This work undertakes a detailed study of the nature and rationale of Anitayata the third pillar of Buddhism. It explores into the concerned rationale in its three phases (a) Anityata in general in the sense of permanent susceptibility to change (b) Ksanikata as the adequate condition of the occurrence / cognition of change and (c) Ksanabhanga as the adequate condition of the occurrence cognition of the most radical change. The inquiry into the rationale of Anitayata in its different phases in undertaken with two aims in view (a) To explore into the aspects of Buddhist opposition to permanence and or stability in any form and adopted in anybody Buddhist or non Buddhist and (b) to bring out conceptual change in the Buddhist camp and articulate the way Anityata provided a sound basis for putting forth characteristically Buddhist alternative ontology and or anthropology in opposition ot th eons which were then current opposition to the ones which were then current assessing the significance and importance of it. This study is novel and no one has yet undertaken any of its kind.
Dr. Mangala R, Chinchore M.A Ph.D. in Philosophy (Poona University) its working as a faculty Member in the Department of Philosophy University of Poona. Apart from participating in national and international Seminars and conferences and contributing well received papers to them she is presently working as a career awarded of the U.G.C.
Her previous publications are Vadanyaya A Glimpse of Nyaya Buddhist Controversy, Dharmakirti’s Theory of Hetucentricity of Anumana and Anatta/Anatamata An Analysis of Buddhist Anti Substantialist Crusade of them the second was given the Swami Pranavananda Award by the I.P.C. in 1991. She has also to her credit couple of research papers published in nationally and internationally renowned journals.
It seems to be fairly clear that in the Buddhist philosophical exploration analysis and clarification starting the Buddha through his direct disciples to the later day Buddhist scholars right up to the time of disappearance of Buddhist philosophy as a recognizable force and its sustained protagonists from this subcontinent five important aspects of it remained clearly discernible.
(i) Given the teachings of the Buddha the main fountain head of Buddhist thought the important task before the later Buddhist scholars was to bring to the notice of the concerned what the teaching and thought of the Buddha was concerning a certain issue that engaged their attention. This was especially necessary because the Buddha as is well known did not commit himself anything to writing during the span of forty and more years of his active and tireless teaching. In addition in the light of changing circumstances and situations and in the face of the sort of issues people came to confront themselves with for the solution or resolution of which they were inclined and prone to seek guidance from the teaching of the Buddha but which was not available prima facie it was necessary to interpret and if necessary re interpret the teaching and thought of the Buddha. Such an interpretation or re interpretation was attempted not as a matter of pastime. Rather such a task was undertaken with a view to analyzing and articulating two significant aspects of Buddha’s teaching: (a) On the one hand, to expose people to the immeasurable potency, depth and profundity together with inexhaustible plasticity and accommodativeness of the teaching of the Buddha to give rise to varying and alterable interpretations. Given this, Buddha’s teaching could no longer be considered to be matter of mere historical record—to be rioted and forgotten. (b) On the other hand, it was also aimed at pointing out that however silently the circumstartces and situations may change, however complicated maybe the pattern of problems people may come to be confronted with, there is continued relevance and importance of Buddha’s teaching and thought. Such relevance and importance of it may not perhaps be easily discernible to all and sundry. But it is, nonetheless, the task of the knowledgeable persons and scholars to strive to analyze and articulate it for the benefit of self education and guidance of the desirous. This was especially necessary in so far as the Buddha never considered it to be the exclusive prerogative of only a chosen few to live in accordance with his teaching. Rather, he invited and exhorted anybody and everybody—without discrimination of any kind—to adopt it if and in so far as one was’ convinced that it is worthy of being adopted on the basis of its strongest and the most thoroughgoing scrutiny and examination.’ That is why, the task of interpreting and re-interpreting Buddha’s teaching and thought and showing its continued relevance with reference to changing times, circumstances and situations was addressed to by the concerned Buddhist scholars with renewed zest and vigour.
(ii) As pointed out in our previous work,2 Buddhist philosophical exploration and inquiry revolves and spins around two important concerns: (a) On the one hand, to analyze the nature of and inter-relationship between the three principal pillars of Buddhism, viz. Duhkha,Anatta andAnityat4. It goes with out saying that at the hands of the different scholars and at different times the same pattern of analysis of and inter-relationship between them did not become always available. Instead, one finds preponderant importance being attached to one pillar over the others. Orelse, one particular pattern of inter-relationship among them was held to be overwhelmingly and decisively significant over the alternative others. Inspite of such difference, which at times became extremely vigorous, giving rise in turn to some salient features of intra Buddhist controversy, the fact remained that none of the Buddhist scholars showed and audacity and arrogance to repudiate and negate altogether importance of any one pillar of Buddhism. As could be surmised, doing something of this kind would have amounted to founding fundamentally an alternative version of Buddhism, if at all it could have been baptized that way, leave alone its being held respectable. But, thereby, one would have also forfeited one’s credibility to be considered as a Buddhist, nevertheless—too heavy a price to pay! (b)On the other hand, such an analysis and mode of inter-relationship between the three pillars of Buddhism was also attempted to be linked and connected with the Buddhist conception of Nirvana. Even on the latter count, as to what sort of conception of Nirvana would be appropriate to be adopted by a true Buddhist, too, in course of time, there arose a difference of opinion of profound concern which exerted considerable impact upon the sort of investigation the later day Buddhist scholars undertook. We cannot go into the details of it in the present work for fear of digression. However, the fact remains that the two above-mentioned aspects were closely inter-connected such that the former alone without the latter was held to be directionless, while the latter alone without the former was considered to be empty. Accordingly, the two aspects of the inquiry under consideration were designed and expected to be considered connectedly rather than isolatedly.
(iii) Further, as pointed out in our earlier study, one of the very important concerns, not only in the teaching and thought of the Buddha but also its subsequent understanding and interpretation, in Buddhist philosophy, was to formulate and articulate an alternative, philosophically tenable and yet richer conception of man—what we have called in our previous work as Buddhist Philosophical Anthropology. Such a kind of anthropological concern remained a dominant trend of Buddhist inquiry right from the time of the Buddha. Even though, in this way, the need, legitimacy and primacy of alternative conception of man was realized from the time of the Buddha, it would be too rash to hold that the same conception of man or the convergently similar analysis of it was presented at the hand of the Buddhist scholars in different times. This, as we partly attempted to exhibit in our previous work, and further still as we hope to bring to the light in the present one, then, remained another fertile ground on which seeds of some of the profound aspects of intra-school Buddhist controversy were sown, which sprouted, grew and blossomed in course of time, bringing in turn to the foreground some of the decisive and crucial aspects of Buddhist philosophical analysis. Inspite of such difference of opinion, however, the fact remains that inquiry into and analysis of appropriate conception of man remained very important trait of Buddhist philosophical enterprise during its entire tenure in this sub continent.
(iv) It would hardly make sense to talk in terms of an alternative or similar if not the same conception of man that is deemed to be respectable independently of corresponding appropriate conception of the following three things (a) Good Life (b) The Sort of Goods we need to value in our life individual as well as collective and the sort of universal and non discriminatively strong preference we need to adopt concerning them for in the want of the latter there would be no dependable way to grade the former are not graded it would be extremely difficult if not impossible altogether as well to make tenable choice between them in so far as we happen to be faced with such a kind of problem. Likewise adoption of mechanical or arbitrary mode of choice between them would hardly leave nonetheless any legitimate room for our considering ourselves to be truly human if not free as well (c) Thirdly given that we are committed to (a) and (b) stated above it needs to be said as unambiguously as possible as to what price we are prepared to pay for our being able to realize them in out life and to ensure that our commitment to them is neither a matter of mere ideology, prophecy, advertisement or policy. This consideration is backed by the simple intuitively clear principle higher the price we are prepared to pay for something more do we value it in our appropriate consideration of it in thought speech and life. This sort of triple consideration concerning good life etc. is and needs to be closely related with appropriate conception of man that is sought to be adopted in the light of the former. Accordingly the conception of man on the one hand and the conception of good life etc. on the other need to have bearing upon each other. For the former in the absence of the latter is merely form without content while the latter without the former is content without form. It would be too rash and hence untenable to hold that Buddhists alone had this sort of consideration before them. Other trends and their protagonists also had their respective considerations to articulate uphold and defend. And whatever be the loose and yet articulate uphold and defend. And whatever be the loose and yet agreeable points of contact and convergence between them it remains a fact that Buddhist conception of man on the one hand and that of good life etc. on the other together with connection between them is fundamentally different from those of the non Buddhists. Accordingly difference of opinion and controversy between adherents of Buddhism and those of non Buddhist trends of Indian philosophical thought became and remained a fertile ground of prolonged inter school controversy in this sub continent while Buddhism was a recognizable philosophical force.
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