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)
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)
Suppose we were to randomly pick out a book on Buddhism or Eastern Philosophy and turn to the section on 'no-self' (anatt?). On this central teaching, we would most likely learn that the Buddha rejected the Upanisadic notion of Self (?tman), maintaining that a person is no more than a bundle of impermanent, conditioned psycho-physical aggregates (khandhas). The rejection of ?tman 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-?tman theories of anatt?. At the end it shall be suggested, in line with Thanissaro Bhikkhu, that anatt? is best understood as a practical strategy rather than as a metaphysical doctrine. (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.
This paper aims to show that the problem of personal identity is a fundamental question of the classical Indian thought. Usually we tend to think that personal identity is a Western philosophical subject, and so we tend to forget the significance of the Self in Hinduism and even in Buddhism. The author shows how the Indian thought approached the question of personal identity and which was the singular solution outlined in the work consensually attributed to Gotama, the Buddha.