Authority in Early Prāsaṅgika Madhyamaka

Journal of Indian Philosophy 38 (6):553-582 (2010)

This paper examines the role of pramāṇa in Jayānanda’s commentary to Candrakīrti’s Madhyamakāvatāra. As the only extant Indian commentary on any of Candrakīrti’s works (available only in Tibetan translation), written in the twelfth century when Candrakīrti’s interpretation of Madhyamaka first became widely valued, Jayānanda’s Madhyamakāvatāraṭīkā is crucial to our understanding of early Prāsaṅgika thought. In the portions of his text examined here, Jayānanda offers a pointed critique of both svatantra inferences and the broader Buddhist epistemological movement. In developing this critique, he cites at length Candrakīrti’s Prasannapadā treatment of svatantra, and so comes to comment on the locus classicus for the Svātantrika-Prāsaṅgika distinction. For Jayānanda, svatantra inferences are emblematic of the Dignāga-Dharmakīrti epistemological tradition, which asserts an unwarranted validity to human cognition. As such, Nāgārjuna’s philosophy admits neither svatantra inference, nor pramāṇa (as “valid cognition”) more generally. Instead, Jayānanda argues for Nāgārjuna’s “authority” (pramāṇa) as our prime means for knowing reality. Jayānanda’s account of authority offers a helpful counterbalance to the current trend of portraying Prāsaṅgika Madhyamaka as a form of skepticism
Keywords Jayānanda  Candrakīrti  Prāsaṅgika  Pramāṇa  Authority  Skepticism
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DOI 10.1007/s10781-010-9105-9
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References found in this work BETA

Meditation on Emptiness.Jeffrey Hopkins - 1986 - Philosophy East and West 36 (1):68-71.
Dignāga, on Perception.Masaaki Hattori - 1968 - Philosophy East and West 20 (2):195-196.
Epoche and Śūnyatā: Skepticism East and West.Jay L. Garfield - 1990 - Philosophy East and West 40 (3):285-307.

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