, Tibetan: ཀླུ་སྒྲུབ་ klu sgrub, Chinese: 龍樹, Sinhala නාගර්පුන කොණ්ඩේ) (ca. 150–250 CE) was an Indian philosopher who founded the Madhyamaka school of Mahāyāna Buddhism[citation needed].

His writings are the basis for the formation of the Madhyamaka school, which was transmitted to China under the name of the Three Treatise (Sanlun) School. He is credited with developing the philosophy of the Prajnaparamita sutras, and was closely associated with the Buddhist university of Nalanda. In the Jodo Shinshu branch of Buddhism, he is considered the First Patriarch.

Little is known about the actual life of the historical Nagarjuna. The two most extensive biographies of Nagarjuna, one in Chinese and the other in Tibetan, were written many centuries after his life and incorporate material seen by some as historically unreliable. Nagarjuna was born a Brahmin[1], which in his time connoted religious allegiance to the Vedas, probably into an upper-caste Brahmin family and probably in the southern Andhra region of India.[2]



Very few details on the life of Nāgārjuna are known, although many legends exist. He was born in Southern India, near the town of Nagarjunakonda (నాగార్జునకొండ) in present day Nagarjuna Sagar (నాగార్జునసాగర్) in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.[citation needed] According to traditional biographers and historians such as Kumarajiva, he was born into a Brahmin family, but later converted to Buddhism. This may be the reason he was one of the earliest significant Buddhist thinkers to write in classical Sanskrit rather than Pāli or Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit.

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