A.K. Narain
University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA
L. M. Joshi
Punjabi University
Patiala, India
Alexander W. Macdonald
Universite de Paris X
Nanterre, France
Bardwell Smith
Carleton College
Northfield, Minnesota, USA
Ernst Steinkellner
University of Vienna
Wien, Austria
Jikido Takasaki
University of Tokyo
Robert Thurman
Amherst College
Amherst, Massachusetts, USA
Volume 8
Roger Jackson
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
1985 Number 1
the watermark
This Journal is the organ of the International AssocIation of Buddhist Stud-
ies, Inc., and is governed by the objectives of the Association and accepts
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Andre Bareau (France) Joseph M. Kitagawa (USA)
M.N. Deshpande (India) Jacques May (Switzedand)
R. Card (USA) H ajirne N akarnura U apan)
B.C. Cokhale (USA) John Rosenfield (USA)
P.S. Jaini (USA) David Snellgrove (U.K.)
J. W. de J ong (Australia) E. Zurcher (Netherlands)
Editor's Note: L.M. Joshi's name was inadvertently omitted from
the list of .editors in vol. 7, no. 2. Prof. Joshi, sadly, is no longer with
us, but several of the articles in the last and the present issue were
reviewed and helped toward publication by him. .
Also inadvertantly omitted from vol. 7, nos. 1 and 2 was the
relevant copyright information, which does, of course, apply.
The Editor wishes to thank Ms. Rena Haggarty for her invaluable
help in the preparation of this issue.
Copyright © The International Association of Buddhist Studies 1985
ISSN: 0193-600X
Sponsored by Department of South Asian Studies, University of Wis-
consin, Madison.
Composition by Publications Division, Grote Deutsch & Co., Madison, WI 53704.
Printing by Thomson-Shore, Inc., Dexter, MI 48130.
1. Nagarjuna's Arguments Against Motion, by Kamaleswar
2. Dhiira11l and Pratibhiina: Memory and Eloquence of the
Bodhisattvas, byJens Braarvig
3. The Concept of a "Creator God" in Tantric Buddhism,
byEvaK. Dargyay
4. Direct Perception in dGe-Iugs-pa Interpre-
tations ofSautrantika, by Anne C. Klein
5. A Text-Historical Note on Hevajratantra II:v: 1-2, by
Leonard WI van der Kuijp
6. Simultaneous Relation (Sahabhil-hetu): AS tud y in Bud-
dhist Theory of Causation, by Kenneth K. Tanaka
1. The Books ofKiu- Te or the Tibetan Buddhist Tantras: A Pre-
liminary Analysis, by David Reigle
Dzog Chen and Zen, by N amkhai N orbu
(Roger Jackson) 113
2. Nagarjuniana. Studies in the Writings and Philosophy of
Niigiirjuna, by Chr. Lindtner
(Fernando Tola and Carmen Dragonetti) 115
3. Selfless Persons: Imagery and Thought in TheraviidaBud-
dhism, by Steven Collins
(Vijitha Rajapakse) 117
4. SelfandNon-SelfinEarlyBuddhism, by Joaquin Perez-
(Vijitha Rajapkse) 122
5. The World of Buddhism, edited by Heinz Bechert and
Richard Gombrich '
(Roger Jackson) 126
1. Tibetan B lockprints in the Department of Rare Books
and Special Collections, compiled by Leonard
(Rena Haggarty) 134
Nagarjuna's Arguments against Motion*
by Kamrileswar Bhattacharya
I want to take up again a topic I have discussed before: Nagar-
juna's arguments against motion. I It is a topic that continues to
attract the attention of scholars, who have been giving most
imaginative interpretations, and is important not only for our
understanding of Nagarjuna's own philosophy, but of Indian
philosophy in general and the comparison between Indian and
Western philosophy in particular.
That Indian philosophy follows the grammatical method
and makes a massive use of grammatical concepts was for the
first time emphasized-so far as I am aware-by Louis Renou,
who, in 1942, in his great article in the Journal Asiatique, "Les
Connexions entre Ie Rituel et la Grammaire en Sanskrit," wrote:
"La pensee indienne a pour substructure des raisonnements
d'ordre grammatical.,,2 Later, Renou repeated the idea in differ-
ent forms on more than one occasion. Its best expression was
in L'/nde classique II (1953): "Adherer ala pensee indienne, c'est
d'abord penser en grammairien."3 Renou was thus echoing, as
it were, what Anandavardhana had said in the 9th century, in
his Vr:tti on the Dhvanyiiloka: prathame vidviin:tso vaiyiikarar],iilJ" vyii-
karar],amillatviit sarvavidyiiniim.
In Indian philosophy, Nagar-
juna's arguments against motion give the best illustration of this
In my previous papers, I discussed the various interpreta-
tions given by modern scholars of these arguments: those of
T.R.V. Murti and Jacques May of course, but also those of Mark
Siderits and]. Dervin O'Brien, for instance. The latter, in 1976,5
proposed of Nagarjuna's arguments against motion what they
called a "mathematical" interpretation beside what they called
a "conceptual" interpretation, and, naturally, in their
"mathematical" interpretation they endeavoured to draw a
parallel with Zeno's arguments against motion. I believe, how-
ever, that they have demonstrated nothing, because of philolog-
ical limitations: they refer often to Candrakirti's commentary,
and believe that they find support from it, but it is only at the
cost of grave misconstructions.
I know that Nagarjuna's arguments in the second chapter
of the Mulamadhyamakakiirikiis were sometimes interpreted by
their ancient exponents in a temporal sense. In this connection,
there is an interesting interpretation given by Andre Bareau:
"Nagarjuna critique ensuite la notion de temps, non pas de
duree mais de temps fonctionnel, actif, la 'marche du temps'
(gati). Celle-ci n'existe plus dans Ie passe et n'existe pas encore
dans Ie futur. On ne la retrouve pas non plus dans la present
car ce dernier, sans passe ni futur en fonction desquels il puisse
se mouvoir, n'est qU'un point immobile.,,6 I am not aware, how-
ever, whether this interpretation is supported by any ancient
So far as I am concerned, one must rely upon Candrakirti's
Prasannapadii, . the only commentary on the
Mulamadhyamakakiirikiis extant in Sanskrit; and, in the present
instance, I gladly rely on it, since the interpretation it gives of
the arguments of the difficult second chapter-that "infamous
chapter" as it is sometimes called-appeals to me as perfectly
satisfactory-an interpretation which, alas, has itself been mis-
understood by its modern exponents.
The first kiirikii runs as follows:
gatan; na gamy ate tavad agatan; naiva gamyate /
gatagatavinirmuktan; gamyamanan; na gamyate / /
It can best be translated:
First, [the road] that has already been travelled (gata) is not being
travelled at present; nor the one that has not yet been travelled
(agata). And [the road] that is being travelled at present,-road
independent of that which has been travelled and that which has
not yet been travelled,-is not being travelled at present.
That neither the road that has already been travelled nor the
one that has not yet been travelled is being travelled at present
needs no explanation: in the former motion has ceased, in the
latter it has not yet occurred. But how can Nagarjuna say that
the road that is being travelled at present is not being travelled
at present? Perhaps because of Nagarjuna's qualification of
gamyamiinam as gatiigatavinirmuktam, the early commentators in-
terpreted na gamyate at the ~ end of the fourth piida, as "it is not
perceived," "is not known.'" Candrakirti follows this interpreta-
He explains that the feet are merely conglomerations of
atoms (paramiir}usarIJghiita). Now, when a person treads a certain
space, one distinguishes by taking as reference, on the one hand,
the atom situated at the tip of one of the toes, and, on the other,
the atom that is situated at the extremity of the heel, only a
portion of space that has already been traversed (gata) and one
that has not yet been traversed (agata); one does not perceive
a portion that would be in process of being traversed
(gamyamana). The same situation occurs if one takes as references
the spatial divisions of the atoms the foot is composed of.g
Understood in this way, this karika has nothing to do with
Zeno's arrow paradox-contrary to what has sometimes been
thought. Candraklrti bases his interpretation on two Buddhist
theories, namely that there is no whole independent of the parts,
and that atoms have spatial extension.
In the second kiirika, N agarjuna states the objection raised
by the opponent:
ce/i(a yatra gatis tatra gamyamane ca sa yatal?- /
na gate nagate c e ~ ( a gamyamane gatis tatal?- / /
Here Candraklrti states that gati, in the fourth pada, has two
meanings: "knowledge," and "motion," in accordance with the
two meanings of the root gam, "to know," and "to move": eko
'tra gamir jniinarthal]" aparas ca desantarasarIJpraptyarthal],. All this
is, perhaps, unnecessary complication. We can simply translate
the second karika:
Where there is effort, there is motion. Now, there is effort in
[the road] that is being travelled, not in that which has already
been travelled, nor in that which has not yet been travelled.
There is, therefore, motion in [the road] that is being travelled
at present.
10 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
Be that as it may, Nagarjuna presents against this objection
arguments which can best be explained if they are related to
grammatical concepts, as Candraklrti clearly perceived. I shall,
therefore, summarize these arguments in the light of Can-
draklrti's Prasannapada: Motion (gati, gamana) , we have seen,
cannot be conceived in relation to a road that has already been
travelled (gata), nor in relation to a road that has not yet been
travelled (agata). It can be conceived only in relation to a road
that is being travelled at present (gamyamana). But-Nagarjuna
argues-it is equally impossible to attribute motion to a road
that is being travelled at present. Why? It is in virtue of a con-
nection with the action of travelling (gamikriya, says Candraklrti)
that one designates a road as "being travelled" (gamyamana).
There is no second action of travelling that can be coherently
attributed to it. Or, one should suppose that in attributing 10
the action of travelling to a road that is "being travelled," in the
sentence gamyamanarlJ gamyate, "[The road] that is being travelled
is being travelled," one is using the verb gamyate, "is being travel-
led," without there being any motion-which is absurd. In other
words, one can only say gamyamanam, "being travelled"; one
cannot use the complete sentence, gamyamanarlJ gamyate, "[The
road] that is being travelled is being travelled." Now, if it is
supposed for the sake of argument that the connection with the
action of travelling is in the finite verb gamyate, "is being travel-
led," then there is no connection with the action of travelling
in the participle gamyamana, "being travelled"; and we encounter
the same absurdity as before: one would be designating a road
as "being travelled" (gamyamana) without there being any mo-
tion! Finally, it may be supposed that there is connection with
the action of travelling in both gamyamana, "being travelled,"
and gamyate, "is being travelled." But, in this case, it follows that
there are two motions: one by virtue of which the road is desig-
nated as "being travelled," and another that is attributed to that
road, its locus, when it is said: gamyamanarlJ gamyate "[The road]
that is being travelled is being travelled." gamyamanasya gamane
prasaktarlJ gamanadvayam I yena tad gamyamanarlJ ca yac catra
gamanarlJ puna;' II (karika 5). "Locus" (adhikararJa) says Can-
draklrti: although gramatically the road that is being travelled
(gamyamana) is, in the sentence gamyamanarlJ gamyate, the "object"
(karman) , semantically it is the locus (adhikararJa) of the action
of travelling, insofar as it holds the agent in whom inheres the
action of travelling denoted by the verbal root gam (the "locus,"
adhikarar]a, holds the a c t i ~ n only indirectly by holding either
the agent or the object in which the action inheres). Similarly,
in the Mahabha:jya, Patanjali says that in a sentence such as adh-
vanar(l vrajati " ... travels the road," the road is the locus of the
action of travelling (adhikarar]am atradhva vrajatikriyayah).11 What
harm is there if there are two motions? The harm is that, if
there are two motions, then there should also be two agents of
motion; for, without an agent of motion, there cannot be motion:
dvau gantarau prasajyete prasakte gamanadvaye Igantarar(l hi
tirask'(tya gamanar(l nopapadyate II (karika 6). "An action," writes
Candrakirti, "necessarily requires a means to bring it about
(sadhana = karaka): the object (karman) or the agent (kart'(). Now
the action of travelling also resides in an agent; therefore, it
requires an agent of travelling (gant'()." 12 Candrak"irti refers here
to the grammatical theory according to which the action denoted
by a verbal root resides either in the agent (kart-r;) or in the object
(karman) , and the verbal root gam, "to go, move, travel," is one
of those which denote actions that reside in the agent (kart,(sthak-
riya). It is therefore indispensable that there should be two agents
of motion if there are two motions. But we have only one agent
in the case under consideration. The' opponent, ignorant of
grammar, says that one agent can perform more than one action,
as, for instance, when the same Devadatta, standing, speaks and
looks. But CandrakIrti teaches him that karaka, in Grammar, is
not a substance (dravya), but a power (sakti) which is diversified
because of the diversity of the actions. In this way we can account
for the fact that Devadatta performs simultaneously the actions
of standing, speaking, and looking. Each of these' actions has a
different agent: it is not the substance Devadatta which remains
the same in all these actions, but a power, different for each of
these actions, which resides in him. When, however, Devadatta
alone moves, there are not in him two powers which can account
for the double action of moving implied in the sentence
gamyamanar(l gamyate, "[The road] that is being travelled is being
travelled." There would be no difficulty if the two actions re-
ferred to two different times: there would then be two powers
in Devadatta functioning as the agents of the actions of travelling
at two different times. But, in the instance we are considering,
12 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
both the actions refer to the same time, the present. Hence the
paradox. 13
Candrakirti, coming after Bhartrhari, naturally uses his ter-
minology. It is well known that Bhartrhari had defined siidhana
(= kiiraka) as the capacity (siimarthya) or the power (sakti) that a
thing has to bring an action to accomplishment. But the author
of the Patanjali, had already shown-unless the
idea goes back to PaI).ini himself-that siidhana cannot be a sub-
stance (dravya), and it is perhaps to Patanjali that Nagajuna owes
his inspiration. 14 All the other arguments of this second chapter
of the Mulamadhyamakakiirikiis will be found to be equally based
on grammatical concepts, if we follow Candraklrti. In fact, the
majority of them will be found to be merely variants of those
which have just been summarized. They will therefore be easily
understood, once one has understood these.
The importance of the arguments of the second chapter
will be seen from the fact that they serve as a model for other
arguments contained in other chapters, for instance, in the third,
the seventh, and the tenth. The eighth chapter is a continuation
of the second, since the last two kiirikiis of the second chapter
will be elucidated only in the eighth. 15
I am satisfied with Candraklrti's interpretation insofar as it
helps me discover in Nagarjuna's arguments an inner coherence,
and I am better satisfied with it than with any other interpreta-
tion given by ancient or modern authorities of which I am aware.
Nevertheless, I do believe that the Madhyamika, who uses the
grammarian's concepts to serve his dialectical needs, is open to
criticism from the grammarian's own side. The latter would say
that the Madhyamika is unduly mixing up facts of language
with ontological considerations which are foreign to them: these
facts are to be explained, not, as the Madhyamika assumes or
feigns to assume, by reference to the "external being" (biihyasattii)
or "primary being" (mukhyasattii) of the things, but only by refer-
ence to· their "superimposed being" (aupaciirikZ sattii or up-
aciirasattii) which is conceived and externally projected by the
mind of the speaker and hearer. It is this being, which exists in
the mind alone (buddhisattii) , that is the ground of all verbal
behaviour. "The meaning of a word never deviates from being"
(na sattiirIJ padiirtho vyabhicarati) , said Patanjali, and, according
to B-hartrhari and the later tradition, it is this '.'superimposed
being" that he had in mind.
I believe equally, however, that the Madhyamika would
never have been able to formulate his arguments against motion
if he had· not found in grammar the concepts which furnished
him with the technical basis for them.
Here is a significant point for those who are interested in
the comparison ofIndian and Western philosophy, nay, for the
historian in general, who is not merely interested in what may
be termed the surface of a civilization, chronology of facts, in-
stitutions, and so on, but wants to get at its deep roots. For the
difference that separates here two philosophies is also one which
separates two civilizations. This difference, which is of a scientific
character and therefore, it seems to me, more important than
the occasional similarities concerning axioms and dogmas that
have been found between Indian and Western philosophy, was
emphasized for the first time-so far as I am aware-by Profes-
sorDaniel H.H. Ingalls, in his celebrated article "A Comparison
of Indian and Western Philosophy."l7 I do not know yet what
this difference is due to, but it is there, and I can give it no
better expression than the one which Profesor Ingalls gave it.
"The Greek example," he said, "is based on a problem of
mathematics, the Indian one on a problem of grammar. Here
is a noticeable difference between Greek and Indian philosophy,
a difference of a scientific, not a dogmatic character. In
philosophizing the Greeks made as much use as possible of
mathematics. The Indians, curiously, failed to do this, curiously
because they were good mathematicians. Instead, they made as
much use as possible of grammatical theory and argument.,,18
Professor Ingalls did not take into account Nagarjuna's argu-
ments against motion. However, it is these which seem to illus-
trate best, in the light of Candraklrti's interpretation, what
Nagarjuna owes to grammar, and, at the same time, the differ-
ence that separates him from Zeno, also arguing against motion.
Mathematics has given, in general, the technical basis for
philosophic thought in the West.
In India, this role was played
by grammar (vyiikaraTJa). And Professor Frits Staal's brilliant
statement applies not only to the ancient Indian philosophers
but also to their modern students: "Just as Plato reserved a d m i s ~
sion to his Academy for geometricians, Indian scholars and
philosophers are expected to have first undergone a training in
scientific linguistics.,,2o
*Paper read at the VI Conference of the International Association of
Buddhist Studies, held jointly with the XXXI International Congress of
Human Sciences in Asia and North Africa (31 August-7 September, 1983:
Tokyo and Kyoto).
1. Cf. "Nagarjuna's Arguments against Motion: Their Grammatical
Basis," in A Corpus of Indian Studies: Essays in Honour of Professor Gaurinath
Sastri (Calcutta, 1980), pp. 85-95; "The Grammatical Basis of Nagarjuna's
Arguments: Some Further Considerations," in Indologica Taurinensia, VIII-IX!
1980--81 (Sternbach Commemoration Volume), pp. 35-43; "Reconsideration des
arguments de Nagarjuna contre Ie mouvement," in Proceedings of the First
International Symposium on the Sanskrit Language, held in Mexico City in
February 1982; Mexico, 1984, pp. 189-99.
2. Journal Asiatique, CCXXXIII (1941-42), p. 164 (= A Reader on the
Sanskrit Grammarians, edited by J.F. Staal, Cambridge, Mass., and London:
MIT Press, 1972, p. 468).
3. L. Renou and J. Filliozat, L'Inde classique II (Paris-Hanoi, 1953), p.
86, § 1519.
4. Dhvanyaloka (Panabhirama Sastrl's edition: Benares, 1940), pp. 132-
5. "Zeno and NagaIjuna on Motion," in Philosophy East & West (Hon-
olulu), XXVI, pp. 281-99.
6. A. Bareau in A. Bareau, W. Schubring & C. von Fiirer-Haimendorf,
Les Religions de l'Inde, III: Bouddhisme,jai"nisme, Religions archai'ques (Paris, 1966),
p. 18I.
7. Cf. Musashi Tachikawa, "A Study of Buddhapalita's
Mulamadhyamakavr:tti," in The Journal of the Faculty of Literature, Nagoya Univer-
sity, LXIII, Philosophy 21 (1974), p. 5 and pp. 9-10, n. 5.
8. See also Prasannapada on Mulamadhyamakakiirikiis, II, 12 & 17; III,
3; VII, 14; X, 13.
9. atha syiit: gantur gacchato yaS caraTjakranto desah sa gamyamanah syad
iti. naivam. caraTjayor api paramaTjusawghatatviit. angulyagravasthitasya paramar}-or
yah purvo desah sa tasya gate 'ntargatah, pars,Tjyavasthitasya caramaparamaTjor ya
uttaro desah sa tasyagate 'ntargatah. na ca paramiiTjuvyatirekeTja caraTjam asti. tasman
niisti gatagatavyatirekeTja gamyamanam. yatha caivaw caraTje vicarah, evaw
paramaTjunam api purvaparadigbhagasawbandhena vicarah kiirya iti . .. Prasan-
napada (L. de La Vallee Poussin's edition, Bibliotheca Buddhica, IV, St.-
Petersbourg, 1903-13) p. 93.
lO. On the precise nature of this attribution, see below.
11. See "Nagarjuna's Arguments against Motion ... ," loco cit., pp. 94-5,
12. yasmad avasyarIJ kriya svasadhanam a p e ~ a t e karma kartararIJ va, gamikriya
caivarIJ kartary avasthitato gantaram a p e ~ a t e . . .. "Nagarjuna's Arguments
against Motion ... ," loco cit., p. 87.
13. For' more details see "Nagarjuna's Arguments against Motion ... ,"
loco cit., pp. 87ff., with the notes.
14. See ibid., pp. 89-90, with the notes.
15. See "The Grammatical Basis ofNagarjuna's Arguments ... ," loco cit.
16. Ibid., pp. 42-3.
17. Journal of Oriental Research (Madras), XXII (1954), pp. I-II.
18. Ibid., p. 4.
19. Cf. Bertrand Russell, Logic and Knowledge: Essays 1901-1950, edited
by Robert Charles Marsh, London-New York, 1956 (fifth impression: 1971),
20. "Euclid and Pal).ini," in Philosophy East and West, XV (1965), p. 114.
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Dharar(i and Pratibhana:
Memory and Eloquence of the Bodhisattvas*
by Jens Braarvig
. Mahayana Buddhism seems to have arisen in a milieu quite
sophisticated intellectually. The early adherents of the new faith
had to confront the expounders of the complex system of
abhidharma, at the same time as they confronted the religious
monopoly of the monks.
Therefore, along with the devotional trends among lay
people, techniques of discussion and intellectual discipline de-
veloped within the fold. The scene where the powerful lay
bodhisattva defeats the obdurate monk in public discussion is
well known to the readers of Mahayana sutras. This kind of
discussion was regarded by the Mahayanists as an important
means of religious edification, and according to their central
doctrine of sunyata, the emptiness of all views, the aim was not
to force another view upon the opponent, but rather to show
tbe absurdity and paradox in all views. These discussions were,
with their subject-matter, formalized into a system, if one may
call it so, by Nagarjuna towards the end of the earliest phase of
Rhetoric naturally grew into a significant discipline. To my
knowledge no technical work on rhetoric from the period in
question is preserved,l but allusions to the two principle parts
of rhetoric, memory and eloquence, dhararj,z and pratibhana,
abound in Mahayana works. In the list of bodhisattva-qualities
in the sutras they are seldom excluded, and they appear in
bodhisattva names, such as Dharariigarbha and Pratibhanakuta,
and in names of samadhis like Dhararj,zmati and Anantapratibhana.
The following quotations may serve to elucidate the con-
cepts. The says:
18 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
What then is the imperishability of dhiiraTff?
DhiiraTfl is to keep, retain in memory and not forget, to truly
retain by remembrance the eighty-four thousand multitudes of
religion, that by means of the remembrance originating from
earlier potentialities for the good, this is dhiiraTfl. Again, dhiiraTf'i
is that by which one retains the words of all the buddhas, that
by which one retains the sayings of all the bodhisattvas,
pratyekabuddhas, sravakas and all living beings, that by which
one retains all good sayings without remainder.
Thus dhiirarp'i is described as both remembrance itself (ya)
and the faculty or means of retaining in memory the words and
teachings of the buddhas (yaya).
The then goes on to describe pratibhiina.
In most cases the concepts appear together, except when
pratibhiina is mentioned among the four types of knowledge
related to the exposition of religion, dharma-, artha-, nirukti- and
pratibhiina-pratisar(tvid. The classical definition of pratibhiina in
this connection is yuktamuktabhilapita, "coherent and free
speech;,,3 mukta, "free," is glossed as asar(tsakta,4 sa11J,sakta mean-
ing "faltering (speech)" (MMW).
These four types of knowledge are treated in the abhidharma
of the older schools, but in the Mahayana this bodhisattva-quality
came more in the focus. When the two concepts appear together,
dhiirarp'i usually precedes pratibhiina as a prerequisite, as one is
not a good speaker when not able to memorize. According to
th e Lalitavistara: 5
Attaining dhiiraTf'i is an entrance into the light of Dharma,
as it functions so as to retain all that the buddhas spoke; attaining
pratibhiina is an entrance into the light of Dharma, as it functions
so as to please all living beings with good sayings.
The says:6
For the bodhisattvas, great beings who retain these dhiiraTf'is,
all kinds of pratibhiina-knowledge appear.
And the Dasabhilmika: 7
Leaving home, he retains what he has heard and turns into
-a preacher of religion, and to a greater degree attaining dhiiran-i
of the heard and practiced he turns into a preacher of religion ....
Begets dhiiran-i, he gets pratibhiina and sits down in religious
discussions .... He is established in the ability of dhiiran-i because
of not forgetting the dharmas, he is established in pratibhiina
because of being clever in discerning all the buddhadharmas.
From the preceding it is clear that dhararpi is brought about
by remembrance (smJ:ti), by not forgetting It is
retaining (dhararpa, adhararpa(-ta)) in memory, both as the process
itself and the means to bring it about. The Sanskrit dhararpi may
mean "(tubular) vessel (of the body)" (MMW), so it may have
been conceived as the vessel in which one should contain what
has been learned. The root is of course dhJ:-, "to hold, keep,
possess, bear." Several of its derivatives have meanings as-
sociated with memory.9 In Tibetan it is translated by gzuns,
derived from 'dzin pa, "to hold, grasp."
All this should point to the translation "memory." But, as
is well known, Mahayana literature contains volume after vol-
ume of seemingly meaningless strings of syllables, . associated
with dhararpi, to be recited for magical purposes. This has led
buddhologists more often than not to translate dhararpi as "mag-
ical formula" or the like. This, though, does not fit well with
the obvious connotation of memory. .
The Bodhisattvabhumi
divides dhararpi into four types, dhar-
madhararpi, arthadhararpi, mantradhararpi and dhararpi to attain the
tolerance, of a bodhisattva. By the first type the
bodhisattva acquires the power of remembrance (smJ:ti) and in-
sight (prajiia) into the Dharma, and thus is able to retain in
memory for endless time any book merely by hearing it once.
Arthadhararpi is the same, only here one retains the meaning of
the book, not just the words, as in the first.
It seems that dhararpi in this context may safely be translated
as "the power of retaining in memory," or simply "memory,"
though memory of extraordinary power. Dhararpi was conceived
as a seal, mudra, impressed upon the mind,u
The third, mantradhararpi, at first seems to justify the trans-
lation "magical formula." Here, the bodhisattva acquires the
power of concentration, samadhivasita, and he employs the man-
tras magically to alleviate the sufferings of living beings. A trans-
. lation "retain, recollect, have a magical formula in mind," is,
20 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
however, also possible; the mantrapadani, words of the formula,
alleviate suffering through dhara'fJl. In other works, too, the for-
mula itself usually is called mantra or mantrapada, 12 or
dhara'fJzmukha(, "entrance into dhara'fJz." 13 The passage
in question, then, should be translated as follows:
What, then, is the retaining of a formula in mind? Here the
bodhisattva accordingly attains power of concentration, and by
it the words of the formula bring about the alleviation of suffer-
The formula "i(i miti ki(i bhi svaha," quoted in the
Bodhisattvabhumi, is also called mantrapada, and is mentioned as
an example in the treatment of the fourth, the
labhaya dhara'fJz. This dhara'fJz consists in pondering15 a mantra
until one understands its meaning, namely that it is without
meaning,16 and accordingly understands all dharmas as being
beyond expression.
The bodhisattva' s is the tolerance
of this state of things, that dharmas are unborn, empty and so on.
In the Bodhisattvabhumi the syllables of the mantra are said
to be without meaning, but the Karu'fJapu'fJ4arzka 18 calls the man-
tra maharthika, "having great meaning."
The Prajiiaparamitasutras attempt to give each of the syllables
a meaning. The mantra arapacana, for instance, is broken down
thus: a is the "entrance," mukha, into the original unbornness,
adyanutpannatva, of all moments of existence; ra into their ab-
sence of impurity, rajo'pagatatva; pa into the teaching of
paramartha, and so on. Other mantra syllables are treated in a
similar way. According to the Satasahasrikii,19
The syllables are the same as explanations of doctrine; this
is the entrance into syllables, the penetration into syllables.
Understanding this, the bodhisattva is furnished with remem-
brance and eloquence.
The dhara'fJzmukha then turns into a kind of summary of
doctrine. The Chinese, when they did not transliterate tuo luo
ni,a translated it as zong chi,b zong
meaning "to summarize, all,
general," chid "to support." Many summaries of doctrine are
found in Buddhist literature to compensate for the long lists of
abhidharma concepts and endless repetitions, and mantras are
said to contain the whole Dharma:
Penetrating into the entrance" of the sarvajiiatiikaradhiira'Y/-'i has
great:tpeaning. Why? Because here the is taught
with all its parts. And by it the bodhisattva attains unattached
The mantra given mentions several key-concepts from the
bodhisattva's way beside the otherWise meaningless syllables.
This may indicate that the dhiiraTJ,zmantrapadiini originated as
aids to memorizing the teachings. It is well known that the
Indians in all periods of history have attached great importance
to learning by heart, and, as an aid to this, "meaningless" syllables
have been employed to denote concepts. The most famous
example of this is, of course, Par;tini's 'grammar, but in the dis-
ciplines of Veda-recitation and music similar contrivances have
been used.
In his paper, "Zur Entstehung einer Dharar;tl,,,22 Franz
Bernhard shows that the words of a much quoted mantra, zne
mzne dapphe dad,apphe, may be of Dravidian origin, denoting, as
explained by the commmentaries, the Four Noble Truths, and
thus summarizing a basic doctrine of Buddhism. According to
tradition the Buddha used the mantra to teach the world-protec-
tor who did not understand Sanskrit. As
o!:>serves, however, to understand all the mantras this way is
going too far.
Though the words dhiiraTJ,z or dhiiraTJ,zmantra do not appear
in the Pali canon, summaries of doctrine to help the bhikkhu
remember were not unusual in earlier phases of Buddhism; the
miitikiis (Skt. miitr:kii), long lists of abhidharma words, seem to have
been the means of retaining the abhidhammapitaka before writing
it down and giving it its present form. 23 The bhikkhu is presented
as miitikiidhara,24 "retaining the miitikiis," and as such he is dham-
makathika, "preacher of religion," and dzghabhiiTJ,aka, maj-
jhimabhiiTJ,aka, etc. The patisarIJbhidiis are mentioned in the same
The miitikiidhara is also called dhammarakkha, 26
"protector of religion," similar to the usage of dhiiraTJ,zpada as
bringing about protection of the Dharma.
It thus is plausible that there is a link between' the concept
22 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
of matika(-dhara) and dharaTf,i. This is also shown by the passage
concluding the section on the four kinds of dharaTf,i in the
Bodhisattvabhumi; by finding joy in the summaries of
the matr:kiis, one attains dharaTf,i. The passage runs as follows:
Furnishedwith four qualities-not leaving out any of them-
the bodhisattva attains these dhiirarpis. What four? [When he is]
not attached to passion; and being without envy has no envy for
others' success; giving to all who ask without giving so as to hurt;
finding joy in religion. Happy about religion he takes hold of
the bodhisatvapitaka and finds joy in the summaries (miitr:kii) of.the
Most Buddhist mantras, however, especially in later times,
were hardly employed as summaries of doctrine, but, rather, as
aids to concentration and as magical means for protection, as,
e.g., in the third and fourth dharaTf,i of the Bodhisattvabhtlmi,
whose words have no meaning. But dharaTf,i is also in the period
in question closely connected with concentration, samadhi, as
is also smr:ti, remembrance, recollection, and dhyana, meditation.
DharaTf,i and samadhi naturally belong together; to retain some-
thing in memory, concentration is needed, and remembrance
may produce concentration. Pratibhana also is associated with
The sutras themselves were early regarded as magically po-
tent, and so, too, were the dharaTf,imantras, containing the whole
Dharma. But in early times, dharaTf,i does not seem to be primar-
ily connected with magic. Sarasvatl, the Hindu goddess of
speech, says in the SuvarTf,aprabhiisottamasutra:
Reverend Lord, I, the great goddess Sarasvati, will confer elo-
quence upon the monk who is a preacher of religion for the sake
of embellishing his speech, I will give him memory and develop
his ability for explicit statements, I will make for him a great
light of knowledge; and whatever sentences or sounds he loses
or forgets, I will grant him again, I will give him memory so he
does not lose remembrance.
In this passage it is also clear that pratibhana means elo-
querice: it is for the sake of embellishing the bodhisattva's
speech;, 30 Etymologically, pratibhana is
connected with prati-bhii-, "to shine upon, come in sight, flash
upon the thoughts, occur to" (MMW); to be in accordance with
etymology one is tempted to translate pratibhiina as "candor,"
.. meaning freedom from reserve in speech," be-
side its connotation of light and whiteness (Lat. candeo, "shine,
be white"). Among European translations one may quote "intel-
ligence, inspiration, clairvoyance, intuition," but also ."readiness
in speech, power of expounding" and The
Chinese translations, bian cai, e and bian shuo, 2f establish its
meaning unequivocally as "eloquence." The Tibetan does not
give much explanation, as the material which illustrates the
meaning of spobs pa other than as an equivalent of pratibhiina is
scanty. Jischke gives "courage, confidence." Translations of
pratibhiina as "inspiration, intuition," etc. are taken from its use
in kiivya literature,33 but this does not seem to suit the context
in question.
A strongly analytical aspect of pratibhiina is indicated by its
connection with pravicaya and vibhiiga or prabheda, discernment
and classification.
The usual description of the bodhisattva's
eloquence, however, is that it is uninterrupted and unhindered,
aniicchedya and apratihata, or unattached, asariga.
Like the six
piiramitiis, eloquence should be in accordance with
trimar]rJalapariSuddhi, "purity in the three factors involved in ac-
tion,'; whereby the bodhisattva should have concepts of neither
himself, others, or the subject-matter of his speech, neither iit-
masallJjiiii, parasarlJjiiii, nor dharmasarlJjiiii;36 he should not con-
strue an image of himself as a clever debater. 37
Though pratibhiina was likened to the horns of the Buddha's
speech,38 employed by the triumphant bodhisattvas, one was
aware that eloquence may be misused. After bril-
liant exposition of the concepts of coming and going, Saradvati-
. putra says:
I did not ask you for the sake of your eloquence, but to hear of
such places as I have never heard of before.
The Larikiivatiira and the KiiSyapaparivarta depreciate the
lokiiyatiko vicitramantrapratibhiinalJ,,40 and the AdhyiiSayasallJ-
says that eloquence should be in accordance with
truth, and not function so as to increase the vices.
24 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
In the Western tradition, from classical times onwards, the
discipline of rhetoric has played an important role. According
to Latin works, rhetoric has five parts: inventio, dispositio, elocutio,
memoria, pronuntiatio. To stress the importance of memoria, the
author of Ad Herennium says:
Now let us turn to the treasurehouse of inventions, the custodian
of all parts of rhetoric, memory. 42
Roman rhetoric was the heir of Greek rhetorica. Elaborate sys-
tems to aid memory have been in use throughout history; in
scholastic Christianity the art of memory was even regarded as
a part of the cardinal virtue of Prudence. It yet remains to be
proved with any degree of certainty that there was a connection
between the rise of Mahayana and the ideas of Hellenism. Where
it concerns memory and eloquence in rhetoric, there is a similar-
ity between the two traditions. It should not, however, be neces-
sary to presuppose a historical connection, as a ready memory
naturally belongs to the good preacher of religion.
It seems, then, that the frequently-encountered dharaTJ,z-
pratilabdha should not, at least in the early Mahayana context,
be translated as "having attained the magical formulas" or the
like. It is also improbable that the bodhisattva at an advanced
stage should obtain a set of meaningless syllables, when his
attainments usually count qualities and powers. It yet remains
a fact that the word dhiiraTJ,z often appears in titles of texts con-
taining such formulas, closely associated with them. The conno-
tation of retaining in memory, keeping in mind, was probably
often forgotten in later phases of Buddhism. I hope to have
established the meaning of pratibhiina, in the context concerned,
as eloquence, and that the two words in question, so often ap-
pearing together, denote the two principal parts of rhetoric,
memory and eloquence.
*This paper was read at the lABS conference in Tokyo/Kyoto, Sep-
tember, 1983.
1. The last chapter of the Abhidharmasamuccaya, the Siiwkathyaviniscaya,
is an analysis of discussion, not a work on rhetoric proper. It mentions neither
pratibhana nordMrar}'i. Cf. also Alex Wayman, "The Rules of Debate According
to Asauga," JAOS vo!' 78, 1958.
2. Tatra katama ya purvakusalamfdasmr:tya caturaS'itidhar-
. maskandMn dMrar}ata-adMrar}ata-asar(!.promos.ata smr:tya samyagadMrar}ata, iyam
ucyate dMrar}t. punar dMrar}'iti yaya saroabuddhabMs.itadMrar}ata saroabodhisat-
vapratyekabuddhafravakasatvabMs.itadMrar}ata-ases.atalJ, saroasubhas.itadMrar}ata,
iyam ucyate dMrar}'i. fo!' 73b4-6. My An' edition and
translation of the whole sutra IS under preparation. Cfr. also Tathagatamaha-
karur}anirdefa (=DMrar}lSvararajasutra): rigs kyi bu, byang chub sems dpa' roams
kyi gzungs kyi rgyan (dMrar}yalar(!.kara) ni gcig ste, gcig gang zhe na? 'di Ita ste:
dran pa brjed pa med pa (asar(!.pramos.asmr:ti) ste ... kun tu 'dzin pa (adMrar}a) dang,
. 'dzin pa (dMrar}a) ste ... don la mkhas pa (arthakausalya) dang, tshig 'bru la mkhas
pa (vyaiijanakausalya) dang, nges pa'i tshig la mkhas pa (niruktikausalya) ste fo1.
191al seq., Narthang ed. mdo da - Taisho XIII, p. 6c29 seq., read bit shZ niim
x'in for nian x'in. Narthang reads brjod for brjed); and ibid. fo1. 195a6: de ni
nam yang dran pa brjed pa med - Taisho 8a19.
3. KosabMs.ya p. 41S, 17 -IS: yuktamuktabhilapitayar(!. samadhivasi-
sar(!.prakhyane cavaivartyar(!. jiianar(!. pratibMna(prati)sar(!.vid, "the knowledge of
eloquence is the irreversible knowledge of coherent and free speech, of clarifi-
cation, belonging to one powerful in concentration." Same in Kosavyakhya p.
652,22-26; with variants Arthaviniscaya p. 52,1 0; similar expression in Abhidhar-
madzpa p. 393,11. Cf. Aug. II p. 135: muttapa{ibMna and yuttapatibMna; Divy.
I p. 329,3, 493,S:yuktamuktapratibMna; Av.1I p. SI,l:yuktamuktapratibMnin.
Aloka p. 28,10 and p. 252,15 yuktamuktabhidMnam. For other occurrences of
pratisar(!.vid v. MaMyanasar(!.graha p. 53. treats them in fols. 150a6-153b7.
Smdhr. p. 309,13-310,12 associates them all with dMrar}'i, as Nagasena attains
pa(isar(!.bhidas as buddhavacanar(!. dMrento in Mil. p. IS,16.
4. Kosavyakhya p. 652-,22; Arthaviniscaya p. 278,1-3.
5. P. 35,18-19: dMrar}'ipratilambho dharmalokamukhar(!. saroabud-
dhabMs.itadMrar}atayai sar(!.vartate, pratibMnapratilambho dharmalokamukhar(!. sar-
vasattvasubhas.itasar(!}ayai sar(!.vartate.
6. P. S4, 9-10: iman dMrar}zn dMrayatar(!. bodhisattvanar(!. mahasattvanar(!.
saroapratibMnapratisar(!.vida amukh'ibhavanti.
7. Dbh. p. 46,11-12, 79,22-23, 71,4-5: pravrajitas ca srutadMr'i dhar-
mabMr}ako bhavati, sa bhuyasa matraya srutacaradMrar}Tpratilabdho dharmabMr}ko
bhavati ... sa evar(!. dMrar}'ipraptas ca bhavati pratibMnapraptas ca dhar-
masar(!.kathyar(!. sar(!}r}alJ, ... dMrar}'ibalasupratis.thitas ca bhavaty
asar(!.pramos.adharmatvat, pratibMnabalasupratis.thitas ca bhavati saroabuddhadhar-
mapravicayavibMgakusalatvat. Cf. also ibid. p. 79,9-16; Smdhr. p. 264,11-14,
328,3-4; fo!' 59b3: chud zabar mi 'gyur ba'i gzungs, bshad pa'i don-mi
brjed pa'i spobs pa ( - aviprar}asadMrar}z, uktarthasal1:tpramos.apratibMnam). The
occurrences are legion.
S. Or "not losing," but Tibetan has mi brjed pa, "not forgetting," and
Chinese wang shZ,g "forget-lose."
9. The oft-encountered dMrayis.yati in the formula srutva codgrahis.yati
dMrayis.yati vacayis.yati, etc., "keep in mind, retain in memory," is a verb for
26 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
dhiira'r}i. Srutodgraha'r}adhiira'r}i (Dbh. p. 79,21, cfr. Mvy. 782) is a nominalization
of the formula's first words. samiidhi dhiirayitvii (Smdhr. p. 264,10) means
"holding on to concentration, staying concentrated." Cf. also Smdhr. p. 323,3-
4: dhiirayet sutram ... pratibhiina7IJ.labhate. For Pali v. PTSD s. v. dhara, dhara'r}a,
dhiiraka' to dhiireti for derivations of dhr:- associated with memory. Dhiira'r}i is
not found in Pali, only dhiira'f}ii meaning "memory."
10. Bbh. p. 272,12ff.
11. E.g. Mvy. 4297, Satasiihasrikiip. 1452, Lallk. p. 160,16;Vkn. p. 378.
12. E.g. Suv. p. 105,5, Rkp. p.63,15 et passim, Lank. p. 260,2ff, Sdhmp.
p. 369,3 et passim.
13. E.g. Paiicavi'r[!5atisiihasrikii p. 212,8, Krp. p. 21,15 et passim, Ratnagot-
ravibhiiga p. 58,3, Dbh. p. 79,10ff. Dbh. p. 79,10 has dhiira'r}ipada.
14. Bbh. p. 272, 23-25: tatra mantradhiira'r}i katamii? iha bodhisattvalJ tad-
rupii11J. samiidhivasitii11J. pratilabhate yayii yiini mantrapadiini-ztisa'r[!5amaniiya
sattviiniim adhiti$thanti.
15. cintayati tulayati upaparik$ate, ibid. p. 273,12.
16. ayam eva cai$iim artho yad uta nirarthatii, ibid. p. 273,16.
17. It is remarkable that this use of mantras in meditation, so much
employed in tantrism, appears at such an early point of time (if it is accepted
that Asanga wrote the passage).
18. Krp. p. 30,5, Rkp. p. 37,14.
19. P. 1450,17-18: ak$arasamatii bhii!iyasamatii ak$aramukham ak$ara-
pravesam. Cf. Lalitavistara p. 127,4-128,8, where the alphabet is analysed in
the same way, and as such called a miitr:kii. On miitr:kii/dhiira'r}i v. infra. The
arapacana-alphabet is treated by S. Konow in AO, XII, 1934, p. 13-24: "The
Arapacana alphabet and the Sakas." Other references in R.E. Emmerick, The
Book of Zambasta, London, 1968, p. 454.
20. smr:timii11J.scabhavi!iyati . .., ibid. p. 1452,22-1453,1.
21. Krp. p. 30,9-12: tad eva11J. mahiirthikalJ kulaputra bodhisattviinii11J.
mahiisattviiniim aya11J. sarvajiiatiikiiradhiira'r}zmukhapraveSalJ. tat kasmiid dhetor? yas-
miid atra siikalyena bodhisattvapitakam upadi!itam. anena ca sarva-
jiiatiikiiradhiira'r}imukhapraveSena bodhisattvo mahiisattvalJ asangapratibhiinatii11J.
pratilabhate. Cf. also ibid. p. 28,5: iha ca sakalabuddhadharmii'r}ii11J. pangrahalJ;
Abhidharmasamuccayabhii!iya p. 129,12-14: yathiikiima11J.·· dhiira'r}imukha-
sa11J.dhiira'f}asamr:ddhiiv iti ... sarvadharmaparyiiyiibhilapanasiimarthyapratilambhii-
yetyarthalJ; and Ak$. tzkii fol. 23b3: don dang tshig mi Tied pa'i gzungs thob par mdo
sde'i don thams cad mi brjed par 'dzin pa'i phyir mdo sde'i rgyal po zhes bya ba bzhin
no. Commentary o n A k ~ . fol. 89bl: dhiira'r}isutriintariijatathiigatamudriimudrita.
22. ZDMG vol. 117, 1967 p. 148,-168.
23. For miitikii-lists v. examples in Vbh. p. 306f, 345f. V. also Mil. tr. II
p. 193 n. 6. Cfr. also Divy p. 333,7f. Beside the miitr:kiis also the uddiinas must
be mentioned as summaries of doctrine. For references v. BHSD s.V.
24. In the formula bhikkhu bahassutii iigatiigamii dhammadharii vinayadharii
miitikiidharii in Mil. p. 343,29-344,1. Similar expression in Yin. I p. 119,22,
337,10, II p. 8,28 and Aug. I p. 117,29, II p. 147,28, IV p. 179,lff.
25. Mil. 339,6-344,5.
26. Mil. 344,4.

27. eta punah sarva dhiirarj'i boilhisattvah caturbhir gurjair yukto labhate
nanyatamavikalah. katamaif caturbhih? kame!iv anadhyavasito bhavati. parasamuc-
chraye!iv zr!iyallJ notpiidayati, an'inyur bhavati. sarvayacitapradas ca bhavaty
ananutapyaday'i. dharmaramas ca bhavati.dharmarato arabhya
pitakamat,(kayam aramate. Bbh. 274,16-22.
28. samadhildhiirarjz, e.g. Abhidharmasamuccaya p. 97,24, Rkp. p. 32,11,
Bodhicaryavatarapanjikii p. 428,4, Suv. 30,5, Ratnagotravibhiiga p. 58,3, Dbh. p.
73,12, Bbh. p. 272,24; dhiirarjzlsm'(tilpratibhiina, e.g. Vkn. p. 345, Smdhr. p.
264,11-14; pratibhiinalsamiidhi, v. n. 3. Cfr. also Mil. p. 79,31-80,9: kathallJ
dhiirarjato sati uppajjati ....
29. aham api bhadanta bhagavan sarasvatz mahiidev'i tasya dharmabhiirjakasya
bhik/ior vakyavibhU/iarjarthiiya pratibhiirjallJ upasallJhari!iyami, dhiirarjzllJ canu-
pradiisyami, suniruktavacanabhiivallJ sallJbhiivay4yami, mahantallJ ca dhar-
mabhiirjakasya bhik/ior jnanavabhiisallJ kar4yami. yani kanicit padavyanjanani itah
suvaTr}abhiisottamat sutrendrarajat paribhra:jtani bhav4yanti vismaritani ca, tanyaharl).
sarvarji tasya dharmabharjakasya bhik/ioh suniruktapadavyanjanany upasallJhari!iyami,
dhiirarjillJ canupradiisyami sm'(tyasallJpramo!iarjaya. Suv. p. 102,16-lO3,6.
30. Cf. also Suv. p. 130,9-lO, and Dbh. p. 79,12: svaranga-
kaufalyena ..... pratibhanavibhaktimukhena dharmarl). desayati.
3l. V. list of translations in H. Dayal, The Bodhisattva Doctrine, repro
Dehli, 1978, p. 265-6.
32. Others: bian, h le shuo, i qiao bian) zu neng shuo fa, k neng bian shuo fa, I
neng bian shuo zhe, m neng shuo fa zhe. n
33.Cf. Kavyiidarsa l,lO4 (also here, however pratibhana is granted by the'
goddess Speech), and KavyalallJkiirav,(tti 1,3,17. In the passage in Ang. II p.
230,9-10, commented upon in Sumangalavilasinz p. 95,24-30, enumerating
four kinds of kavis, patibhana should be interpreted along these lines.
34. V. Dbh. p. 71,5, quoted in n. 7, and ibid. p. 79,12, quoted iI1 n. 30,
and Bbh. 258,14.
35. anacchedya, e.g. fol 173b7, Vkn. p. 99, 220, 384, Suran-
gamasamadhi p. 121, 234; cfr. also Smdhr. 398,11: no ciisyu pratibhanu chidyate;
apratihata, e.g. Surangamasamadhi p. 145, fo1173b3; asanga, e.g. Krp. p.
30, ll, Sdhmp. 327,6, 330,4; Smdhr. p. 3lO,11 has asakta.
36. Surangamasamadhi p. 188-9.
37. Cfr. fo!' 174a4: 'di bshad do zhes mi rtog cing . ..
38. Saundarananda XVIII, 11: pratibhanaf,(nga.
39. fo!' 88a2: khyod kyi spobs pa 'di lta bu'i phyir ma yin gyi, ci nas de
lta bu sngon ma thos pa'i gnas roams mnyan pa'i phyir 'dri'o.
40. Lank. p. 173,3-4, Kpv. 13.
4l. Quoted in p. 15,13ff.
42. Quoted p. 20 in F.A. Yates, The Art of Memory, repro Penguin, 1978.
She gives a splendid historical treatment of views on memory.
Sources and abbreviations.
Abhidharmadipa, ed. P.S. Jaini (TSWS 14), Patna, 1977.
Abhidharmasamuccaya, ree. P. Pradhan (Visva-Bharati Studies 12), Santiniketan,
ed. N. Tatia (TSWS 17), Patna, 1976.
- Kanjur, Peking ed. mdo sde .bu fols. 82b4-180a2.
Tenjur, ed. mdo sde ci fols. 1a-269a.
Aloka - Abhisamayiila'f(lkiiriiloka, ed. U. Wogihara, Tokyo, 1932-35.
Ang. - Anguttaranikiija, PTS, 1885-1900,5 vols.
ArthaviniScaya, ed. N.H. Samtani (TSWS 13), Patna, 1971.
ed. E. Conze (Serie Orientale Roma 26),
Rome, 1962.
Av. - Avadiinasataka, ed.J.S. Speyer (Bibliotheca Buddhica 3), St.-Petersburg,
1902-9, 2 vols.
Bbh. - Bodhisattvabhumi, ed. U. Wogihara, Tokyo, 1930.
Bodhicaryiivatiirapaiijikii, ed. L. de La Vallee Poussin (Bibliotheca Indica 150),
Calcutta, 1901-14.
Dbh. - Dasabhumika, ed. J. Rahder, Leuven, 1926.
Divy. - Divyiivadiina, ed. E.B. Cowell and R.A. Neil, Cambridge, 1886.
Kiivyiidarsa, ed. O. Bohtlingk, Leipzig, 1890.
Kiivyiila'f(lkiiravrtti, ed. C. Cappeller, Jena, 1875.
- ed. P. Pradhan (TSWS 8), revised ed.
Patna, 1975.
Kosavyiikhyii - Sphu(iirthii Abhidharmakosavyiikhyii, ed. U. Wogihara, Tokyo,
1932-36, 2 vols.
Kpv. - KiiSyapapanvarta, ed. A.v. Stael-Holstein, Peking, 1933.
Krp. - Kar1l'fl,iipu'fl,rjarfka, ed. I. Yamada, London, 1968, 2 vols.
Lalitavistara, ed. S. Lefmann, Halle, 1902-8, 2 vols.
Lank. - Lankiiviitiirasutra, ed. B. Nanjio, Kyoto, 1923.
Mahiiyiinasa'f(lgraha, ed. et tr. E. Lamotte (Publ. de L'Institute Orientaliste de
Louvain 8), Louvain, 1973,2 vols.
Mil. - Milindapaiiho, ed. V. Trenckner, London 1928; tr. I.B.Horner,
Milinda's Questions, London, 1964,2 vols.
MMW - M. Monier-Williams: Sanskrit-English Dictionary, repro Oxford, 1970.
Mvy. - Mahiivyutpatti, ed. Sakaki, Kyoto, 1916-25, 2 vols.
Paiicavi'f(lfatisiihasrikii(-prajiiiipiiramitii), ed. N. Dutt, London, 1934.
PTS - Pali Text Society.
PTSD - T.W. Rhys Davids and W. Stede: Pali English Dictionary, repr. PTS,
Ratnagotravibhaga, ed. E.H. Johnston, Patna, 1950.
Rkp. - Ratnaketuparivarta, ed. Y. Kurumiya, Kyoto, 1978.
Satasiihasrikii(-prajiiiipiiramitii), ed. P. Calcutta, 1902.
Saundarananda, ed. E.H. Johnston, repr. Delhi, 1975:
Sdhmp. - Saddharmapu'fl,rjar'ika, ed. H. Kern and B. Nanjio (Bibliotheca Bud-
dhica 10), St. Petersburg, 1908-12.
- ed. C. Bendall (Bibliotheca Buddhica 1), St. Petersburg,
Smdhr. - Samiidhiriijasutra, ed. N. Dutt (Gilgit Manuscripts 2), Srinagar, 1941-
54,3 parts.
Sumangalaviliisin'i, PTS, 1968-71, 3 vols.
Suran;gamasamiidhi(-sutra), tr. E. Lamotte (Melanges Chinois et Bouddhiques
13), Bruxelles, 1975.
Suv. - SuvarTJaprabhiisottamasutra, ed. J Nobel, Leipzig, 1937.
TSWS - Tibetan Sanskrit Works Series.
Vbh. - Vibhanga, PTS, 1904.
Yin. - Vinayapitaka, PTS, 1879-83.
Chinese Terms


'!c. f""':'"
h. WI'




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160 Old Derby Street, Hingham, MA 02043, USA
The Concept of a "Creator God"
in Tantric Buddhism
by Eva K. Dargyay
1. Introduction
This contribution is provocative in that it attempts to modify
some well established conceptions of the nature of Buddhist
religion. To initiate a debate concerning the modes of our un-
derstanding the consummate reality (siinyatii) so that it will incor-
porate, and eventually integrate, the tantric experience of pris-
tine bliss (mahasukha) would be truly rewarding. In order to raise
doubts about the adequacy of our understanding of reality in
the Buddhist sense I use a concept commonly negated in Bud-
dhism, i.e., that of a "Creator God."
Like many other terms in philosophy and religion the term
"Creator God" is ambivalent and multi-faceted, although most
people might affirm that they know what the term means. The
myths of many tribal populations who live in an exclusively oral
tradition tell us that a suprahuman being shaped the world and
its sentient beings out of some molding matter (clay, dirt, etc.)
at the inception of the universe. In this mythic context, God
resembles a craftsman and God's creation is similar to the act
of manufacturing. In India some of the Munda tribes have
preserved such myths.
Such mythic understandings of God as
a craftsman bear on philosophical elaborations of God as creator
of the universe, despite all the differences between the act of
"molding" the world by using a given material and the creatio
ex nihilo.
Such a modified concept of a mythic Creator God is well
documented in later Hinduism, when the popular gods, such
as V i ~ I ) u , Siva, and Dev! became predominant. But it seems to
be difficult to trace such a concept at the time of the historical
32 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
Buddha. Regardless of this situation, the Buddhist texts argue
against the inconsistency of such a mythic creator whose actual
being was only superficially coordinated with the current
philosophical streams. This attitude resulted in the assumption
that the Buddhists deny God in general, without ever bothering
to define the exceedingly ambiguous term "god." In the follow-
ing paragraphs I shall survey this tendency.
Buddhist thinkers continued throughout history to point
to the incompatibility of the vision of a mythic divine craftsman
who manufactures the world and the philosophical claim that
God is the totally other who, beyond the limitations of space
and time, is the absolute source and origin for the universe, but
not its causal beginning.
Kamaleswar Bhattacharya has pointed out that the
paramatman is not rejected in the Pali texts, as. they
negate solely the popular idea of an unchanging, independent
individual atman imparted to the person.
Furthermore he
comes to the conclusion that some texts in the Pali canon identify
dhammakaya with brahmakaya.
The main part of this article will present a Buddhist text
preserved in the Tibetan canon that uses theistic language when
referring to the ultimate, which is seen as the Mind as the focal
point of the entire universe. This text seems to be much indebted
to Y ogacara thought. Some typical and informative quotations
from this text might help us to redefine the current understand-
ing of the Buddhist vision of the ultimate and whether or not
we may label it "God."
II. Buddhism, a Non-theistic Religion
When Buddhism came to be known in the West, many
scholars and philosophers were surpnsed to encounter for the
first time a non-theistic religion, a phenomenon which seemed
to entail a A. Schopenhauer said:
Through the agreement of all genuine testimonies and original
documents, it is put beyond all doubt that Buddhism, the religion
that is the foremost on earth by virtue of the overwhelming
number of its adherents, is absolutely and expressly atheistic.
The earliest phase of Buddhist scripture is given in the Pali
Canon. Here the concept of God is presented and discussed
exclusively from a late U and Vedic background. God
is understood as Brahma, the ruler and creator of the world,
yet incapable of promoting wisdom, gaining insight, or coping
with the Buddhist wise men. One passage, taken from a sutta
in the Dzgha Nikiiya, will demonstrate the over-all character of
that argumentation.
"And it was not long, Kevaddha, before the Great Brahma ap-
peared. The monk drew close and asked: 'Where, friend, do the
four great elements-earth, water, fire, and air-cease, leaving
no trace behind?' The Great Brahma replied: '1, monk, am
Brahma, the Great Brahma, the Supreme, the Mighty, the All-
seeing, the Ruler, the Lord of all, the Controller, the Creator,
the Chief of all, appointing to each his place, the Ancient of
days, the Father of all that is and will be.' Again the monk asked
Brahma: '1 did not query, friend, whether you are indeed
Brahma, the Great Brahma, the Mighty ... , but rather as to
where the four elements earth, water, fire, and air, cease, leaving
no trace behind.' Again Brahma answered: '1 am Brahma, the
Great Brahma ... .' And a third time the monk addressed
Brahma: '1 did not query, friend, whether you are indeed
Brahma, ... but rather as to where the four elements ... cease,
leaving no trace behind.' Then the Great Brahma took that monk
by the arm and led him aside, and said: These gods of the
brahma-world here, monk, hold that there is nothing I cannot
see, nothing 1 do not know, and nothing that is not manifest to
me. Therefore 1 did not answer you in their presence. 1 do not
know, monk, where the four elements of earth, water, fire, and
air cease without leaving a trace. You have acted wrong, you
have done ill by ignoring the Exalted One and going elsewhere
to find an answer to your question. Go now to the Exalted One,
ask him your question, and accept his answer.' ,,5
In the Piili Canon it is only Brahma as visualized by the late
and Vedic Brahmins who is rejected. We would
rarely find any passage rejecting the idea of a philosophical
God, of a Creator as such.
The next prominent step in the development of Buddhist
thought was the rise of Mahayana, which led to a loss in creativity
in Hlnayaya thought. The Abhidharmakosa marks this phase of
34 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
transformation very well; its author, Vasubandhu, was first a
follower of the Hlnayana tradition and later a follower and
promoter of the Mahayana tradition. In the second chapter of
his Abhidharmakosa, Vasubandhu discusses ,the indriya, i.e., the
potentialities, a term which identifies in particular the sensuous
fields and in general everything that exhibits the capacity to
cause something. For this reason, the last passage within chapter
II deals with causes and results. Within this context, Vasubandhu
enters into a lengthy dialogue with the Hindu theists. Their
claim that iSvara, the primordial God and Creator, is the only
cause of the universe is rejected by Vasubandhu. His reasons
are that if God were the first cause everything that results from
this cause had to come into existence at once and not gradually.
That means the universe had to be created in one step and not
in the process of a long-lasting evolution, as was commonly
accepted in ancient India. Given this viewpoint, Vasubandhu
asks the Hindu theists what caused God to prevent everything
from coming into existence at the same moment. They answer
that He did not wish so, which leads Vasubandhu to speculate
that this Creator is subject to something outside of Himself that
makes His will changing, an assumption that contradicts the
concept of a primordial God and Creator.
Santideva, an 8th century Buddhist master, talks of God in
the 9th chapter of his Bodhicaryavatara as follows:
'God is the cause of the world.' Tell me, who is God? The ele-
ments? Then why all the trouble about a mere word? (119) Be-
sides the elements are manifold, impermanent, without intelli-
gence or activity; without anything divine or venerable; impure.
Also such elements as earth, etc., are not God.(120)
Neither is space God; space lacks activity, nor is atman-that we
have already excluded. Would you say that God is too great to
conceive? An unthinkable creator is likewise unthinkable, so that
nothing further can be said. (121 f
Here Santideva criticizes the shortcomings and failures of the
adversaries' definition of the concept of a Creator God. He, like
Vasubandhu, is not interested in establishing a philosophy that
might allow for a concept of a Creator God to be included into
the Buddhist thought. However, the Buddhist philosophers did
point out that the Hindu thinkers' concept of God was inconsis-
. tent and irrational and had therefore to be rejected.
Thus far,
I have summarized a viewpoint commonly accepted by the
followers of Buddha's teaching as well as by modern critical
. scholars.
II!. The Kun byed rgyal po'i mdo as a Theistic Buddhist Scripture
The Kun byed rgyal po'i mdo (hereafter KBG) has not so far
been studied by any modern scholar. For this reason I want
here to give a few data regarding the various editions of the
text and outline the major events which characterize the trans-
mitting of the text through the ages.
The KBG is a Buddhist canonical text and included in all
Kanjur editions
as well as in two collections of Tantras (Rnying
ma rgyud 'bum, hereafter NGB, and Vairocana rgyud 'bum, hereaf-
ter VGB)lO that were not unanimously accepted by all Buddhist
traditions in Tibet.
In the Kanjur editions and in the NGB the complete title
of the KBG is Chos thams cad rdzogs pa chen po byang chub kyi sems
kun byed rgyal po which might be translated as The All-Creating
King, i.e., Bodhicitta, as the Great Perfection of All Phenomena. In
the VGB the title is somewhat different: Byang chub kyi sems kun
byed rgyal po Ita ba nam mkha' ltar mtha' dbus med pa'i rgyud nam
mkha'i snying po mchog gi don gsang ba mchog gi mdo lung brgyad
cu rtsa bzhi pa: Bodhicitta, the All-Creating King, or: A Tantra Free
from Segregations Like the Sky, a Scripture in 84 Chapters of Utmost
Secrecy, the Essence of the Sky. The texts preserved in the 5 Kanjur
editions as well as that in the NGB are almost totally identical,
but the text in the VGB lacks the first of the three parts of the
The history of this text is still obscured by mysteries. Accord-
ing to Samten Karmay, Pho-brang Zhi-ba-'od, a member of the
royal house of Guge (West Tibet) issued in 1032 a statement
wherein he alleged that a text with the title Kun byed was forged
by a man named Drang-nga Shag-tshul.
It is unclear whether
this statement refers to the KBG as it is extant today.
In the voluminous history of Tibetan Buddhism, the Blue
Annals, the KBG is mentioned only twice. In both cases the
reference to the KBG is peripheral. First, it is said that the
36 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
Rnying rna master Zhig-po Bdud-rtsi (1149-1199) was an expert
in the 24 Tantras of the Mind Section (sems sde) and that among
them there were 10 texts of the kun byed cycle.
Second, the
annals report that 'Gos Lo-tsa-ba Gzhon-nu-dpal (1392-1481),
the author of the Blue Annals, was introduced to the KBG.
In the modern Kanjur editions the KBG is part of the Rnying
rgyud (Old Tantras) section, which contains those Tantras which
were translated into Tibetan during the First Period of Dissemi-
nation of Buddhism (snga dar, 7th-9th centuries). But the Gsar
rgyud (New Tantras) which were translated during the Second
Period of Dissemination (phyi dar, 10th century and after) gained
more authority and therefore constitute the main part of the
canonical Tantras. The authenticity of the Old Tantras was
doubted by several Buddhist masters who lived in Guge and
Ladakh during the 11 th and 12th centuries, 14 and many modern
scholars of the West followed their line.
Bu-ston (1290-1364), who compiled one of the first editions
of the Tibetan Tripitaka, did not include the Old Tantras in
the Canon, although he explicitly stated that two of his teachers
saw the Sanskrit originals of the Old Tantras in Bsam-yas and
that therefore he had no reason to doubt the authenticity of
these Tantras. 16 We do not know what caused Bu-ston to exclude
the Old Tantras from the Canon, although he was-according
to his own words-aware that at least some of the Old Tantras
were translated from Sanskrit texts.
Si-tu Dge-ba'i-blo-gros (alias Kun-dga'-rdo-rje), Bu-ston's
contemporary, is said to have put together another version of
the Tibetan Tripitaka, i.e., the Tshal pa bka' 'gyur, wherein he
included the Old Tantras.
Nevertheless the Old Tantras are
an integral part of all present editions of the Tibetan Tripitaka.
This is an important fact, in particular, when we regard the
exceptional ideas formulated in one of the Old Tantras-the
In the colophons of the various editions of the KBG the
Indian master Srlsirhhaprabha is said to have translated the text
in cooperation with the Tibetan monk Vairocana. The latter is
a well-known historical figure of the 8th century. At this time
Padmasambhava integrated the pre-Buddhist local beliefs into
the Buddhist system of thought and laid the foundation for the
successful development of the typically Tibetan form of Bud-
dhism. In this task he was supported by king Khri-srong-Ide-
btsan (ruled from 755 until 797), who built the first Buddhist.
monastery in Tibet, where seven young Tibetans were ordained
as the first Buddhist monks, Vairocana one of them. IS But the
"Indian master Srisirilhaprabha" cannot be traced as the trans-
lator of any other canonical text, nor is he mentioned in Dpa' -bo-
gtsug-Jag's chapter on the Indian par:ujitas. 19
The KBG is divided into three parts, or "books." The first
book, which comprises 57 chapters, explains the Dharma as
"similar to heaven." The nature of the ultimate, addressed as
All-Creating King, is explained therein. The second book, of
12 chapters, instructs on how to visualize the All-Creating King.
The third book, of 15 chapters, deals mainly with Buddhist
doctrine and practice. The entire KBG is arranged in 84 chap-
ters, some only one page in length. For the present purpose
the first book is the most informative one. In the first 45
a kind of ontology of the All-Creating King is taught, while the
remaining 12 chapters develop the conclusion that "there is
nothing to be practised and nothing to be attained" -a common
claim within the spiritual and mystical traditions of Buddhism.
IV. The Ontology of the Kun byed rgyal po'i mdo
The All-Creating King and His Entourage
As a common practice, all Buddhist scriptures begin by
describing the situation where and when the Buddha taught
the doctrine and to whom. In the Pali Canon we get precise
information with regard to the ancient Indian geography and
society, while in the Mahayana siitras the environment and lo-
cation is mainly mythical, although monks, nuns, and
Bodhisattvas are listening to the Buddha's preaching.20 The
Tantras, however, introduce the reader into a world of complex
symbolism. The Hevajra Tantra, for instance, starts:
Thus I have heard-at one time the Lord dwelt in bliss with the
Vajrayogini: who is the Body, Speech, and Mind of all the Bud-
dhas. There the Lord pronounced these words: .... 21
Another famous Tantra, the Guhyasamaja Tantra, starts with
almost identical words:
38 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
Thus I have heard: At one time the Exalted One dwelt in the
. womb of the female Diamond who is the Body, Speech, Mind,
and Heart of all the Buddhas.
In most Tantras the Buddha enters a discourse either with his
female consort or· with Vajrasattva, who submits his questions
to the Buddha. The KBG Tantra however starts in a different
At a place of No-Beneath Cog min), in the space ofreality as such,
in the sphere of facticity, at the centre of mind itself, in the
mansion of undefiled wisdom, at a time when He gave that ser-
mon there was His entourage revealing His nature, His identity,
His compassion and wisdom:
An entourage [that revealed] His nature and that therefore was
called "the entourage dharmakaya"; an entourage [that revealed]
His identity and that therefore was called "the entourage sam-
bhogakaya"; an entourage [that revealed] His identity and was
called therefore "the entourage sambhogakaya [correlating to
the element of] water"; an entourage [that revealed] His identity
. and was called therefore "the entourage sambhogakaya [correlat-
ing to the element of] fire"; an entourage [that revealed] His
identity and was called therefore "the entourage sambhogakaya
[correlating to the element of] wind"; an entourage [that re-
vealed] His identity and was called therefore "the entourage sam-
bhogakaya [correlating to the element of] space."
Furthermore, there are the entourages of his nirmal)akaya
revealing His compassion and wisdom: The entourage called
"the creatures of the World of Desires"; the entourage called
"the creatures of the World of Forms"; the entourage called "the
creatures of the World of Formlessness."
Furthermore, there are His entourages visualizing His na-
ture, i.e., the four aspects of Yoga: The entourage called atiyoga,
the entourage called pari yoga [sic!], the entourage called mahayoga,
the entourage called "the Yoga of creatures." They are one, as
His nature, His identity, and the character of His compassion
are inseparable.
Furthermore, there are the entourages that understand His
nature: The entourage residing in Him, i.e., the previous and
now past Buddhas; the entourage realizing His intention, i.e.,
the now existent Buddhas; the entourage emerging from Him,
i.e., the Buddhas to come in the future. They are one, as His
nature is inseparable.
Then in order to bless the entire entourage with His nature,
Bodhicitta, the All-Creating King absorbed the entire entourage
into His mind itself. The spontaneous wisdom (rang byung gi ye
shes) he let become shining clear. Then in order to endow [the
entire entourage] with reality as such he condensed them all to
a single great bindu, wherein they remained.
In this passage the All-Creating King's entourage consists in the
three kayas, i.e., the three levels of Buddha's being. The dhar-
makaya, or the being in utmost reality, is just listed while the
entourages constituting his sambhogakaya, a way of being that
allows the Buddha to communicate in bliss and joy with other
adequately experienced creatures, are correlated to four ele-
ments (water, fire, wind, and space). His nirmar;akaya, or his
existence in time and space, through which the Buddha man-
ifests in the human world, consists in entourages which equal
the three realms of the universe: the world of formlessness, the
world of forms, the world of desires. In other words, the nature
of the All-Creating King is manifested in the noetic as well as
the physical structure of the world. Four other entourages rep-
resent the Four Yogas, which means that the All-Creating King
is the Path (marga, or lam) to Enlightenment, to Buddhahood.
Finally, there are the entourages which are the Buddhas of all
times, past, present, and future. According to the categorial
system of Mahayana Buddhism nothing exists outside of the
listed categories; thus, the All-Creating King's entourage is the
universe, and this universe reflects and reveals His mystic na-
All the various entourages disappear into the so-called bindu
that is a luminous focal point symbolizing the very essence of
His personality. Once again from the bindu, Vajrasattva origi-
nates, and he will put forward the questions and problems to
be answered and discussed by the All-Creating King. If we sum
up the iritroduction to the KBG, we may conclude that Vaj-
rasattva is the entirety of the entourages which again reflect the
All-Creating King's nature. Thus, the discussion between the
All-Creating King and Vajrasattva is actually a self-dialogue.
Consequently, the text assures that the entourage and the AlI-
Creating king are one, as there is no difference with regard to
their nature or identity.
In general, the Buddha's entourage consists of beings who
40 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
are different from his own person as long as we stay in the
realm of conventional truth. The KBG, however, places the
action in the introduction in the realm of absolute or utmost
reality, where everything coincides with Voidness (Silnyata) ,
which is the essence of the Buddha. In the discussion of utmost
reality only two aspects are of concern. For this reason, the two
most important allegorical figures in the text are Bodhicitta, the
All-Creating King, and Vajrasattva, who asks the questions.
Bodhicitta symbolizes the ontological ground of everything vis-
ible and invisible, while Vajrasattva comprises all aspects which
want to emerge from the ontological ground and reveal their
individuality, though it might be an ephemeral one.
Following the line of this introduction, the first great theme
of the KBG is raised in the question of how the ontological
ground, i.e., the All-Creating King, correlates to the aspects
emanating from this ground. The subject is discussed mainly
in the second chapter, though the 16th chapter also deals to
some extent with the same problem. In answering the question
concerning the correlation between the ontological ground and
its emanating aspects the discussion slides from time to time
into an explanation of evolution.
The World Emanating from the All-Creating King
With regard to the emanation of the world, the KBG states:
Then, with regard to His nature, His identity, His compassion,
Bodhicitta, the All-Creating King established all phenomena in
the following way:
Out of the sole great wisdom originating from Him spon-
taneously, the five great spontaneous wisdoms emanate. They
are: the great spontaneous wisdom of hatred, the great spontane-
ous wisdom of passion, the great spontaneous wisdom of igno-
rance, ... of jealousy, ... of arrogance.
Out of these five great spontaneous wisdoms, the five great
visible causes (rgyan kyi rgyu chen po) emanate. They constitute
the three realms of the impermanent world.
If one summarizes the external appearance of the five visible
causes, then it is as follows: There is the appearance called
"earth," an appearance of visible causes; there is the appearance
called "water," an appearance of visible causes; there is the ap-
pearance called "fire," an appearance of visible causes; there is
the appearance called "wind," an appearance of visible causes;
there is the appearance called "space," an appearance of visible
Condensed in a single appearance they will unfold into the
various categories ofthe five wisdoms (ye shes lnga) , i.e., the spon-
taneous wisdom of the category "hatred," . .. "passion," ... "ig-
norance," ... 'Jealousy," and ... "arrogance." When the various
categories of the five spontaneous wisdoms appear, the reality
as such is established in correlation with the appearance of the
visible causes.
After having established reality as such, i.e., His nature,
Bodhicitta, the All-Creating King, dwells in that way.24
This passage states that from the All-Creating King the four
elements and the five spontaneous wisdoms, which are cognitive
categories used in Tantric Buddhism in order to understand
reality, emanate. In interpreting the passage from the KBG, the
All-Creating King may be. conceived as the ontological ground,
while the five spontaneous wisdoms as well as the physical world
(i.e., the four elements) are the phenomena emanating from it.
In the primary nature of the ontological ground, i.e., the All-
Creating King, rests the entirety of the phenomenal world. His
nature is of spontaneous wisdom unfolding into the five aspects
which are classified as defilements (sgrib pa) by the common
Buddhist tradition: hatred, passion, ignorance, jealousy, and
arrogance. However, these "defilements" provide the seed-bed
for all forces of vitality. All facets of man's entangling encounter
with life (sarrtsara) emanate from this ground. The external or
physical world is established by the All-Creating King as well.
The text emphasizes the various ways through which the great
wisdom becomes manifest in the elements which constitute the
three realms of the universe: the realm of passion (kamaloka) ,
the realm of form (rupaloka) , and the realm of formlessness
(arupaloka) .
In the perspective of the KBG, the creation is an outflow
of the primordial ground; it appears to be distinct from its
origin, though it is not essentiCilly different.
In the 6th chapter of the KBG, the emanation of the uni-
verse is explained in an alternative way:
42 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
Although My nature may not be revealed to you, yet My
identity may be revealed to you. The three realms (i.e., kamaloka,
rupaloka, arupaloka) the five greatnesses (chen po lnga) , the six
characters (rgyud drug) are the five [aspects of] bodhicitta, which
reveal My nature. From there the five wisdoms emanate as their
spontaneous essence. And the five wisdoms illuminate the five
sensory objects. Thus the five desires and the five passions come
into existence. The result, ripened by means of the five desires,
manifests in the various realms of existence.
In such kind I teach you the appearances: The three aspects
of My being (sku gsum) I teach you [to see them in] the six aspects
of the soteriological path. Although i instruct you herein, you
will be unable to see it [in such way], and yet each individual
[phenomenon] is in some respect My nature, My identity, My
person, My word, My mind. In the totality [of the universe] My
identity is to be visualized in its individual aspects.
Further I shall teach you My nature. My identity in its utmost
purity is bodhicitta. As I am the essence of a sphere free from any
artificiality (spros med dbyings) and as I am the great origin of all
the Buddhas, the three delightful realms [of the universe] and
the six realms of existence emanate from Me.
Although virtuous and wrong deeds are different, they dem-
onstrate My sincere, unfailing compassion. To those who adhere
to a system of causality (rgyu dang 'bras bu theg pa) I do not reveal
the teaching that I am the All-Creating One. Even if I would
reveal this teaching to them definitively, they would still claim
that virtuous and wrong deeds have their causes and results.
Consequently, they would subject Me, the wholly pure, to their
praise and blame and for a long time they would be unable to
find Me, the wholly pure.
I am the teacher, the All-Creating One, Bodhicitta, and it
is Bodhicitta that is the All-Creating King.
This passage explains well the fact that the ontological ground
is immanent and transcendent at once. Although the primary
One is reflected in the phenomenal world, it transcends the
world of perception. Its general purity is never affected by ethi-
cal categories. In order to substantiate this claim, the text has
to discard the doctrine of causality commonly thought to be one
of the cornerstones of Buddhist philosophy.
Certainly in early Buddhism the concept of causality was
conducive to the no-self theory and the soteriological path as
the traditional Buddhist conceived it. But when Nagarjunare-
~ i s e d the entire problem of causality it became clear that the
concept of a lineal causality is inconsistent in itself. He replaced
. the concept of a lineal causality with that of a situational cau-
sality. The KBG takes us one step further in abolishing the
theory of causality in total. This move undermines the old objec-
tion that a pure and good primary principle cannot be the origin
of all the misery and evil in the world. With the dissolving of
the concept of causality, the power of this objection was elimi-
nated. The last sentence of the translated passage is certainly
one of the pearls of Buddhist scripture; a solemn proclamation
of the All-Creating King's grandeur, its language of exaltation
speaks for itself.
When Vajrasattva asks for the reason or necessity of emana-
tion, the All-Creating King explains His relationship to the
phenomena emanating from Him:
o Mahasattva, the necessity is that beside Me, the Creator (byed
mkhan) and All-Creating King, no other creator exists. Nobody
beside Me created (byed pa) reality as it is (chos nyid). Nobody
beside Me enthroned the Buddhas of the three [times]. Nobody
beside Me established the various groups of entourage. Nobody
beside Me established the nature of reality as it is.
The claim of a Creator God can hardly be more explicit than
in this passage.
Bodhicitta-The All-Creating King's Nature
The KBG, however, is ambiguous in its description of the
nature of the All-Creating King in so far as there are passages
in which the term "creator" is used metaphorically:
I shall now reveal My nature to you, Vajrasattva! My nature is
manifested in three ways: My nature is bodhicitta (byang chub sems).
My sheer nature shows itself as "pure" (byang) , as it is the three
perfections, the pure reality. My nature shows itself as "perfect"
(chub) as by means of the three necessities it covers all like space.
My nature shows itself as "mind" (sems) as it is the infinite and
absolute (ma [us) All-Creating King. Who else if not the Mind of
44 J1ABS VOL. 8 NO.1
Pure Perfection (Tib.byang chub sems, Skr.bodhicitta) would create
the entirety?27
In this passage the term bodhicitta, which means, in its Tibetan
translation, "mind of pure perfection" is not understood in terms
of soteriological altruism but rather as the authentic nature of
mind as such.
This specific meaning of the term bodhicitta is
found throughout the Tantric literature of Buddhism. In this
way, the KBG does not exhibit any pecularity. When the Bud-
dhist mystic experiences the nature of mind as such, he perceives
a state of limpid luminosity which transcends every conceptuali-
zation and which is therefore said to equal Voidness, and yet is
full of utmost bliss. Therefore the nature of mind as such, or
the pure mind, is said to be inseparable and indistinguishable
(gnyis su med) from reality as such (chas nyid).
On the other hand, it is only when the mind departs from
its sheer nature and manifests itself in various activities that the
world of sensuous perception can arise. For this reason, one
might well say that from the individual's viewpoint the mind is
the creator of the world. This is a common concept of the Cit-
tamatra School of Buddhist philosophy. In this regard, the KBG
fits into the general framework of Mahayana and Tantric
thought without any major difficulties.
Surprisingly, the KBG employs metaphorical an-
thropomorphism in identifying the ultimate. However, I am
doubtful whether the word "metaphor" is appropriate, as the
intention of the text is not clear. The question arises whether
the ultimate, when revealing itself to the mystic in the blissful
unia mystica, can be experienced only in a personal way. Or, is
it more a matter of adopting the philosophical jargon flourishing
at the time of the writing of the text? Or, did the Buddhists
make use of the theistic terminology of Hinduism in order to
attract some devotees of the great personal gods of ancient
India, e.g., Shiva and Vishnu?
Nevertheless, the KBG is a sublime monument of Buddhist
spirituality, using language of timeless beauty:
Then Bodhicitta, the All-Creating King, proclaimed: "I am the
Creator of all phenomena in the past, Mahasattva, pay attention
to your ear, reflect on what you will hear now: I am the All-Creat-
-ing King. I am the Mind of Pure Perfection (byang chub sems). If
I were not pre-existent, phenomena would not have a point from
where their existence could start. If I were not pre-existent, there
would be no King who creates all phenomena. If I were not
no Buddha would ever be. If I were not pre-existent,
no Doctrine would ever be. If I were not pre-existent, no entour-
age would ever be.
Although only a few paragraphs of the KBG could be
examined in this article, the study of this text stipulates revising
our present understanding of "God" in the context of Buddhism.
The term "God" is too vague to be dealt with in an academic
study; therefore a precise definition has to precede any attempt
to do so. If the term "God" is understood as the mythic craftsman
"manufacturing" the world, then-we may conclude-the KBG
does not corroborate such a notion. If we define "God" as the
totally other, predating and preceding everything which is im-
parted to this world, then the term "God" may found to be
suitable for that task. When the KBG uses the term kun byed,
which I translated as "all creating" then we have to understand
it within the context of Yogacara philosophy: Mind operates
like a mirror by which, the objects are reflected, although the
existence or non-existence of the objects themselves will never
be disclosed to ,us. Thus, we may say, Mind functions like a
"creator." So, what's new about the KBG, we may ask? The KBG
is traditional enough to adopt a well-defined philosophical con-
cept, that of Mind in the Y ogacara tradition, but it is innovative
inasmuch it casts the philosophical concept into the symbolic
image of a "creator," thus using a theistic pattern to communi-
cate the mystic experience to those who have not been exposed
to it.
1. ". . . Bhagavan first made the world and created all living creatures
from dirt rubbed from his body . . ." (Verrier, Elwin Tribal Myths of Orissa.
46 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
Glasgow: Oxford University Press, 1954, 4); this is only one example to illus-
trate this kind of "Creator God," but there are many more myths of this type
included in Elwin's book.
2. Kamaleswar Bhattacharya, L'Atman-Brahma,n dans le Bouddhisme an-
cien, Publications de L'Ecole Francaise d'Extreme-Orient XC. Paris: Ecole
Francaise d'Extreme-Orient, 1973, 137.
3. Bhattacharya, L'Atman-Brahman, 89: dhammakayo iti pi Brahmakiiyo iti
Pi, dhammabhuto iti pi brahmabhuto iti pi.
4. A. Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena, Short Philosophical Essays,
tr. from the German (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974), vol. I, 127.
5. H. von Glasenapp, Buddhism--a Non-Theistic Religion, tr. from the
German (London: Allen & Unwin, 1970), 146.
6. L. de La Vallee Poussin (tr.), L'Abhidharmakosa de Vasubandhu,
Melanges Chinois et Bouddhiques, Vol. XVI (Brussels: Institut Beige Des
Hautes Etudes Chinoises, 1971), vol. I, 311-13.
7. Vidhushekhara Bhattacharya (ed.), Bodhicaryavatara, Bibliotheca In-
dica no. 280 (Calcutta: The Asiatic Society, 1960) v. 119-22, p. 216-17.
8. For further information on this subject see George Chemparathy,
"Two Early Buddhist Refutations of the Existence of Isvara as the Creator of
the Universe," Beitrage zur Geistesgeschichte Indiens-Festschriftfiir Erich Frauwall-
ner (Leiden: E.]. Brill, 1968), 85-100.
9. Cone Kanjur (Washington: Library of Congress), vol. Dza, fo!' Ib.l-
92a.l; Narthang Kanjur, vol. Dza, fol. Ib.I-120b.l; Lhasa Kanjur, vol. Dza, fol.
Ib.I-123a.6; Peking Kanjur, vo!' 9, Rgyud xx (Dza), no. 451: p. 93, fo!' 1.1-p.
126, fo!' 5.2; Derge Kanjur, vol. 97, Rnying rgyud no. 1, fo!' 1-171; further see
Hakuju Ui, Munetada Suzuki, Yensho Kanakura, Tokan Tada (eds.), A Com-
plete Catalogue of the Tibetan Buddhist Canons (Bkaly,-ly,gyur and Bstan-!;,gyur) (Sen-
dai, Japan: Tohoku Imperial University, 1934), 138a, no. 828.
10. Rnying ma'i Rgyud 'Bum. A Collection of Treasured Tantras Translated
during the Period of First Propagation of Buddhism in Tibet, ed. by Dingo Khyentse
Rimpoche (Thimpu, Bhutan: n.p., 1973), vo!' I, fo!' 1-220; Vairocana Rgyud
'Bum. A Collection of Ancient Tantras and Esoteric Instructions Compiled and Trans-
lated by the 8th Century Tibetan Master (Leh, India: Tashi Y. Tashigangpa, 1971),
vol. I, fo!' 383.1--435.6.
11. S. Karmay, "The Doctrinal Position of rDzogs chen. "journal Asiatique
(1975), 152, and by the same author "An Open Letter by Pho-brang Zhi-ba-'od
to the Buddhists in Tibet." The Tibet journal (1980) vo!' 5, no. 3, p. 16.
12. G. Roerich (tr.), Blue Annals (1949, rpt. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass,
1976), 133, 137.
13. Blue Annals, 172.
14. Bu-ston Rin-chen-grub. Bde bar gshegs pa'i bstan pa'i gsal byedl chos kyi
'byung gnas gsung rab rin po che'i mdzod, in Lokesh Chandra (ed.), The Collected
Works of Bu-ston, Sata-Pitaka Series vo. 64 (New Delhi: International Academy
of Indian Culture, 1965-71), pt. 24, vol. Ya (1971), 990.2; hereafter Chos
'byung chen mo.
15. G. Tucci, Tibetan Painted Scrolls (Rome: La Libreria Dello Stato, 1949),
vo!' I, 88.
16. Chos 'byung chen mo, 990.3-4.
17. 'Jigs-med-gling-pa, Snga 'gyur rgyud 'bum Tin po che'i rtogs pa brjod pa
'ja.mglingmtha'igrukhyabpa'irgyan, ed. in NGB, vol. 34,175.5. New information
on the Tshal-pa Kanjur is presented by Yo shiro Imaeda in his Catalogue du
Kanjur Tibetain de l'Edition de Jang Sa-tham (Bibliographia Philologica Bud-
dhica, Series Maior IIa). Tokyo: The International Institute for Buddhist
Studies, 1982. Unfortunately I learnt about this publication alter the present
article had been submitted for publication.
18. David Snellgrove (ed. and tL), Hevajra-Tantra (London: Oxford Uni-
versity Press, 1959), vol. II, p. vii; G. Tucci (ed.), Minor Buddhist Texts (Rome:
IsMEO, 1958), vol. II, 16.
19. Lokesh Chandra (ed.), Mkhas pahi dgah ston of Dpah-bo-gtsug-lag, Sata-
Pitaka vol. 9 (New Delhi: International Academy of Indian Culture, 1959),
pt. I, 155ff.
20. D.T. Suzuki (tL), Lankiivatara Sidra (London: Routledge & Kegan
Paul, 1966), 3.
21. Snellgrove, Hevajra Tantra vol. I, 47.
22. Evam maya srutam ! ekasmin samaye bhagaviin sarvatathiigata-kiiyavak-
citta-hrdayavajray00idbhage0u vyahara ! Benoytosh Bhattacharya (ed.),
Guhyasamaja Tantra or Tathagataguhyaka, Gaekwad's Oriental Series No. 53
(Baroda, India: Oriental Institute, 1967), 1.
23. KBG foI.2.3-5.2, in NGB vol. I.
24. KBG foL 7.1-7.7, in NGB vol. I.
25. KBG fol. 17.3-18.2, in NGB vol. I.
26. KBG fol. 8.3-8.4, in NGB vol. I.
27. KBG fol. 8.4-8.7, in NGB vol. I. This Tibetan "definition" of the
term byang chub sems dpa' does not correspond with the Skr. bodhisattva.
28. H.V. Guenther examines the meaning of bodhicitta and Bodhisattva
within the context of several Buddhist traditions of Tibet in his article
"Bodhisattva-the Ethical Phase in Evolution," inL.S. Kawamura (ed.), The
Bodhisattva Doctrine in Buddhism, SR supplements: 10 (Waterloo, Ontario: Wil-
frid Laurier Press, 1981), 111-124.
29. KBG fol. 8.7-9.3, in NGB vol. I.
A Quarterly Journal of Translations
Editor: Chung-ying Cheng, University of Hawaii
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Sample Issue Contents
Reevaluating "One Divides into Two" and "Two Combine into One"
On the Difference between "One Divides into Two" and "Two Com-
bine into One"
"One Divides into Two" Reveals Struggle; "Two Combine into One"
Reveals Unity
"One Divides into Two" Cannot Fully Describe the Theory of the
Unity of Opposites
On the Problem of the Debate over "One Divides into Two" and "Two
Combine into One"
How to Interpret Correctly "One Divides into Two"
The Place and Function of the Identity of Contradiction in the
Development of Things-A Draft Discussion
First Issue: Fall 1969
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Armonk. New York 10504
Direct Perception indGe-Iugs-pa
Interpretations of Sautrantika
by Anne C. Klein
1. Texts
In a religious-philosophical system which considers errone-
ous perception-ignorance-to be the chief source of suffering,
and whose goal is to eradicate such error, epistemological
analysis is a vital issue. Starting roughly with the Indian
philosopher Dignaga in about the 5th century A.D., Buddhist
philosophers began to discuss perceptual errors in terms of
direct and conceptual perception mngon sum; kalpanii,
rtog pa) and their objects. According to these thinkers, there are
only two types of valid cognition, direct perception
pramiina, mngon sum tshad ma) and inference (anumiina pramiirja,
rjes dpag tshad ma).
The works of Dignaga and Dharmakirti were among the
major Indian texts that Tibetan commentators relied upon to
formulate a presentation of the Sautrantika system. This was a
task requiring considerable interpretation. Indian texts written
by Sautrantikas never came to Tibet; rather, Sautrantika asser-
tions were introduced into Tibet through mention of them in
texts that focused mainly on other systems. Foremost among
this group are Dharmakirti's Seven Treatises on Valid Cognition
(Tshad ma'i bstan beos sde bdun) , especially the Commentary on
(Digniiga's) "Compendium on Valid Cognition" (Pramiirjavarttika-
kiirikii) and Dignaga's Compendium on Valid Cognition (Pramiirja-
samuecaya). I It is widely recognized that the works of Dignaga
and Dharmakirti can be interpreted in many different ways. No
less an authority than Daniel H.H. Ingalls has bluntly stated:
"the Pramiirjasamueeaya exhibits in exaggerated form the ellipti-
cal style that characterizes Sanskrit texts of philosophy."2 Vary-
50 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
ing modes of interpretation grew up in Tibet amid a rich tra-
dition of written and oral commentarial material evolved over
many centuries. In the dGe-lugs-pa order, founded by Tsong-
kha-pa in the 14th century, this material became an important
part of the monastic college curriculum and remains so to this
day. Portions from that exegetical tradition form the basis for
the present investigation of direct perception.
In an effort to tap the resources of a still vibrant tradition
whose ability to survive the rigors of the present century is yet
uncertain, emphasis has been placed on 18th and 19th century
Tibetan commentarial works in current usage among Tibetan
dGe-Iugs-pa scholars and the oral discourse that traditionally
accompanies them. In particular, the following discussion draws
on Den-dar-hla-ram-ba (bsTan-dar-lha-ram-pa, b. 1759), Nga-
wang-bel-den (Nga-dbang-dpal-Idan, b. 1797) who is also known
as Bel-den-cho-jay, Pur-bu-jok (Phur-bu-lcog, 1825-1901),
Jang-gya (lCang-skya, 1717-86), and Jam-yang-shay-ba C'Jam-
dbyangs-bzhad-pa, 1648-1721)-see the Bibliography for full
entries. Works by these authors, together with the Tibetan trans-
lations of Dignaga and Dharmakirti, have for the last 100 years
been the major sources for Sautrantika epistemological studies
in the dGe-Iugs-pa monastic universities. This literature, like
the Buddhist commentarial tradition generally, is often exceed-
ingly terse and presumes a great deal of background. The books
were meant to be read (1) in c o ~ u n c t i o n with an oral explana-
tion, at which time they serve as lecture notes to the instructor,
who expands on and questions points in the text .and (2) as a
complement to other rigorous textual study and debate. Noone
text is a truly self-contained unit; no one of the works by the
above commentators yields a comprehensive view of the dGe-
lugs-pa discussion of direct perception.
II. Scholarly Informants
In my own study and translation of these works
I have
been in systematic consultation with thinkers who are widely
regarded in the Tibetan scholarly community and, increasingly,
the Western one, as leading figures among the last generation
of scholars to complete virtually all of their Geshe training in
. Tibet. Contact with these holders of the oral philosophical tra-
dition has been essential to the present research. My work to
date indicates that the level of analytical detail in the oral schol-
arly tradition regarding the furictioning of direct perception
significantly exceeds that found in the texts alone.
Geshe Gedun Lodro, the first Tibetan scholar with whom
I discussed in some detail dGe-lugs-pa analyses of direct percep-
tion, was trained in Gomang College of Drebung Monastic Uni-
versity. He received the Geshe degree in 1961 when he was
ranked first among all other recipients that year. For several
years prior to his untimely death in 1979 at the age of 55 he
taught at the University of Hamburg, Germany. I worked with
him on the Sautrantika section of Jam-yang-shay-pa's Great
Tenets (Grub mtha'i chen ma) when he was a Visiting Lecturer in
Religious Studies at the University of Virginia in 1978.
Kensur Yes hay Thupden, abbot emeritus of Loseling Col-
lege of Drebung Monastic University in India, was the highest
ranking Geshe in his year, and is widely renowned for his ability
to draw out the meaning and context of questions arising from
textual readings. I discussed works by Den-dar-hla-ram-ba and
Bel-den-cho-jay with him as a Fulbright Dissertation Researcher
in India in 1980, and during his stay as Visiting Lecturer at
Virginia in 1982. One of his foremost students, Geshe Bel-Den-
drak-ba, Head Librarian and Resident Scholar at the Tibet
House cultural center in New Delhi, provided invaluable insight
in the course of our discussions of J ang-gya's Sautrantika chapter
by drawing my attention to problems inherent in the Sautrantika
presentation of direct perception. While in India I also benefited
from discussing a variety of points from J ang-gya with Ven.
Tshultrim Phuntzog of Gomang, who now holds Geshe Gedun
Lodro's former post at the University of Hamburg.
My procedure with these scholars was to elicit and tape-re-
cord their commentary on the text at hand, and to use this
commentary as a starting point for detailed discussions of key
issues that often led us to other commentators or to their Indian
sources. After each session, conducted solely in Tibetan, I would
listen to the tape, translating and summarizing the discussion.
This would usually generate further discussion on our next
meeting; it thus became possible to have a sustained dialogue
over several weeks or months devoted to identifying and dealing
52 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
with major points or problems. The material from these sessions
became the raw data which was then shaped into the present
discussion. Where there is general agreement among literal and
oral philosophical material I have presented this as the generic
dGe-Iugs-pa position. Where there have been differences on
key points, the merits of each argument are considered.
In brief, the discussion is formulated so as to accommodate
three purposes: (1) to make available a detailed, accurate de-
scription of direct perception as it is understood in the dGe-Iugs-
pa interpretation of Sautrantika, (2) to critically analyze this
interpretation in the context of other Buddhist systems' discus-
sions of direct perception and (3) to identify and probe the
significance of apparent inconsistencies or other limitations in
the dGe-Iugs-pa presentation. It will of course be very important
to clarify how the dGe-Iugs-pa view contrasts with or emulates
Buddhist and non-Buddhist Indian traditions which deal with
perception, but that is beyond the scope of the present article.
The focus here is on the discussion of direct perception-its
objects and its mode of functioning-in the context of the dGe-
lugs-pa interpretation of Sautrantika.
It is axiomatic to the dGe-Iugs-pa view of Sautrantika that
only impermanent or specifically characterized phenomena
rang mtshan) actually appear as objects of direct per-
ception. Because directly perceiving consciousnesses are seen
here as ultimate minds, the impermanent things they perceive-
tables, chairs, and the like-are considered ultimate truths
(paramartha-satya, don dam bden pa) in the system of the Sautran-
tika Followers of Reasoning (nyayanusarin, rigs pa'i rje su 'brangs
pa) as defined by dGe-Iugs-pa scholarship. An understanding
of the epistemological and ontological implications of this un-
usual tenet requires a detailed investigation into how directly
perceiving consciousnesses take on the aspects of their objects.
It is a topic on which there is a wider variety of opinion than most.
III. A Consciousness that Fully Perceives Objects
According to the dGe-Iugs-pa presentation of Sautrantika,
specifically characterized phenomena are things which exist the
way they appear. Their existence does not depend on imputation
by thought or terminology, for they are established by way of
their own nature, and that actual nature appears to direct per-
ception. These features greatly distinguish objects of direct per-
. ception from objects of thought. For, the image of a pot that
appears to thought is like a pot but not a pot. What appears to
direct perception is an actual pot, not something that is merely
like one. Therefore, the eye consciousness observing a pot is an
ultimate mind because the features appearing to it are what
they appear to be-both in the sense that the mode of being of
the pot appears just as it is and because an actual, functioning
pot itself is taken as the object; it is not represented by something
The eye consciousness that sees a pot is a complete engager
(*vidhi-pram:tti-buddhi, sgrub 'jug gi blo). This means that every-
thing which co-exists with that pot, such as its mouth, base,
color, subtle impermanence and so forth, appears directly to
that eye consciousness. All the impermanent characteristics that
come into existence and go out of existence simultaneously with
the pot's own momentary production and disintegration are
said to be one substantial entity of production and abiding (grub
bde rdzas gcig) with the pot. Permanent phenomena related with
the pot are not one substantial entity of production and abiding
with the pot. For example, the uncaused space inside a pot is a
permanent phenomenon because it does not change or disinte-
grate from one moment to the next. Thus, "permanent" here
means static, not eternal, for that space comes into existence
when the pot is produced and goes out of existence when the
pot is destroyed. Even though its existence is simultaneous with
that of the pot, this space is not one substantial entity of produc-
tion and abiding with the pot because permanent and imperma-
nent phenomena cannot be a single substance (*ekadravya, rdzas
gcig). Because only impermanent specific characteristics, which
are one substantial entity with the pot, are explicitly realized by
the eye consciousness, the permanent uncaused space is not so
realized. To be explicitly realized means that the object casts its
own specific characteristics toward the consciousness. Uncaused
space has no such specific characteristics and, as a permanent
phenomenon, cannot perform the function of casting its own
aspect. Therefore, it is not realized explicitly by the eye con-
sciousness. However, it cannot be said that the eye consciousness
54 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
does not realize uncaused space at all; rather, it realizes
implicitly (shugs rtogs)-that is, not by means of aspects cast
toward it but through observing a gap in the material ofthe pot.
Even with respect to the impermanent characteristics of pot
which do actually appear, the eye consciousness is not necessarily
able to induce ascertainment of all that appears to it. It is a
complete engager in the sense that the entire collection of spe-
cific characteristics that are one substantial entity with the pot
do appear to it-cast their aspect toward it-but not in the sense
that it induces ascertainment of all of them.
A consciousness which is a complete engager is defined as
one which engages all parts of its object,
but this does not entail
the absurdity that all particles of a table, for example, appear
to a single eye consciousness in the sense that those inside it,
or on the side opposite to the one facing the perceiver and so
forth, would appear. It simply means that all parts of the object
which would normally be considered within eye range are ap-
pearing. Sautrantikas, Cittamatrins and Svatantrikas all agree
that the specific characteristics of an object must appear to direct
perception. This is because if direct perception were not valid
with respect to the specific characteristics of the five types of
objects (forms, sounds, odors, tastes, and tangible objects) they
would not be valid with respect to specifically characterized
phenomena. The eye consciousness is "valid" with respect to
specific characteristics not in the sense that it ascertains them,
but only in the sense that they appear. What the eye conscious-
ness is able to ascertain is that the object exists by way of its own
power-or, more technically, by way of its own
ness, and not through being imputed by thought or terminology.
To realize the specifically characterized nature of a
phenomenon means to ascertain its mode of abiding; that is, to
realize everything that is one substantial entity of place, time,
and nature with it-for example, production, productness, sub-
tle impermanence, ultimate truth, form and shape, abiding and
Thus, even though the eye consciousness does realize
a specifically characterized phenomenon and even though the
aspect cast by the object is concordant with the nature of the
object, the eye consciousness or any other ultimate consciousness
does not ascertain the actual specifically characterized nature of
its object. The eye consciousness of an ordinary person cannot
ascertain all the specific characteristics that are part of this specif-
ically characterized nature. It cannot ascertain the object's ina-
bility to abide for a second .by its own that is the
" subtle impermanence of that object, It cannot ascertam the subtle
rooroent-by-moment disintegration of a product-the disinte-
gration that is the definition of being a"product-and thus can-
o not ascertain the specific nature of the table as being a product.
. In Sautrfmtika, all these characteristics, momentary disinte-
gration, 'productness and so are .part o.f the object's mode
of abidmg (gnas tshul). ThIs IS qUIte dIfferent from the
Madhyamika assertion that there is just one final mode of abid-
ing (gnas lugs mthar thug)-an object's emptiness of inherent
To realize something as a specifically characterized
phenomenon means to know that it exists from its own side,
that is to say, without being merely imputed by thought or
terminology. Even though a table, for example, is imputed to
its parts in the sense that when one sees them one thinks "This
is a table," a table is not imputed by thought. In this system, to
be imputed by thought simply means to be an object of thought.
It is not a statement about the thing's mode of existence. Thus,
although the table is imputed by thought, it is not merely imputed
by thought. It exists from its own side, independent of thought
or terminology.8
An eye consciousness can engage the entire collection of
characteristics associated with its object because all the aspects
of that object appear toward the sense consciousness. Thus, an
alternative definition of a consciousness that is a complete en-
gager is "an awareness that operates through the power of the
[functioning] thing."g What appears to a direct perceiver or a
mind of complete engagement such as an eye consciousness are
the aspects cast by the object or functioning thing itself; there-
fore, such a perceiver observes only presently existing
phenomena. Today's pot can be an object of today's eye con-
sciousness; the eye cannot see tomorrow's pot, which is yet to
be created, nor yesterday's pot, which no longer exists. Only
thought can reflect on past and future objects. It is also thought,
not direct perception, that superimposes onto presently existing
phenomena a continuity extending from the past to the future.
For example, when a person observes a river flowing by,
56 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
what actually appears to the eye consciousness is just the minute,
presently appearing particles of water as well as the imperma-
nence and other aspects which are one substantial entity with
them. The particles of water-the present stream of them-are
specifically characterized phenomena, appearing objects of the
eye consciousnessthat perceives them. The minute particles of
water which have already passed and those yet to come do not
appear at all to direct perception, only to thought. Nevertheless,
when a person whose shoe was carried off by the water of a
river early in the day returns to that spot later on, he feels,
"There is the river which carried away my shoe." The stream
of water that took the shoe has actually passed away long before,
but such appears to his mind because earlier and later parts of
the water's stream appear the same for thought. 10 The person's
sense of presently seeing the very river that carried off his shoe
is a case of thought superimposing a mixture of former and
later times onto a present object of direct perception. Nearly all
ordinary experience of the world involves an unanalyzed mix-
ture of conceptual thought and direct perception. This occurs
to the point where what is merely imputed by thought often
seems to be established by way of its own nature, just as an
imputed stream stretching from morning to evening seems ac-
tually to appear to the eye consciousness that explicitly perceives
only presently existing particles of water.
How can tiny particles of water appear to the sense con-
sciousness of an ordinary being? The individual particles are
not individually ascertained and cannot serve as causal condi-
tions for generating an eye consciousness, but they do appear
to the eye consciousness. For, as a complete engager the eye
consciousness perceives all that is one substantial entity in place,
time, and nature with its object. The collection of these particles
at any given time, therefore, is the specifically characterized
phenomenon which is an appearing object of direct perception.
Moreover, the fact that the individual particles are not ascer-
tained and so cannot serve as the objective causal condition does
not contradict the fact that the cohesive unit which is a collection
of numerous particles does appear. For, even though one cannot
see individual trees from a distance, one does not hesitate to
say that the forest can be seen. Similarly, in order for a fist to
appear it is necessary for the collection of five fingers to appear.
Any whole-whether a pot, river, forest or fist-cannot ap-
pear to direct percepti0fol except by its. appearing;
therefore, it must be saId that the mmute partIcles of matter
that compose a pot, river, and so forth appear to the direct
perceiver cognizing that object. Thus, according to the dGe-Iugs-
pa presentation of .Sautrantika, a as a is not
merely imputed to Its parts. Just as the mdlvldual partIcles are
specifically characterized phenomena which exist by way of their
own nature without being imputed by thought or terminology,
the wholes which are composites of those particles also exist by
way of their own nature.
The dGe-Iugs-pa assertion that in Sautrantika wholes and
parts are equally established by their own nature is unusual;
other Tibetan writers, such as the Sa-skya-pa Tak-tsang (sTag
tshang) and most modern scholars of Sautrantika, consider only
the particles to be established by their own nature and all wholes
to be merely imputed by thought. According to the dGe-Iugs-pa
view, if the collection of particles were not a specifically charac-
terized phenomenon, it could not appear to direct perception
and then it would be impossible to ascertain on the basis of
direct sense perception that, for example, there is a table here
or a bureau over there. This does not mean that the collection
is considered something factually other (don gzhan) than or
beyond the collection of particles, or that it has a separate entity
(ngo bo gzhan) from them. It is composed of them but not
superimposed by thought onto them. Thus, the presently exist-
ing stream of the river)n the example does appear to direct
perception and is a specifically characterized phenomenon. The
further superimposition that occurs in this example is a case of
seeing the presently existing continuum as one entity with the
continuum of river that existed hours earlier. Thus, the collec-
tion of presently existing particles that occupies a certain area
is an ultimate truth, a specifically characterized phenomenon
that exists by way of its own nature. The temporal continuity
of the stream, however-which is superimposed onto both pres-
ently existing particles and particles that have either ceased to
exist or not yet come into existence in the sense of conceiving
these to be one entity-is merely imputed by thought, and in
fact does not exist at all.
Each of the five sense consciousnesses can take only one of
58 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
the five types of objects as its appearing object. That is, It IS
capable of observing or taking on the aspects cast by only one
type of object. The eye consciousness sees only color and shape,
configurations of particles; the ear consciousness hear sounds,
the nose consciousness smells odors, the tongue consciousness
experiences tastes, and the body consciousness feels tangible
objects. Each of these consciousnesses explicitly realizes its own
specific object-a smell, taste, and so forth. This is because an
explicit realization (dngos rtogs ) can occur only when the aspect
of an object is cast toward an appropriate consciousness. At that
time, the eye consciousness, for example, realizes the table itself,
which is a collection of particles of form. This eye consciousness
realizes the specifically characterized table, but it does not realize
the table's own specifically characterized nature rang
mtshan). This would involve the realization of everything that is
one entity of establishment and abiding with the table, including
its subtle impermanence, productness, and so forth. In other
words, it would entail realizing all that characterizes the mode
of abiding of the table's own nature (rang mtshan gyi gnas lugs).
To realize the specifically characterized nature of a phenomenon
is to ascertain all its specific characteristics. Although these do
appear to the eye consciousness-whereby it can be called a
mind of complete engagement-they are not ascertained.
fact that the eye consciousness cannot induce ascertainment of
the specifically characterized nature of its objects does not mean
that it is mistaken with respect to that nature. Because that
nature does appear to it, the eye consciousness is considered
unmistaken with respect to the actual nature of tables and so
forth and is, therefore, considered an ultimate mind. In Sautran-
tika, there is no contradiction in not realizing something and
being unmistaken with respect to it. 12 Since phenomena cast
their aspect to the consciousness in accordance with their own
mode of abiding, the direct perceiver or ultimate consciousness
does not perceive anything which is not the mode of abiding of
the object. 13 In brief, whatever a sense consciousness ascertains,
it ascertains correctly; however, it does not ascertain all aspects
of its objects.
Explicit realization of an object means that the perceiving
consciousness must take on the aspect of that object, much like
a mirror reflects things by taking on an image or aspect of those
things. Because the eye consciousness, for example, can be gen-
erated only into the aspect of color or shape, only colors and
shapes can be realized directly by i1. Therefore, although in
. general a cedar table is an object of the eye consciousness ap-
prehending a table, only color and shape of that table
are directly realIzed by that conSCIousness. Other factors related
with the table, its odor and tangibility for example, are not
explicitly realized ?y the this not under-
mine the Sautrantika assertIOn that dIrect perceIvers such as the
eye consciousness are complete engagers which operate with
respect to everything that is of one substantial entity of produc-
tion and abiding-that is, simultaneous in existence with-that
object? It is suitable to say that the eye consciousness sees the
table because the table itself is color and shape; it is also the
basis of qualities such as odor and tangibility which are actually
perceived by other senses.
Similarly, it might be asked whether or not the eye con-
sciousness sees fire or water. Although both of these have color
and shape, water itself is defined as "that which is damp and
moistening" and fire as "that which is hot and burning.,,13 In
other words, these are, technically, objects not of sight but of
the body consciousness which can experience the dampness of
water or the heat of fire; still, a dGe-Iugs-pa will say that water
and fire appear to the eye consciousness. Does this contradict
the Buddhist assertion that the eye consciousness explicitly per-
ceives only color and shape? No, because water and fire do not
appear to the eye consciousness independently, as do color and
shape; they appear to the eye consciousness through something
. else appearing first. Therefore, their appearance depends on
the appearance of their color and shape to the eye consciousness.
An actual object of apprehension of the eye consciousness (mig
shes kyi gzung bya) on the other hand is something that can appear
to that consciousness without depending on anything else; only
color and shape fulfill this criterion, and thus only they are
actual objects of apprehension for the eye consciousness. How-
ever, everything that the eye consciousness sees is not necessar-
ily, technically speaking, its object of apprehension. For exam-
ple, the impermanence of a table, its productness and so forth
are not objects of apprehension of the eye consciousness, but
they do appear to it by means of other phenomena-the color
60 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
and shape which are objects of apprehension-appearing. 15 Ob-
jects ofthe eye consciousness, therefore, fall into two categories:
(1) objects of apprehension, namely, color and shape, and (2)
other phenomena, such as fire, which are known in dependence
on color and shape.
Another measure of the fact that color and shape are objects
of apprehension for the eye consciousness is that the eye con-
sciousness, like a mirror, actually takes on the aspect of the
colors and shapes it perceives. The eye consciousness does not,
however, take on the aspects of water or fire. This is considered
a sign that the eye consciousness is not actually seeing fire or
water-it does not know or experience the wetness or heat which
are the distinguishing characteristics of these. However, in terms
of ordinary conventional speech, it is suitable to say that the eye
sees water or fire due to the fact that it sees the color and shape
of these.
Moreover, as a direct perceiver the eye consciousness
is a mind of complete engagement that necessarily perceives all
factors of its objects which are one entity of establishment and
abiding in relation to place, nature, and time. It does not neces-
sarily perceive factors that are simply one entity with its objects,
however. Thus, with respect to seeing a table, there is no con-
tradiction in the eye consciousness explicitly perceiving the table
but not its tangibility. This is because although tangibility is in
general one substantial entity with the table/
its tangibility is
not infallibly concomitant with the table in terms of place, time,
and nature. For, whatever is one entity with a table is not neces-
sarily one entity with a table's tangibility. For example, a table's
shape is not a tangible object. 18
IV. Appearing Objects of Direct Perception
The table that appears to the eye consciousness is an imper-
manent thing. However, the appearing object
snang yul) of that eye consciousness is not just visible form-
namely, color and shape. For, in the Buddhist presentation all
functioning things are included within three categories: forms,
consciousnesses, and that which is neither-non-associated com-
positional factors (viprayukta-sar(lskara, ldan min 'du byed) such as
"impermanence, which are neither form nor consciousness.
fully appearing object or an apprehension of
an eye consciousness cannot be mcluded m Just the of
form. This is because many phenomena that are not the Imper-
manent table-and thus not form-but are non-associated com-
positional factors, such as productness, impermanence, and so
forth, appear to the eye consciousness simultaneously with the
table. These are also appearing objects of the eye consciousness,
although, as in the examples of fire and water above, they are
not technically objects of apprehension of the eye consciousness.
The table is the basis of these appearances; thus, it is necessary
to distinguish the appearing object of direct perception-the
table or, specifically, the color and shape of the table-from the
many phenomena related with it which are not the table but do
also appear.
Everything that is one entity of establishment and
abiding with table in relation to place, time, and nature is an
object of the collectively engaging eye consciousness
that apprehends table, but all impermanent and non-associated
compositional factors which are associated with table and which
therefore also appear to that eye consciousness are not them-
selves the table.
Permanent phenomena associated with a table cannot ap-
pear to direct perception because Sautrantika asserts that perma-
nent phenomena, being incapable of casting an aspect, cannot
be appearing objects of direct perception. Thus, the emptiness
associated with a table cannot appear to direct perception, even
though the table itself appears and even though the table and
its emptiness are a single entity. A table's emptiness is its lack
of being used or enjoyed by substantially existent persons. This
can be conceptually realized but not directly perceived according
to Sautrantika. Thus, emptiness-realization of which is the
chief antidote to the most subtle forms of ignorance-can be
realized only implicitly, not directly by a direct perceiver. The
type of valid cognition that explicitly realizes emptiness is con-
ceptual; namely, inference (anumfina, rjes dpag).
The eye consciousness observing a table is non-conceptual;
this means it does not have an articulate realization that "this
is a table." Further, although it realizes the specifically charac-
terized table, it cannot ascertain all the specific characteristics
of a table such as its subtle impermanence.
Thus, the eye
consciousness does not fully realize the specifically characterized
nature of the table it perceives, for such a realization would
entail ascertainment of the table's subtle impermanence, prod-
uctness, momentary disintegration, and so forth. It would have
to realize the mode of abiding of the table's own nature (rang
mtshan gyi gnas lugs). Because the eye consciousness is a complete
engager, this would mean that it would necessarily ascertain
everything that is the nature or own-character of the table. The
eye consciousness, however, is not ordinarily capable of ascer-
taining the subtle characteristics of its objects.
Thus, even though a table is a specifically characterized
phenomenon and a product, the direct perception observing a
table does not ordinarily realize it as such, despite the fact that
both specifically characterized phenomenon and product, which
are one entity with the table, are appearing to it. This further
emphasizes the limitations of ordinary direct perceivers or ulti-
mate consciousnesses in Sautrantika and indicates the necessity
for cultivating a conceptual understanding of, for example, sub-
tle impermanence, productness, and emptiness.
v. How a Direct Perceiver Knows Objects
The Buddhist systems have two ways of explaining the work-
ings of direct perception, non-aspected and aspected. The only
proponents of non-aspected direct perception are the Vai-
the upper three systems-Sautrantika, Cittamatra, and
Madhyamika-all assert some type of aspected direct percep-
tion. These three systems maintain that the aspect of an object
is cast toward or impinges on the consciousness. According to
this is not the case. In this latter view, direct percep-
tion means that both the eye sense power and the eye conscious-
ness meet the object and thereby know it. Unlike any of the
upper systems, the maintain that both the eye sense
and the eye consciousness perceive, for example, a table.
argue that if, as the other systems assert, only the eye conscious-
ness knew the object, there would be no explanq.tion for why
we do not see through walls and so forth. The eye sense is
simultaneous with the object it cognizes and a different substan-
tial entity from it. 24
Thus, according to Vaibhasika, a direct valid cognizer is not
necessarily a consciousness because the sense power itself-the
subtle matter inside the eye organ-also cognizes its object di-
rectly. In Sautrantika. (as as and
Prasangika-MadhyamIka) thIS sense power IS one of the three
causal conditions for generation of an eye consciousness and
exists just prior to the eye consciousness which is its own effect.
All three upper systems agree that only the eye-consciousness-
not the eye sense power-is a direct perceiver of the object.
Because in the eye consciousness and eye sense
extend out to the object, there is no discussion of perception
by way of an aspect, that is, of the object .reflected in
consciousness. The only aspect connected wIth dIrect perceptIOn
is the objective aspect (don rnam )-the object itself. Furthermore,
because the consciousness contacts an object with which it is
simultaneous, the object is not a causal condition that effects or
impinges on the consciousness.
By contrast, the upper three systems concur in asserting
that an aspect of the object either appears
or is cast toward
the consciousness; all but the Cittamatrins and Yogacara-Svatan-
trikas further maintain that the object is a causal condition or
observed-object-condition for the generation of a consciousness
that perceives it in the next moment. This, in the view of these
systems, is objective aspect. Thus, the proponents of both
non-aspected and aspected perception agree on the existence
of an objective aspect; there is a difference of opinion, however,
even among proponents of aspected perception, as to whether
this objective aspect is a cause of the perceiving consciousness
or not. In Sautrantika, subject and object in direct perception
are not simultaneous, as in but serial. Even though
a directly perceiving consciousness and its object are consecutive,
the consciousness does clearly perceive the object, because it is
one entity with the aspect of the object. The aspect with which
it is one entity is a consciousness aspect (shes rnam) not an objec-
tive aspect. Thus, one reason for positing aspected direct percep-
tion is to explain how a consciousness directly perceives an object
that existed in the previous moment.
For example, an eye consciousness cognizing a table knows
that table by taking on or being generated into the aspect (akiira,
rnam pa) of table, much as a mirror takes on the aspect of an
object it reflects. This means it is possible to assert that the eye
consciousness takes on the aspect of a table without actually
extending out and contacting the external table. In this way one
can perceive a table as "over there" but subject and object need
not actually meet, as they must in the system.
The fact that a consciousness takes on the aspect of its object
does not mean that the object in any sense actually enters into
the eye For, a consciousness cannot have any
specific color or shape. Just as a glass placed over a blue cloth
takes on the color blue without itself becoming blue and without
blue actually entering into the glass, the eye consciousness per-
ceiving a table becomes like a table without actually becoming
a table and without a table actually entering into it.
A direct perceiver such as an eye consciousness does not
ascertain all that appears to it, and therefore is not generated
in the aspect of all objects before 'it. Being generated in the
aspect of blue, for example, is the unique characteristic or un-
common positer (thun mongma yin pa'i 'jog byed) of a consciousness
perceiving blue. Thus, even though yellow and so forth might
also appear, this eye consciousness would not be generated in
the aspect of yellow and so forth because it does not take note
of yellow at that time.
A consciousness that does not ascertain an object is not
generated in the aspect of that object. Thus if, for example, one
is deeply absorbed in listening to music, forms and so forth can
appear to the eye consciousness without that consciousness
necessarily ascertaining those forms or being generated in their
aspect. Similarly, when an impermanent phenomenon such as
a table appears to the eye consciousness, that consciousness is
generated in the aspect of table but not in the aspect of the
subtle impermanence of the table-although this subtle imper-
manence does appear to it-because one is not ascertaining
subtle impermanence. The consciousness would only be gener-
ated in that aspect if one had previously cognized subtle imper-
manence directly and could therefore ascertain it.
Thus, the aspect into which the consciousness is generated,
even though similar to the external object, is itself of the nature
of consciousness.
One indication that perception is aspected
is the fact that if something is placed very close to the eye you
cannot see it properly. This is because the aspect cannot appear
unless there is some distance between the object and perceiving
. 30
. An aspect similar to the object (yul gyi 'dra rnam) is cast
toward the eye consciousness which then takes on or is generated
'in the aspect of that object. Both the objective (don rnam) and
subjective aspects (shes rnam) are known'as apprehension aspects
(bzung rnam). When the eye consciousness perceives a table, for
'example, that very consciousness-like a glass placed over blue
cloth-takes on the aspect similar to the table. This subjective
apprehension aspect
is also .known as a consciousness aspect
(jiiiina-iikiira, shes rnam). In thIS context, some scholars say that
the consciousness-aspect is an aspect similar to the object (yul
gyi 'dra rnam).32 However, this assertion is not common to all
dGe-Iugs-pas. For, some monastic texts assert that only objective
aspects can be aspects similar to the object and that no other
aspect of the object (yul gyi rnam pa) is involved in direct percep-
In any case, the subjective and objective apprehension as-
pects (bzung rnam) are similar, like the reflection of a face in the
mirror and the actual face. When it is said that the eye conscious-
ness is generated in the aspect of the object (dngos po'i rnam ldan
du skyes pa) the aspect referred to is the subjective apprehension
aspect or consciousness aspect. To say that an eye consciousness
perceiving a table, for example, is generated in the aspect of
that table also means that the consciousness has become or taken
on the entity of a consciousness that has table as its aspect, that
is to say, which ascertains a table.
This perception of an aspected direct perception is shared
by the higher systems and is a marked departure from the Vai-
view of an aspectless direct perception. One significant
reason why the do not posit aspected direct percep-
tion is that they cannot distinguish between subjective and ob-
jective apprehension aspects.
Hence, for them, whatever is an
aspect or appearance of a table necessarily is a material table.
, Therefore, they cannot posit a consciousness aspect or subjective
apprehension aspect, for this would entail the absurdity either
of the consciousness being material or of the object itself being
immaterial. 36 They must argue that no aspect exists anywhere
between the observing consciousness and the object itself. For,
66 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
if there were something between the consciousness and its object,
that something would have to be an appearance (snang ba) which,
in their view, is none other than the object itself. Thus, they
maintain that since the appearance is not the object, there can
be no proof for an object-that is, a subjective aspect-which
does not appear.
That which is generated in the image of the object is the
consciousness aspect, also known as the subjective apprehension
That which is apprehended is the object-also known
as the apprehension aspect existing in the object (yul la yod pa'i
gzung rnam). 39 This apprehension aspect and the consciousness
or subjective apprehension aspect are one entity, just as a mirror
and the image it reflects are one entity.40 In this assertion, the
Sautrantikas seem to be approaching the Cittamatra (Mind-
Only) position that a perceiving consciousness is the same entity
as its object. However, according to Sautrantika, it is still an
external object that is being realized; the aspect in the conscious-
ness arises through the power of that external object, whereas
for Cittamatrins, subject and object both arise from the same
internal latency (viisana, bag chags)Y Furthermore, even though
the reflected aspect of an external object is one entity with the
consciousness in which it is reflected and is an aspect of the
external object, Sautrantika does not assert that whatever is an
aspect of the object is necessarily the object itselfY Thereby,
they maintain that subject and object are different substantial
entities. Unlike the Cittamatrins, the Sautrantikas do not try to
prove that the object aspect is one substantial entity with the
consciousness that perceives it.
For, whatever is the aspect of
a table, according to Sautrantika, is not necessarily a table. The
eye consciousness realizing a table, for example/
takes on the
aspect of the table, and this aspect, although similar to a table,
is itself the entity of consciousness, whereas the table is not.
This consciousness aspect or subjective apprehension aspect has
the feature of mixing or combining both the objective and sub-
jective aspects. These aspects are "mixed" in the sense that the
apprehension aspect is common to both subject and object. The
wayan object becomes known is through this common aspect;
however, it is not the case that the object itself becomes mixed
with the consciousness.
In short, aspected perception means that direct perception
knows an object by way of an aspect similar to that object being
generated in the. itself. .
. Cittamatra, lIke Sautrantlka, also asserts that the conscIOUS-
ness is generated into or takes on the aspect of the object; how-
ever, Sautrantika, unlike Cittamatra, asserts that the material
object is external, arises from causes and conditions unrelated
with the consciousness, and will continue to exist as a collection
of particles even when it is no longer perceived by that particular
consciousness. In brief, the Sautrantikas (as well as Sautrantika-
Svatantrika-Madhyamika and Prasangika-Madhyamika) main-
tain that a consciousness and its object are different substantial
entities arising from different substantial causes, whereas for
Cittamatra and Yogacara-Svatantrika subject and object are one
substantial entity, arising simultaneously from a single cause-a
predisposition previously established in the mind.
The Sautrantikas and other proponents of aspected direct
perception are specifically refuting the tenet of as-
pectless perception. If an object were capable of illuminating
or knowing itself, no perceiving consciousness would be re-
quired, but since material objects have no such capacity, they
must be known by means of a perceiving consciousness. On this
much all four systems agree. The Sautrantikas and the others
further make the case that aspectless perception is unsuitable
for, if such existed, the object could only be known when the
consciousness actually extended out to the object. If direct per-
ception operated in this way, argues Sautrantika, the eye con-
sciousness, for example, should be able to see through walls and
so forth, because consciousness is not obstructed by material
objects. The Sautrantikas reject the explanation that
the eye sense power, extending to the object along with the eye
consciousness, is obstructed by walls, and therefore one cannot
see through them. For, the Sautrantikas do hot consider the
sense power to be a perceiver of objects. According to them,
the fact that we do not see through walls is an indication that
direct perception operates by way of an aspect, as it is a sign
that aspectless perception does not exist. Thus, the position of
Sautrantika and the higher systems is that if there were no
aspected direct perception, either objects would not be seen at
68 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
all-because the consciousness would have no way of relating
to them-or we should be able to see through walls because the
consciousness knows objects by actually going out to them.
An important Indian source for this position is a passage
in Ornament to the Middle Way (Madhyamakala1lJkara,
dbU ma rgyan) , quoted by Jam-yang-shay-bain his Great Exposition
of Tenets (Grub mtha' chen mo):
Regarding the position that consciousness is aspected,
Actually the two [a glass and the blue cloth on which it is placed]
are different;
[Yet] because there is an image similar to the [object]
Feeling [i.e., experience of that object] is suitable
Through the mere imputation [of seeing it in the glass].
If an aspect exists, comprehension of the object is suitable.
In this way, indicates that direct perception is pos-
sible only because the perceiving consciousness can take on the
aspect of its object.
VI. Location and Identification of the Aspect
Although the above explanation is clear and well reasoned,
on closer examination it becomes very difficult to state precisely
where the aspect arises and of what it consists. In one view, the
consciousness aspect similar to the object-or the aspect into
which the consciousness is generated-exists in the pupil of the
eye itself. Thus, when the pupil deteriorates one cannot see
very well because the proper basis for the aspect no longer
Some scholars assert that the objective apprehension
aspect exists somewhere between the object and the perceiving
consciousness. An indication in support of this view is that clear
perception does not occur if the eye is too close to its object,
suggesting that there is not sufficient room to allow for proper
generation of the aspect.
In this view, the eye consciousness
actually perceives not the object itself but the objective aspect-
which is like the object but which is not the object-and seeing
this similar aspect functions as seeing the object.
This position,
although not widely asserted among present-day dGe-lugs-pa
scholars, is supported by a statement in Gyel-tsap's Commentary
. on (Dharmakirti's) "Ascertainment Of Valid Cognition". (PramiiTJaviniS-
a:ya) where it is asserted that the aspect does eXIst between the
c , .. d b· 51
consciousness and Its perceIve 0 ~ e c t .
The aspect into which the consciousness is generated is
. simultaneous with the directly perceiving consciousness and is
itself necessarily consciousness. This is because it cannot be
either the perceived object, which is material, or the subtle mat-
ter inside the eye organ, for object and eye organ are, respec-
tively, the observed-object-condition and uncommon dominant
condition of the eye consciousness, due to which they exist prior
to that consciousness. Both have ceased when the eye conscious-
ness, which is their effect, begins to function. Thus, it is not
suitable that either object or sense power be the subjective ap-
prehension aspect.
It would also not be suitable to consider the apprehension
.aspect to be a non-associated compositional factor, namely, an
aspect common to the three components of perception-eye
consciousness, eye sense, and object. For, the actual subjective
apprehension aspect, the one that mixes or is similar to subject
and object aspects, can only be a consciousness. 52 Also, it is not
the object because the consciousness aspect, though similar to
the object, is a different substantial entity from it.
From the above, it is clear that the subjective apprehension
aspect is not the actual object. However, it may be that this
aspect seems to be the external object. Still, if the subjective
apprehension aspect seems to be the object but is not, then
direct perception would absurdly have the same type of mistake
as conceptual thought, for to thought, the image mistakenly
seems to be the actual object it represents, but is not.
mayor may f).ot actually misconceive the image to be the object;
in most cases it does not. However, one could argue that such
a mistake never applies to direct perception because the similar
aspect ('dra rnam) of the table is never construed to be the table;
the aspect merely appears as similar to table. Since it is in fact
similar to the table, there is no mistake involved. 54
Some proponents of the view that the subjective apprehen-
sion aspect exists in the pupil of the eye hold that this does not
necessarily contradict the view that an apprehension aspect also
exists between eye consciousness and object. This interceding
apprehension aspect (bzung rnam) is considered an objective as-
pect (don rnam). FOT, one could assert the pupil to be the locus
of the subject apprehension aspect and consider that the aspect
between subject and object is the objective aspect. However, this
is difficult to uphold because the objective apprehension aspect
itself is material, due to which there would be the absurdity of
a material table existing between the eye consciousness and the
actual table. It makes more sense to consider the interceding
object as a subjective apprehension aspect. Still, in this case, it
is implicitly contradictory to the view of a subjective apprehen-
sion aspect existing in the eye, because there is no explicit pre-
sentation of two subjective apprehension aspects-although this
is not explicitly refuted either. In any case, there is a further
problem with this assertion. If the subjective apprehension as-
pect itself is a consciousness, why would cognition of a table
require the presence of an eye consciousness? A consciousness
does not need to appear to another consciousness in order to
know its own object. 55 If one asserts that the subjective apprehen-
sion aspect needs to appear, does it follow that this aspect is in
fact a table and not a consciousness? Some say that the perceived
aspect is in the table, others that it is not. 56 One way to settle
it, as mentioned above, is to consider that from the viewpoint
of the consciousness' perception of table, it is a consciousness-
or subjective apprehension aspect-and from the viewpoint of
its being the apprehended aspect itself it is an object or objective
apprehension aspect.
This is an interesting topic for further exploration, as valu-
able for the problems it raises as for the presentation that could
be uncovered. For, the difficulties of making a presentation that
can settle all the problems it raises without self-contradiction-
for example, maintaining the existence of external objects within
asserting aspected direct perception-tends to draw thought on
to both the Cittamatrin and Madhyamika systems and prepares
one to understand their respective positions of no external ob-
jects and no inherently existent or findable objects or subjects.
VII. Different Positions Asserting Aspected Perception
In general, there are three different presentations of how
aspected direct perception knows an object, that of the Pro po-
nentsof an Equal Number of Subjects and Objects (gzung 'dzin
grang mnyam pa), the Non-Pluralists (sna tshags gnyis med pa), and
the Half-Eggists (sga nga phyed tshal ba). These three presenta-
tions are common to the Sautrantika and Cittamatra systems
(although, as will be explained below, there is disagreement
among dGe-Iugs-pa scholars as to whether or not any Sautran-
tikas assert the Half-Eggist position).
The Proponents of an Equal Number of Subjects and Ob-
jects assert that number of as one substan-
tial entity of estabhshment and abIdmg with, for example, a
table, that many aspects are cast to the perceiving consciousness.
Some proponents of this position assert that there are as many
simultaneous consciousnesses as there are appearing aspects;
others, that a single consciousness is generated into. as many
· 57
aspects as are cast towar It.
The Non-Pluralists say that the many aspects of a given
object appear to a single consciousness simultaneously and that
this consciousness itself takes on all the various aspects. Some
scholars assert that these aspects appear not simultaneously but
serially, in such quick succession that they seem simultaneous.
Holders of this position, known as Sequential Non-Pluralists
(rim gyis pa'isna tshags gnyis med pa), are said by Jam-yang-shay-pa
and Jang-gya to exist among Sautrantikas.
The Half-Eggists assert that only a single aspect-for exam-
ple, a general aspect similar to a table or to a mottle-colored
cloth-appears to a single consciousness, and that this conscious-
ness is generated only into that aspect. One potential objection
to this position is that, since direct perception is necessarily a
mind of complete engagement that observes all aspects of its
object, it is unsuitable to say that only the general aspect, for
example, of the mottle-colored cloth is cast, because of the un-
wanted consequence that the particular colors would not then
appear. However, the Half-Eggists maintain that although only
the general aspect of the mottle is cast, the consciousness is still
able to see the separate colors contained in the mottle. This is
because it does not follow that only that which casts its aspect
is capable of being seen. It could be said that even though the
entire collection of aspects appears and can be seen, the appear-
ance of the individual colors is weak whereas that of the collec-
tion of the colors-the mottle itself-is strong. Thus, the eye
72 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
consciousness which is generated in the aspect of a mere mottle
is a fully qualified complete engager because everything that is
one entity of establishment and abiding with that mottle does
. 59
appear to It.
As to whether or not any Sautrantikas assert the Half-Eggist
position, Jang-gya writes that Tsong-ka-pa and his chief disci-
ples, Gyel-tsap and Kay-drup, did not clearly state an opinion
on this topic. However, both Jam-yang-shay-pa and Jang-gya
consider that it would be difficult to posit the Half-Egg position
for Sautrantika, an opinion based on their interpretation of an
important Indian source for this position, Santarak:;ita's Com-
mentary to the "Ornament to the Middle Way" (Madhyamaka-alar(lkiira-
vr:tti, dbU ma'i rgyan gyi 'grel pa). Although mainly setting forth
the Svatantrika tenet system, this is an important source for the
Sautrantika and Cittamatra discussions of the various ways of
asserting aspected perception. This text states:
Consciousnesses arise serially
With respect to the white and so forth [of a mottle].
Because they arise very quickly
Fools think they are simultaneous. 50
Jam-yang-shay-pa's commentator, Bel-den-cho-jay, considers
this to be a statement of the Half-Eggist position. J am-yang-shay-
pa himself and J ang-gya do not. (This is a not so rare instance
of Jam-yang-shay-pa's commentator disagreeing with him.)
Hence, the former two maintain that there are Sautrantika Half-
Eggists, the latter that there are not. Their disagreement is due
to the fact that they have different ways of asserting what the
Half-Eggist position is. Jang-gya and J am-yang-shay-pa consider
that the Half-Eggists assert that when the aspect of a mere
mottle, for example, is cast, there is no casting of as many aspects
as are one substantial entity of establishment and abiding with
that mottle. Thus, in this view, when the eye consciousness
perceives a mottle-colored cloth, the aspect of the mere mottle
is cast toward the eye consciousness; there is no casting of how-
ever many aspects there are of the mottle's red, yellow, and so
forth. Therefore, because the above quote, in mentioning a
serial generation of consciousness with respect to a single object,
indicates that many different aspects are cast to the conscious-
ness, Jam-yang-shay-pa and Jang-gya do not consider it to indi-
cate the Half-Eggist position. Rather, they assert this quote to
.be an expression of the Sequential Non-Pluralist position;
namely, that all aspects of the object appear serially but iIi such
quick succession that they simultaneous. In other words,
both sides agree on the meamng of the quote, but not on the
system it
Because Santarak1;iita's Commentary to the "Ornament to the
Middle Way" is one of the major Indian sources for Sautrantika,61
those who, like Bel-den-cho-jay, consider this verse to represent
the Half-Eggist position maintain that there are Sautrantika
Half-Eggists; those who consider it to express the position of
the Sequential Non-Pluralists do·not. They posit the Half-Eggist
position in relation to Cittamatra only, not Sautrantika. In their
view, the three Sautrantika positions regarding aspected direct
perception are (1) Non-Pluralists, (2) Sequential Non-Pluralists
and (3) Proponents of an Equal Number of Subjects and Objects.
It seems that any of these positions can be supported, de-
pending on one's choice of quotes and interpretations. One
value of the discussion in the context of Sautrantika and of the
general course of study appears to be to draw students into
critical evaluation and analysis of the relevant texts. This is done
within a recognition that conclusions are made despite the dif-
i ficulties of interpretation they entai1.
The other main value
revolves around drawing one even more into examining the
relationship between object and subject.
VIII. The Perceiving Consciousness as Both Subject and Object
Any perceiving consciousness is accompanied by a factor of
self-knowing (svasar[tvedana, rang rig) which experiences or
knows that consciousness. For example, while the eye conscious-
ness is observing a circus act, the self-knower experiencing that
eye consciousness takes the eye consciousness observing the cir-
cus as its object. Thus, although in relation to the circus the eye
consciousness is a perceiving subject, in relation to the self-
knower it is a perceived object. Proof that the self-knower exists
is said to be the fact that when one reflects on the circus seen
previously, one not only the circus itself but the
mind that observed It.
The Sautrantikas, Cittamatrins, and Yogacara-Svatantrikas
all assert the existence of a self-knowing consciousness, main-
taining that it is the only explanation for such memories. The
do not assert self-knowers-they cannot, because
they are unable to assert a subjective apprehension aspect that
could be its object.
For, the self-knower observes not merely
the perceiving consciousness but the consciousness aspect which
is similar to the actual object. The Sautrantika-Svatantrika-
Madhyamikas and the Prasangika-Madhyamikas also reject the
self-knower on the basis that it would involve a confusion of
agent and object.
The explicit object (dngos yul) of the self-knower is the per-
ceiving consciousness that is generated in the aspect of its object.
Through observing this. subjective apprehension aspect, the self-
knower indirectly knows the perceived object. In relation to the
self-knower, all other consciousnesses are objective apprehension
aspects (gzung rnam);64 a self-knower is the only type of con-
sciousness that is never an appearing object of any other non-
conceptual consciousness in the same continuum. The con-
sciousness which a self-knower apprehends never apprehends
that self-knower.
Jam-yang-shay-pa describes the relationship between a di-
rectly perceived object, the directly perceiving consciousness,
and its factor of self-knowing through the example of a stained
All Buddhist proponents of [consciousness] as having aspects
[the Sautrantikas on up] assert the following: If one coats the
far side of a glass with paint, then when one looks at [it] both
the glass and the paint are similar in being perceived objects.
[However] the glass is realized by way of its own thingness and
the color by way of an image [in the glass], although there is no
way of distinguishing the two, image and glass. Therefore, the
master Bodhibhadra said:
When a person looks at a glass on which the color of tortoise paint
has been applied, the eye apprehends both glass and paint; the
glass is apprehended directly and the paint is apprehended [by
way of an image]. Therefore, just as the person apprehends two
objects, [direct perception involves two objects of apprehension].65
.The two objects of apprehension indicated here are the external
by eye consciousness, and the
sciousness Itself, perceIved by the The ObjectIve
aspect of similar type rnam kyi bzung
which in some scholars VIew could be posIted as a thIrd obJect-
anoqjective apprehension aspect existing between the eye con-
• sciousness and an external object such as a table-is not rep-
. resented in this example.
The self-knower experiences the eye consciousness directly,
just as, in the the glass is seen The self-know:r
experiences the object of the eye conSCIousness by way of ItS
image-that is, through perceiving the subjective apprehension
aspect into which the eye consciousness is generated-just as
'the blue is known indirectly by looking at it through glass. The
self-knower, therefore, is aware of external objects indirectly,
through the medium of the subjective apprehension aspect or
the consciousness aspect. The eye consciousness knows the ob-
ject directly although, as noted above, some scholars assert that
what the eye consciousness actually perceives is the objective
apprehension aspect and not the object itself.
Another way to express this is that in relation to the eye
consciousness apprehending blue there are two aspects, ap-
prehended and apprehending. The apprehending aspect
(grahaka-akara, 'dzin rnam) is the factor of experience, the self-
knower. The apprehended aspect (grahya-akiira, bzung rnam)
consists of two factors of illumination: the factor of the object
which is illuminated-in this case, the color blue-and the factor
of the consciousness that illuminates it.
In any case, because the self-knower is a factor of experience
that is one entity with the perceiving consciousness, the difficulty
remains of explaining more fully how the two factors of a single
directly perceiving consciousness relate to one another. For
example, it is said that the self-knower observes the subjective
apprehension aspect; yet, why should one consciousness or fac-
tor of consciousness need to appear to another one? Is the
self-knower itself then generated in the image of the apprehen-
sion aspect? The Prasangika system rejects the assertion of a
self-knower because it considers that if a self-knower had to be
posited in order to explain the self-awareness of an eye con-
sciousness, then that self-knower would also have to possess a
self-knower, and so on infinitely.
The Sautrantika system, like the higher systems, asserts as-
pected direct perception in order to avoid the faults it finds with
the V a i b h a ~ i k a assertion of aspectless direct perception. The
main problem with the V a i b h a ~ i k a presentation is that it must
posit sense powers such as the eye sense as knowers of external
objects; otherwise, they could not explain why consciousnesses
do not see through walls and so forth. This means that in Vai-
b h a ~ i k a the sense-power is not considered a causal condition for
perception, as it is in Sautrantika, Sautrantika-Svatantrika-
Madhyamika and Prasangika-Madhyamika. Therefore, in Vai-
b h a ~ i k a (as in Cittamatra) subject and object are simultaneous.
In Sautrantika, however, the main significance of categorizing
impermanent phenomena as ultimate truths is the ability of
such objects to act as causal conditions for the generation of an
ultimate or directly perceiving consciousness. The entire Saut-
rantika tenet system is built along the axis of distinguishing the
apearing objects of direct perception (ultimate truths) from the
appearing objects of thought (conventional truths) in terms of
how these two types of valid cognizers know their respective
objects. Thus, the presentation of aspected direct perception, a
correlate of the assertion that an external object is prior to and
a causal condition of the consciousness that directly perceives
it, is central to the dGe-Iugs-pa Sautrantika system.
With certain modifications, the explanation of aspected di-
rect perception remains valid for the higher systems as well.
Nevertheless, a presentation of aspected direct perception in-
volves a number of difficulties, such as identifying exactly what
the apprehension aspect is and detailing whether or not the
directly perceiving consciousness knows its objects by means of
a subjective apprehension aspect. The difficulties themselves
are very instructive, as the explanation that even direct perceiv-
ers are actually observing a subjective apprehension aspect leads
one quite naturally to an interest in and critical appreciation of
the Cittamatra system. In Cittamatra, subject and object are said
to be both one entity and simultaneous, thereby avoiding certain
difficulties of the Sautrantika position (such as how to integrate
the subjective and objective apprehension aspects) but encoun-
tering other problems, such as how to account for shared experi-
ences or clairvoyant knowledge of another's mind when there
'are no external objects which are a different substantial entity
from one's own mind.
The difficulties in Sautrantika of pin-
pointing exactly where the apprehension aspects exist are also
provocative. These aspects are impermanent phenomena and
. hence ultimate truths in this system; therefore, they are, by
definition, not merely imputed by either terms or thoughts but,
at least in theory, specifically located and findable. The problems
associated with determining exactly what that specific location
is-whether external, internal, or both-leads one to an interest
in and critical appreciation of the Madhyamika system, which
presents all permanent arid phenomena as
ically unfindable, yet functIonal. In thIS way, the Sautrantlka
presentation of direct perception is intended to fulfill its long
range purpose in dGe-Iugs-pa ofleading the scholar-practitioner
on to the higher systems.
Bel-den-cho-jay (see Nga-wang-bel-den).
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and Specifically Characterized Phenomena (Rang mtshan spyi mtshan gyi roam
gzhag). Collected gsung 'bum of Bstan-dar Lha-ram of A-lag-sha, VoL 1.
New Delhi: Lama Guru Deva, 1971.
Devendrabuddhi (Lha-dbang-blo), Commentary on (Dharmak'irti's) "Commentary
on (Digniiga's) 'Compendium on Valid Cognition'" (Pramii'Y}avarttikapaftjikii).
Dharmaklrti (Chos-kyi-grags-pa), 7th century Ascertainment of Valid Cognition
(Pramii'Y}aviniSchaya, Tshad ma roam par nges pa). P5710, Vol. 130.
Commentary on (Digniiga's) "Compendium on Valid Cognition"
(Pramii'Y}avarttikakiirikii, Tshad ma roam 'grel gyi tshig le'ur byas pa). P5709,
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Jam-bel-sam-pel, Ge-shay CJam-dpal-bsam-phel, dGe-gshes), d. 1975, Presen-
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78 JIARS VOL. 8 NO.1
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1. Kensur Yeshe Tupden, oral commentary.
2. Quoted by Masatoshi Nagatomi in Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Reidel,
1979, p. 255.
3. See Knowledge and Liberation and The Sautriintika Tenet System in Tibet,
both forthcoming from Snow Lion Press, Ithaca, New York, 1985.
4. Pur-bu-jok, "Great Path of Reasoning," 36a.5 (definition of complete
5. Kensur Yes hay Tupden, oral commentary.
6. Kensur Yeshay Tupden, oral commentary.
7. Kensur Yes hay Tupden, oral commentary.
S. Ven. Sangyay Samdrup, discussion.
9. Napper, Mind, p. 141; Ge-shay Jam-bel-sam-pel, Presentation of
. Awareness and Knowledge, modern blockprint, n.p., n.d., 11a.1-2.
10. 161.4ff.
11. Kensur Yeshay Tupden, oral commentary.
12. Ibid.
13. Ibid.
14. Pur-bu-jok, "The Lesser Path of Reasoning" 7.3.
15. Kensur Yeshay Tupden, oral commentary.
16. Source for this and the preceding paragraph is Lati Rinbochay, oral
17. Ven. Sangyay Samdrup, discussion.
IS. This is a widely accepted assertion but, according to Ven. Sangyay
Samdrup, some scholars argue that a table's tangibility is not one entity with it.
19. Pur-bu-jok, "The Lesser Path of Reasoning" 13.2.
20. Ge-shay Belden Drakba, oral commentary.
21. Kensur Yeshay Tupden, oral commentary.
22. Ibid.
23. Bel-den-cho-jay, Explanation of the Conventional and the Ultimate in the
Four Systems of Tenets (Grub mtha'i bzhi'i lugs kyi kun rdzob dang don dam pa'i don
mam par bshad pa) (New Delhi: Guru Deva, 1972), 31a.2.
24. See Practice and Theory p. 79 for further discussion.
25. In the epistemology and physics of classical Greece there is a similar
notion phrased in terms of the nature oflight. For example, see Plato's Republic,
The Collected Dialogues, p. 742ff.
26. Ge-shay Gedun Lodro, oral commentary.
27. Kensur Yes hay Tupden, oral commentary.
2S. Ge-shay Gedun Lodro, oral commentary.
29. Ge-shay Gedun Lodro and Ge-shay Belden Drakba, oral commen-
30. Ge-shay Gedun Lodro, oral commentary.
31. The Tibetan uses the term bzung mam-apprehension aspect-for
both subject and object. For the sake of clarity this term has been translated
as subjective apprehension aspect or objective apprehension aspect according
to context.
32. Kensur Yes hay Tupden, oral commentary.
33. Ibid.
34. Ge-shay Belden Drakba, oral commentary.
35. Kensur Yes hay Tupden, oral commentary.
36. Kensur Yeshay Tupden and Ge-shay Belden Drakba.
37. Kensur Yeshay Tupden and Ge-shay Belden Drakba. This is an
argument put forth by the in the Commentary on the Treasury of
Knowledge by Chim-jam-bel-yang (mChims mdzod), text from Go-mang Library,
Mundgod, from blocks available to them, p. 69: de dag gis yul 'dzin pa niyul
gyi mam pa ma shar bzhin du 'dzin pa yin gyi mam pa dang bcas pa ni ma yin te
snang ba 'di don rna yin na mi snang ba'i don yod pa la sgrub byed med pa'i phyir
dang rags snang shes pa yin na rags pa rdul phran bsags pa ma yin par thai ba'i phyir ra.
38. Ge-shay Tsultrim Puntsok, ofal commentary.
39. Ge-shay Gedun Lodro,' oral commentary.
40. Ge-shay Belden Drakba, oral commentary.
41. Ibid.
42. Kensur Yes hay Tupden, oral commentary.
43. Ge-shay Belden Drakba, oral commentary.
44, Kensur Yeshay Tupden, oral commentary.
45. Ibid.
46. Ge-shay Gedun Lodro, oral commentary.
47. Quoted in Great Tenets, 11a.6
48. Ge-shay Belden Drakba, oral commentary.
49. Ge-shay Gedun Lodro used the word bzungrnam (apprehension aspect).
I am inferring this to signify "objective apprehension aspect."
50. Ge-shay Gedun Lodro, oral commentary.
51. Gyel-tsap, Commentary on (Dharmakfrti's) "Ascertainment a/Valid Cogni-
tion" (rNam nges t,ik chen), Tashi Lhunpo blockprint, n.d., p. 110.2-7.
52. Ven. Sangyay Samdrup, discussion.
53. Ge-shay Belden Drakba, oral commentary.
54. Ge-shay Tsultrim Puntsok, oral commentary.
55. Ge-shay Belden Drakba, oral commentary.
56. Ibid.
57. Ge-shay Gedun Lodro, oral commentary. In either case, the position
of the proponents of an equal number of subjects and objects is refuted in
Commentary to the Ornament to the Middle Way
(MadhyamakiilarJkiiravrtti) .
58. Tsong-kha-pa and his chief disciples assert that the "own system"
(rang lugs) of Dharmaklrti's Commentary on (Digniiga's) "Treatise on Valid Cogni-
tion" is that ofthe sequential non-pluralists. However, the system (lugs) ofthis
text is that of the proponents of an equal number of subjects and objects.
Source: Ge-shay Gedun Lodro, oral commentary.
59. According to Kon-chokjik-may-wang-bo, Half-Eggists are so called
because they are half like Sautrantika-that is, their assertion that an eye
consciousness and its object are different entities accords with Sautrantika,
and half like Cittamatra, because of their assertion that an eye consciousness
and its object are both of the nature of the mind. See Practice and Theory pp.
109-110. According to the present-day rNying-ma scholar andsngags pa, Ven.
Khetsun Sangbo Rinbochay, the name reflects the Half-Eggist assertion that
subject and object are like two halves of an egg.
60. Madhyamakalar(lkaravr:tti, P5285, Vol. 101,4-5-4.
6l. Jang-gya, p. 98.l.
62. It would be an interesting project to set up a controlled laboratory
experiment by which these theories could be investigated and perhaps defini-
tivelyestablished or rejected.
63. Kensur Yes hay Tupden, oral commentary.
64. Ven. Sangyay Samdrup, discussion.
65. Great Tenets, lla.2.
66. For more on the Cittamatra tenet system, see Practice and Theory,
. pp. 107-121; also, Jeffrey Hopkins, Meditation on Emptiness (London: Wisdom
. publications, 1984), pp. 364-397.
A Text-Historical Note on
Hevajratantra II:v: 1-2
by Leonard W.J. van der KuiJP
It has been some twenty-four years since D. Snellgrove pub-
lished his editions and translation of the Hevajratantra. I Since
its appearance, little has been written on this tantra and its
associated literature. What follows is but a footnote to his trans-
lation and editions of the Hevajratantra II:v: 1-2, which in its
Sanskrit, Tibetan, and English versions reads:
atha vajrf mahariija Hevajrah sarvadalJ prabhuh II (1)
sarviikiirasvabhiiviitmii ma'fJqalarIJ sarIJprakiiSayet II
sukhiivatyiirIJ samiisfnah sarviikiirasvarupatah II
cittavajrasya bijena ni!ipanno ma'fJqale§varah II (2)
de nas rgyal po rdo rje 'dzin II
gtso bo kye rdor kun sbyin pas II
rnam kun rang bzhin bdag nyid kyi II
dkyil 'khor dag ni yang dag gsungs II (1)
rnam pa thams cad rang bzhin gyis II
bde ba can na yang dag bzhugs II
thugs kyi rdo rje sa bon gyis II
rang gi dkyil 'khor bskyed pa ste II (2)
And now the Adamantine One, the mighty King and Lord Heva-
jra, the giver of all things and the substance of all forms, dis-
courses on the ma'fJqala.
He reposes there in bliss as the essence of all forms, for he is
LQrd of the Ma'fJqala and has emanated from thee seed of the
Vajra of Mind.
84 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
In his edition of the Tibetan of these two verses, Snellgrove
has noted that both "are omitted in the Narthang edition." Since
he has also used the Beijing print of the revised translation of
the Hevajratantra by 'Gos Lo-tsa-ba-Gzhon-nu:.dpal (1392-1481),
the inclusion of these verses in this print of the Bka'-'gyur
suggests that these constituted one of his revisions of the earlier
translation by Gayadhara and 'Brog-mi Lo-tsa-ba Sakya-ye-shes
(993-1050).2 The palmleaf manuscript of Ka1)ha's Yogarat-
namiilii, a commentary on the Hevajratantra and edited by
Snellgrove, also omits these two verses.
The first indication of the existence of these two verses in
certain manuscript traditions of the Sanskrit version of the
Hevajratantra was given by the great Sa-skya-pa scholar and
practitioner Ngor-chen Kun-dga' bzang-po (1382-1456). The
author of a number of major works relating to this tantra,4
N gor-chen had apparently found three Sanskrit manuscripts
(rgya-dpe)-presumably in Sa-skya monastery-which contained
these verses. A transcription of the Sanskrit text, its translation
by N gor-chen, and a few additional notes are found in the
Sde-dge print of his collected works under the title of A Trans-
lation of the Second Chapter of the Fundamental Tantra. 5 The Sanskrit
text given by N gor-chen differs only slightly from the above
edition by Snellgrove:
Verse 1: hevajra for· hevajrah, -atma for -atma, -prakasaye for
Verse 2: sukhavatyarIJ for sukhavatyarIJ.
The text has a space, occupied by a dotted line, between hevajra
and prabhuh which could suggest a purposive editorial correction
of a miscut which had included the visarga. To be sure, these
variants are unproblematic.
More interesting, however, is the Tibetan translation of
these verses given by N gor-chen:
de nas rgyal chen rdo rje 'dzin II
kun stsol khyab bdag kye rdo rje II
rnam pa kun gyi rang bzhin bdag II
dkyil 'khor yang dag rab gsal ba II (1)
mi mnyam pa yi bde ba can II
rnam pa kun gyi rang bzhin las II
thugs kyi rda rje'i sa ban gyis II
phun sum tshags pa'i dkyil 'khar dbang II (2)
The translations of the first verse by Ngor-chen and 'Gos
Lo-tsa-ba show only minor differences. 'Gos Lo-tsa-ba evidently
preferred to the of discourse by introducin?"
the instrumental partIcle (kun-sbyzn)-pas, whereas the Sansknt
(all in the nominative case-ending) and N gor-chen's translation
(no case-ending, hence nominative) have nothing to this effect.
Furthermore, N gor-chen's rendition of san:tprakasaye(t) by yang-
dag rab-gsal-ba is perhaps semantically preferable to 'Gos Lo-tsa-
ba's yang-dag gsungs. Ma1'fq,alan:t is translated by the latter as dykil-
'khor-dag (ni), which is yet another instance of the peculiar func-
tion of the particle dag, so lucidly analysed by M. Hahn.
Snellgrove's translation of this verse stands to be corrected on
a few points:
And now, the Adamantine One, the mighty King, Hevajra, the
giver of all, the Lord, may (he) he clarify the maflq,ala (having)
the nature of the essence of all forms.
Ngor-chen's translation of the second verse is somewhat more
problematic, and so is the one by 'Gos Lo-tsa-ba. The first piida,
sukkavatya(a)n:t samasznah is rendered by N gor-chen as mi-mnyam-
pa-yi bde-ba-can!, and 'Gos Lo-tsa-ba transposed the first and
second pada-s. The latter translated -svarupatah with an instru-
mental -gyis, rather than the correct ablative -las. Ma1'fq,alesvarah
is wrongly rendered by 'Gos Lo-tsa-ba as rang-gi dkyil-'khor, "his
own ma1'fq,ala," whereas N gor-chen correctly has dykil-'khor dbang,
"the lord of the ma1'fq,ala." Again, Snellgrove's translation of this
verse needs to be somewhat amended:
Reposing in Sukhiivati, (he is) the lord of the maflcjala, perfected
(or: generated) by the seed of the adamantine mind from the
essence of all forms.
These two verses are conceptually harmless for the intent of
Hevajratantra Il:v, but the evidence suggests that they are later
inserts. All of Snellgrove's manuscripts of the Sanskrit version
of the Hevrijratantra apparently contained them, even the fif-
teenth century one from "the private library of Kaisher
Shamsher in Kathmandu." It would appear, though, that in
view of their absence in the early Sanskrit commentariallitera-
ture, they were probably added to the fifth chapter during the
thirteenth or fourteenth century. The fact that all of Snellgrove's
manuscript sources of the Hevajratantra contain these would
seem to indicate that his texts all go back to this particular
version. None of the early Sa-skya-pa commentaries on this
tantra, including the one by Bla-ma dam-pa Bsod-nams rgyal-
mtshan (1312-1375) comment on these verses, although they
do on occasion refer to different Sanskrit manuscripts rgya-dpe.
N gor-chen's discovery was either not known to his im-
mediate contemporaries, or was simply ignored by them due to
the prevailing strained relations. Thus, these verses were not
commented upon by Mkhas-grub Dge-Iegs dpal-bzang-po
(1375-1438f or Bo-dong Pal).-chen Phyogs-las rnam-rgyal
(1376-1445).8 At the same time, however, it appears that perhaps
Ngor-chen himself realised their questionable authenticity, for
he explicitly stated that the translations of the Hevajratantra by
'Gos Lo-tsa-ba Khug-pa Lhas-btsas (lIth cent.), G.yi-jo Lo-tsa-
ba, and Shong Lo-tsa-ba also did not include them. While the
available evidence strongly suggests that N gor-chen was. the first
to have drawn attention to these two verses, it remains difficult
to explain why 'Gos Lo-tsa-ba Gzhon-nu-dpal failed to credit
him with this discovery and why he obviously chose to translate
them anew. Possibly, the answer should be sought in the fact
that he might not have been very satisfied with N gor-chen's
rendition although, as was shown, his own translation is also far
from unproblematic. On the other hand, the possibility should
also not be ruled out that his was an independent discovery.
Certainty regarding this matter may perhaps be gained when
his biography is recovered from its place of concealment.
The Hevajratantra II:v: 1-2 was also noticed by the anony-
mous study of the different readings found in the various Bka'-
'gyur-s, which was completed in 1918.
In this important work,
it is pointed out that, while absent in the Snar-thang print, it is
found in the prints of the Urga (Khu-ri) and Co-ne Bka'-'gyur-s.
The latter also hold for those of the Beijing, Sde-dge, and Lhasa
Bka'-'gyur-s as well.
Note: References to Ngor-chen's and Go-rams-pa Bsod-nams
seng-ge's (1429-1489) writings are found in Vol. 9 and Vol. 15
(1969) of the series of Sa-skya-pa texts mentioned in note 5.
1. Rgyud-kyi rgyal-po dpal kyai-rdo-rje'i byung-tshul dang
brgyud-pa'i bla-ma dam-pa-rnams-kyi rnam-par thar-pa ngo-mtshar
rgya-mtsho, pp. 278 ff.
Written in the first half of 1405. The bulk of this text deals with
the origins of vajrayana and the. different recensions of the text
of the Hevajratantra. The biographies (rnam-thar)of the "lineage
lamas" more often than not merely consists of the mention of
their names.
2. Rgyud-gsum gnod-Joms / de'i 'grel-pa, pp. 155 ff.
The commentary was written towards the middle of the second
half of 1406. It is a polemical text against Ratnakarasanti and
his Tibetan followers, who maintained that the Hevajratantra
was mentalistic (sems-tsam-pa) in philosophical persuasion. These
Tibetan followers included Red-mda'-ba Gzhon-nu blo-gros
(1348/49-1412) and Bo-dong Pal)-chen.
3. Dpal kyai-rdo-rje'i sgrub-thabs-kyi rgya-cher bshad-pa bskyed-
rim gnad-kyi zla-zer, pp. 173 ff.
Written around the middle of 1419. This work consists of a
detailed exposition of the Hevajra "means of evocation" (sa-
dhana), and is frequently polemical. Go-rams-pa wrote a lengthy
treatise on the same problematic entitled the Dpal kyai-rdo-rje'i
sgrub pa'i-thabs-kyi rgya-cher bshad-pa bskyed-rim gnad-kyi zla-zer-la
rtsod-pa spong-ba gnad-kyi gsal-byed, pp. 282 ff. The latter is a
series of replies to Mkhas-grub-rje's and Bo-dong Pal)-chen's
(Nyi-zer Mkhan-po) objections to Ngor-chen's text. Among the
latest Sa-skya-pa texts dealing with the issues connected with
the generation of the deity in visualisation (bskyed-rim) is 'Jam-
mgon A-myes-zhabs Ngag-dbang kun-dga' bsod-nams' (1597-
1659/62) Dpal kyai rdo-rje'i phyi-nang-gi bskyed-rim-gyi rnam-par
bshad-pa dge-legs nor-bu'i phreng-ba gsang-sngags mdzes-rgyan, Bir,
1979, pp. 23l.
4. Dpal kyai-rdo-rje'i lus-kyi dkyil-'khor-la rtsod-pa spong-ba
smra-ba ngan-'.Joms pp. 135 ff. /-lta-ba ngan-sel, pp. 144 ff.
Written during the first half of 1426, these are two prints of
the same text, with some interesting variant readings. It is a
polemical work dealing with the marviala of Hevajra, conceived
as a reply to and criticism of Mkhas-grub-rje's aside on the same
in his Rgyud thams-cad-kyi rgyal-po dpal-gsang-ba 'dus-pa'i bskyed-rim
dngos-grub rgya-mtsho, Collected Works oj Mkhas-grub-rje, Lha-sa
Zhol print, Vol. Ja, Dharamsala, 1981, pp. 254 ff. The latter
wrote a reply to Ngor-chen's work which, in the later literature,
is usually referred to as the Ngor-lan but whose actual title is
the Phyin-ci-log-gi gtam-gyi sbyor-ba-la zhugs-pa'i smra-ba ngan-pa
rnam-par 'thag-pa'i bstan-bcos gnam-lcags 'khor-lo, Collected Works
oj Mkhas-grub-rje, Lha-sa Zhol print, Vol. Kha, Dharamsala,
1981, pp. 1 ff.
1. See D.L. Snellgrove, The Hevajratantra, Parts I and II, London Orien-
tal Series. Volume 6, London: Oxford University Press, 1959.
2. As a rule of thumb, the interdependency of the Snar-thang and
Beijing prints of the Buddhist canons can generally be assumed in such cases
where subsequent revisions were not included in the former. D.S. Ruegg has,
however, cogently argued for the necessity of consulting all the prints of the
different Tibetan canons in his "The Study of Tibetan Philosophy and its
Indian Sources. Notes on its History and Methods," Proceedings of the Csoma
de Karas Memorial Symposium (held at MatrafUred, Hungary, 24-30 September,
1976), ed. L. Ligeti, Bibliotheca Orientalis Hungarica XXIII, Budapest, 1978,
pp. 377-39l. His study should be extended to the Bka'-'gyur.
3. These verses are also not met with in the palm-leaf manuscripts of
the Hevajratantra(ikil (Vairocana, incompI., 59 fols) , and the Hevajrapaiijika
(Sarorucha, incompl., 25 fols.), and the Hevjrapaiijika (Kamalanath, compI.,
23 fols.), which were filmed by the Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation
Project (respectively, reel nos. C14/6, E260/2, and C26/4). I should like to
thank my colleague at the NGMPP, Mr. Jayaraj Acarya, for checking these
out for me.
4. For a brief listing of these see the Appendix.
5. See his Rtsa-rgyud brtag-gnyis-kyi-'gyur, in The Complete Works of the
Great Masters of the Sa-skya Sect of the [sic] Tibetan Buddhism, Vol. 9. The Complete
.. Works 'of Ngor-chen Kun-dga' bzang-po; compo Bsod-nams rgya-mtso, Tokyo:
The Toyo Bunko, 1968, no. 57, p. 282/3/3-6. In the colophon, Ngor-chen is
styl<::d "vibutpata'i the is a corruption of vibuddha,
which renders thIS expreSSIOn Ihtelhgible: the WIse translator."
6. See his "On the Function and Origin of the Particle Dag," in Tibetan
Studies, eds. P:Kvaerne and M. Brauen, Zurich, 1978, pp. 137-147. My friend
Christoph Cuppers has drawn my attention to the fact that such a use of dag
is also often met with in the Tibetan translation of the Samiidhirajasutra; see
for instance his soon-to-be published critical edition of the Samadhirajasutra
'IX:4a, 5a, 8a, etc.
7. See his Dpal brtag-pa gynis-pa'i mam-par bshad-pa rdo-rje mkha'-'gro-ma
rnams-kyigsang-ba'i-mdzod, Collected Works of Mkhas-grub-rje, Lha-sa Zhol print,
Vol.Ja, Dharamsala, 1981, pp. 912 ff. The colophon of this work says nothing
about its date of composition ..
. 8. See his Brtag-pa phyi-ma'i-rgyud bshad in Encyclopedia Tibetica. The Col-
lected Works of Bo-dong Pa1p-chen Phyogs-las mam-rgyal, Vol. 106, New Delhi:
The Tibet House, 1973, pp. 315 ff.
9. See the Rgyal-ba'i bka'-'gyur rin-po-che'i 'bri-klog dang 'chad nan-byed
mkhan-mams-la nye-bar mkho-ba'i yi-ge gzhan-phan rnam-dag-gi gsal-byed me-long,
New Delhi: The Tibet House, 1982.,. pp. 332-333.
10. The blocks of the Snar-thang Bka'-'gyur at Shel-dkar Mi-'gyur rdo-rje
Rdzong, however, do contain 'Gos Lo-tsa-ba's revised translation of the Hevaj-
ratantra; see the Bka'-'gyur rin-po-che'i mtshan-tho published as Catalogue of the
Narthang Kanjur, New Delhi: International Academy ofIndian Culture, 1983,
. p. 235. These blocks presumably were those of the revised Snar-thang Bka'-
'gyur of the 1730's. Ngor-chen's catalogue of the Bka'-'gyur at Glo-bo Smon-
thang (Mustang, Nepal) which he completed in December of 1447, does not
contain 'Gos Lo-tsa-ba's revised version either. They are, however, found in
the Li-thang Kanjur, Rgyud-'bum vol. ka, fols. 258b-259a, which I filmed and
catalogued under a generous grant from the Deutsche Forschungs-
Simultaneous Relation (Sahabhu-hetu):
A Study in Buddhist Theory of Causation
by Kenneth K. Tanaka
The two major Hinayana schools, the Sarvastivadins and
Theravadins, each posited a concept of mutually simultaneous
"causation," sahabhu-hetu (chu-yu yin) and aiiiiamaiifta-paccaya, re-
spectively.2 The Sarvastivadins in particular were severely
criticized by their doctrinal antagonists, the and
the Sautrantikas, for undermining the basic assumption of the
theory of causation: the temporal sequence between cause and
Modern researchers as well seem to find it difficult to
accommodate sahabhu-hetu's anomalous nature as causation into
the traditional framework of causation. D. Kalupahana, for
example, comments, "This relation seems to refute the idea that
a cause should always be temporally prior to its effect.,,4 Th.
Stcherbatsky similarly states, "It is curious that the citta is related
to caitta by the sahabhu relation which is defined as mutual causal-
ity, one being the cause of the other as much as the latter is the
cause of the former.,,5
This paper will focus on the theory of the sahabhu-hetu of
the Sarvastivadins and attempt to clear up the ambiguities that
surround the interpretations given for this hetu. This will allow
us to determine whether the antagonists of the Sarvastivadins
were justified in their criticism and modern scholars in their
Previous treatments of the hetu in Western languages have
been handicapped by the over-reliance on the Abhidharmakosa
(henceforth Kosa) interpretation, which suffers both from brev-
ity and a pronounced Sautrantika bias when compared to the
major orthodox Sarvastivadin texts.
Japanese studies on causa-
tion have fared a little better, in that they allude to the major
Sarvastivadin texts, most of which are available only in their
Chinese translations.
However, even these cannot be said to
constitute an in-depth examination of the sahabhil-hetu. In order
to correct the shortcomings of the earlier studies, this paper will
draw largely from the orthodox Sarvastivadin texts, notably the
(Ta pi-p'o-sha [un) and the Nyiiyiinusiira (Shun cheng-li
The sahabhil-hetu belongs to a category of Six relations (liu-
yin, which also includes kiirarJa (basic), sabhiiga
(homogeneous),sarvatraga (dominant), vipiika (retributive) and
samprayukta (associated). Of these six, samprayukta and sahabhil
are closely related; the major difference being that the former
applies to a smaller number of dharmas, i.e., mental dharmas
only.9 Hence, it should be tacitly understood that much of our
discussion will be directly relevant to samprayukta-hetu as well.
It is highly unlikely that the Six relations were taught by
the Buddha as the Sarvastivadins take pains to show, for no
occurrences are found in the Pali Nikiiyas, Chinese Agamas or
the Vinaya texts. The Six relations, however, could not have
first appeared after Nagarjuna (c. 150-250 C.E.), as Th. Stcher-
batsky has suggested.
The Six relations appear in both of the
Chinese translations of the jiiiinaprasthiina-siistra, a major Sarvas-
tivadin work attributed to Katyayanlputra, who is believed to
have lived no later than the latter half of the first century B.C.E.
1. The Objections to Sahabhu-hetu
Let us begin with Vasubandhu's definition from the Kosa:
Sahabhil(-hetus) are those (dharmas) that become effect to-
gether (sahabilr ye mithah phaliih). 12
Vasubandhu elaborates:
Together (means) mutuality (parasparam); dharmas which
are mutual effects are mutually sahabhil-hetu.
The interlocutor vehemently objects to what he sees as an abro-
gation of the temporal sequence pertaining between cause and
... but because this line of reasoning does not apply to seed,
(sprout, stem,) etc., which have been recognized (by the world)
as constituting cause and effect, it should be taught {by you, the
Sarvastivadins) as to how the dharmas which are produced simul-
taneously can be both cause and effect. (If you answer that these
simultaneously-produced dharmas are mutually cause and effect)
in the same manner as the lamp and lamp-light or sprout (arikura)
and shadow, then let the following be properly discussed:
whether, 1) the lamp is the cause of the lamp-light, or 2) there
is a previously-produced cluster (of dharmas) that is the cause
of the production of lamp-light and lamp or of sprout and
shadow? 14
Vasubandhu responds to the objection by citing the basic prem-
ise of the Logicians (haitukii/p):
When there is existence of one, there is invariably existence
of the other, and when there is non-existence of one, there is
invariably non-existence of the other; then the former is the
cause and the latter is the effect. And among the co-existent
dharmas, when one exists then all exist, and when one does not
exist then all do not exist; therefore, they do constitute cause
and effect. 15
This succeeds in placating the objector regarding the simul-
taneity (sahotpannam) but not regarding the aspect of mutuality
(parasparam) in sahabhu-hetu. 16 This response is significant in that
it shows that the Buddhists, at least the two schools represented
here, at the time recognized at least two separate dimensions
for this hetu. It further shows that simultaneity in the production
of the dharmas was not the real issue; rather the point of con-
troversy was mutuality, i.e., the simultaneously-produced dhar-
mas which are mutually cause and effect.
Regarding the second point of the question, Vasubandhu
acknowledges that the previously-produced cluster (purvot-
panna-siimagri) of dharmas, functioning as sabhiiga-hetu or one
of the other three relations (of the Six relations besides sahabhu
and samprayukta-hetus), was responsible for the production of
the simultaneously-produced dharmas.
Vasubandhu is clear
on this point, but the same cannot be said for the first point of
the question, which asked whether or not the lamp was the
cause of lamp-light. Vasubandhu, by citing the views of the
94 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
Logicians, purports to answer the question, but in our view, the
response is not clear in its full meaning.
The interlocutor-in probable dissatisfaction with Vasuban-
dhu's ambiguous answer-suggests that the Telationship of the
simultaneously-produced dharmas, like lamp and lamp-light,
may be compared to a tripod (trirjarprja), where the three sticks
are able to stand on the strength of their mutual support
(trirjarprjanyonyabalavasthanavat); the three sticks act as cause and
effect for each other.18 Since Vasubandhu does not object, it
seems safe to assume that he accepted this as an appropriate
metaphor for this hetu. While this metaphor does to some extent
succeed in elucidating the nature of mutuality, the absence of
further elaboration by both Vasubandhu and Yasomitra in his
commentary, the Abhidharmakosa-vyakhya, leaves us with an in-
complete picture of this dimension of the hetu.
II. Sanghabhadra's Defense and Explanation of "Mutuality"
Fortunately, Sanghabhadra (Chung-hsien, c. 400 C.E.) in
his Nyayanusara fills in this incomplete picture with an extensive
amount of scriptural and logical argument from the orthodox
Sarvastivadin point of view. In the text we find the Sautrantikas
rejecting mutual causation on the following grounds:
1) At the point when the dharmas are about to be produced,
they have not already been produced, and both, therefore, should
not yet exist. How can you speak of dharmas that produce (=
cause) and those that are produced (= effect)? 2) Since it is
explained, "Because there is cause there is effect," if dharmas
can be produced in the future period, there would be the fault
of perpetual production of the dharmas. 3) There exists no defi-
nite criterion for determining which among the simultaneously-
produced dharmas are the effect and which the cause. They are
like the two horns of an ox (i.e., indistinguishable). 4) Further-
more, with regard to the things of the world that are produced
as the seed and sprout (as found) in the recognized characteristics
of (the law of) cause and effect, we have not yet seen cause and
effect (functioning at) the same time as this. Thus, you must now
explain how there can be a meaning for cause and effect among
the cluster of mutually-produced dharmas.
These arguments are unkriown in the Kasa, except for the
last which argues on the basis of "common sense" understand-
ing: The first argument is based on the assumption that if a
. group of dharmas function mutually as cause, then they would
also have to do so in the future moment, immediately prior to
the production of their corresponding effect in the present mo-
ment. But since the Sautrantikas do not recognize the real exis-
tence of dharmas in the future and past moments, they point
out it is ludicrous to speak of some dharmas as "causes" and
others as "effects." In the second argument, the Sautrantikas
claim that if a cause-and-effect relation were recognized for the
future, an unacceptable situation would result in which the dhar-
mas would exist in the future and the past as well as in the
present, making dharmas eternal. The third argument is related
to the first; here the emphasis is on the lack of criteria for
determining which of the simultaneously-produced dharmas
constitute the cause and which the effect.
Sarighabhadra then proceeds to refute the Sautrantika ob-
jection on the basis of canonical sutra passages and the metaphor
of the lamp and lamp-light.
Sarighabhadra cites two of the most-often quoted sutra pas-
sages on causation: "Relying on this, that exists" (i t'zu yu pi yu;
imasya sata idam bhavati) and "Because this is produced, that is
produced" (t'zu sheng ku pi sheng; imasyatpadad idam utpadyate).20
It is especially interesting that he views these two as representing
two distinct kinds of hetu:
What the former and the latter (passages) require are differ-
ent. Thus, what we advocate is that the first sutra (passage) is
intended to reveal the meaning of the simultaneously-produced
hetu (chu-sheng yin; sahotpanna-hetu) and the latter sutra (passage)
then reveals the meaning of the previously-produced hetu (ch'ien-
sheng yin; purvotpanna-hetu).21
Sanghabhadra further explains it is wrong to inquire regard-
ing the first passage, "On account of whose production was that
produced?" or state, "Because the cause is produced, the effect
is produced." These are, instead, appropriate for the second
passage, the one explicating the previously-produced hetu. What
constitutes an appropriate question for the first passage is, "Re-
lying on whose existence does that exist?,,22
For Sanghabhadra, the simultaneously-produced hetu is not
responsible for the production (sheng) of dharmas; he attributes
such function to the previously-produced hetu. It is in this latter
kind of hetu-where the relation between cause and effect is
indicated by "because" or "on account of" (ku)-that he saw
causation and, thus, the production of new dharmas. On the
contrary, the former type emphasizes the mutual reliance (i)
which allows the "member" dharmas to co-exist but which cannot
by itself lead to the production of new dharmas.
With regard to the metaphor of the lamp and lamp-light,
the Kosa completely fails to elaborate on it, but Sanghabhadra
vigorously defends it as example par excellance of sahabhu-hetu.
The Sautrantika initiates the polemics with a biting attack on
the Sarvastivadin interpretation of the metaphor:
I also accept that lamp-light is produced on account of the
lamp, but do not accept that its cause is the lamp which is pro-
duced simultaneously with it. What is the reason? It is because
if the lamp and lamp-light are produced simultaneously, the
lamp-light could not have been produced having required (-as
it should-) the lamp. The simultaneously-produced dharmas
which require each other (for their production) do not accord
with the principle, just as an entity does not require itself in
order for its production. Merely on account of the previously-pro-
duced lamp, which functions as condition, lamp-light is able to
be produced in the immediately subsequent thought moment.
Thus, you should not cite this as metaphor (for sahabhu-hetu).
(SaiJ.ghabhadra:) What you say is not correct, since when
the lamp is first produced it is impossible to have the lamp exist
without the light. In other words, we have yet to see a lamp
which existed without a light. Thus, (your opinion) is incorrect.
Here, we see more clearly the fundamentally different as-
sumptions from which the two positions view the relationship
between the lamp and the lamp-light. The Sautrantikas adhere
to the view that the two represent a sequential causal relation
where lamp is the cause and light the effect. The lamp exists
one moment prior to the light and directly causes the production
of the light. The metaphor is seen as illustrating the previously-
produced hetu.
On the other hand, Sanghabhadra sees the metaphor as
illustrating the simultaneously-produced hetu, concerned more
with the spatial-as opposed to temporal-relation among the
co-existent dharmas, with emphasis on their inseparability. In
fact, the lamp and the lamp-light are not viewed as two entities
existing independently of each other at any time, but as an
inextricable unit in which both support each other; thus, the
above statement, "We have yet to see a lamp existed
without a light." In other words, Sanghabhadra argues on the
premise that a lamp is alu:ays lit; an is
within his framework. Like the Sautrantika, he supports hiS
position with evidence fr?m he deems human
experience": "However, (m reality) there has never eXlsted even
a small number of unlit lamps; the world has established this
well.,,24 If the sahabhu-hetu as a hetu is
not responsible for the production of the lamp and light, how
then does Sanghabhadra explain their coming into existence?
His position is that the previously-produced hetus are responsi-
ble. They are the previously-produced lamp and light which in
this case function as sabhilga-hetu and kararj,a-hetu. This is in basic
accord with the view as deliniated in the Kosa (p. 93 above).
III. The Root of the Controversy
The Sautrantika criticism of the simultaneously-produced
hetu stemmed, in our estimation, from their failure to distinguish
the fundamental difference between these two kinds of hetus.
They incorrectly sought to find "sequential causation" in the
simultaneously-produced hetu, when the Sarvastivadins had al-
ways reserved that function for the previously-produced hetus.
In light of the above analysis of Sanghabhadra's views, the
earlier-quoted statement of the Logicians (p. 93) in the Kosa
makes more sense. It was cited in response to the Sautrantika
objection to the sahabhu-hetu. As in the case of Sanghabhadra,
this statement by the Logicians also presu pposes a set of dharmas
that are produced together inseparably (sahabhuvam dharmanam).
Once this premise is understood, this passage becomes more
intelligible. It was precisely due to the failure to do so that the
Sautrantika respondent continued to take exception to the Sar-
vastivadin position, as he persisted in denying .the meaning of
mutuality (parasparam). The Sarvastivadin response was simply
to refer him to the statement of the Logicians under discussion,
apparently but of exasperation with the objector's inability to
comprehend his position. While the Kosa appends no further
explanation of the statement of the Logicians, Yasomitra com-
Because there is citta when there are caittas, and because
there is no citta when there are no caittas, the caittas are the causes
of citta . ... If one exists then all (the rest) exist, and if all (the
rest) do not exist then the one does not exist; therefore, they are
mutually cause and effect.
What is clearly shown here is that "to be mutually cause
and effect" (anyonyam hetu-phala-bhavaM does not refer to causa-
tion. It, instead, points to the relationship in which the one is
inextricably related to the rest and vice versa. Like citta and
caitta, they are always produced together. It is a matter of rela-
tion, and does not refer to one causing the other to be pro-
Sanghabhadra's understanding of mutuality also is corrobo-
rated by the which concludes the section on
sahabhu-hetu with the following question and answer:
What are the meanings of sahabhu?
Non-separation (pu hsiang-li) , sharing a common effect (tung
i-kuo) and mutual accompanying (hsiang sui-shun) are the mean-
ings of sahabhu. 27
None of these three meanings exibits any high degree of
causation. Instead, all three meanings-particularly the first and
the third (the second will be discussed in detail below)-support
the relations characterized by the Nyiiyiinusiira metaphor of the
lamp and lamp-light: inseparability and simultaneity. We main-
tain that these correspond to the above meanings
of "non-separation" and "mutual accompanying," respectively.
It appears that modern researchers on the subject have
repeated the same error as the Sautrantikas in holding this hetu
responsible for the production of new dharmas.
They have,
in our opinion, taken the expression, "dharmas which are
mutual effects are sahabhu-hetus to each other," to mean that
ne member of the sahabhu-hetu dharmas produces the other,
o nd vice versa; each is, thereby, the effect of the other as well
~ s the cause of the other. Such an understanding goes contrary
to the above findings, which showed that mutuality in sahabhfl-
hettl for the'Sarvastivadins meant the inseparable nature of the
relationship pertaining between simultaneously-produced dhar-
mas. It is noteworthy that KamalaSIla (c. 740-795) also ques-
tioned the validity of this hettl as a theory of causation, though
for reasons different from ours.29
IV. "Common Effect" as the Principal Meaning of Sahabhu-Hetu
We have noticed so far through our examination that the
sahabhu-hettl subsumes the meanings of simultaneity and mutu-
ality. If this hettl were confined just to these two dimensions, it
would virtually correspond to the Theravadin's aiiiiamaiiiia-pac-
caya in terms of nature and scope.
However, Sanghabhadra
introduces the importance of another sense of the term-that
of sharing a "commOn effect" (i-ktlo; eka-phala)-which he views
as the principal dimension of sahabhu-hetu.
This is not to
suggest that this particular sense was totally absent in the Kosa,
but that it was overshadowed there by the meaning of mutuality.
It should be noted that while some earlier scholars have alluded
to the difference in the emphasis between the Kosa and
Sanghabhadra's works, no one to our knowledge has so far
treated this subject in detai1.
The arguments presented in the previous section show that
while Sanghabhadra did define sahabhu-hettl as mutuality, he
also included "common effect" among the indispensible dimen-
sions of this he ttl :
Also, we do not accept that all dharmas that are produced
simultaneously have the meaning of mutually functioning as
cause and effect. Which are the ones that we accept (as having
that meaning?) (Only dharmas which) share a common effect or
those that are mutual effects have this meaning.
However, when we ask which of the two meanings
Sanghabhadra valued more, we find that "common effect" took
One ought not teach that (dharmas) are sahabhu-hetu merely
on the basis of their being mutual effects. A dharma and its
secondary characteristics are mutual effects but are not (sahabhu-
hetus) . ... From this meaning, one ought to determine that "those
conditioned dharmas with a common effect are sahabhu-hetu."
Since the authoritative text explains (accordingly), this is bereft
of error.
Sanghabhadra's preference for common effect as the pri-
mary meaning is further attested in his other major work, Hsien-
tsung lun (Pradzpaka). Whereas the karikas (verses) cited in the
Nyayanusara are identical to those of the Kosa, Sanghabhadra in
the Pradzpaka alters the first karika on sahabhii-hetu to read,
"Sahabhu.s are (dharmas with) the common effect dharma,"
rather than "Sahabhu.s are (dharmas) which are mutual effects,"
as found in the Kosa and the Nyayanusara.
This alteration,. we
believe, better reflects Sanghabhadra's true position, for in this
work he was more at liberty to expound his own views, unlike
in the Nyayanusara, where his main objective was to refute the
Kosa by adhering closely to its format.
In turning to the earlier Sarvastivadin texts to determine
which of the two meanings was emphasized, we find the Jnana-
prasthana-":"-the earliest text to expound the Six relations- to be
of little help, since it merely lists the categories of dharmas that
qualify as sahabhu-hetu. The on the other hand,
contains extensive discussions on this hetu, which show that the
"common effect" dominated the meaning of sahabhu-hetu:
1) To carry out a common effort
(pan i-shih) is the meaning
of sahabhU-hetu. .
2) Our position is that citta and the accompanying body and
speech actions are sahabhu-hetus. Why is this so? It is because they
have a common effect; it is because they carry out a common
3) Are the obstructable derivative-forms (upadaya-rupa) and
other obstructable derivative-forms mutually sahabhu-hetus?
No, .... The reason for this is that the meaning of sahabhu-hetu
is the (carrying out of) a common effect, but they (the derivative-
forms) do not carry out a common effect; (hence, they are not
sahabhu-hetu) .
4) Why is it said that "mutuality" is notsahabhu-hetu? Because
it is not common effect, it is not sahabhu-hetu, since sahabhu-hetu
dharmas definitely have a common effect.
The emphasis on "common effect" in these statements
; shows . that Sanghabhadra. was in accordance with the
and that this emphasis was, therefore, the orthodox
position. It is worth noting that none of the three
,7'Illajor Sarvastivadin texts mentions the metaphor of the tripod,
suggesting further that "mutuality"-the concept which the
':nietaphor was intended to illustrate in the Kosa-did not consti-
tute the principal meaning for the Sarvastivadins.
The tripod
on the other hand, is reported in association with
• the aiiiiamaiiiia-paccaya of the Theravadins.
As to the actual mechanism by which sahabhu-hetu dharmas
a common effect, we were unable to find any clear expla-
.nation that specifically addressed itself to this issue in
$anghabhadra's writings or in the However, in
to reconstruct the mechanism based on scattered
;'ififormation, we have found that the sahabhu-hetu dharmas
'inerely assist and are not by themselves responsible for the pro-
duction of a common effect.
According to Sanghabhadra, a common effect is included
in the category of the (shih-yung kuo; man-func-
tion effect), one of the Five effects (wu-kuo; paiicaphaliini) ofthe
theory of causation. There are three kinds of
in connection with sahabhu-hetu: "simultane-
ously-produced" (sahotpanna) , "subsequent" (samanantara) and
"separated" (vipraknta)Y Of these three,however,
Sanghabhadra does not recognize the simultaneously-produced
.as a common effect of sahabhu-hetu/
the latter two-which he
c admits as a common effect of sahabhu-hetu-:-turn out to be none
. ". other than the effects of sabhiiga and sarvatraga hetus (n4yanda-
····phala), and of vipiika-hetu (vipiika-phala) , respectively.43 Hence,
a common effect which the sahabhu-hetu dharmas share is pro-
duced not in the same moment as the sahabhu-hetu dharmas,
but in one of the subsequent moments.
However, this leads to a dilemma, in thatsahabhu-hetu dhar-
mas by definition can only have their effect produced in the
same moment as themselves.
How can they, then, share a
common effect-which is produced in one of the subsequent
moments-as advocated in the two major Sarvastivadin texts?
Based on our reading, these two texts do not offer a clear expla-
nation of this problem. Fortunately, P'u-kuang (7th century)
throws some light on this point in his commentary to the Kosa,
Chu-she lun chi:
The intent of the sahabhu-hetu in taking (ch'uj" grhfJati) the
simultaneously(-produced) purus.akara-phala is to assist the simultane-
ously(-produced) dharmas to each awaken (ch'i) its function (yung).
(To each awaken its function means) to awaken the function of karafJa-
hetu, or to awaken the function of sabhaga-hetu and sarvatraga-hetu, or
to awaken the function of vipaka-hetu, thus each (hetu) taking its own
In other words, the sahabhu-hetus serve as catalyst for the other
hetus to generate their own function, that is to say, the production
of their respective effects. Included in these effects are the "sub-
sequent" and "separated" purufiakara-phalas, which, for
Sanghabhadra, constituted a common effect of the sahabhu-hetu
There is no conclusive evidence to prove that P'u-kuang's
view correctly reflects the Sarvastivadin position, though it is
reported that this commentary was compiled from notes taken
orally from Hsuan-tsang during the translation of the Kosa.
But for our primary interest, the evidence seen above does not
show the sahabhu-hetu playing a direct causative role in the pro-
duction of a common effect.
Stated differently, sahabhu-hetu is the force that co-ordinates
the dharmas for a common effect. Its main concern lies with
the "horizontal" relationship among the dharmas, not with the
direct production of a common effect. We believe. it was this
hetu that T.V.R. Murti, the noted Madhyamika scholar, sought
in vain, lending to his criticism of the Sarvastivadin view of
As causation, on the V a i b h a ~ i k a (= Sarvastivadin) view, is
not self-becoming but the co-operation of several factors (pratyayas) in
generating an effect, the question arises: what makes factors A, B, C,
D, etc., which by themselves are disconnected entities and no[t] causes
and conditions, into causes. What co-ordinates them for a united effort,
for a common end.
We believe this is ex.actly the role performed by the sahabhu-
. hetu. It appears that Murti was unaware of this particular func-
. tion in the sahabhu-hetu, probably due to his over-reliance on
the Kosa, which, we noted above, deemphasized this particular
cmeaning in favor of the meaning of mutuality.48
v. Sahabhii-hetu as a Principle of Unifying Relations
We have seen from the above discussions that sahabhu-hetu
is comprised of three meanings: simultaneity, inseparability and
. common effect. These are not three separate kinds of sahabhu-
hetu but, instead, three distinct dimensions of the same hetu-two
of which, as noted above (p. 99), correspond to some of the
Theravadin paccayas.
Because of this multi-dimensional
character, the usual English rendering of sahabhu-hetu as "simul-
taneous" or "co-existent" does not do justice to the full meaning
of this hetu. Not all simultaneous dharmas are sahabhu-hetus.
Moreover, they must invariably be produced together, i.e., be
inseparable. But even these two are insufficient, for finally they
must share a common effect.
More significantly for the aims of this paper, all three aspects
happen to be aspects of a hetu which has proven to be primarily
a principle of spatial unity or aggregation rather than of causa-
tion, as was generally understood before. Our findings are
. further supported by the similar meanings that sahabhu-hetu
shares with two concepts that denote unity and aggregation:
accompanying and convergence.
The concept of "accompanying" (sui-chuan; anu(pari) vr:t) is
embodied in the dharmas that accompany others (anuparivar-
tikiilJ,). In the Mahilvibhi4il, the mental concomitants (caitta), phys- .
ical (kilya) and speech (vilc) avijiiapti and the four great elements
(mahiibhutilni) are described as dharmas that accompany citta.
When questioned as to why these dharmas are considered "ac-
companying," three reasons are given: they accompany one
another (sui-shun), mutually benefit each other (hsiang she-i) and
carry out a common effort <pan i-shih).51 Compared to those of
sahabhu-hetu, only the second meaning differs, but even these
two-the "mutual inseparability" of sahabhu-hetu and the
"mutual benefit" of accompaniment-are in our view related.
104 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
To support this, we saw in the Sarvastivadin understanding of
the analogyof the lamp and light that the two were mutually
inseparable as well as mutually supportive.
Regarding the concept of "convergence" (ho-ho; samagrz,
saT(lnipata), the Mahavibha!ja recognizes two kinds: dharmas that
1) a) are produced together and b) do not separate, and 2) carry
out a common object without conflict. While no example for
the former kind is given, the second is represented by a quote
from GOiJaka:
Because the faculty, object and consciousness similarly carry
out a common object, it is called "convergence," and not because
they are produced together and are mutually inseparable. 52
It is tempting to suggest, in light of the correspondences
noted in the statements by GOiJaka and Sanghabhadra, that there
was a borrowing of meanings among the three concepts; without
more information, however, we cannot know. What is significant
for our main interest are the virtually identical meanings that
sahabhu-hetu shares with the two concepts which denote unity
and aggregation; this lends further support to our finding re-
garding the nature of sahabhu-hetu. 53
VI. The Two Categories of Relations
The above findings suggest deep implications for our un-
derstanding of the Buddhist theories of relations. As Sangh-
abhadra incisively perceived, there are two general categories
of hetu: the previously-produced and the simultaneously-pro-
duced. The former represents causation where a having been
produced prior to b causes the production of b. In the latter
category, a and b are produced simultaneously without one being
responsible, at least directly, for the production of the other.
The two should not be confused with one other.
The confusion surrounding the sahabhu-hetu can be partly
blamed on the fact that it was classified among the Six relations
as a "hetu" along with the other previously-produced hetus. Prior
to its appearance as one of the Six relations in the Jiianaprasthana,
we find in the SangUiparyaya-(fastra) a reference made to a cat-
egory of dharmas called "simultaneously-produced dharmas"
(chu-sheng fa). But at this stage, this notion had yet to be as-
sociated with that of a hetu.
It was under the Six hetu-relations
. that the Sarvastivadin systemizers consolidated the various rela-
tions of heterogeneous nature.
Some modern scholars have alluded to the existence of the
twO distinct kinds of categories. S. Yamakami, in explaining the
scope of the Six relations states, "This law has to show the causal
relation of the 'dharmas,' not only in (temporal) succession, but
also in their (spatial) concomitance; so its scope is vast.,,55 Ledi
Sadaw, based on Pali material and drawing especially from
Abhidhammattha-sa1igaha, concludes that Buddhism has ex-
pounded relations (paccaya) by two methods: 1) the law of pro-
duction via a cause (paticcasamuppiida) and 2) a system of corre-
lations (patthiina-naya). While his categorization does not agree
exactly with that of Sanghabhadra, the former group definitely
corresponds to the latter's previously-produced hetu.
D. Kalupahana, in one of the most detailed studies on the
subject of Buddhist causality, discusses the usage of the term
"idampratyayatii)" meaning "conditionality" or "relativity." He
cites Candrakirti, whom he suggests distinguished idampratyayatii
in the sense of "relativity" from pratztyasamutpiida, which denotes
"active casuation." What is highly interesting is that Candrakirti
supports this distinction with exactly the same set of sutra pas-
sages as found in Sanghabhadra: idampratyayatii correlates with
"When this exists, that exists" and pratttyasamutpiida with "When
this is produced, that is produced." The former corresponds to
Sanghabhadra's "simultaneously-produced hetu" and the latter
to the "previously-produced hetu. ,,57
Nagao Gadjin, in.reference to Yogacarin materials, offers
his views on the difference between what he calls the "sequential"
(ijiteki) and "simultaneous" (doji) causations. The latter includes,
for example, the relation between the first seven consciousness
(vijiiiina) and the which are said to be mutually
cause and effect and which are produced simultaneously. Nagao
explains that in the case of simultaneity-despite its being one
of the categories of time-temporal considerations are relegated
to the background while the abstract dimension is emphasized.
Such methods were employed by the major Vijiianavadin fig-
ures, including Asanga, Vasubandhu and Dharmapala. Nagao
later adds, based on Sthiramati's view, that simultaneity in cau-
sation indicates the "mutually dependent relations" of the law
. 58
of co-dependent pro uctlOn.
Admittedly, the scope and viewpoints ofthe above opinions
may vary somewhat. Nevertheless, they not only reinforce the
findings of this paper, but also call attention to the need for
further research in clarifying the nature of the two fundamen-
tally distinct types of relations.
VII. Conclusion
1. Sahabhu-hetu constitutes a unifying relationship between
simultaneously-produced dharmas.
2. Therefore, both the Sarvastivadins' opponents and the
modern scholars who viewed this hetu as causation failed to
understand correctly its nature.
3. Not being a theory of causation, sahabhu-hetu does not
undermine, as was feared by the above two groups, the tradi-
tional assumption of causation being a cause which is produced
simultaneously with its effect.
4. Sahabhu-hetu, at least from the period of the compilation
of the Mahavibhii4ii (c. 150 C.E.) on, was defined by three distinct
meanings: simultaneity, inseparability (with mutual support as
its corollary) and common effect. This simultaneity was broad
in scope, and was not contested by the critics of sahabhu-hetu,
who also recognized its validity.
5. Inseparability (or mutuality)-expressed as "mutual
cause and effect"-was severely attacked by the other schools,
the Sautrantikas in particular. However, their criticism was mis-
directed and unwarranted, since we found "mutuality" to mean
in actuality the "inseparability" of the dharmas that comprise
sahabhu-hetu, and not causation.
6. Common effect, much neglected in the Kosa, constituted
the principal meaning of sahabhu-hetu for the Sarvastivadins.
Though this meaning involved some semblance of causation, it
still was not directly responsible for bringing another dharma
into existence.
7. Sahabhu-hetu, along with samprayukta-hetu,59 constitutes
one of the two fundamentally distinct types of relations found
in Buddhist literature.
1. I wish to acknowledge P.S. Jaini, Kenyo Mitomo and, in particular,
Robert for their suggestions. .
2. For a concise discussion of sahabhil-hetu, see Vasubandhu, Abhidhar-
makosabhii4yam, ed. by P. Pradhan, (Patna: K.P. Jayaswal Research Institute,
1975), pp. 83-85. The annaman:iia-paccaya, which is one of the twenty-four
paccayas, is discussed in the see Nyanatiloka Maha.thera, Guide
Through the Abhidhamma-pitaka, (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1971),
p. 120. S -·k b·· ·11 b d· d· d ·1 b 1 F
. 3. The autrantl a 0 WI e Iscusse In etal e ow. or
passages indicating that the also objected to what they viewed as
simultaneous causation, see Mahiivibhii4a, TaishO Daizokyo (henceforth T) 27,
4. D. Kalupahana, Causality: The Central Philosophy of Buddhism, (Hon-
olulu: The Univ. of Hawaii Press, 1975), p. 167.
5. Th. Stcherbastsky, The Central Conception of Buddhism, (Delhi: Motilal
Banarsidass, 19.74), p. 36 note 3.
6. Sogen Yamakami, Systems of Buddhistic Thought, (Calcutta: Univ. of
Calcutta, 1912), pp. 309-315; William M. McGovern, A Manual of Buddhist
Philosophy, (London: Kegan Paul, Trench Trubner & Co., Ltd., 1923), pp.
192-205; Stcherbatsky, Central Conception, pp. 31-37; E. Conze, Buddhist
Thought in India, (Ann Arbor: The Univ. of Michigan Press, 1967), pp.153-156;
Y. Karunadasa, Buddhist Analysis of Matter, (Colombo: The Dept. of Cultural
Affairs, 1967), pp. 126-132.
7. Takagi, S., Kusha kyogi, (Kyoto: Nozogawa Shoten, 1918), pp. 122-
J49; Funabashi, M., Kusharon kogi, (Kyoto: Dobosha, 1932), pp. 157-204;
Fukuhara, R., Ubu-abidatsuma-ronsho-no hatten, 198-217; Sakurabe, T., "Abidat-
suma bukkyo no ingaron," Inga, Bukkyo shiso-shi 3, (Kyoto: Heirakuji Shoten,
1980), pp. 127-146.
8. T 27, No. 1545 and T 29, No. 1562, respectively.
9. Vasubandhu, Kosa, pp. 83: 20-24 and 88: 15. Sahabhil-hetu encompas-
ses the four dharma categories of mind (citta), mental concomitants (caitta),
form (rilPa) and the non-accompanying (viprayukta-hetu) , whilesamprayukta-hetu
applies only to the relationship between the first two. More specifically,
sahabhil-hetu applies to the following relationships: citta and caittas; citta and
two restraints (sa'T(tvara); caittas and characteristics citta and charac-
teristics; among the great elements (mahiibhiltani).
10. Th. Stcherbatsky, The Conception of Buddhist NirvaTja, (Delhi: Motilal
Banarsidass, 1977), p. 174 note 4. Stcherbatsky bases his suggestion on the
grounds that NagaIjuna does not mention the Six relations at all. The Four
conditions (catulJ,-pratyayah; ssu-yiian), the other of the two major theories of
relations advocted by the Sarvastivadins, was, however, severely attacked by
Nagarjuna and Candrakirti, in Madhyamaka-sastra and Prasannapada, respec-
tively. But there is no specific reference to sahabhil-hetu or samprayukta-hetu
that I was able to find in these two texts. See Stcherbatsky, The Conception of
Buddhist NirvaTja, pp. 72-192. According to Sakurabe, the Four conditions
appeared earlier in the literature than the Six relations and were recognized
by the other Buddhist schools. See Sakurabe, "Abidaruma ingaron," pp. 127-
11. T 26, No. 1543, p. 773a and T 26, No. 1544, pp. 920c-921a. The
dating of the author is based on Fukuhara, Ubu ronsh;, p. 174.
12. Vasubandhu, Kosa, p. 83: 18.
13. Ibid., p. 83: 19.
14. Ibid., p. 84: 20-24.
15. Ibid., pp. 84: 25-85: l. The Kosa makes no other reference to the
Logicians; Yasomitra's commentary also does not elaborate. A possible candi-
date would be the Hetuvadins mentioned in the Kathavatthu; in it, they are
treated as one of the early Buddhist groups in the same sense as the Maha-
saitghikas and the Sabbatthivadins. (p. xxvi). Very little is known about these
Hetuvadins, as they appear to have been a minor school, if not, in fact, simply
specialists in the area of causation and reasoning within each of the various
schools. (p. xlv) See S.Z. Aung and C.A.F. Rhys Davids, Points of Controversy,
(London: Luzac & Company, Ltd., 1960), pp. xxvi and xlv.
16. Vasubandhu, Kosa, p. 85: 1.
17. Ibid., p. 85: 5-7.
18. Ibid., p. 85: 3.
19. T 29, p. 418c22-28.
20. Ibid., p. 419al-2.
21. Ibid., p. 419b7-8.
22. Ibid., p. 419bl-7.
23. Ibid., p. 420al1-17.
24. Ibid., p. 420a20-21.
25. Yasomitra, Sphutarthabhidharmakosa-vyakhya, ed. U. Wogihara,
(Tokyo: Sankib6 Buddhist Book Store, 1971), p. 197: 31-34.
26. See note 15 above and its quoted passage in the text for parallels.
27. T 27, p. 85b23-25.
28. Stcherbatsky, The Central Conception, p. 31, "The Sarvastivadin school
reckons in all six different causal relations, ... "; McGovern, A Manual of
Buddhist Philosophy, p. 194, "In certain cases co-existing dharmas ... have a
causal influence on one another." Conze, Buddhist Thought, p. 154, "Therefore
they mutually condition one another." See also notes 4 and 5 above.
29. KamalaSila, Tattvasarigraha-paiijika, Gaekward's Oriental Series 30,
(Baroda: Central Library Baroda, 1926), p. 175. KamalasHa argues that, in
essence, sahabhu-hetu cannot be a type of causation in which simultaneously-
produced dharmas produce each other. Being momentary, a dharma cannot
produce the other when it has not itself yet been produced. On the other
hand, if a dharma produces the other after it has been produced, then there
would be no need for it to produce it again, for there would be a redundancy
of production. Hence, KamalasHa also seems to have incorrectly treated this
hetu as a type of causation.
30. Like sahabhu-hetu, aiiiiamaiiiia-paccaya includes the two dimensions
of simultaneity and mutuality, and applies to the four great elements (mahiibhu-
tani) .
31. The term "eka" in "eka-phala;'---one of the ten modalities of this hetu
in the Kosa (p. 84: 2-6)-is to be understood as "common," according to later
commentators:Yasomitra, Sphutiirtha, p. 192: 10, "siidhiira'I'Ja"; Hsuan-tsang
in his translation of the Kosa, interprets as "kung" (T 29, p. 30c5); Sanghabhadra
. explains in the (T 29, p. 418b18-19). .
32. TakagI, Kusha-kyo{;1" pp. 124-127; McGovern, A Manual of Buddhzst
Philosophy, p. 194; Funabashi, Kusharon kiigi, pp. 164-169; Fukuhara, Ubu
ronsho, pp. 204-205.
33. T 29, p. 419c26-28.
34. Ibid., p. 417 c23-26. The Sarvastivadins, at least from the
on, have maintained that dharmas that are produced simultaneously do not
necessarily constitute sahabhu-hetu, since they fail to share a common effect.
The relation between secondary characteristic dharmas and a dharma falls
within such a category. For list of relations in this category, see Vasubandhu,
Kosa, p. 84: 15-19.
35. T 29, p. 814cl9.
36. Cf. McGovern, A Manual of Buddhist Philosophy, p. 194.
37. The terms "effort" (shih; kiiryatva) and "effect" (kuo; phala) are, in
our estimation, used synonymously by the Sarvastivadins, particularly in the
We shall, therefore, treat them accordingly, referring to both as
38. T 27, p. 81b20-21; p. 81c7-9; p. 82b3-7; p. 663cl7-18.
39. P'u-kuang (7th century), in his commentary on the Kosa, points out
how Vasubandhu emphasized mutuality, while the and Nyayanus-
ara favored common-effect. T 41, pp. 113c7-114a9.
40. On the association of this metaphor with aiiiiamaiiiiam-phala, see
Nyanatiloka, Guide Through, p. 120.
41. Sanghabhadra also includes visarIJyoga-phala (li-hsi kuo) along with
as a common effect, but we have expediently left it out, since
it does not directly relate to the present discussion on sahabhu-hetu. Also,
although four kinds of are recognized, we have omitted the
fourth, "non-production" <pu-sheng), which corresponds to visarIJyoga-phala,
for the same reason as above. See T 29, pp. 418bll-14; 437a13-18.
In our view of the Sarvastivadin position, especially Sanghabhadra's,
there are narrow and broad interpretations as to what constitutes a purusakiira-
phala. In its narrow sense, only the "simultaneously-produced" as effect of
sahabhu and samprayukta hetus is included. On the other hand, in its broad
meaning, the other two are included. Of the two interpretations,
Sanghabhadra chooses the latter. See T 29, pp. 436a14-29; 437a13-18, and
also Vasubandhu, Kosa, p. 95: 5.
42. Sanghabhadra's reasoning for this exclusion is that there cannot be
any effect that is produced in the same moment as its causes; he also says that
a dharma cannot function as the cause of its own production. It appears that,
for Sanghabhadra, the sahabhu-hetu dharmas and the simultaneously-produced
form a "harmonious cluster" (ho-ho chil) wherein the dharmas
function as "mutual effects" ( = inseparability). See T 29, pp. 418al4-17;
436a9-12. In our view, the simultaneously-produced and
110 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
sahabhii-hetus constitute interchangeable terms that refer to a same cluster of
simultaneously-produced dharmas. Each of the dharmas in the cluster can
either be the phala or hetu, depending on the context. For example, of the
four great elements, earth, water and fire can f u n c t i ~ n as sahabhii-hetus and
space as pUTUlakara-phala; but the roles can be interchanged so that another
set of three elements can be the hetus and the remaining element the phala.
See T 29, p. SI4c22-26:
43. T 29, pp. 41SbI3-1S; 436aS-29.
44. Vasubandhu, Kosa, p. 96: 16-17.
45. T 41, p. 114aI2-15.
46. Sung kao-seng chaun, T 50, p. 727al0-11.
47. T.V.R. Murti The Central Philosophy of Buddhism, (London: George
Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1960), p. 175.
4S. Murti would more than likely respond to the existence of sahabhii-hetu
by saying that it requires a hetu of its own, hence leading to an infinite regress.
That may be true from the Madhyamika standpoint, but it still does not detract
from the fact that he appears to be unaware of this co-ordinating function in
the sahabhii-hetu.
49. While the correspondence is not precise since they often overlap in
meaning, it is possible to make the following correspondences: simultaneity
to sahajiita (co-nascence); inseparability to aiiiiamaiiiia (mutuality). Common
effect, however, does not seem to have a counterpart among the paccayas; if
one has to pick one,sahajiita-kamma, i.e., cetanii (volition) best approximates it.
50. T 27, pp. Slb24-S2a9.
51. Ibid., p. S2bI6-1S.
52. Ibid., p. 9S4a6-S.
53. Sanghabhadra, elsewhere, also states, "Since (dharmas of) a harmoni-
ous cluster become mutual effects, ... " See T 29, p. 41Sb16.
54. SarigftiParyiiya(-siistra), T 26, p. 3S4b20-c2. In a somewhat later
Abhidharma text, the Vijiiiinakiiya(-siistra), which is still earlier than theJiiiina-
prasthiina, sahabhii and samprayukta dharmas are identified with causal-condi-
tion (yin-yuan; hetu-pratyaya) one of the Four conditions: hence, we witness the
germination of its association with "causation" prior to its full-fledged form
in the Six relations.
55. Yamakami, Systems of Buddhistic Thought, pp. 309-310. I acknowledge
the fact that his observation provided the intial impetus to re-examine the
nature of sahabhii-hetu. One part of my conclusion is essentially the same as
his observation, and I have attempted to provide a detailed analysis to support
that point.
56. Ledi Sadaw, "On the Philosophy of Relations," The Journal of the Piili
Text Society (1915-6): 22.
57. Kalupahana, Causality, pp. 54-56; 96-97.
5S. Nagao Gadjin, Chiigan to Yuishiki, (Tokyo: Iwanami shoten, 1978),
pp. 354-357.
59. See note 9 above.
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The Books of Kiu-Te or the Tibetan Buddhist Tantras: A Preliminary
AnalysiS, by David Reigle. San Diego: Wizards Bookshelf, 1983.
68 p.
Dzog Chen and Zen, by Namkhai Norbu. Edited with a Preface
and Notes by Kennard Lipman. Oakland, CA: Zhang Zhung
Eidtions, 1984, 40 p.
The two books under review are really but "pamphlets"
issued by small publishing houses, but they are worthy of notice,
for each presents information of interest to students of the Tibet-
an Buddhist tradition.
David Reigle's The Books of Kiu-Te is based on a peculiar (to
Buddhologists, at any rate) concern: to demonstrate that H.P.
Blavatsky's references to the "Books of Kiu-Te" in her theosophi-
cal magnum opus, The Secret Doctrine, were not merely figments
of her imagination, but, in fact, were a phonetic rendering of
the Tibetan rgyud sde, the "tantra class" of Buddhist literature
that is contrasted with the mdo sde, or sutra class. Primarily, it
seems, for the edification of Theosophists, Reigle then proceeds
to outline these most advanced of esoteric teachings, discussing
the basic division between sutra and tantra, and the major divi-
sions and subdivisions of tantra. He clearly has read the secondary
material available on tantra carefully, and refers occasionally,
too, to primary sources. He includes a number of useful charts,
among them a breakdown of the numbers of volumes devoted
to sutra and tantra in each of the six major available Kanjurs; a
list of the divisions of the tantra section of the T a ~ u r , with Co-ne
volume numbers and Tohoku catalogue numbers; Bu-ston's
classification of Anuttarayoga tantras in the Kanjur, cross-refer-
enced for the Tohoku catalogue, the Peking edition, and Tanjur
commentary locations; and the curriculum of the tantric college
ofTashi Lhunpo, one of the highest "Gelugpa mystery schools."
Reigle also includes lengthy notes on the available editions
of the Kanjur, the correlation of the number of Tripitaka volumes
said to be available by Madame Blavatsky with the actual number
available, available editions and translations of the "Five Books
of Maitreya," the Theosophical term Dzyan (which seems to be
a corruption either of dhyana or jiiana) , and the Jo nang pas (with
114 JIARS VOL. 8 NO.1
whom Reigle is concerned because of their-especially Dol po
pa's--connection with the Kalacakra tradition).
Most useful, perhaps, is an annotated bibliography of works
on Buddhist tantra, especially those related to the Gelugpa trad-
ition (that with which Madame Blavatsky apparently had contact).
Reigle's listing is fairly complete, including most available refer-
ence materials, Sanskrit editions and English translations, general
works, microfilm sources and sound recordings. Omissions worth
noting are H.V. Guenther's Treasures on the Tibetan Middle Way
(Berkeley: Shambhala, 1976), which includes translations of a
number of short texts that deal in part or wholly with tantra;
Geshe Kesang Gyatso's Clear Light of Bliss (London: Wisdom Pub-
lications, 1982), which describes the Gelugpa mahiimudra tradition
in considerable detail; and such pamphlets from the Library of
Tibetan Works and Archives (Dharamsala, India) as The Great
Seal of Voidness and The Steps of Visualization for the Three Essential
Moments. Of course, literature on the tantras is being brought
out constantly nowadays, so Reigle's list will slowly grow outdated,
but it provides an excellent foundation for anyone wishing to
begin a study of tantric texts, especially in translation.
The only point raised by Reigle on which I wish to take issue
(1 cannot comment on the Theosophical aspects of the work) is
his contention that all sexual references in the tantras are in-
tended as purely symbolic. Granted, one may attain enlightenment
(after death) if one relies only on a visualized consort
(jiianamudra), but even the "puritanical" Gelugpa tradition makes
it quite clear that practices involving an acutal consort are a p p r o p ~
riate on some occasions and for some practitioners.
Namkhai Norbu's Dzog Chen and Zen is a small, useful intro-
duction to the hermeneutical structures employed by the rdzogs
chen (mahii ati) meditative tradition of the Nyingmapas. Prof.
Norbu's essay (a transcribed lecture translated from Italian), com-
bined with Kennard Lipman's fine preface and careful notes,
discuss the well-known Nyingmapa division of the path into nine
yanas, then discusses some less well-known aspects of these divi-
sions, e.g., into ways of renunCIatIOn (the sravaka,
pratyekabuddha and bodhisattva yanas) , purification (Kriya,
Carya and Yoga tantras) and transformation (Mahayoga,
Anuyoga and Atiyoga tantras). rDzog chen pas, however, claim
that their tradition ( = Atiyoga) actually is beyond even the yanas
of transformation, and, rather, represents a final, "spontaneously
perfect" (lhun grub) way that encompasses the ways of renuncia-
rion, purification, and transformation, and itself entails an effort-
less practice of one's own primordial perfection that bypasses the
gradual and conventional practices of the other yanas. Basing his
remarks in part on the bSam gtan mig gron (a rdzogs chen text from
Tun Huang), Prof. Norbu points out that, from the rDzogs chen
pa perspective, although Zen (or Ch'an) is, like rdzogs chen, "a
way to find yourself in the absolute condition," it nevertheless
arises in a bodhisattvayana context, and lacks the tantric back-
ground or specific concept of "the manifestation of the energy
of the primordial state of the individual himself," which is at the
heart of rdzogs chen. Thus, although there are common elements
shared by rdzogs chen and Zen, we must speak of the former "as
the way of self-liberation and the other as the path of renuncia-
tion. From the beginning ... these two methods are very differ-
ent" (p. 26).
Other topics touched upon by Prof. Norbu include the rela-
tion of rdzogs chen to Bon, the introduction of the tradition to
Tibet by Vairocana, and the importance of gter-mas. Appended
to the book is a brief biography of Prof. N orbu, a reincarnate
lama who now teaches at the University of Naples, in Italy; in-
cluded, too, is a guide to pronunciation of the Tibetan transliter-
ation system devised by Prof. Norbu based on the pinyin system
of transliterating Chinese.
Overall, Prof. Norbu's approach is a somewhat traditional
one, but Dr. Lipman's preface and notes flesh out the historical
issues raised by the main essay, and make this little book a good
introduction to certain aspects of the rdzogs chen tradition, and
a welcome addition to the growing literature that discusses the
relationship among the various Chinese and Indian traditions
that contended or cooperated during the early years of Buddhism
in Tibet.
Roger Jackson
Nagarjuniana. Studies in the Writings and Philosophy of Nagarjuna
by Chr. Lindtner. Akademisk Forlag: Copenhagen, 1982, pp.
327 (Indiske Studier IV).
Professor Lindtner's Nagarjuniana is a most valuable book.
Professor Lindtner has given scholars interested in Nagarjuna a
most useful instrument of research.
116 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
In his Introduction, Lindtner deals with the difficult problem
of authenticating the works attributed to Nagarjuna. He estab-
lishes some criteria for solving this problem and, according to
these criteria, he divides the works attributed to Nagarjuna into
three groups: a) genuine, b) spurious and c) dubious. In his
Introduction Professor Lindtner has also a preliminary summary
of the religious and philosophical doctrines of Nagarjuna, in
order to guide the reader of the texts that he edits in the following
In the second part of the book, under the title Authentic
Works, Professor Lindtner gives critical reviews of the following
works: I. Mulamadhyamakakiirika prajiia nama; IV. Vaidalyapraka-
VIII. Ratnavall; IX. Prat'ityasamutpadahr:dayakarika; X. Sutra-
samuccaya; XII. Suhr:llekha. Lindtner offers also a critical edition
and a translation of the following works: II. Sunyatasaptati;
III. Vigrahavyavartan'i; V. Vyavahiirasiddhi; VI.
VII. Catuhstava (is the editio princeps of the Lokat'itastava and the
Acintyastava, according to four manuscripts); XI. Bodhicittavi-
vara1'}a. Finally, Professor Lindtner presents a translation of
XIII. Bodhisaf(lbhara(ka) from its Chinese text. All these reviews,
editions and translations are accompanied by numerous notes
which indicate parallel texts, or clarify obscure passages, and
which reveal the great knowledge of Sanskrit and Tibetan Buddh-
ist literature that the author has.
The last part, The Unity of Nagarjuna's Thought, first studies
the background of Nagarjuna's thought, then makes a concise
exposition of Nagarjuna's system, and finally refers briefly to
Nagarjuna's influence.
The book ends with a bibliography, a resume in Danish,
and a reproduction of the Nepalese manuscripts used by the
author for his edition of the Catuhstava.
Professor Lindtner is to be congratulated for the excellent
work he has done, and it is to be hoped that other books like
this one will follow.
Professor P. Williams has published a large Review Article on
Professor Lindtner's book in journal of Indian Philosophy Vol. 12,
No.1, 1984, pp. 73-104, and Bhikku Pasadika has reviewed it
in The Tibet journal, VIII, 2 (1983), pp. 58-61.
In JIABS, Vol. VI, 2, 1983, pp. 94-123, we published the
Tibetan text of the ofNagarjuna with an English
translation. In the introduction we gave the references of four
quotations of stanzas (19, 33, 34 and 39), that are
found in other authors' works. We think it is useful that we
indicate now the other quotations that Professor Lindtner points
out. They are: stanza 1 in Sekoddefa(ikii, p. 48 (ed. M.E. Carelli,
Baroda, 1941); stanza 5 in Aryadeva, CittaviSuddhiprakara1Jii, 24
(ed. Patel); stanza 6 in Ratnaklrtinibandhiivalf, p. 139 (ed. A.
Thakur, Patna, 1975); stanza 30 in p. 385 (ed.
C. Bendall, Le Museon, N.S. IV, 1903, p. 385), and Nyiiyavinis-
cayavivara1Ja II, pp. 17-18 M.K. Jain) both with variants;
stanzas 46-48 in Haribhadra'sAloka, p. 161 (ed. Wogihara, Tokyo
1932-35 = pp. 343-344 ed. P.L. Vaidya, Darbhanga, 1960); and
stanza 55 Cittavisuddhiprakara1Ja, already quoted.
We also avail ourselves of this opportunity to correct
small misprints that appear in our article, in the Sanskrit texts
of pages 96 and 97 and in the Tibetan text edited by us: stanza
33a read prokta7(l instead of proktarf:t; stanza 2d read instead
of s(1Jusva; stanza 1 b read sin instead of is; stanza 6c read yons
instead of yons; stanza 7 dread sgyu instead of sgu; stanza 14d read
dan instead of das; stanza 19c read dnos por
instead of dnos por;
stanza 36a read gyo instead of g-yo; stanza 49c read stsogs instead
of sogs (as in Sde-dge edition; cf. stanza 44, and Lokesh Chandra,
Tibetan-Sanskrit Dictionary II, p. 1916, who refers to Mahiivyutpatti
9228); stanza 56b read bzlog instead of bilog; stanza 59b read gyo
instead of g-yo (twice).
Fernando Tola and Carmen Dragonetti
Seifless Persons: Imagery and Thought in Theravada Buddhism, by
Steven Collins. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University
Press, 1982. Pp. ix + 323.
Buddhist teachings on the nature of the self (the celebrated
anattii doctrine) clearly stood against the established views on the
subject that were upheld in India's various other religious and
philosophical systems. A radical anti-metaphysical outlook as well
as a striking analytical procedure are evident in these teachings;
hence, there is much room to link the latter with the standpoints
of Western empiricists, both old and new. Yet this, significantly,
is not the perception that guides the discussions in the Seifless
Persons. On the contrary, the exposition of Theravada thinking
118 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
on selfhood and personality that is offered here actually proceeds
on the assumption that this thinking is entirely "alien" to Western
ideas and beliefs.
What Collins undertakes in this book is certainly a "new
account of a familiar doctrine"; for he departs notably from
traditional patterns of exegesis. It must be also observed that
there is much that is controversial in his discussions; whether his
conclusions are always persuasive is likely to be very much dis-
puted, especially by Theravada believers. In any event, readers
would do well to recognize that despite professions of a
philosophical intent, this account is not developed on the basis
of a simple consideration of the interpretative criteria associated
with logic and philosophy. The author believes in the existence
of subtle links between religious doctrines and society, ideas and
their background. Hence, the approaches adopted in recent
sociological and anthropological explanations of religion in gen-
eral and Buddhism in particular are consciously drawn into the
discussions in this book. Indeed, some of Collins' more notable
claims and interpretations (as, for example, the assertion that
the Buddhist denial of the self is a "linguistic taboo" geared to
provide "intransigent symbolic opposition" to Brahminism, or
again the arguments that support his elucidation of Theravada
imagery), all stem in the main from the adoption of sociologically
inspired. approaches. And, strikingly enough, what underlies
these approaches is the view that Buddhism's informing ideas
invariably touch upon or are addressed to "socially derived con-
cerns." Now it is not impossible to entertain reservations regard-
ing methodological perspectives of this kind; some Theravada
scholars might perhaps feel that Collins' approaches frequently
lead to an improper exteriorization of the products of a tradition
of religious thinking whose basis is after all pre-eminently interior
or esoteric. Nevertheless, Selfless Persons fully merits careful atten-
tion, for its discussions bear witness to the application of interest-
ing new viewpoints; besides, these discussions are on the whole
supported by a rather impressive review of Pali textual sources
that deal with the anattii doctrine.
The main contents of this book (which follow an introductory
clarification of its aims) are presented in four parts organized
under a total of eight chapters. The first part prepares in large
measure the background to the study, and deals with the cultural
and social setting of Buddhist thought. Its focus falls initially on
pre-Buddhist (Brahmanical) ideas that influenced Buddhism
(sarpsara, karma and the like) and then shifts to a consideration
of the overall framework within which "self" and "person" came
to be viewed by Buddhism itself. The discussions in the next
three parts of the book revolve around Theravada thinking as
well as its expressions as they relate to these latter subjects. Thus,
Part n considers the doctrine of non-self; Part III delves into
the question of personality and re-birth; and Part IV examines
the notion of continuity. These discussions indeed serve to bring
to light some characteristic features of Therevada thought and
imagery; but what is very distinctive of the treatment of the above
topics is of course the conscious effort to forge links between the
mental and the social worlds of the Buddhists. Collins, to be sure,
takes the view that Theravada texts which deal with selfhood and
personality, as well as the interpretations given to them, are subtly
connected with the ambient background.
This line of thinking forms the basis for many of Collins'
arguments and interpretations. Thus, he regards a distinction
which figures in some later expositions of the anattii doctrine,
namely that between "conventional" (sammuti) and "ultimate"
<paramattha) truth to be the "main means by which Buddhist
intellectualism has oriented itself in society and culture" (p. 147).
Further, he discerns a specificity in Buddhist imagery, the origins
of which are traced to the peasant society of South Asia. The
images themselves are regarded as key structures, providing ac-
cess to the ingrained features of the Buddhist mentality. Accord-
ing to Collins, the various strata of Buddhist society, from schol-
arly monks to peasant believers, are actually united into a single
cultural world by this imagery.
Many patterns of imagery found in the Pali texts are iden-
tified and examined in the course of Collins' study, and some of
the details highlighted are worth brief notice. Thus, imagery
associated with houses and dwelling places are held to play a
major role in the entire soteriological scheme of Buddhism,
woven around the need to overcome the desires that sustain
existence in sarpsara. Village imagery, he finds, sometimes repli-
cates house imagery, with an extended simile referring to the
border town liable to attack. Some other emphases of Buddhism,
according to him, are conveyed with the help of vegetation imag-
ery drawn from the preoccupations of South Asian peasant ag-
riculturalists. Examples cited in this connection include "root"
and "seed" (used in explanations of causality), as well as "ripen-
ing" and "fruit" (used to bring out the idea of effect or result).
Collins observes perceptively that some of the finer points of
Theravada thinking on the self are actually clarified through
imagery. The burning lamp-flame, for example, is held fo:-th as
a classic means of bringing out the import of anatta, especially
in relation to the prospect of a life beyond, while streams, running
waters and moving chariots are identified as images which high-
light continuity (or in some instances, desire). Lastly, water in
the deep or placid state is noted as an image that is commonly
invoked to portray the condition of the mind stilled and calmed-
not only of the disciple, but also of the Buddha himself.
Though Collins concedes in passing that some kinds of
Buddhist imagery (streams in particular) figure in non-Buddhist
systems, he does not really favor "cross-cultural" comparison.
What he seeks instead is to "understand Theravada thought and
imagery in its own terms" (p. 258). The adoption of this attitude
actually leads him to attempt a firm disengagement of Buddhist
accounts of change and continuity from Western ones (like those
of Heraclitus and Bergson), with which they are often compared.
These positions, it must be noted, are open to criticism. But,
then, many of his findings and conclusions regarding the nature
and the basis of the anatta doctrine itself are even often more
so. What many commentators (especially those philosophically
inclined) usually see in this doctrine is an insightful interpretation
of our total being. Such commentators are apt to be attracted by
its logical features above every thing else. T.H. Huxley'S remarks
in his Evolution and Ethics (1894) exemplify this rather strikingly.
Huxley hailed Buddhism's rejection of the notion of an abiding
soul-substance as "a metaphysical tour de force of great interest
to the student of philosophy," and he viewed this stance as "a
remarkable indication of the subtlty ofIndian speculation." Yet,
what Collins recognizes here is finally the product of a localised
cultural imagination. Not only does he incline towards the posi-
tion that the anatta doctrine is "counter intuitive" (and hence an
unlikely vehicle for the religious aspirations of ordinary people),
but he also maintains that it is "Buddhist scholasticism" which
has ensured its survival by upholding it as an unquestionable
dogma. And, as indicated above, this in turn prompts him to
assign the character of a "linguistic taboo" to the Theravada view
of the self. The role it has performed, he contends, is symbolic-
that of preserving the identity and integrity of Buddhism as a
system separate from Brahmanical Hinduism.
It is somewhat difficult to conceive of anyone without a
penchant for a particular kind of sociological explanation accept-
ing many of the conclusions in Selfless Persons. Admirers of
Theravada Buddhism c-an hardly be faulted if they get the impres-
sion that the notably philosophical character of the anatta doctrine
(and its meaningfulness and considerable viability within an em-
piricist framework of thought) is unfairly de-emphasized here in
order to pave the way for a confidently reductionist, sociologically
inspired accounting. Aspects of this accounting as it relates to
both Theravada thought and imagery are especially vulnerable
to criticism. This can be substantiated by delving into a few details.
It might be argued, for example, that the principle under-
lying the "two truths" need not, after all, be given an exclusively
sociologically-slanted interpretation. Collins himself identifies it
at one point as a "metapsychological schematization" (p. 156),
and a philosophically informed inquirer is likely to discern two
levels of empirical analysis here. It should be observed that there
is a parallel of a sort to it in the famous distinction between
statements in the "formal" and "material" modes which the con-
temporary philosopher Rudolph Carnap has elaborated in his
Logical Syntax of Language. As regards imagery, one may indeed
concede that it does playa certain role in Theravada thinking.
Yet there is again some room to wonder whether the images
Collins highlights can be really called the unifying structures of
Buddhist culture and, still less, that they hold the keys to some
highly important but hitherto unrecognized facts about the col-
lective Theravada psyche. As against Collins, one may indeed
say that what serves to unite Buddhists into a single cultural
world are the thoughts behind the images, rather than the images
themselves. In any case, it is possible to dispute Collins' tacit
assumption that Theravada imagery is wholly stereotyped. The
immensely influential Dhammapada, for example, uses a rich and
varied stock of images; and, significantly, they cannot be always
related to a narrow range of agricultural activities. Fletchers and
their shafts, the herdsman and his kine, bees, flowers and swans
figure in many of its famous couplets. It should be recalled that
the mind's unsteady nature is compared here to the wrigglings
of a fish taken out of water, an evocative, but still not typically
agricultural image that could have issued from the "moulds"
Collins' account seems to set up.· All in all, the limitations of
Collins' findings on the question of imagery tend to become even
more evident when one examines the role images play in another
influential religious tradition, the Christianity of the Gospels.
Pastoral and agricultural activities, as well as the fishing which
sustained West Asian peoples among whom Christianity origi-
nated, have indeed left unmistakable imprints on the language
and the idiom of the Christian message set forth in the Gospels.
122 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
Yet would it not be somewhat naive to say baldly that Christians
are united into a single cultural world by this imagery, forgetting
the underlying ideas? Moreover, Collins' contentions regarding
the "specificity" of Theravada imagery might be considerably
undermined by a wider review of Gospel imagery. It is well to
remember that Christianity also refers to houses and homes, and
in particular to fields, plants, seeds and fruits in order to clarify
its doctrinal points.
To sum up, Selfless Persons is an interesting book incorporat-
ing several strands of argument, many of which are unusually
thought provoking and sometimes controversial as well. Its find-
ings on Theravada positions on selfhood and personality might
be sociologically illuminating, but doubts can be entertained as
regards their philosophical, and in particular religious, accepta-
bility. Collins' attempt to link the thoughts and images relating
to these positions to their contextual social factors is a noteworthy
effort. Still, it is possible to detect some shortcomings in the way
he addresses himself to this very complex task. But even those
who object to some of the book's conclusions will no doubt rec-
ognize that the investigation pursued here has many innovative
features. The focus on Theravada imagery is especially worthy
of recall in this connection. This, to be sure, is something that
could be extended and viewed on the basis of other, less "reduc-
tionist" perspectives. It must be reiterated that Selfless Persons,
finally, is not likely to prove very attractive to admirers of
Theravada thought. But even this category of readers might be
instructed in some ways by paying heed to the critical vistas it
Vijitha Rajapakse
Self and Non-Self in Early Buddhism, by Joaquin Perez-Remon. The
Hague, Paris and New York: Mouton Publishers, 1980. xii + 421
Buddhism dispenses with the traditional notion of an abiding
self, a position which appears to be somewhat paradoxical for a
religious system. Still, certain Buddhist schools (like the
Theravada) did place great emphasis on this position, sometimes
treating it as the focal point of Buddhist thinking as a whole.
Many modern exponents of early Buddhism have sought to fol-
low their example, dwelling in turn on the negative implications
of the Buddhist teachings on the self-the anatta doctrine-with
a rigour which is almost scholastic. P ~ i l i literature reveals, how-
ever, that even in ancient times new entrants to the Buddhist
fold were not infrequently puzzled by these teachings. In any
event, the latter do pose certain problems and difficulties. The
discussions in this book tend to take into account two of them
in particular, and they are, to be sure, noteworthy. For one thing,
it might be asked whether the anatta doctrine can be strictly
maintained within Buddhism's spiritually oriented framework
where, among other things, the quest for salvation (and by impli-
cation a life beyond death) is seen as a reality. Then, on the other
hand, the present-day inquirer has to contend with the fact that
Pali literary sources which proclaim anatta (non-self) are them-
selves not entirely free from occasional references to atta (self).
Perez-Remon endeavours in this study to go some way towards
providing a reasoned solution to the former problem, and also
account for the latter difficulty. Though his conclusions, as will
be shown shortly, are not beyond challenge, Self and Non-Self in
Early Buddhism is a well researched study, and hence merits serious
notice. It addresses itself to a set of issues that have a great
significance not only to Buddhist thought, but also to Pali textual
Perez-Reman's book is analytical in nature, and its im-
mediate aim is to provide an interpretative study of the anatta
doctrine as it appears in the earlier parts of the Pali canon, namely
the Nikaya literature. He describes the religious views elaborated
in these contexts as a soteriology, that is to say a system of moral
training which considers salvation to be its prime goal. Buddhist
writings on the self, he argues, are not as clear and unambiguous
as is often supposed. He does not, in particular, believe that one
could regard them in a purely negative light, after the manner
of certain Theravada exponents. The use and the import of "self'
(atta) and "non-self' (anatta) are of course central to this study.
In order to facilitate his inquiry into these key terms, he intro-
duces some important distinctions which appear for the most
part to be philosophical in nature. First, there is the distinction
between the self in its existential and metaphysical signification;
and second, between two senses of the term non-self, one qual-
ified and the other absolute. Previous interpretations of the anatta
doctrine have not revolved around distinctions of this kind. Perez-
Remon, however, is of the view that it is necessary to focus on
124 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
them in order to gain a true insight into early Buddhist thinking
on the nature and existence of the self.
Since it provides the framework for the book's core discus-
sions, the first of the above distinctions is especially noteworthy.
Indeed, the discussions in question are arranged in two parts,
under two heads, "The Existential Self' (Part I) and "The
Metaphysical Self' (Part II). Perez-Rem6n considers this division
to be reflective of a pivotal fact gathered from textual analysis,
namely, the existence of different usages (and hence different
meanings) for the term "self' in early Buddhist writings. He
insists, to be sure, that "whatever relations there may be between
these two kinds of self, the existence of the texts that speak of
them is a fact that no one can deny" (p. 7).
Part I of this book (which focuses on what Perez-Rem6n
calls the "existential self') serves in the main to draw attention
to the Nikaya sources where the self is represented in action,
especially in the moral and soteriological spheres. Not "one-sided
insistence on cessation" but rather, the "positive dwelling on
inner development" are the motifs that are held to dominate the
exposition in these contexts (p. 119). It is also emphasized that
the self as referred to here often stands for nothing less than
man's "existential core" as distinguished from the "peripheral
samsaric adjuncts" (p. 150). The drift of these findings tends to
be complemented or reinforced in the course of the examination
of texts that the author considers to highlight Buddhist positions
on the selfs very nature in Part II (presented under the caption,
"The Metaphysical Self'). He argues here that a higher, undefin-
able reality is always posited even amidst the reductive analyses
that one encounters in classic accounts of the anattii doctrine.
What tends to be denied, he maintains, is the existence of a self
identifiable with the human psycho-physical complex, (the khan-
dhas). Accordingly, anattii as taught in early Buddhism is held to
be relative, not absolute. He also expresses the opinion that the
texts that allude to the liberated sage "implicitly accept that there
is someone who is beyond description or beyond our present
categories of thought" (p. 285). Further, we are reminded that
the middle point between the extremes of eternalism and an-
nihilationism (which Buddhism always avoided) can hardly be
anattii as interpreted in an absolute sense. This middle point, in
the view ofthe author, has to be the absolute metaphysical trans-
cendence of the self. But in keeping with its soteriological orien-
tation, Nikaya literature, he adds, never sought to deliniate its
final character or basis, for in these writings, "the true self is the
subject of emancipation, never the object of speculation or
philosophical discussion" (p. 299).
It should be remembered that these conclusions (and for
that matter much of the argumentation behind the book as a
whole). tend to counter what is designated as the "persistent
negativism" of extreme interpretations which "anattavadins" are
said to uphold on the question of the self. Perez-Reman's efforts
in Self and Non-Self in Early Buddhism are interesting, and some
might even contend that they have a definite relevance in that
they throw some new light on a vexed question in Buddhist
thought. Indeed, he might not be entirely wrong when he ob-
serves that the absolutist positions taken on the selfs non-exis-
tence in certain Theravada circles can assume the form of an
obsessive view (ditthi) which is at odds with the true spirit of
Buddhism. On the other hand, there is also room to ask whether
the author himself does not veer towards indulging in discursive
thinking and speculation on an ultimate issue in a way that is
not quite consonant with the outlook of the Nikaya literature.
Anyone pursuing this line of criticism might even say that he
eschews one extreme position (namely absolute anatta ) only fi-
nally to embrace another, (though at a different level), for some-
what paradoxically, relative anatta eventually comes to be equated
with the absolute metaphysical transcendence of the self (p. 286).
And, what is more, this poses a problem to the historian of
religion: if a reality over and above the khandhas is admitted,
then early Buddhism would to all intents and purposes lose its
distinctiveness vis it vis the iitman doctrine of U panishadic Hin-
On the other hand, those who adopt classic Theravada ap-
proaches might not only insist that there are no explicit contexts
in Nikaya literature where a reality of the above kind is admitted,
but also maintain that many of Perez-Reman's affirmations on
this score are more often than not questionable inferences. In
this connection, it is possible to argue that the statements concern-
ing the indescribability of the liberated sage's destiny, for exam-
ple, hardly afford sufficient ground for reaching conclusions
about the seWs transcendence (cf. p. 280 ff.). In any event, it
would be well to point out that since Buddhism frowns upon
intellectualizing, even designations with positive connotations
(like "transcendent") can in the last analysis acquire a speculative
significance, and hence prove to be soteriologically stultifying in .
the eyes of the believer. The preferred position of the Nikayas
on ultimate matters is no more than silence; this is a mode esoteric
systems typically employ in order to point to what might be taken
as a dimension of inner meaning that stands beyond conceptual
thought altogether. Besides, it would be somewhat unwise to
read too much into the use of the term "self' ·(aWl) in moral
contexts and make this latter fact one of the grounds for arguing
that early Buddhism accepts the existence of a self in a higher
sense. It should be r e m e m b e r ~ d that systems that reject thenotion
of a self at the epistemological and metaphysical levels are often
forced to retain it in moral discussion. The writings of the British
philosopher David Hume sometimes bear witness to this cir-
cumstance in a notable way. What it highlights, however, is a
logical feature about language structure and discourse: in talking
about the facts of individual existence one is necessarily led to
use terms such as "self' and "person" because in the last analysis
grammar demands it. In view of these considerations in particu-
lar, it appears that the quality of Perez-Rem6n's exposition would
have been notably enhanced ifsome of the categories and ideas
found in Western philosophical inquiries relating to the self had
been brought to bear upon his discussions. The subjects he deals
with are complex, and the interpretation of their finer points
indeed requires considerable conceptual sophistication. Still, the
book as it is has some undeniable merits. The connected view it
presents of the thinking in the Nikaya tradition on "self' and
"non-self' is both interesting and illuminating from the
standpoint of textual analysis; it can be also said to provide a
good basis for a more consciously philosophical study of these
key terms.
Vijitha R<ijapakse
The World of Buddhism, edited by Heinz Bechert and Richard
Gombrich. New York: Facts on File Publications, 1984. 308 p.,
297 illustrations (82 color), 215 photographs, drawings and maps.
Glossary, Select Bibliography, Index. $49.95.
This may be the most beautiful book on Buddhism ever
produced, but it is devoutly to be wished that it will serve more
than just to accumulate onion-dip and wine-glass stains on sub-
urban coffee tables, for its text, to which have contributed the
likes of Etienne Lamotte, Lal Mani Joshi and Erik Zurcher, is as
fine a social history of Buddhism as we have.
The book's focus is on· the sangha, which Heinz Bechert
identifies in his Foreword as "the most truly Buddhist institu-
tion .. , .It is primarily the Sangha that has transmitted the
Buddha's words and maintained the tradition of meditation and
thus eI1sured that future generations too can be shown the way
to release from the world" (7b). Prof. Bechert notes the traditional
view that "Buddhism has not taken root in a country till there
are native monks there" (ibid.), and Richard Gombrich, in his
Introduction, states the corollary: "Buddhists believed that where
the Order dies out, Buddhism itself is dead. This is for two
reasons. Firstly, Buddhists have traditionally believed that for a
layman to attain salvation is virtually impossible; it just is not
practically feasible. Secondly, it is the Order that preserves the
scriptures; without the scriptures, the true Doctrine will soon be
forgotten, and so for want of a guide no one will be able to attain
salvation" (9b).
One might argue about the feasibility of salvation for lay-per-
sons, and note, as various of the book's contributors do, that
there are countries (e.g., Nepal, Japan, Tibet) where the sangha
is not always conceived exclusively along monastic lines, but the
decision to focus on the sangha seems to me, overall, to be a wise
one, for it is in the sangha broadly conceived that one will find
"Buddhism." Indeed, were one to perform a Buddhist analysis
of the phenomenon of "Buddhism," one might argue that there
is no "Buddhism" existing outside the men and women who have
attempted to practice Buddhadharma over the centuries, that
Buddhism is simply an aggregate of its various sanghas (and, of
course, the texts they have left us).
Following the Foreword and Introduction by, respectively,
Professors Bechert and Gombrich, the book is divided into six
major sections, "The Path to Enlightenment," "The Indian Tra-
dition," "Theravada Buddhism," "Buddhism in East Asia,"
"Tibetan Buddhism," and "Buddhism in the Modern World."
Each section (save the last) is preceded by approximately twenty
pages of photos illustrating Buddhist art and practice, half in
color, all extraordinarily beautiful and informatively captioned.
The ten chapters that actually comprise the book are written by
both venerable and younger scholars (mostly European), and
follow a geographic approach. An overview of "The Buddha,
His Teachings and His Sangha" is contributed by Prof. Lamotte.
The chapter on ancient Indian Buddhism includes segments by
Prof. Gombrich (on the evolution of the sangha), Prof. Lamotte
(on Mahayana) and Lal ManiJoshi (on the monastic contribution
to art and architecture). Buddhism in Afghanistan and Central
Asia is covered by Oskar von Hinuber; Nepalese Buddhism by
Seigfried Lienhard; Sri Lankan Buddhism by Michael Carrithers;
Burmese Buddhism by Prof. Bechert; Thai, Laotion and Cambo-
dian Buddhism by Jane Bunnang; Chinese, Vietnamese and Ko-
rean Buddhism by Prof. Zurcher; Japanese Buddhism by Robert
Heinemann; Tibetan Buddhism by Per Kvaerne; and the
"Buddhist Revival inEast and West" by Prof. Bechert.
One cannot, in a short review, do justice to a book as varied
and richly informative as this, but I will give brief accounts of
each of the contributions, pointing out their strengths and noting
those points (usually minor) on which I differ.
Prof. Gombrich's Introduction admirably summarizes the
overall importance of the sangha for Buddhism, noting that "The
position of the monastic Order. . .is even more dominant than
that of the church in Christianity" (9b), and he goes on to point
out that, the book's title notwithstanding, there is no "world of
Buddhism" in the sense in which there is a "world of Christianity"
or a "world of Islam." This is due, he believes, to the fact that
Buddhism has a strong soteriological thrust, and therefore (a)
tolerates other religious systems, often mingling uncomplainingly
with them and (b) does not so much attempt to define a "world"
as to transcend one. Nevertheless, I doubt that Prof. Gombrich
would argue that such Western traditions as Christianity and
Islam have been utterly intolerant of local traditions they have
encountered, nor entirely adverse to occasional "compromises"
with them; nor, clearly, does he believe that Buddhism's theoreti-
cal transworldliness means any the less that Buddhism has, in-
deed, left its mark on various parts of the world-the book as a
whole, in fact, is a record of that mark. Prof. Gombrich goes on
to describe the background to Buddhism, the centrality of the
three jewels, and the sangha's historical role. The latter discussion
includes a useful delineation of the difference between priest
and monk, and introduces the argument, reiterated later, that
the "divisons" in Buddhism are the result not so much of doctrinal
disagreements-as in Christianity-but of conflicts over proper
monastic conduct. Needless to say, such disputes can be and
often have been interfused with broader doctrinal concerns, but
Prof. Gombrich's point is that the sangha is constituted such that
expulsion only really can result from improper behavior, not
improper views (though sanghiibheda seems an elastic enough
concept that it might be applied to opposing views on occasion).
Prof. Lamotte's summary of basic Buddhist doctrines may
be the best such brief account ever written. With his usual effort-
less erudition, Prof. Lamotte covers the life of the Buddha as
best we have been able to reconstruct it; his teaching, structured
along the lines of the four noble truths; and the formation of
the sangha, its initial development after the Buddha's demise,
and its. basic structures and practices. Particularly welcome in
Prof. Lamotte's chapter are his parenthetical references to texts
he is citing, a practice that might have been made uniform
throughout the book and thus, in the absence of endnotes, aided
readers disposed to checking references. I have only minor quib-
bles: I wonder whether the objective six iiyatanas ought to be
designated as "external," given that mental objects are included
among them (47b); I find slightly confusing the account, follow-
ing that of the five lay-precepts, of the one-day vows, which are
listed as five, but, of course, named as eight (the a ~ t a n g a fila) (54a);
finally, on the same page, the Buddha is distinguished from the
arhats by an "omniscience which extends as far as the particular
characteristics of all phenomena," but what exactly this entails (a
moot point among scholars of early Buddhism) is not made clear.
The largest section of the chapter on ancient Indian Bud-
dhism, that on the formation of the sangha, comes again from
Prof. Gombrich, who notes the basic distinction (recapitulated
throughout the sangha's history) between forest and monastery,
emphasizes the fact that authority in the sangha in principle
flows diachronically from the Buddha rather than synchronically
through a complex hierarchy, and reiterates his argument that
the divisions within Buddhism are based on monastic rather than
doctrinal disagreements, as a result of which Mahayana cannot
properly be considered a sect (82a). Again, a couple of small
points of contention; I have never seen Maya vijiiiina translated
as "appetitive consciousness" (86b), iilaya usually, I believe, refer-
ring to a house or abode. Also, Prof. Gombrich implies (87b)
that the Tibetans consider the Vajrayana a third yiina beyond
the Hinayana and Mahayana, whereas it is my impression that
most Tibetans, in fact, regard the Vajrayana as falling under the
general rubric of Mahayana, which then can be subdivided into
sutrayiina and tantrayiina, the dividing line between the two being
the practice of deity yoga enjoined by the tantras. The chapter
on ancient Indian Indian Buddhism also includes a brief con-
tribution on Mahayana by Prof. Lamotte, excellent apart from
its questionable contention (partially countered by a later discus-
sion of the two truths) that "Faced with the emptiness ... ofbeings
and things, the attitude of the wise man consists of no longer
doing anything, no longer saying anything, no longer thinking
anything" (92b). Also, the late Prof. Joshi contributes an account
of the historical evolution of Buddhist artistic forms, particularly
stu pas and viharas.
Prof. von Hiniiber's discussion of's expansion
into Afghanistan and Central Asia is notable for the extreme
care he takes only to represent opinions that are soundly sup-
ported by material or textual evidence. His chapter includes dis-
cussions of historical developments, the languages involved in
Central Asian traditions, art and imagery, and monastic life. Since
Central Asian Buddhism is an area still little understood, and
often excluded from surveys, Prof. von Hiniiber's chapter is a
most welcome inclusion.
Also oft-neglected in surveys of Buddhism is Nepal, which
probably has the longest continuous tradition of Buddhist prac-
tice in the world, and whose non-monastic orientation provides
a fascinating contrast to the sangha's usual structure and role.
Siegfried Lienhard's chapter on Nepal traces the development
of the Nepalese sangha from its monastic origins to its present
state and examines Buddhism's uneasy relationship (sometimes
symbiotic, sometimes antagonistic) with the officially-sanctioned
Hinduism around it. Prof. Lienhard points out the degree to
which Nepalese Buddhism has been "Hinduized," a fact that
many observers have noted, but I would question his contention
that the Vajrayana Buddhism absorbed by the Nepalese has "its
doctrines and practices taken from Saiva tantrism" (11 Oa), for
not only are there considerable doctrinal and practical differences
between Buddhist and Hindu tantrism, but the causal relation-
ship between the two traditions is notoriously difficult to settle
with any certainty.
Michael Carrithers' chapter on Sri Lankan Buddhism high-
lights the degree to which Buddhism has shaped the culture and
identity of the Sinhalese, and the degree to which, in turn, "cul-
tural hegemony" effectively has been exercised by the sangha.
He delineates the de facto partition of the sangha into "village"
and "forest" components, the former oriented toward study and
preaching, the latter toward meditation. He also discusses in
some detail the sangha's involvement in politics, noting with some
irony early Buddhist justifications of royal blood-shedding (l41b)
and thefact that-as so often has been the case-adherence to
the Vinaya's strict injunctions on "right livelihood" has been less
than thoroughgoing. Prof. Carrither's chapter is superb as a social
history, but I wish that he (and the authors of the two succeeding
chapters on Theravada) had paid a bit more attention to medita-
don practices and scholastic pursuits-these, after all, are part
of what the sangha has done, too.
Prof. Bechert's chapter on Buddhism in Burma places a
strong emphasis on modern political developments, covering
both the complex relationship between Buddhism and the Bur-
mese state, and the structure and divisions within the sangha
itself. There is a brief mention of post-war attempts to reconcile
Buddhism with Marxism, and a discussion of the importance to
Burmese Buddhism of the abhidhamma tradition, Prof. Bechert
concluding that "This wide interest in questions of systematic
philosophy may well explain why ideology is, to Burmese Bud-
dhists, of such paramount importance in politics and sociology"
(1 54b).
Jane Bunnang's chapter on Cambodian, Laotian and
(primarily) Thai Buddhism examines the varieties of interaction
between the lay and monastic communities, and concludes that
"the monk is not in fact the solitary recluse ... but .. .in a variety
of ways he ministers to the needs of lay society," although,
paradoxically, he can "only maintain his semi-divine status by
remaining as aloof as possible from the fruits of the world he
has left behind" (l70b). There are other paradoxes pointed out
by Dr. Bunnang, too: while monks believe their greatest merit /,
to derive from study, they are most respected by the lay commu-
nity for their comportment. Futher, although meditation is the
traditional route to salvation in normative -Buddhism, it has so
fallen into desuetude among certain segments of the sangha that
it is derided as the proper activity only of nuns and devout pil-
grims (l65a)!
Prof. Zurcher's chapter on Buddhism in China contains, as
one might expect, a masterly summation of the complex problems
faced by Buddhism in its attempt to "conquer" a civilization as
ancient and well-developed as the Chinese, and includes a fas-
cinating, detailed account of an early (third century) defense of
Buddhism against a litany of Chinese complaints. There is little
discussion of the particular doctrines or histories of the Chinese
schools, but the history of the sangha as an institution is admirably
conveyed. Prof. Zurcher also gives brief accounts of the develop-
ment of Buddhism in Vietnam and Korea; one wishes that he
might have included more information on the structure of the
sangha in these countries, as well as a delineation of the idiosyn-
cracies that separate them from the parent Chinese tradition.
Prof. Heinemann, in his chapter on Japanese Buddhism,
emphasizes the traditional Japanese distinction between jiriki
132 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
(self-reliant) and tariki (other-dependent) traditions, but em-
phasizes that all Japanese traditions have a "this-worldliness"
about them that contrasts with the "quietism" implied in the
Indian tradition (I would want to argue that the contrast is actu-
ally one of degree, not kind). Prof. Heinemann's is rather
different from most of the others, for his focus is primarily doc-
trinal. He outlines the development of the various Japanese
schools, giving particularly fine accounts of Tendai and Shingon.
Some further discussion of the structure of the sangha, both past
and present, might have been desirable, especially given the
unique solutions to the lay-monastic problem developed by the
Japanese, but the chapter stands as an excellent account of the
doctrines of Japanese Buddhism.
The chapter on Tibetan Buddhism is contributed by Prof.
Kvaerne, who quite rightly identifies the pandit and
the siddha Padmasambhava not only as the traditional co-founders
of the Tibetan sangha, but as the archetypes of the two basic
forms of Buddhist practice in Tibet, "one based on the vinaya,
the sutras and scholastic philosophy, the other on the ritualistic
and mystical tantras" (257a). Prof. Kvaerne also offers an interest-
ing defense of the use of the term "lamaism," noting that if one
eliminates the pejorative sense in which the term connotes a
"degraded" form of Buddhism, "it retains value for its allusion
to a fact of fundamental importance: the lama in Tibet is not
necessarily a fully-ordained monk and consequently the monk
does not monopolize the Dharma as he does in other Buddhist
countries" (255a). Prof. Kvaerne further criticizes the oft-expres-
sed view that Bon is a form of shamanism, arguing that the
sources we have give no evidence that Bon-pos entered the sorts
of trances usually associated with shamanism (269a). Overall, his
chapter is an excellent historical account of Tibetan Buddhism,
which might only have been improved by more detailed discus-
sions of the monastic structure and of tantric practice, which is
different enough from the sorts of basic Buddhist practices de-
scribed in the first two chapters to warrant greater exposure.
The final chapter, also written by Prof. Bechert, examines
the counter-colonialist resurgence of Buddhism in Asia, some
Buddhist responses to modernism, and the ongoing spread of
Buddhism to the West, especially to Germany, England and
America. He includes an account of the Mahar Buddhism of
Ambedkar in India, and a fascinating description of the little-
known modern Buddhist movement in Indonesia, which has
faced some particularly vexing doctrinal problems in its attempt
to come to terms with the theism of the predominantly Islamic
culture around it.
The picture of the sali.gha that emerges from The World of
Buddhism is as varied as Buddhism itself, but there are some
central,themes that occur again and again, and these are mostly
paradoxes. There is, first of all, the basic paradox of the necessary
institutionalization in the world of a teaching that points beyond
the world. Then, there is the establishment of a set of institutional
rules that seem to preclude the accumulation of worldly wealth
and power; yet, precisely because of the valuation placed by both
princes and peasants on the spiritual power of the monastery,
there inevitably accrues to the sangha precisely that wealth and
power that it was supposed to avoid. Finally, then, there is the
paradox that the akiilika Dharma has, in fact, taken a bewildering
variety of forms at different times and, like any other religion,
been used for both good and ill by those who espoused it; like
any institution, it consists of human beings, some scoundrels,
some saints, most somewhere in the middle, attempting to make
their ways through a world whose history, alas, has been the
most cogent of arguments for the truth of the first noble truth.
In its presentation of Buddhism as a world-historical
phenomenon, The World of Buddhism makes a needed contribution
to the rounding out of our picture of Buddhism, bringing to-
gether as it does information that heretofore has been found
only scattered through largely specialized monographs and arti-
cles. One only wishes that it might somehow be made available
in paperback, as it is expensive, and as such probably never will
reach the wider audience for whom it was written and which it
so richly deserves.
Roger Jackson
134 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
Tibetan Blockprints in the Department of Rare Books and Special Col-
lections, compiled by Leonard Zwilling. Madison, 'Wisconsin: The
University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries Publications Com-
mittee, 1984. 95 p.
In 1962, the Director of Libraries at the University of Wis-
consin purchased a large number of Tibetan manuscripts, Mon-
golian blockprints, Tibetan blockprints, and volumes in Western
languages from the estate of Professor Ferdinand Diederich Les-
sing (1882-1961). Except for the books in Western languages
which were made part of the general collection, the Tibetan and
Mongolian materials have remained in the Department of Rare
Books, uncatalogued and unorganized, until now. Dr. Zwilling
has so far completed the task of organizing and cataloguing the
Tibetan blockprints, approximately seventy percent of which are
devotional works, prayers and rituals. The rest are divided be-
tween canonical literature, biography and history, didactic works,
lexicography, bibliography, and indexes. Since most of these
works were printed during the early part of the twentieth century
in Peking, they represent most of the important authors in the
dGe-lugs-pa tradition, the Tibetan Buddhist tradition patronized
by the Ch'ing emperors. Dr. Zwilling points out that this collection
is an important resource for the study of Tibetan Buddhist cult
and literature, as well as for that of Tibetan printing and publish-
In this valuable catalogue, Dr. Zwilling has included physical
descriptions (number of folios, size of folios, dimensions of the
printed field and number oflines of text on one side of an average
folio, distinctive decorations, ornamentations, etc.); concise state-
ments of the works' subjects in English or Sanskrit; the works'
authors; and any other pertinent information. The items are
catalogued according to Tibetan alphabetical order, with each
item given a control number by which it may be readily accessed.
There is also an author index, a general classification of titles, a
classification of deities addressed in rituals, prayers and devo-
tional works, a Sanskrit title index, and a Mongolian title index.
Anyone interested in purchasing this catalogue may contact
the Acquisitions Department, 324 Memorial Library, University
of Wisconsin, 728 State Street, Madison, WI, 53706 USA. The
cost is $1.00 to U.W. System purchasers, and $4.00 to others.
Rena Haggarty
Lal ManiJoshi (1935-1984)
professor Lal ManiJoshi passed away in June, 1984, at the prime of his
life, leaving the field of Indian Buddhist Studies poorer by his sudden demise.
We had great expectations from this youthful and energetic distinguished
scholar of great potentialities in the field of Buddhist Studies.
He died suddenly of a ruptured ulcer a few weeks before his forty-ninth
birthday. He had just spent three years in America: the first as Henry R. Luce
distinguished Visiting Professor of Comparative Religious Ethics at Amherst
College, and the next two as the Margaret Gest Professor of World Religions
at Haverford College. During these years, his circle of devoted students and
colleagues had widened considerably, and his writings had been published in
journals and encyclopedias world-wide more numerously than ever. His im-
portant book, published just before his death, Discerning the Buddha: A Study
oj Buddhism and of the Brahmanical Hindu Attitude to it (M unshiram Manoharlal,
Delhi, 1983), leaves us in no doubt that the late scholar made a penetrating
analysis of the traditional Brahmanical approach towards Buddhism in an
historical perspective. Few scholars have shown mastery over materials on the
subject as Joshi did.
During his third and final year of leave from his Guru Gobind Singh
Department of Religious Studies at Punjabi University in Patiala, he received
information about his appointment to a Professorship in Buddhological Re-
search, at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Sarnath, affiliated
with Varanasi Sanskrit University. Having spent fifteen years at the Punjabi
University, he was not happy to leave his home in Patiala. But he felt that
Buddhist studies in India required his move. He returned to Patiala to pack,
amid the difficulties of the summer of 1984 in the Punjab. His library, possibly
one of the best Buddhological collections in India, was shipped to Sarnath.
Tragically, Professor Joshi never reached there himself, dying in the hospital
in Delhi.
Professor Joshi was born on July 27, 1935, in a traditional Brahmin
family in the Almora district of the Kumaon hills of Uttar Pradesh, near the
ancient pilgrim route to Mt. Kailash. He was proud of the fact that his birth
was in July of 1935, only a few weeks after H.H. the XIVth Dalai Lama was
born, which he used to say was an "omen" of their shared concern for the
136 JIABS VOL. 8 NO.1
spread of appreciation of Buddhism in the world. As a young man he had
strong spiritual inclinations, and a favorite story he liked to tell was how his
parents were worried at one point that he might become a Sadhu, so intensely
did he spend time meditating in the small but famous Yoga Ashramas in the
Almora area. Fortunately, he met the lovely Janaki, his bride, who, as Uma
did for Lord Siva, effectively re-kindled his interest in the world.
In the late fifties he received his M.A. in Pali from Banaras Hindu
University and, as well as his Ph.D., another M.A. in Ancient History and
Culture from Gorakhpur University. His doctorate dissertation was on "Bud-
dhistic Culture of India during the 7th and 8th Centuries." He started his
career as Assistant Professor in the Department of Ancient Indian History
and Culture at Gorakhpur University from 1961 to 1967. He went on tojoin
the Guru Gobind Singh Department of Religious Studies at Punjabi University,
Patiala, becoming a key figure in that thriving center of the study of world
religions. He was made Dean of Faculty of Religious Studies, in 1980-81. His
international reputation rose steadily as he ably edited the Journal of Religious
Studies, and his milestone work in Indian religious history, Studies in the Bud-
dhistic Culture of India (Delhi, 1967), was more and more widely acclaimed.
Another major project of his, with Bhikkhu Pasadika, was the translation of
the Arya-vimalakZrti-nirdesa-sutra into Hindi (Sarnath, 1981). Other publications
include Dhammapada, Pali Text in Gurmukhi Script (Patiala, 1969);
Brahmanism, Buddhism and Hinduism (Kandy, 1970); An Introduction to Indian
Religions (Patiala, 1970); Vajracchedika Prajnaparamita with the commentary of
Asaitga and its translation in Hindi (Sarnath, 1978); Facets of Jain Religiousness
in Comparative Light (Ahmedabad, 1981); and a chapter on "The Monastic
Contribution to Buddhist Art and Architecture" in The World of Buddhism
edited by Heinz Bechert and Richard Gombrich (London, 1983). He attended
many international conferences, in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia,
Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Russia, Europe, and the United States, as well as all
over India. He was a member of the editorial board of our JIABS, as well as
a member of the Board of Directors of the lABS. He was a valued member
of the Board of Advisers of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies at
Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, USA. His contributions to various
seminars and conferences on Buddhist Studies and allied disciplines are still
He was liked for his gentle, humorous, sincere personality, and his gra-
cious warmth of heart and he was well respected for his courage, honesty and
his critical acumen, coupled with a personal commitment to the practice and
study of the Buddha Dharma, in all its varied forms. The late scholar is missed
by all very much. He leaves behind him his wife and three children. In his
death Buddhist scholarship has lost an eminent and beloved person. We can
but remember the Buddha's abiding message: sabbe sankiirii annicii.
N.H. Samtani
Robert Alexander Farrer Thurman
Professor Joshi leaves all of us, his friends and colleagues, to reflect on the
lesson of anitya and dulpkha. His remarkable library is presently in storage at
the Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies in Sarnath, awaiting decision
on the part of his family as to its disposition. I personally have had in mind
an appeal to those Buddhologists world-wide who knew and admired Lal
Mani and would wish to see his life's work fruitfully continuing, in spite of
this tragic surprise. I would like to see if we could not establish a fund with
an appropriate non-profit international organization which would be expressly
designated to purchase his library from his family and establish it on its own
at Sarnath, at that holy center of Buddha's teaching activity, perhaps nearby
the Central Institute, perhaps nearer the center of the town, near the Dharma
Chakra Stupa. Such a library, perhaps accompanied by a small "Lal Mani
Joshi Research Institute" staff of scholars and translators, could become a
wonderful resource for Buddhist scholars from all over the world, many of
whom visit Sarnath yearly, and would doubtless be delighted to hold scholarly
conferences there from time to time. Our little American Institute of Buddhist
Studies here at Amherst would certainly contribute from its very modest means
to the establishment of such a library and center, as would I personally and
many of our colleagues.
I put forward this idea as I consider that he would consider any movement
in the direction he walked throughout his days by far the most fitting tribute.
Let us please join together in his memory and work toward maintaining the
momentum he generated in helping his countrymen and the world re-discover
the precious Buddhist heritage of India.
Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman
Kamaleswar Bhattacharya
Centre National de la
Recherche Scientifique
Clos Baron 23
78112 Fourqueux
Jens Braarvig
Religionshistorisk Institutt
Universitetet i Oslo
Boks 10lD Blindern
Eva K. Dargyay
Religious Studies
The University of Calgary
2920 24th Ave. N.W.
Calgary T2N IN4
Carmen Dragonetti
Centro de Investigaciones
Miiiones 2073
1428 Buenos Aires
Rena Haggarty
Dept. of South Asian Studies
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI 53706
Roger Jackson
Dept. of Far Eastern Languages
and Literatures
3070 Frieze Building
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor MI 48109
A ~ n e C. Klein
Dept. of Religious Studies
Building 70
Stanford University
Stanford CA 94305
Leonard W.j. van der Kuijp
Freie Universitat Berlin
Institut fUr Indische Philologie
und Kunstgeschichte
Ki.inigin-Luise-Strasse 34a
D-IOOO Berlin 33
Vijitha Rajapakse
35950 Timberlane Dr.
Solon OH 44139
N.H. Samtani
Buddha Kutir
Banaras Hindu University
Varanasi 221 005
Kenneth K. Tanaka
Institute of Buddhist Studies
2717 Haste St.
Berkeley, CA 94704
Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman
Department of Religion
Amherst College
Amherst MA 01002
Fernando Tala
Seminario de Indologia
Miiiones 2073
1428 Buenos Aires
A.L. Basham (Australia)
Heinz Bechert (West Germany)
Lokesh Chandra (India)
Ismael Quiles (Argentina)
Beatrice Miller (USA)
A.K. N arain (India)
Richard Gombrich (Europe)
Luis Gomez (Americas)
Akira Yuyama (Asia)
L.M.Joshi (India)
Alexander W. Macdonald
Bardwell Smith (USA)
Richard A. Gard (USA)
Jeffrey Hopkins (USA)
Per Kvaerne (Norway)
Charles Prebish (USA)
Alex Wayman (USA)
P.V. Bapat(India)
Kenneth K.S. Ch'en (USA)
Louis Ligeti (Hungary)
Shoson Miyamoto 0 apan)
Gadjin Nagao Oapan)
Nicholas Poppe (USA)
Giuseppe Tucci (Italy)
O.H. de A. Wijesekera
(Sri Lanka)
Ernst Steinkellner (Austria)
Jikido Takasaki Oapan)
Robert Thurman (USA)
Akira Hirakawa 0 apan)
Leslie Kawamura (Canada)
Lewis Lancaster (USA)
D. Seyfort Ruegg (USA)
Erik Zurcher (Netherlands)
Sir Harold W. Bailey (U.K.)
V.V. Gokhale (India)
Etienne Lamotte (Belgium)
T.R.v. Murti (India)
Hajime Nakamura Oapan)
Walpola Rahula (Sri Lanka)
Ernst Waldschmidt
(West Germany)
FELLOWS: Edward Conze (l976--1979)PaulDemieville (1976--1979)
l.B. Horner (1976--1981) P.L. Vaidya (1976-1978)
Susumu Yamaguchi (1976--1976)

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