The Cloud of Nothingness

The Negative Way in Nagarjuna and John of the Cross

  • C. D. Sebastian

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxx
  2. C. D. Sebastian
    Pages 19-50
  3. C. D. Sebastian
    Pages 135-169
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 171-181

About this book


​This book explores ‘nothingness’, the negative way found in Buddhist and Christian traditions, with a focused and comparative approach. It examines the works of Nagarjuna (c. 150 CE), a Buddhist monk, philosopher and one of the greatest thinkers of classical India, and those of John of the Cross (1542-1591), a Carmelite monk, outstanding Spanish poet, and one of the greatest mystical theologians. The conception of nothingness in both the thinkers points to a paradox of linguistic transcendence and provides a novel insight into via negativa. This is the first full-length work comparing nothingness (emptiness) in Nagarjuna (Mahayana Buddhism) and John of the Cross (Christianity) in any language. It augments the comparative approach found in Buddhist-Christian comparative philosophy and theology.  This book is of especial interest to academics of Buddhist and Christian studies searching for avenues for intellectual dialogue.


Apophatism and comparative theology Buddhist Christian negation Concept of nothingness Denial of self Eight negations in Nagarjuna Emptiness in crosscultural philosophy John of the Cross and Nagarjuna La nada and limits of faculties Madhyamika Buddhism Madhyamika sunyata Negative theology Negative way and silence Neoplatonic theology Original texts of Nagarjuna Via negativa in Christian theology Via negativa in East and West

Authors and affiliations

  • C. D. Sebastian
    • 1
  1. 1.Philosophy Group, Department of Humanities and Social SciencesIndian Institute of Technology BombayMumbaiIndia

Bibliographic information