David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Faith and Philosophy 16 (4):472-505 (1999)
This article seeks to clarify the relation between arguments for atheism and descriptions of the summum bonum in Indian Buddhism, through the analysis of one influential text. I begin by noting that a number of writers have detected a tension between, on the one hand, Buddhist refutations of the existence of “God” (īśvara, ātman, puruşa) and, on the other, Buddhist (especially Mahāyāna) claims about the nature of the ultimate (nirvāna, buddha, dharmakāya), which often appears to have God-like qualities. I then turn to a locus classicus of Mahāyāna Buddhist philosophy of religion, the Pramānasiddhi (“Establishment of Authority”) chapter of the Pramānāvarttika (“Commentary on Authority”) of Dharmakīrti (7th century CE). After briefly introducing Dharmakīrti and the Pramānasiddhi chapter, I examine first the chapter’s atheological passages, which include a systematic attack on a Hindu (Nyāya) “argument from design” and a number of important claims about the implausibility of any permanent “spiritual” principle. The arguments are complex and varied, but most turn on the crucial Buddhist assumption that a permanent entity is by definition incapable of interaction with the impermanent, hence utterly unsuitable as a cause or effect. I then examine the chapter’s buddha logical passages, which tend to stress that a Buddha is defined above all by his knowledge of what is to be avoided and adopted by those intent on freedom, i.e., his knowledge of the four noble truths. The Buddha thus described is less notable for his transcendental nature than for his wise, compassionate, and skillful engagement with the world and its creatures---hence less obviously Mahāyānist than the Buddha described by those who articulate a “three-body” (trikāya) theory. I note by way of conclusion that, though Dharmakīrti’s buddhalogy did not prove as influential as his atheology, the juxtaposition of the two reveals an overall metaphysical consistency, in which axiomatic assumptions about permanence, impermanence, and deity are in harmony rather than tension
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Jiang Wu (2003). Buddhist Logic and Apologetics in 17th Century China: An Analysis of the Use of Buddhist Syllogisms in an Anti-Christian Polemic. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 2 (2):273-289.
Similar books and articles
Dharmakīrti (2000). Dharmakīrti's Pramāṇavārttika: An Annotated Translation of the Fourth Chapter (Parārthānumāna). Österreichische Akademie Der Wissenschaften.
Dan Arnold (2008). Dharmakīrti's Dualism: Critical Reflections on a Buddhist Proof of Rebirth. Philosophy Compass 3 (5):1079-1096.
John D. Dunne (2006). Realizing the Unreal: Dharmakīrti's Theory of Yogic Perception. [REVIEW] Journal of Indian Philosophy 34 (6):497-519.
John Taber (2010). Kumārila's Buddhist. Journal of Indian Philosophy 38 (3):279-296.
Kwangsoo Park (2003). A Comparative Study of the Concept of Dharmakaya Buddha: Vairocana in Hua-Yen and Mahavairocana in Shingon Buddhism. International Journal of Buddhist Thought and Culture 2:305-331.
Jay L. Garfield (2001). Nagarjuna's Theory of Causality: Implications Sacred and Profane. Philosophy East and West 51 (4):507-524.
Kyo Kano (2011). Sātmaka, Nairātmya, and A-Nairātmya: Dharmakīrti's Counter-Argument Against the Proof of Ātman. [REVIEW] Journal of Indian Philosophy 39 (4-5):391-410.
Chris Mortensen (2004). Dharmakirti and Priest on Change. Philosophy East and West 54 (1):20-28.
Dan Arnold (2008). Buddhist Idealism, Epistemic and Otherwise: Thoughts on the Alternating Perspectives of Dharmakīrti. Sophia 47 (1):3-28.
Birgit Kellner (2011). Self-Awareness (Svasaṃvedana) and Infinite Regresses: A Comparison of Arguments by Dignāga and Dharmakīrti. [REVIEW] Journal of Indian Philosophy 39 (4-5):411-426.
Pascale Hugon (2009). Breaking the Circle. Dharmakīrti's Response to the Charge of Circularity Against the Apoha Theory and its Tibetan Adaptation. Journal of Indian Philosophy 37 (6):533-557.
Randy Kloetzli (2007). Nous and Nirvāṇa: Conversations with Plotinus — An Essay in Buddhist Cosmology. Philosophy East and West 57 (2):140-177.
Asaf Federman (2009). Literal Means and Hidden Meanings: A New Analysis of Skillful Means. Philosophy East and West 59 (2):pp. 125-141.
Brendan S. Gillon & Richard P. Hayes (2008). Dharmakīrti on the Role of Causation in Inference as Presented in Pramāṇavārttika Svopajñavṛtti 11–38. Journal of Indian Philosophy 36 (3):335-404.
Christian Coseru (2006). A "Restricted" Interpretation of Dharmakīrti's Philosophy. [REVIEW] H-Net Reviews in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Added to index2011-01-09
Total downloads9 ( #246,576 of 1,725,806 )
Recent downloads (6 months)6 ( #110,125 of 1,725,806 )
How can I increase my downloads?