Dignāga, Kumārila and Dharmakīrti on the Potential Problem of pramāṇa and phala Having Different Objects

Journal of Indian Philosophy 44 (2):229-239 (2016)

Following Dharmakīrti’s interpretation, PS I 9ab has been understood as stating a view common to both Sautrāntikas and Yogācāras, i.e. a view that self-awareness is the result of a means of valid cognition. It has also been understood that Dignāga accepts two different views attributed to Sautrāntikas with regard to pramāṇaphala: in PS ad I 8cd he regards the cognition of an external object as the result; in PS ad I 9ab–cd he alternatively presents another view that self-awareness is the result. Dignāga’s text, however, does not support these interpretations. Rather it contradicts them. In fact Dignāga presupposes a single view, and not two, attributed to Sautrāntikas, a view that the cognition of an external object is the result. In I 9ab he is presenting an alternative view that is attributed only to Yogācāras, i.e. a view that is not common to Sautrāntikas. Althogh the Sautrāntika sākāravāda essentially has an internal structure, Dignāga presupposes that an external object can be regarded as the object of cognition because it is similar to the image of object. He assumes that the objects of pramāṇa and phala, both being external objects, are identical. Criticizing Dignāga’s claim that bāhyārthajñāna is the phala, Kumārila points out that there is a serious gap between the objects of pramāṇa and phala. Consequently Dharmakīrti has to admit that even in the Sautrāntika view an external object is not directly cognized and instead proposes as the second view of Sautrāntikas that svasaṃvitti is the phala. At the same time he reinterprets Dignāga and defends from Kumārila’s criticism by introducing the two different levels. When investigating the real nature, i.e. in the paramārtha level, svasaṃvitti is the phala, whereas in the upacāra level, bāhyārthajñāna or bāhyārthaniścaya is the phala. Thus, Dharmakīrti avoids Kumārila’s criticism of Dignāga. Kumārila triggers Dharmakīrti’s new introduction of the second view of Santrāntikas that svasaṃvitti is the phala.
Keywords Svasaṃvitti  Pramāṇaphala  Viṣayābhāsatā  Bāhyārthajñāna
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DOI 10.1007/s10781-014-9261-4
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