Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sautrāntika Atomism

“Both Diṅnāga and Dharmakīrti seem to accept here the Sautrāntika atomism along its theory of external realities but this may be only a tentative concession” (Matilal 1986: 366). “Buddhist atomism reduces the spatial extension of external realities to atoms, the infinitesimals” (Matilal 1986: 367). Some Tibetan sources distinguish three conventions accepted by Diṅnāga and Dharmakīrti: (a) one non-analytical world-conforming convention, and two analytical-śāstric conventions, namely, (b) Sautrāntika’s convention which conforms the conventional mode of appearance (tha snyad snang tshul), and (c) Yogācāra’s convention which conforms the conventional mode of existence (tha snyad gnas tshul). Accordingly, Diṅnāga and Dharmakīrti, following conventional mode of appearance would accept Sautrāntika atomism, but Yogācāra idealism from the perspective of the conventional mode of existence. To be noted is that most phenomena considered to be substantially existent by the Vaibhāṣika school are said to be considered to be non-substantial (i.e. only nominally existent) by the Sautrāntika school. See, for example, dKon mchog ’grel (pp. 44.23–45.2).

1 comment:

  1. Just a short spontaneous note: Who is the considerer or what is it that considers? It´s the considerer as considering who considers reality (the consideration). As there are possibly unfinite considerers there will be unfinite considerations. Without considerations we are equal (the mystic), within considerations we are different (the philosopher). But considerations are our immanent existential nature (all sentient beings capable of cognitive motions), hence in learning to transcend considerations (through "grub mtha" training) we can consider whatever we want - granted that as long as the de facto experiencing efficiency is ethically used ("pratityasamutpada"). How does consideration work? That´s the main objective of Dignaga and Dharmakirtis tremendous efforts to explain. Therefore an open smiling-epistemological vacillation between philosophical positions is unavoidable and necessary in explaining our considerations - however, secretely/kind-heartedly, cognition did not even alter one millisecond (sraddha). What´s the key of Dignaga and Dharmakirti´s sureness about this? Bodhicitta! Hence Dignaga and Dharmakirti´s pramana-works try to demonstrate the flowing motion of bodhicitta! We need intelligent-kind-hearted translations of pramana-treatises to echange our cultural ideas about ethical life-aspirations. What really does compassion mean? How can it really work?
    Open Dignaga/Dharmakirti´s works with the key of bodhicitta and the "logical meaning" becomes increasingly experienced ethics...; When will appear a complete translation of Dignaga´s Pramanasamuccaya or Dharmakirti´s Pramanavarttika so urgently needed in our technical society for supporting an adequete natural sense of morality? mikael.