Buddhist Logic and Epistemology in China
Three proposals are included in this section. Yao Zhihua will take up the problem of the cognition of nonexistent objects in Indian and Chinese sources. He will explore some pre-Vaibhāṣika sources that are extant in Pāli and Chinese, including the Kathāvatthu, Samayabhedoparacanacakra, Śāriputrābhidharma, and Vijñānakāya. These sources suggest an early origin of the concept of the cognition of nonexistent objects among the Mahāsāṃghikas and some Vibhajyavādins under their influence, and a possible linkage of this concept to the concept of non-cognition (anupalabdhi) as developed later by the Buddhist logicians.
Focusing on Dignaga’s theory of mental perception, Chu Junjie reexamines the relevant passages in the first chapter of Pramāṇasamuccayavṛtti, based on new Sanskrit materials authored by Jinendrabuddhi, and also on Chinese sources, attempting to prove the Yogācāra background of Dignāga's theory with the following conclusions: (1) Dignāga asserts that there is no essential difference between sense perception, mental perception, and self-awareness, but that they are rather different aspects of the same cognition; (2) the notion of simultaneous-cause (sahabhūhetu), accepted by Yogācāra as a prerequisite of the above assertion, is also accepted by Dignāga.
Regarding the reception of Buddhist epistemology in seventh century China, Lin Chen-kuo’s research will focus on Huizhao (648-714) and his A Treatise on the Two Means of Knowledge (Er liang zhang). Lin will translate the Treatise with annotations. He will further place Huizhao’s epistemology within the broader Sino-Indian context of Buddhist epistemology in the works of Dignaga, Xuanzang and Kuiji.
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