Dignāga, Kumārila and Dharmakīrti on the Potential Problem of pramāṇa and phala Having Different Objects

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Abstract

Following Dharmakīrti’s interpretation, PS I 9ab has been understood as stating a view common to both Sautrāntikas and Yogācāras, i.e. a view that self-awareness (svasaṃvitti) is the result (phala) of a means of valid cognition (pramāṇa). It has also been understood that Dignāga (in I 8cd and I 9) accepts two different views attributed to Sautrāntikas with regard to pramāṇaphala: in PS(V) ad I 8cd he regards the cognition of an external object (arthādhigati) as the result; in PS(V) ad I 9ab–cd he alternatively presents another view that self-awareness is the result. Dignāga’s text, however, does not support these interpretations. Rather it contradicts them. In fact Dignāga (in I 8cd and I 9cd) presupposes a single view, and not two, attributed to Sautrāntikas, a view that the cognition of an external object (arthādhigati) is the result. In I 9ab (svasaṃvittiḥ phalaṃ vātra) he is presenting an alternative view that is attributed only to Yogācāras, i.e. a view that is not common to Sautrāntikas. Althogh the Sautrāntika sākāravāda essentially has an internal structure, Dignāga presupposes that an external object can be regarded as the object of cognition because it is similar to the (essentially internal) image of object. He assumes that the objects of pramāṇa and phala, both being external objects, are identical. Criticizing Dignāga’s claim that bāhyārthajñāna (not svasaṃvitti) is the phala, Kumārila (ŚV pratyakṣa 79cd) points out that there is a serious gap between the objects of pramāṇa and phala. Consequently Dharmakīrti has to admit that even in the Sautrāntika view an external object is not directly cognized (PV III 348b: arthātmā na dṛśyate) and instead proposes as the second view of Sautrāntikas that svasaṃvitti (and not bāhyārthajñāna) is the phala. At the same time he reinterprets Dignāga and defends from Kumārila’s criticism by introducing the two different levels. When investigating the real nature (PV III 350c: svabhāvacintāyām), i.e. in the paramārtha level, svasaṃvitti is the phala, whereas in the upacāra level, bāhyārthajñāna or bāhyārthaniścaya is the phala. Thus, Dharmakīrti avoids Kumārila’s criticism of Dignāga. Kumārila triggers Dharmakīrti’s new introduction of the second view of Santrāntikas that svasaṃvitti is the phala.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-239
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Indian Philosophy
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Philosophy

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