About the Book
Within Buddhist conceptual framework in general and in the world of Buddhist Scholarship in particular the present work is the first full-scale inquiry into the rationale of the acceptance of two important concepts in Buddhist philosophy, viz. Santana and Santanantara. In the work, the rationale of their acceptance and intricate mode of inter-relationship has been explained in great detail. And it has been argued that their acceptance paves way for (a). philosophically satisfactory account of continuity, transformation and transcendence-no matter in case of isolated or inter-related items, and (b) laying foundation of an alternative philosophical psycho- logy in Buddhist Philosophy. It is argued that these features of them hold even in the face of acceptance of complete discreteness and literal momentariness. Assessing pioneering importance of the works of Dharmakirti like the Santanantara-siddhi on these counts, it has been maintained that such an account of continuity, transformation and transcendence on the one hand and adoption of an alternative philosophical psychology on the other has to be embedded in the conception of the three major pillars of Buddhism viz. Duhkha, Anatmata and Anityata together with complex sort of inter-relationship between them. The work, thus, underscores the unmistakable importance of the three pillars under consideration in general and of Anityata in particular in properly under- standing Buddhist ontology, epistemology, anthropology and psychology along with complex inter-relationship between them. This is, further, sought to be done in such a way that philosophically significant account of continuity, transformation etc. does not fail to be available in the Buddhist conceptual framework.
About the Author
Dr. Mangala R. Chinchore (M.A., Ph. D -Philosophy) is a Faculty Member of the Department of Philosophy, Pune University. She has been a sustained researcher in Buddhist Philosophy and her earlier publications include Vadanyaya : A Glimpse of Nyaya-Buddhist Controversy, Dharmakirti’s Theory of Hetu-Centricity of Anumana, Anatta/Anatmata : An Analysis of Buddhist Anti-substantialist Crusade, and Aniccata/Anityata : An Analysis of the Buddhist Opposition to Permanence/Stability and Alternative Foundation of Ontology and/or Anthropology. Of them, the second was given the Swami Prannavananda Award by the Indian Philosophical Congress in 1991. Besides, she has more than a dozen papers to her credit presented to national/international seminars/conferences, appreciated by scholars and published. in nationally or international y acclaimed journals.
It is a fact that Dharmakirti occupies an important and unique position in the entire history of Indian philosophy in general and Buddhist philosophy in particular. In the Buddhist tradition, if one attempts to study carefully and assess critically the worth and significance of various philosophers, one can hardly deny the enormous importance of Dharmakirti’s philosophy. His philosophy and its conceptual frame-work are not only peaks of excellence but crucial turning points as well. And standing on them, one can have a glimpse into two aspects of conceptual change so far as Buddhist philosophy is concerned-its growth and development on the one hand and its degradation, decay and final disappearance on the other. The height that Buddhist philosophy scaled at his times, it seems, was never surpassed by any of the contemporaries and followers or prominent exponents of Buddhism after him. Hence, a thorough study of his various work-long or short, major or minor-and points discussed in them together with their inter-connection becomes an essential and important task for the better understanding not only of his philosophy alone but also of Buddhist philosophy in general. Earlier, I had an opportunity to study his Vadanyaya and Hetubindu. In the study originating from the former, I have argued that in contradistinction with the view of the adherents of Nydya, in Dharmakirti’s view rhetorical and logical concerns need to be sharply distinguished and that intellectual debates need not be held to be battles which are fought to finish, culminating into the vanquishment of the enemy. Instead, they could be held as avenues of collaborative search after truth and truth cannot be a monopoly and exclusive prerogative of only one trend of thought or its chosen handful followers. In the latter, I have presented in details extremely significant aspects of Dharmakirti’s logic and studied its unmistakable and important implications. With this sort of continued interest in Dharmakirti’s philosophy in the background, I hoped to concentrate upon such work of his whose original Sanskrit texts are no longer, unfortunately, extant, their Tibetan translations alone being available. Of them, so far as Career Award was concerned, I proposed to work on Dharmakirti’s Santanantarasiddhi, postponing working on the remaining work of his, viz. Pramanaviniscaya to some later time, either at our own hands or of someone else. Working on the Santanantarasiddhi involved, prima facie, two important aspects : Reconstruction, in Sanskrit, of the text of the Santanantarasiddhi by Dharmakirti together with Vinitadeva’s Tika on it from their Tibetan translations, and to work on some philosophically interesting project related with the sort of issues which are at least centrally, if not peripherally as well, discussed in the texts under consideration. I have discussed elsewhere the reason as to why such Sanskrit reconstructions are preferable to the translations of texts from Tibetan to some European languages like English, German etc.? Reconstructing the Santanantarasiddhi and Vinitadeva’s Tika on it from Tibetan into Sanskrit gave me a preliminary opportunity to peep into the contents of them. A little careful study of them combined with fairly keen interest in Dharmakirti’s philosophy and availability of many of his major works in Sanskrit along with a reasonable understanding of them-on two of which as pointed out above, I have already worked in great details-I decided to work as a Career Awardee on a project basically centering on the study of Dharmakirti’s philosophical psychology at least as discussed in his Santanantarasiddhi.
Accordingly, the title of the project as it was envisaged to be undertaken then, with reference to the Santanantarasiddhi was: Dharmakirti’s Philosophical Psychology: An In-depth Study of its Structure, Framework and Implications. It was hoped to investigate into the framework of Dharmakirti’s philosophical psychology and carefully study at least its epistemologically significant implications. To put it very broadly, the project hoped studying complex relationship between Dharmakirti’s philosophical psychology and epistemology.
Apart from reconstructing the texts of the Santanantarasiddhi and Vinitadeva’s Tika on it from Tibetan to Sanskrit and studying Dharmakirti’s philosophical psychology as reflected in the texts under consideration, the project also envisaged to move in two important directions. Considered retrospectively, it hoped to unearth and study roots of some of the important problems in Dharmakirti’s philosophical psychology and epistemology in the works and thoughts of his predecessors like Asanga, Vasubandhu, Sthiramati etc. That is, it envisaged to inquire into three sorts of connections retrospectively: (a) connections between epistemology and philosophical psychology of some of the prominent predecessors of Dharmakirti, (b) relation between Dharmakirti’s epistemology and philosophical psychology and (c) the relation between the (b) above with the (a). In other words, it was expected to be argued that Dharrnakirtis philosophical psychology cannot be isolated from his epistemology, nor both of them could be segregated from the way epistemology and philosophical psychology are related in the thought of some of his predecessors.
Prospectively, on the other hand, it was hoped to inquire into the thoughts and writings of at least some of the prominent post-Dharmakirti Buddhist scholars like Jnanasri Mitra and Ratnakirti, if not Arcata, Prajnakara Gupta, Dharmottara, Santaraksita and Kamalasila as well. This was intended to be done with the purpose of taking into account the way problems taken up in Dharmakirti’s philosophical psychology and epistemology were considered at the hands of some of his major successors, if not followers as well. What we mean by this is that although historically number of Buddhist scholars flourished in this country after Dharmakirti, not all of them followed in his foot-steps. And even some of those who professed to have done so, it is doubtful whether they really accomplished what they had professed they intended to. We shall have, later on, in this work, an occasion to look into some of these aspects of the post-Dharmakirti Buddhist philosophical thought in this country.
In this way, the entire exercise was hoped to be carried out with double principal aims in view. On the one hand, within the broad framework of conceptual change, connection between Dharmakirti’s philosophical psychology and epistemology was sought to be investigated into with reference to such a relation in the thought of his predecessors and successors. It was hoped that if and in so far as connection between Buddhist philosophical psychology and epistemology as put forth by Dharmakirti and his predecessors and successors is studied on a broader canvas of the connection between Buddhist philosophical psychology and epistemology in general, it would enable us to bring out some of the important landmarks on the count of conceptual change, the latter envisaging not only growth and development but decay and degeneration as well, if not utter effacement of certain doctrines. It was, thus, hoped to highlight and assess critically the contribution-reinforcive and strengthening or otherwise weakening and vulgarising-of Dharmakirti, his predecessors and successors to Buddhist philosophical psychology and its connection with Buddhist epistemology. On the other hand, it was also hoped to probe into some aspects of the Buddhist intra-school controversy pertaining to the issues falling in the jurisdiction of philosophical psychology, epistemology and connection between them. As we shall see in what follows, there were not only major differences among adherents of Buddhism relating to the issues concerning philosophical psychology and pertaining to the nature, status, importance and limits of human knowledge as well, not to talk of those regarding appropriate sort of relation between them. Such differences, as we shall see, did not spring up and arise in a vacuum. Nor did they arise all of a sudden and for the sake of adopting a certain deviant stance for the fun of it. Further, while considering such aspects of the Buddhist intra-school controversy, the entire discussion was not expected to be completely free from bearing of such issues on some aspects of inter-school debates between Buddhists and non-Buddhists, However, this latter sort of consideration was expected to be kept as marginal and secondary in character as possible, so that the main and decisive aspects of intra-school Buddhist controversy pertaining to problems concerning philosophical psychology and their bearing upon Buddhist epistemology are not marginalised or neglected.
Thus considered, the original project, as it was envisaged, anticipated, in the main, consideration of three main issues: (a) Relation between issues discussed in Dharmakirti’s Santanantarasiddhi with those discussed in his other major or minor works, so that some of the important aspects of his conceptual framework and its rationale do not fail to be available. (b) Studying some important connections between Dharmakirti’s philosophy with that of his predecessors and successors, and (c) bringing out some important connections between certain aspects of Dharmakirti’s philosophy and its conceptual framework with those of the philosophy and conceptual framework of some of his Buddhist predecessors or followers.
Even if we were to concentrate upon the sort of problems stated above and work patiently on them, over a period of three years, to complete the originally envisaged project alone, it could hardly have been considered to be deficient in any major way. Nor could it have been held to be philosophically uninteresting and intellectually unpromising either. However, for reasons clarified below, we preferred to modify our earlier plan, and widen and deepen the prospects of the envisaged project, bringing in the process to surface certain important avenues of further investigation and research.
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