Buddhist Epistemology

Buddhist Epistemology

Buddhist Epistemology

Buddhist Epistemology

Synopsis

Knowledge plays a very significant role in Buddhism, as it is the gateway to enlightenment and nirvana. This volume provides a clear and exhaustive exposition of Buddhist epistemology and logic, based on the works of classical thinkers such as Vasubandhu, Dinnaga, and Dharmakiriti. It traces the historical development of the Buddhist theory of knowledge and analyzes some basic issues like the nature of reality and knowledge, the criteria of truth, and nature of perception and inference, the only two sources of knowledge accepted in Buddhist philosophy. The appendix contains the Sanskrit original and an annotated translation of Nyaya Pravesa, a basic text of Buddhist epistemology, which discusses the nature of perception and inference and their fallacies. This work sheds light on abtruse epistemological topics and will enable readers to gain a clearer appreciation of the depths of Buddhist theory of knowledge.

Excerpt

The varied and multifaceted Indian philosophical thought is characterized by two broad philosophical tendencies that are antithetical in nature but both of which can be traced in germinal form to the Upaniṣadic thought. One tendency, which can be termed "ātmavāda" or "substance ontology," has been dominantly presented in the so-called āstika systems, the culmination of which is found in the Advaita Vedānta. The other tendency, which is popularly known as "anātmavāda" or "no-substance ontology," finds its advocacy and manifestation in Buddhist thought. The basic contention bifurcating the two tendencies is the view regarding the ontological status of permanence and change, both of which, though opposite in nature, are given to us in veridical experience, and therefore both claim the status of reality. The substance ontology advocates the permanence aspect and tries to explain the phenomenon of change. The no-substance ontology, on the contrary, accepts the reality of change alone and explains the experience of permanence as conceptual superimposition. Thus, the history of Indian philosophical thought could be approached in terms of a dialectic of these two divergent tendencies.

The substance-ontology revolves around the idea of permanence or abidance as the sole criterion of reality. Accordingly, substance, which alone is the substratum of all attributes and modes, has the sole reality or the primary reality, and the attributes and modes have either an apparent existence or a derivative existence. According to Advaita Vedānta substance, which is a unitary, homogeneous, pure consciousness, alone is real, and all attributes and modes are phenomenal in the sense that they are mithyā (i.e., neither real nor unreal). The Sāṁkhya system and also the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika and Māmāmsā systems, however, assign some reality to change also insofar as matter is regarded as subject to mutation whether in the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.