Ātman (soul) and Nairātmya (no soul) are, for the Brahmanical schools and the Buddhists respectively, equally fundamental tenets which neither side can concede to the other. Among the 16 formulations presented by Uddyotakara, the fifteenth, which is a proof of Ātman and is originally an indirect proof ( avīta/āvīta ), is presented in a prasaṅga -style, and contains double negation ( na nairātmyam ) in the thesis. However, it is perhaps Dharmakīrti who first transformed it into a normal style ( (...) sātmakam ). He is well aware of the law of excluded middle, and insisits that the negation is paryudāsa . On the Nyāya side, Uddyotakara at least seems to be unaware of the law of the logical equivalence of contraposition concerning pervasion ( vyāpti ). After Uddyotakara, however, Vyoman (Vyomaśiva), Bhāsarvajña and Vācaspatimiśra, all seem to be well aware of it. Dharmakīrti, in his conter-argument against the proof of ātman , discusses the negative expressions ‘‘ nairātmya ” and ‘‘ a-nairātmya ” Dharmakīrti here uses two logical arguments skillfully and tactically. As a critic of both the authenticity of the Veda and the existence of ātman , he insists on the theory of dichotomy and the equivalence of anvaya and vyatireka , whereas as an apologist he denies the application of these theories to the relation between the existence of ātman and the concept of nairātmya , because for him as a Buddhist the latter is not a negative but essentially positive state of affairs. (shrink)
Many contemporary authors argue that since certain Hindu texts and traditions claim that all living beings are fundamentally the same as Brahman (God), these texts and traditions provide the basis for an environmental ethic. I outline three common versions of this argument, and argue that each fails to meet at least one criterion for an environmental ethic. This doesn’t mean, however, that certain Hindu texts and traditions do not provide the basis for an environmental ethic. In the last section of (...) the paper I briefly outline and defend an alternative, according to which all plants and animals have intrinsic value and direct moral standing in virtue of having a good. (shrink)
Suppose we were to randomly pick out a book on Buddhism or Eastern Philosophy and turn to the section on 'no-self' (anattā). On this central teaching, we would most likely learn that the Buddha rejected the Upanisadic notion of Self (Ātman), maintaining that a person is no more than a bundle of impermanent, conditioned psycho-physical aggregates (khandhas). The rejection of Ātman is seen by many to separate the metaphysically 'extravagant' claims of Hinduism from the austere tenets of Buddhism. The status (...) quo has not, however, gone unchallenged. I shall join forces against this pernicious view, integrating some recent contributions into a sustained, two-pronged argument against no-Ātman theories of anattā. At the end it shall be suggested, in line with Thanissaro Bhikkhu, that anattā is best understood as a practical strategy rather than as a metaphysical doctrine. (shrink)
In most common expositions of Indian philosophy the two traditions: self and no-self - are taken to be mutually incompatible. The former, having its origin in the Upaniṣads, finds expression in all āstikadarśanas , though its clearest and most important exposition is found in Advaita Vedānta. The latter having its origin in the teachings of the Buddha finds varied expressions in different schools of Buddhism. The Advaita Vedānta accepts ātman and rejects anattā ; the Buddhists argue for anattā and reject (...) ātman . My exposition in this paper is based primarily on the teachings of the Gautama Buddha and Śaṃkara, the founders of Buddhism and Advaita Vedānta respectively. Accordingly, unless otherwise specified, my use of the terms “Buddhist” and “Advaitins” refers to the teachings of these founders rather than to the later philosophers of these two traditions. I will begin with an overview of Advaita Vedānta. (shrink)
The concept of the self is a highly contested topic. Traditionally it belonged to speculative metaphysics. Almost every philosopher, whether Western or Indian, has tried to explore the nature of self. Generally, the self is taken as a substance which has permanent existence, which is eternal and non-specio-temporal. In some traditions, like the Hindu tradition, it is believed to take rebirth as the body perishes. Many Western philosophers also think that it is immortal. The nature of the self also has (...) then ethical implications. The views of David Hume and Gautama Buddha on the self, which I have chosen to discuss here, are similar. Though both belong to different traditions, both are skeptical of any permanent existence of self. This is not to say that one has borrowed from the other. For the nature and purpose of denial of the self in both the philosophers is different. So a comprehensive and comparative study of their views is very interesting. It is the intention of this article to analyze and compare the philosophical positions of Gautama and Hume on the self—a problem which was of central concern to both and which has since exercised a continuing fascination for philosophers, both of the East and the West. (shrink)
Hidden in the cave : the Upaniṣadic self -- Dangerous truths : the Buddha on silence, secrecy and snakes -- A cloak of clever words : the deconstruction of deceit in the Mahābhārata -- Words that burn : why did the Buddha say what he did? -- Words that break : can an Upaniṣad state the truth? -- The imperfect reality of persons -- Self as performance.