Buddhist Epistemology by S. R. Bhatt

By S. R. Bhatt

Knowledge performs a truly major position in Buddhism, because it is the gateway to enlightenment and nirvana. This quantity offers a transparent and exhaustive exposition of Buddhist epistemology and common sense, in keeping with the works of classical thinkers akin to Vasubandhu, Dinnãga, and Dharmakiriti. It lines the ancient improvement of this thought, identifies crucial colleges and thinkers, and defines its major concepts—the standards of fact, the character of truth, and the ideas of notion and inference, the single assets of data approved in Buddhist philosophy. The appendix includes the Sanskrit unique and an annotated translation of Nyaya Prave'sa, a key textual content of Buddhist epistemology, which discusses the character of notion and inference and their fallacies.

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3 5 That is, he regards nirvikalpaka pratyaksa as a sort of inchoate cognition in which neither the particular nor the generalized aspect is cognized; nor are they distinguished. Whatever is the interpretation of Kumarila’s position, for him it is indeterminate or nonconceptual and therefore nonverbal. The second stage is that of savikalpaka pratyaksa, which is a determinate cognition in which the object is cognized by the mind along with its characterizations. Like the Samkhya and Mlmamsa thinkers, Nyaya-Vaisesika thinkers also accept both stages of perception, and most of them regard them as equally valid.

The linguistic expression corresponding to “S” is a little ambiguous, whereas the linguistic expression corresponding to “K - C” does not contain any ambiguity. Perhaps, Vasubandhu’s definition could have been improved upon by the addition of the word “eva, ” which would have meant that a perceptual cognition is that which is determined by the object solely and exclusively. But Diñnága thinks it better to put the definition negatively so as to avoid any scope for ambiguity. However, it must be made clear that Diñnága does not reject Vasubandhu’s definition but only brings out its implication in clearer terms.

It is thus clear that the two types of knowledge are quite different not only in their nature but also in the spheres of their operation. While defining pratyaksa, thinkers from Dinnaga onward always insist on its being kalpanapodha. Kalpana stands for both thought and speech, and, therefore, the phrase ttkalpandpodham,>implies two things: ( 1 ) it is nonconceptual, and (2 ) it is nonverbal. Buddhists start with a dichotomous distinction between a knowledge that is perceptual and a knowledge that is nonperceptual, that is, conceptual.

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