Contaminants and the path to salvation: A study of the sarv Stiv da H Daya treatises

Asian Philosophy 19 (1):63 – 84 (2009)
Abstract
The Sa gītipary ya is the earliest Sarv stiv da philosophical text that enumerates a series of contaminants (anuśaya) , i.e. innate proclivities, inherited from former births, to do something of usually evil nature. This early list comprises seven such contaminants. As it is the contaminants that lead a worldling (p thagjana) to doing volitional actions and thus to forming a karmic result (karmavip ka) , these contaminants naturally also bear on the path to salvation. The gradual development of the peculiar Sarv stiv din path to salvation necessitated a gradual refinement and reinterpretation of the original list of seven contaminants. Apart from a mere technical aspect, this reinterpretation also reflects the viewpoint of the Sautr ntika school of Buddhist philosophy on the nature of contaminants, i.e. their acceptance of a latent and an active state of the defilements, vis- -vis the Vaibh ika viewpoint according to whom no such difference exists. Within Sarv stiv da literature, the H daya treatises illustrate this philosophical development
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