Saturday, April 27, 2019

Buddhist Hermeneutology

1. RĀ 4.94: Like teaching alphabet and grammar!
2. RĀ 5.87ab: lung rigs ad sensum.
3. RĀ 4.77cd: Rule and exception!
4. RĀ 4.75; 2.42: Bitter pill.
5. RĀ 4.72; 3.64: Ends justify means.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Buddhist Philosophology

For some reason, I always feel something odd and pretentious when we attempt to study past Buddhist philosophers such as Nāgārjuna and present ourselves as “Buddhist philosophers.” Inwardly and silently I always tend to protest “Nāgārjuna is a Buddhist philosopher,” and we are students who try to understand his thought based on extant works of his. The fact that we try to make sense (or nonsense) of Nāgārjuna’s thoughts does not make us Buddhist philosophers. We can, for sure, study Buddhist philosophy, history of Buddhist philosophy, intellectual history of Buddhist philosophy, but not call ourselves “Buddhist philosophers.” But just the other day I stumbled upon a term “Philosophology.” This is a term used, for example, by Robert M. Pirsig, in a philosophical novel of his (i.e. Robert M. Pirsig, Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals. New York: Bantam Books, 1991). There he is supposed to have stated “Philosophology is to philosophy as musicology is to music.” I have not read the novel myself. Yes, this is the term I want. We need to distinguish “Buddhist philosophology” from “Buddhist philosophology.” Academics engaged in the study of past Buddhist philosophy are rather “Buddhist philosophologists,” and not “Buddhist philosophers.” Of course, nobody would forbid us to be “Buddhist philosophers.” Nobody would forbid a musicologist to play music and be a musician. But the roles and responsibilities of a musicologist and of a musician must clearly be distinguished.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

A Buddhist Etiology

I am tempted to use the term “Buddhist etiology,” primarily to express the Buddhist theory of the origination of internal world consisting of sentient beings (sattvaloka) or saṃsāric inhabitants and the external world consisting of habitat (bhājanaloka). In certain strands of Buddhism, it may also deal with the origination of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa, and in others with the origination of a human being. The word etiology (or aetiology or ætiology) is said to be the “the study of causation, or origination. The word is derived from the Greek αἰτιολογίαaitiología, ‘giving a reason for’ (αἰτίαaitía, ‘cause,’ and -λογία, -logía).  More completely, etiology is the study of the causes, origins, or reasons behind the way that things are, or the way they function, or it can refer to the causes themselves. The word is commonly used in medicine, (where it is a branch of medicine studying causes of disease) and in philosophy, but also in physics, psychology, government, geography, spatial analysis, theology, and biology, in reference to the causes or origins of various phenomena.” In Buddhist context, too, it can best be employed to express samudayasatya (i.e. causal aspect of saṃsāra) as opposed to duḥkhyasatya (i.e. resultant aspect of saṃsāra). One can also employ this term to express mārgasatya as the cause of nirodhasatya.