Buddhist Philosophy of Universal Flux: An Exposition of the Philosophy of Critical Realism as Expounded by the School of Dignaga by Satkari Mookerjee Sale -10%

Buddhist Philosophy of Universal Flux

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Buddhist Philosophy of Universal Flux
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A systematic and clear presentation of the philosophy of critical Realism as expounded by Dignaga and his school. The work is divided into two parts arranged into 26 chapters. Part I discusses the Nature of Existence, Logical Difficulties, Theory of Causation, Universals, Doctrine of Apoha, Theory of Soul and Problem of After-life. Part II deals with the Organic and Inorganic Perception, Inference and Negative Judgement. The two parts bound in one volume deal also with many subsidiary topics.

About the Author(s)

DR. SATKARI MOOKERJEE was one of the renowned contemporary scholars of the country. Some of his papers are collectively published in the Nava Nalanda Maha Vihara Research Publications Vol. I & Vol. II. His other important works are Non-absolutism, and Exposition of Pramanavarttika.


The present work is substantially based upon my thesis which was approved for the Degree of Doctorate in Philosophy by the University of Calcutta in 1932. It has since been revised in many places and fresh matter introduced, the last chapter being entirely new.

Buddhist philosophy is a vast subject with a large number of ramifications. It is not possible to do full justice to the whole subject within so short a compass. I have here dealt with only a particular school. The previous writings on the subject are rather sectional and fragmentary and a systematic presentation of Dignaga’s school was a desideratum.

I take this opportunity to offer my grateful thanks to Syamaprasad Mookerjee, Esq., M.A., B.L., Bar.-at-Law, Bharati, Vice-Chancellor, Calcutta University, for the constant encouragement I received from him in connection with my researches and for the provision he kindly made for the publication of my book by the University of Calcutta.

My sincere thanks are due to my pupil, Mr. Satindrakumar Mukherjee, M.A., for his ungrudging help in looking through the proofs and for his valuable suggestions. Mr. Gaurinath Bhattacharyya, M.A., Research Fellow, Calcutta University, who is carrying on researches under my guidance, also deserves my best thanks for the preparation of the Index. I must express my heart-felt thanks to my pupils, Mr. Durgacharan Chatterjee, M.A., P.R.S,, Lecturer, Bethune College, and Mr. Makhanlal Mookerjee, M.A., Research Scholar of the University, attached to me, for their valuable help in the preparation of the Table of Contents. To Mr. Atulchandra Ghatak, M.A., Superintendent of the University Press, Mr. Bhupendralal Banerjee, Printer, Mr. Kalipada Das, B.A., and the other members of the staff of the University Press, I offer my grateful thanks for the special care and interest they have taken in my work. The publication of the book within such an incredibly short time is entirely due to their hearty co-operation.



The present work is an humble attempt to give a critical exposition of the philosophy of the Medieval school of Buddhism that was ushered into existence by Dignaga aud Dharmakirti and later on systematized and developed by Santaraksita, Kamala- gila, Ratnakirti and other authors of repute. Of this philosophy, again, the purely idealistic side has been left untouched in the present work. The interest and character of this work are purely philosophical and critical and not historical. There have already appeared in the field several brilliant expositions and accounts of Buddhist philosophy and religion, which have dealt with the historical side with varying degrees of fullness. The monumental works of Prof. Sir S. Radhakrishnan and Prof. S. N. Dasgupta have provided an important place for Buddhist philosophy, and though, from the very nature and scope of these works, the treatment might appear not to be exhaustive, the account and exposition constitute a substantial contribution to Buddhist scholarship. ‘The writings of Prof. Louis de La Valle Poussin, Prof. Stcherbatsky, Prof. Guieseppe Tucci, Prof B. M. Barua, Prof. A. B. Keith, Dr. Nalinaksha Datta, Dr. E. J. Thomas and other scholars bave already provided the learned world interested in Buddhism with elaborate and fairly wide account of the growth and development of Buddhist philosophy and religion. Any attempt in that line would necessarily involve a repetition or reduplication of much the same thing, though it is not denied that there is room for expansion and elaboration even in that direction.

The present work has, however, steered clear of the historical side and is chiefly preoccupied with the dry metaphysical and epistemological sides of the Sautrantika philosophy. What particularly impressed the present writer is the fact that the whole course of philosophical speculations in Indian systems of thought, Brihmanical and non- Brahmanical alike, from the third century A.D. down to 1000 A.D., which may be described as the adolescent and fruitful period of Indian philosophy, bears unmistakable evidence of Buddhist influence. Even Vatsyayana and Sabarasvamin are not immune from it. Of course, they have borrowed little or nothing from the Buddhists and their chief interest in Buddhist philosophy is only negative, all their energies being directed to a refutation of the Buddhist position. But this adverse criticism does not minimise their debt; on the other hand, it is proof positive of their obligation. It has been very aptly observed by a modern philosopher that "‘ Every writer on philosophical subjects is indebted, beyond all possibility of adequate acknowledgment, to the great thinkers of the past......... But the debt is one which he makes for him- self, or at least incaleulibly increases, by free and honest criti- cism. If the labours of those whom he criticizes have rendered his criticism possible, it is only by criticizing that he is brought to the intelligent appreciation of their work.’’} The real deve- lopment of the Nydya philosopuy may be legitimately believed to commence with Uddyotakara, who, on bis own avowal, derived his incentive to write his commentary from the hostile critics, whose sophistical (according to Uddyotakara) arguments went a long way to bring discredit on the Nyaya Philosophy. Uddyotakara’s taciturmity in regard to names is notorious. Vacaspati Misra has supplied the lacuna and tells us that it was the adverse criticism of Digniga and men of his ilk that gave the much-needed fillip to Uddyotukara for writing his master- piece. In fact, the sole justification for this attempt lay in the necessity of a refutation of Dignaga’s animadversions which created a perilous situation tor Nyaya.’

The subsequent career of Ayaya philosophy and of Post-Dignaga Vhilosopby, for the matter of that, is but a progressive record of the daring and desperate fights between these two schools, which were fought on a hundred and one battle-fields. The fight was keen and vigorous and continued with unabated enthusiasm down to the days of Vacaspati, Jayanta, Udayana and Sridhara, on the one hand, and Santaraksita, Kamalagila, Ratnakirti and their followers, on the other. But we have omitted to mention another philosopher, a towering personality and a hero of a thousand and one battle-fields, I mean, Kumarila Bhatta. Kuméarila came after Uddyotakara and he was, to all intents and purposes, a greater fighter, who fought clean and hard. Uddyotakara’s polemics smacked of rankling jealousy and were rather full of transparent sophistry and claptrap. So the Buddhists did not find it very hard to expose his fallacies. In Kumirila, however, they found a veritable Tartar. It is not seldom that the Buddhists were compelled to revise their old theories and to re-formulate them in the light of Kumirila’s criticism. In fact, a more formidable critic, so firmly posted in the niceties of Buddhist philosophy and dogmas, could bardly be imagined. Kumirila’s siedge-hammer blows were telling in their effect and the replies of Sintaraksita, Dharmottara,’ Ratnakirti and subsequent writers indirectly acknowledged the justice of his criticism in more places than one, inasmuch as they had to re-shape their theories in fundamental aspects.

What is, however, particularly refreshing in this tense atmosphere of fighting is the fact of the earnestness of the fighters. Though all cannot be regarded as equally honest or honourable in their methods, their earnestness and sincerity are beyond doubt or cavil. The fighting has all the freshness of life and reality. There is no air of unreality about it. In fact, they fought for what they believed to be a question of life and death. Philosophy was not a matter of academic interest in India. Change of philosophy meant the change of entire outlook and orientation in life. Victory in a philosophical debate, therefore, was essential to the preservation of one’s religion and mode of life, and defeat spelt inglorious death or apostacy from the accepted faith. There was, in fact, no line of demarcation between philosophy and religion in India. A religion without a philosophical backing was unthinkable.



Introduction xxxv-xlvii
Part I

The Nature Of Existence
That which is constitutionally perishable must be momentary 1-19
Logical Difficulties Explained
Section I
The challenge to the fundamental principle of the doctrine of flux, viz., that co-existence of two contradictory qualities is impossible in one and the same substratum 20
The challenge accepted and the concept of contradiction elucidated 21
Section II. 24-38
Objections From The Point Of View Of Causation Explained
A Critical Estimate Of The Sautrantika Theory Of Causation
Objections On Psychological And Metaphysical Grounds Discussed
A Buddhist Estimate Of Universals
The Doctrine Of Apoha Or The Import Of Words
The Soul-Theory of The Nyaya-Vaisesika School
The Mimamsa Theory Of Soul
The Soul Theory of The Digambara Jainas
The Sankhya Theory Of Soul
The Soul Theory Of The Vatsiputriyas
The Theory of Soul Based On The Upanisads
The Problem of After-Life or Immortality Of Consciousness-Continuum
Part II

Perception in Dignaga's School of Philosophy
Section B
Kalpana-What is its meaning?

CHAPTER XVIII Prapyakaritvavada Or Relation Of The Sense-Organ With The Object
Manovijnana Or Mental Perception
Self-Cognition (Svasamvedanam)
The Theory Of Perception As Propounded By Dharmakirti And Dharmottara
Members Of A Syllogism (Avayava)
Universal Concomitance (Vyapti)
Negative Judgment
The summary of the results 438
Index 442

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