Dharmakirti, who flourished around 1400 years ago, is known as one of the most profound and outstanding philosophers in the tradition of Indian Buddhism. His name has become almost synonymous to Buddhist logic. This monograph presents an authentic account of Life and philosophy of Dharmakirti., and also introduces Dharmakirti as an eminent poet.
Radhavallabh Tripathi is a renowned scholar of Sanskrit. He has published 160 books, 217 research papers and critical essays as well as translations of several Sanskrit texts. He has received 33 national and international awards and honours for his literary contributions. He has been referred in various research journals on Indology. Research for Ph.D. has been completed as well as is being carried on his creative writings in Sanskrit in a number of Universities. Three Journals brought out special numbers on his writings. Four books comprising studies on his creative and critical writings are also available. He has served as Vice-Chancellor of Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan (Deemed University) at Delhi and as Professor of Sanskrit at Dr. H.S. Gour University, Sagar. Presently he is working as Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla.
Dharmakirti is one of the most profound and outstanding philosophers in the tradition of Indian Buddhism. His name has become almost synonymous to Buddhist logic, which unfortunately, is not my area of study. The task of writing a monograph on Dharmakirti has therefore been a formidable challenge for me. One of the reasons I accepted it lies in my love for Dharmakirti's poetry, and because of that I could add a chapter here on `Dharmakirti as a poet'. (A serious scholar of Buddhist philosophy perhaps would not have done so).
In his philosophical writings as well as in his poetry, Dharmakirti has expressed his anguish at being overlooked and disregarded. Even now, he is almost unknown outside the circle of the serious students of Indian philosophy and Buddhism. The present monograph will hopefully create awareness amongst the common readers about his immense contribution to our systems of knowledge as well as about his still less known poetic creativity.
This small work is meant for common readers interested in Indian literary and philosophical traditions. Complicated discussions on epistemological or ontological issues have been avoided. A humble effort has been made to explain the foundations and basic tenets of Dharmakirti's philosophy through his original writings.
Original Sanskrit terms for various concepts and categories with their nearest appropriations in English have been used. Sometimes either the original term or its English equivalent only has been used to avoid repetitions. Lot of confusion prevails in the use of English equivalents for technical/philosophical terms from Sanskrit and Pali. Pramana is translated as 'cognition', P.P. Gokhale in his translations of Dharmakirti's works has either accepted 'knowledge' or sometimes 'true cognition' as equivalents of pramana. These options have to be accepted because concepts in diverse systems of Indian philosophy differ. For Svalaksana which is a key term in Buddhist philosophy, different terms have been used. Out of these, I have accepted 'unique particular.' I prefer to use the term 'invariable concomitance' for Vyapti rather than 'pervasion' as used by some authors. Hetu is translated as reason in the context of vada (debate). Regarding names in Chinese, I have preferred their popular 'Indian' spellings viz. Hsua for Xuanzang and It-sing for I ching. Dinnagais is also spelt as ‘Dignaga’,I preferred the former.
The writings of Dharmakirti confirm the saying of our ancients - tarkesu karkasadhiyo vayameva nanye kavyesu komaladhiyo - (we, and not others, are the hardest amidst the hard in arguing; we, and not others, are the softest amidst the soft in poetry) I dedicate this work to the lovers of logic and literature.
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