Bhaṭṭa Rāmakaṇṭha’s Elaboration of Self-Awareness , and How it Differs from Dharmakīrti’s Exposition of the Concept

Journal of Indian Philosophy 38 (3):297-321 (2010)

Alexander Watson
Wesleyan University
The article considers what happened to the Buddhist concept of self-awareness ( svasaṃvedana ) when it was appropriated by Śaiva Siddhānta. The first section observes how it was turned against Buddhism by being used to attack the momentariness of consciousenss and to establish its permanence. The second section examines how self-awareness differs from I-cognition ( ahampratyaya ). The third section examines the difference between the kind of self-awareness elaborated by Rāmakaṇṭha (‘reflexive awareness’) and a kind elaborated by Dharmakīrti (‘intentional self-awareness’). It is then pointed out that Dharmakīrti avails himself not only of intentional self-awareness but also of reflexive awareness. Some remarks on the relationship between these two strands of Dharmakīrtian Buddhism are offered. The conclusion points out that although self-awareness occurs in Buddhism as inextricably linked with anātmavāda , the doctrine of no-self, and sākāravāda , the view that the forms we perceive belong not to external objects but to consciousness, it is used by Rāmakaṇṭha to refute both of these views. An appendix addresses the problem of how precisely to interpret Dharmakīrti’s contention that conceptual cognition is non-conceptual in its reflexive awareness of itself
Keywords Self-awareness  Śaivism  Buddhist Philosophy  Rāmakaṇṭha  Dharmakīrti  No-self
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DOI 10.1007/s10781-010-9094-8
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