Is the Pramāṇavārttika a Madhyamaka Treatise?

Journal of Indian Philosophy 48 (5):827-844 (2020)
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This paper deals with the problem of the Pramāṇavārttika’s tenet affiliation and the related question of its final philosophical view within the framework of Buddhist philosophical schools. There are contrasting views and positions on this issue in Tibetan interpretations of the text. Some claim that the Pramāṇavārttika is a text advocating the other-emptiness doctrine, while other scholars argue that it is a Sautrāntika–Vijñānavāda or Vijñānavāda treatise. By contrast, Padma dkar po holds view that it is a Svātantrika-Madhyamaka text, while believing that it explicates the epistemological theories of Sautrāntika and Vijñānavāda. The present paper shows why Padma dkar po does not agree with other Tibetan interpretations on this issue, and why he deals with this problem by attributing a Svātantrika-Madhyamaka affiliation to the Pramāṇavārttika. This paper is divided into three sections. The first section discusses the reason why the Pramāṇavārttika is not a text written from the perspective of the doctrine of other-emptiness. The second section deals with the question of whether it is a Sautrāntika–Vijñānavāda work or a Vijñānavāda text. It will be shown that for Padma dkar po it is none of them. The third and the last section show the reasons why Padma dkar po interprets the Pramāṇavārttika as a text written from the Svātantrika-Madhyamaka perspective.



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