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A History of Indian Philosophy, Vol. 1 by Surendranath Dasgupta

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400 B.C. and during the next one hundred years they gave rise
first to the three schools Ekavyavaharikas, Lokottaravadins, and
Kukkulikas and after that the Bahus'rutiyas. In the course of the
next one hundred years, other schools rose out of it namely the
Prajnaptivadins, Caittikas, Aparas'ailas and Uttaras'ailas. The
Theravada or the Sthaviravada school which had convened the
council of Vesali developed during the second and first century B.C.
into a number of schools, viz. the Haimavatas, Dharmaguptikas,
Mahis'asakas, Kas'yapiyas, Sa@nkrantikas (more well known as
Sautrantikas) and the Vatsiputtriyas which latter was again split up
into the Dharmottariyas, Bhadrayaniyas, Sammitiyas and Channagarikas.
The main branch of the Theravada school was from
the second century downwards known as the Hetuvadins or
Sarvastivadins [Footnote ref 2]. The _Mahabodhiva@msa_ identifies the
Theravada school with the Vibhajjavadins. The commentator of the
_Kathavatthu_ who probably lived according to Mrs Rhys Davids sometime
in the fifth century A.D. mentions a few other schools of
Buddhists. But of all these Buddhist schools we know very little.
Vasumitra (100 A.D.) gives us some very meagre accounts of


[Footnote 1: The _Mahava@msa_ differs from _Dipava@msa_ in holding that
the Vajjiputtakas did not develop into the Mahasa@nghikas, but it was
the Mahasa@nghikas who first seceded while the Vajjiputtakas seceded
independently of them. The _Mahabodhiva@msa_, which according to
Professor Geiger was composed 975 A.D.--1000 A.D., follows the
Mahava@msa in holding the Mahasa@nghikas to be the first seceders
and Vajjiputtakas to have seceded independently.

Vasumitra confuses the council of Vesali with the third council of
Pa@taliputra. See introduction to translation of _Kathavatthu_ by
Mrs Rhys Davids.]

[Footnote 2: For other accounts of the schism see Mr Aung and Mrs Rhys
Davids's translation of _Kathavatthu_, pp. xxxvi-xlv.]


certain schools, of the Mahasa@nghikas, Lokottaravadins,
Ekavyavaharikas, Kakkulikas, Prajnaptivadins and Sarvastivadins, but
these accounts deal more with subsidiary matters of little philosophical
importance. Some of the points of interest are (1) that the
Mahasa@nghikas were said to believe that the body was filled with
mind (_citta_) which was represented as sitting, (2) that the
Prajnaptivadins held that there was no agent in man, that there was
no untimely death, for it was caused by the previous deeds of man,
(3) that the Sarvastivadins believed that everything existed. From
the discussions found in the _Kathavatthu_ also we may know the
views of some of the schools on some points which are not always
devoid of philosophical interest. But there is nothing to be found
by which we can properly know the philosophy of these schools. It
is quite possible however that these so-called schools of Buddhism
were not so many different systems but only differed from one
another on some points of dogma or practice which were considered
as being of sufficient interest to them, but which to us now
appear to be quite trifling. But as we do not know any of their
literatures, it is better not to make any unwarrantable surmises.
These schools are however not very important for a history of later
Indian Philosophy, for none of them are even referred to in any
of the systems of Hindu thought. The only schools of Buddhism
with which other schools of philosophical thought came in direct
contact, are the Sarvastivadins including the Sautrantikas and
the Vaibha@sikas, the Yogacara or the Vijnanavadins and the
Madhyamikas or the S'unyavadins. We do not know which of the
diverse smaller schools were taken up into these four great schools,
the Sautrantika, Vaibha@sika, Yogacara and the Madhyamika
schools. But as these schools were most important in relation
to the development of the different systems in Hindu thought,
it is best that we should set ourselves to gather what we can
about these systems of Buddhistic thought.

When the Hindu writers refer to the Buddhist doctrine in
general terms such as "the Buddhists say" without calling them
the Vijnanavadins or the Yogacaras and the S'unyavadins,
they often refer to the Sarvustivudins by which they mean
both the Sautruntikas and the Vaibhu@sikas, ignoring the difference
that exists between these two schools. It is well to
mention that there is hardly any evidence to prove that the
Hindu writers were acquainted with the Theravuda doctrines


as expressed in the Pali works. The Vaibha@sikas and the Sautrantikas
have been more or less associated with each other. Thus
the _Abhidharmakos'as'astra_ of Vasubandhu who was a Vaibha@sika
was commented upon by Yas'omitra who was a Sautrantika. The
difference between the Vaibha@sikas and the Sautrantikas that
attracted the notice of the Hindu writers was this, that the former
believed that external objects were directly perceived, whereas
the latter believed that the existence of the external objects could
only be inferred from our diversified knowledge [Footnote ref 1].
Gu@naratna (fourteenth century A.D.) in his commentary
_Tarkarahasyadipika on @Sa@ddars'anasamuccaya_ says that the Vaibhasika
was but another name of the Aryasammitiya school. According to
Gu@naratna the Vaibha@sikas held that things existed for four moments,
the moment of production, the moment of existence, the moment of
decay and the moment of annihilation. It has been pointed out
in Vastlbandhu's _Abhidharmakos'a_ that the Vaibha@sikas believed
these to be four kinds of forces which by coming in combination
with the permanent essence of an entity produced its impermanent
manifestations in life (see Prof. Stcherbatsky's translation
of Yas'omitra on _Abhidharmakos'a karika_, V. 25). The self called
pudgala also possessed those characteristics. Knowledge was
formless and was produced along with its object by the very
same conditions (_arthasahabhasi ekasamagryadhinah_). The Sautrantikas
according to Gu@naratna held that there was no soul but
only the five skandhas. These skandhas transmigrated. The past,
the future, annihilation, dependence on cause, akas'a and pudgala
are but names (_sa@mjnamatram_), mere assertions (_pratijnamatram_),
mere limitations (_samv@rtamatram_) and mere phenomena (_vyavaharamatram_).
By pudgala they meant that which other people called eternal
and all pervasive soul. External objects are never directly
perceived but are only inferred as existing for explaining the
diversity of knowledge. Definite cognitions are valid; all
compounded things are momentary (_k@sa@nikah sarvasa@mskarah_).


[Footnote 1: Madhavacarya's _Sarvadars'anasa@mgraha_, chapter II.
_S'astradipika_, the discussions on Pratyak@sa, Amalananda's commentary
(on _Bhamati_) _Vedantakalpataru_, p 286. "_vaibha@sikasya bahyo'rtha@h
pratyak@sa@h, sautrantikasya jnanagatakaravaicitrye@n anumeya@h_." The
nature of the inference of the Sautrantikas is shown thus by
Amalananda (1247-1260 A.D.) "_ye yasmin satyapi kadacitka@h te
tadatiriktapek@sa@h_" (those [i.e. cognitions] which in spite of certain
unvaried conditions are of unaccounted diversity must depend on other
things in addition to these, i.e. the external objects)
_Vedantakalpataru_, p. 289.]


The atoms of colour, taste, smell and touch, and cognition are
being destroyed every moment. The meanings of words always
imply the negations of all other things, excepting that which is
intended to be signified by that word (_anyapoha@h s'abdartha@h_).
Salvation (_mok@sa_) comes as the result of the destruction of the
process of knowledge through continual meditation that there
is no soul [Footnote ref 1].

One of the main differences between the Vibhajjavadins, Sautrantikas
and the Vaibha@sikas or the Sarvastivadins appears to
refer to the notion of time which is a subject of great interest
with Buddhist philosophy. Thus _Abhidharmakos'a_ (v. 24...)
describes the Sarvastivadins as those who maintain the universal
existence of everything past, present and future. The Vibhajjavadins
are those "who maintain that the present elements and
those among the past that have not yet produced their fruition,
are existent, but they deny the existence of the future ones and
of those among the past that have already produced fruition."
There were four branches of this school represented by Dharmatrata,
Gho@sa, Vasumitra and Buddhadeva. Dharmatrata maintained
that when an element enters different times, its existence
changes but not its essence, just as when milk is changed into curd
or a golden vessel is broken, the form of the existence changes
though the essence remains the same. Gho@sa held that "when
an element appears at different times, the past one retains its
past aspects without being severed from its future and present
aspects, the present likewise retains its present aspect without
completely losing its past and future aspects," just as a man in
passionate love with a woman does not lose his capacity to love
other women though he is not actually in love with them. Vasumitra
held that an entity is called present, past and future according
as it produces its efficiency, ceases to produce after having
once produced it or has not yet begun to produce it. Buddhadeva
maintained the view that just as the same woman may
be called mother, daughter, wife, so the same entity may be
called present, past or future in accordance with its relation to the
preceding or the succeeding moment.

All these schools are in some sense Sarvastivadins, for they
maintain universal existence. But the Vaibha@sika finds them all
defective excepting the view of Vasumitra. For Dharmatrata's


[Footnote 1: Gu@naratna's _Tarkarahasyadipika_, pp. 46-47.]


view is only a veiled Sa@mkhya doctrine; that of Gho@sa is
a confusion of the notion of time, since it presupposes the coexistence
of all the aspects of an entity at the same time, and
that of Buddhadeva is also an impossible situation, since it would
suppose that all the three times were found together and included
in one of them. The Vaibha@sika finds himself in agreement
with Vasumitra's view and holds that the difference in time
depends upon the difference of the function of an entity; at the
time when an entity does not actually produce its function it is
future; when it produces it, it becomes present; when after having
produced it, it stops, it becomes past; there is a real existence
of the past and the future as much as of the present. He thinks
that if the past did not exist and assert some efficiency it could
not have been the object of my knowledge, and deeds done in
past times could not have produced its effects in the present
time. The Sautrantika however thought that the Vaibha@sika's
doctrine would imply the heretical doctrine of eternal existence,
for according to them the stuff remained the same and the time-difference
appeared in it. The true view according to him was,
that there was no difference between the efficiency of an entity,
the entity and the time of its appearance. Entities appeared
from non-existence, existed for a moment and again ceased to
exist. He objected to the Vaibha@sika view that the past is to
be regarded as existent because it exerts efficiency in bringing
about the present on the ground that in that case there should
be no difference between the past and the present, since both
exerted efficiency. If a distinction is made between past, present
and future efficiency by a second grade of efficiencies, then we
should have to continue it and thus have a vicious infinite. We
can know non-existent entities as much as we can know existent
ones, and hence our knowledge of the past does not imply
that the past is exerting any efficiency. If a distinction is
made between an efficiency and an entity, then the reason why
efficiency started at any particular time and ceased at another
would be inexplicable. Once you admit that there is no difference
between efficiency and the entity, you at once find that
there is no time at all and the efficiency, the entity and the
moment are all one and the same. When we remember a thing
of the past we do not know it as existing in the past, but in the
same way in which we knew it when it was present. We are


never attracted to past passions as the Vaibha@sika suggests, but
past passions leave residues which become the causes of new
passions of the present moment [Footnote ref.1].

Again we can have a glimpse of the respective positions of
the Vatsiputtriyas and the Sarvastivadins as represented by
Vasubandhu if we attend to the discussion on the subject of
the existence of soul in _Abhidharmakos'a_. The argument of
Vasubandhu against the existence of soul is this, that though
it is true that the sense organs may be regarded as a determining
cause of perception, no such cause can be found which
may render the inference of the existence of soul necessary.
If soul actually exists, it must have an essence of its own and
must be something different from the elements or entities of a
personal life. Moreover, such an eternal, uncaused and unchanging
being would be without any practical efficiency (_arthakriyakaritva_)
which alone determines or proves existence. The
soul can thus be said to have a mere nominal existence as a
mere object of current usage. There is no soul, but there are
only the elements of a personal life. But the Vatsiputtriya
school held that just as fire could not be said to be either the
same as the burning wood or as different from it, and yet it is
separate from it, so the soul is an individual (_pudgala_) which has
a separate existence, though we could not say that it was
altogether different from the elements of a personal life or the
same as these. It exists as being conditioned by the elements
of personal life, but it cannot further be defined. But its existence
cannot be denied, for wherever there is an activity, there must
be an agent (e.g. Devadatta walks). To be conscious is likewise
an action, hence the agent who is conscious must also exist.
To this Vasubandhu replies that Devadatta (the name of a
person) does not represent an unity. "It is only an unbroken
continuity of momentary forces (flashing into existence), which
simple people believe to be a unity and to which they give the
name Devadatta. Their belief that Devadatta moves is conditioned,
and is based on an analogy with their own experience,
but their own continuity of life consists in constantly moving
from one place to another. This movement, though regarded as


[Footnote 1: I am indebted for the above account to the unpublished
translation from Tibetan of a small portion of _Abhidharmakoia_ by
my esteemed friend Prof. Th. Stcherbatsky of Petrograd. I am grateful
to him that he allowed me to utilize it.]


belonging to a permanent entity, is but a series of new productions
in different places, just as the expressions 'fire moves,'
'sound spreads' have the meaning of continuities (of new productions
in new places). They likewise use the words 'Devadatta
cognises' in order to express the fact that a cognition (takes place
in the present moment) which has a cause (in the former moments,
these former moments coming in close succession being called

The problem of memory also does not bring any difficulty,
for the stream of consciousness being one throughout, it produces
its recollections when connected with a previous knowledge of
the remembered object under certain conditions of attention,
etc., and absence of distractive factors, such as bodily pains or
violent emotions. No agent is required in the phenomena of
memory. The cause of recollection is a suitable state of mind
and nothing else. When the Buddha told his birth stories saying
that he was such and such in such and such a life, he only
meant that his past and his present belonged to one and the
same lineage of momentary existences. Just as when we say
"this same fire which had been consuming that has reached this
object," we know that the fire is not identical at any two
moments, but yet we overlook the difference and say that it is
the same fire. Again, what we call an individual can only be
known by descriptions such as "this venerable man, having this
name, of such a caste, of such a family, of such an age, eating
such food, finding pleasure or displeasure in such things, of such
an age, the man who after a life of such length, will pass away
having reached an age." Only so much description can be
understood, but we have never a direct acquaintance with the
individual; all that is perceived are the momentary elements of
sensations, images, feelings, etc., and these happening at the
former moments exert a pressure on the later ones. The individual
is thus only a fiction, a mere nominal existence, a mere
thing of description and not of acquaintance; it cannot be
grasped either by the senses or by the action of pure intellect.
This becomes evident when we judge it by analogies from other
fields. Thus whenever we use any common noun, e.g. milk, we
sometimes falsely think that there is such an entity as milk, but
what really exists is only certain momentary colours, tastes, etc.,
fictitiously unified as milk; and "just as milk and water are


conventional names (for a set of independent elements) for some
colour, smell (taste and touch) taken together, so is the designation
'individual' but a common name for the different elements
of which it is composed."

The reason why the Buddha declined to decide the question
whether the "living being is identical with the body or not" is
just because there did not exist any living being as "individual,"
as is generally supposed. He did not declare that the living
being did not exist, because in that case the questioner would
have thought that the continuity of the elements of a life was
also denied. In truth the "living being" is only a conventional
name for a set of constantly changing elements [Footnote ref 1].

The only book of the Sammitiyas known to us and that by
name only is the _Sammitiyas'astra_ translated into Chinese between
350 A.D. to 431 A.D.; the original Sanskrit works are however
probably lost [Footnote ref 2].

The Vaibha@sikas are identified with the Sarvastivadins who
according to _Dipava@msa_ V. 47, as pointed out by Takakusu,
branched off from the Mahis'asakas, who in their turn had
separated from the Theravada school.

From the _Kathavatthu_ we know (1) that the Sabbatthivadins
believed that everything existed, (2) that the dawn of right attainment
was not a momentary flash of insight but by a gradual
process, (3) that consciousness or even samadhi was nothing but


[Footnote 1: This account is based on the translation of
_A@s@tamakos'asthananibaddha@h pudgolavinis'caya@h_, a special appendix
to the eighth chapter of Abhidharmakos'a, by Prof Th. Stcherbatsky,
_Bulletin de l' Academie des Sciences de Russie_, 1919.]

[Footnote 2: Professor De la Vallee Poussin has collected some of the
points of this doctrine in an article on the Sammitiyas in the _E. R.E._
He there says that in the _Abhidharmakos'avyakhya_ the Sammitiyas have
been identified with the Vatsiputtriyas and that many of its texts were
admitted by the Vaibha@sikas of a later age. Some of their views are as
follows: (1) An arhat in possession of nirvana can fall away; (2) there is
an intermediate state between death and rebirth called _antarabhava_; (3)
merit accrues not only by gift (_tyaganvaya_) but also by the fact of the
actual use and advantage reaped by the man to whom the thing was given
(_paribhoganvaya pu@nya_); (4) not only abstention from evil deeds but a
declaration of intention to that end produces merit by itself alone; (5)
they believe in a pudgala (soul) as distinct from the skandhas from
which it can be said to be either different or non-different. "The pudgala
cannot be said to be transitory (_anitye_) like the skandhas since it
transmigrates laying down the burden (_skandhas_) shouldering a new burden;
it cannot be said to be permanent, since it is made of transitory
constituents." This pudgala doctrine of the Sammitiyas as sketched by
Professor De la Vallee Poussin is not in full agreement with the pudgala
doctrine of the Sammitiyas as sketched by Gu@naratna which we have
noticed above.]


a flux and (4) that an arhat (saint) may fall away [Footnote ref 1].
The Sabbatthivadins or Sarvastivadins have a vast Abhidharma literature
still existing in Chinese translations which is different from the
Abhidharma of the Theravada school which we have already mentioned
[Footnote ref 2]. These are 1. _Jnanaprasthana S'astra_ of
Katyayaniputtra which passed by the name of _Maha Vibha@sa_ from which
the Sabbatthivadins who followed it are called Vaibha@sikas [Footnote ref
3]. This work is said to have been given a literary form by As'vagho@sa.
2. _Dharmaskandha_ by S'ariputtra. 3. _Dhatukaya_ by Pur@na.
4. _Prajnaptis'astra_ by Maudgalyayana. 5. _Vijnanakaya_ by Devak@sema.
6. _Sa@ngitiparyyaya_ by Sariputtra and _Prakara@napada_ by Vasumitra.
Vasubandhu (420 A.D.-500 A.D.) wrote a work on the Vaibha@sika [Footnote
ref 4] system in verses (_karika_) known as the _Abhidharmakos'a_,
to which he appended a commentary of his own which passes by the name
_Abhidharma Kos'abha@sya_ in which he pointed out some of the defects
of the Vaibha@sika school from the Sautrantika point of view [Footnote
ref 5]. This work was commented upon by Vasumitra and Gu@namati and
later on by Yas'omitra who was himself a Sautrantika and called his
work _Abhidharmakos'a vyakhya_; Sa@nghabhadra a contemporary of Vasubandhu
wrote _Samayapradipa_ and _Nyayanusara_ (Chinese translations of which
are available) on strict Vaibha@sika lines. We hear also of other
Vaibha@sika writers such as Dharmatrata, Gho@saka, Vasumitra and
Bhadanta, the writer of _Sa@myuktabhidharmas'astra_ and _Mahavibha@sa_.
Di@nnaga(480 A.D.), the celebrated logician, a Vaibha@sika
or a Sautrantika and reputed to be a pupil of Vasubandhu,
wrote his famous work _Prama@nasamuccaya_ in which he
established Buddhist logic and refuted many of the views of Vatsyayana
the celebrated commentator of the _Nyaya sutras_; but we regret


[Footnote 1: See Mrs Rhys Davids's translation _Kathavatthu_, p. xix,
and Sections I.6,7; II. 9 and XI. 6.]

[Footnote 2: _Mahavyutpatti_ gives two names for Sarvastivada, viz.
Mulasarvastivada and Aryyasarvastivada. Itsing (671-695 A.D.) speaks
of Aryyamulasarvastivada and Mulasarvastivada. In his time he found
it prevailing in Magadha, Guzrat, Sind, S. India, E. India. Takakusu
says (_P.T.S._ 1904-1905) that Paramartha, in his life of Vasubandhu,
says that it was propagated from Kashmere to Middle India by Vasubhadra,
who studied it there.]

[Footnote 3: Takakusu says (_P.T.S._ 1904-1905) that Katyayaniputtra's work
was probably a compilation from other Vibha@sas which existed before the
Chinese translations and Vibha@sa texts dated 383 A.D.]

[Footnote 4: See Takakusu's article _J.R.A.S._ 1905.]

[Footnote 5: The Sautrantikas did not regard the Abhidharmas of the
Vaibha@sikas as authentic and laid stress on the suttanta doctrines
as given in the Suttapi@taka.]


to say that none of the above works are available in Sanskrit,
nor have they been retranslated from Chinese or Tibetan into
any of the modern European or Indian languages.

The Japanese scholar Mr Yamakami Sogen, late lecturer at
Calcutta University, describes the doctrine of the Sabbatthivadins
from the Chinese versions of the _Abhidharmakos'a, Mahavibha@sas'astra_,
etc., rather elaborately [Footnote ref 1]. The following is a short sketch,
which is borrowed mainly from the accounts given by Mr Sogen.

The Sabbatthivadins admitted the five skandhas, twelve
ayatanas, eighteen dhatus, the three asa@msk@rta dharmas of
pratisa@mkhyanirodha apratisa@mkhyanirodha and akas'a, and the
sa@msk@rta dharmas (things composite and interdependent) of rupa
(matter), citta (mind), caitta (mental) and cittaviprayukta (non-mental)
[Footnote ref 2]. All effects are produced by the coming together
(sa@msk@rta) of a number of causes. The five skandhas, and the
rupa, citta, etc., are thus called sa@msk@rta dharmas (composite
things or collocations--_sambhuyakari_). The rupa dharmas are
eleven in number, one citta dharma, 46 caitta dharmas and 14
cittaviprayukta sa@mskara dharmas (non-mental composite things);
adding to these the three asa@msk@rta dharmas we have the seventy-five
dharmas. Rupa is that which has the capacity to obstruct the
sense organs. Matter is regarded as the collective organism or
collocation, consisting of the fourfold substratum of colour, smell,
taste and contact. The unit possessing this fourfold substratum
is known as parama@nu, which is the minutest form of rupa. It
cannot be pierced through or picked up or thrown away. It is
indivisible, unanalysable, invisible, inaudible, untastable and intangible.
But yet it is not permanent, but is like a momentary
flash into being. The simple atoms are called _dravyaparama@nu_
and the compound ones _sa@mghataparama@nu_. In the words of
Prof. Stcherbatsky "the universal elements of matter are manifested
in their actions or functions. They are consequently more
energies than substances." The organs of sense are also regarded
as modifications of atomic matter. Seven such parama@nus combine
together to form an a@nu, and it is in this combined form
only that they become perceptible. The combination takes
place in the form of a cluster having one atom at the centre and


[Footnote 1: _Systems of Buddhistic Thought_, published by the Calcutta

[Footnote 2: S'a@nkara in his meagre sketch of the doctrine of the
Sarvastivadins in his bha@sya on the _Brahma-sutras_ II. 2 notices some
of the categories mentioned by Sogen.]


others around it. The point which must be remembered in connection
with the conception of matter is this, that the qualities
of all the mahabhutas are inherent in the parama@nus. The special
characteristics of roughness (which naturally belongs to earth),
viscousness (which naturally belongs to water), heat (belonging
to fire), movableness (belonging to wind), combine together to
form each of the elements; the difference between the different
elements consists only in this, that in each of them its own special
characteristics were predominant and active, and other characteristics
though present remained only in a potential form. The
mutual resistance of material things is due to the quality of
earth or the solidness inherent in them; the mutual attraction of
things is due to moisture or the quality of water, and so forth.
The four elements are to be observed from three aspects, namely,
(1) as things, (2) from the point of view of their natures (such as
activity, moisture, etc.), and (3) function (such as _dh@rti_ or
attraction, _sa@mgraha_ or cohesion, _pakti_ or chemical heat, and
_vyuhana_ or clustering and collecting). These combine together
naturally by other conditions or causes. The main point of distinction
between the Vaibha@sika Sarvastivadins and other forms of Buddhism
is this, that here the five skandhas and matter are regarded
as permanent and eternal; they are said to be momentary
only in the sense that they are changing their phases constantly,
owing to their constant change of combination. Avidya is not
regarded here as a link in the chain of the causal series of
pratityasamutpada; nor is it ignorance of any particular individual,
but is rather identical with "moha" or delusion and
represents the ultimate state of immaterial dharmas. Avidya,
which through sa@mskara, etc., produces namarupa in the case of
a particular individual, is not his avidya in the present existence
but the avidya of his past existence bearing fruit in the present

"The cause never perishes but only changes its name, when
it becomes an effect, having changed its state." For example,
clay becomes jar, having changed its state; and in this case the
name clay is lost and the name jar arises [Footnote ref 1]. The
Sarvastivadins allowed simultaneousness between cause and effect only in
the case of composite things (_sa@mprayukta hetu_) and in the case of


[Footnote 1: Sogen's quotation from Kumarajiva's Chinese version of
Aryyadeva's commentary on the _Madhyamika s'astra_ (chapter XX. Karika 9).]


the interaction of mental and material things. The substratum
of "vijnana" or "consciousness" is regarded as permanent and
the aggregate of the five senses (_indriyas_) is called the perceiver.
It must be remembered that the indriyas being material had a
permanent substratum, and their aggregate had therefore also a
substratum formed of them.

The sense of sight grasps the four main colours of blue, yellow,
red, white, and their combinations, as also the visual forms of
appearance (_sa@msthana_) of long, short, round, square, high, low,
straight, and crooked. The sense of touch (_kayendriya_) has for
its object the four elements and the qualities of smoothness,
roughness, lightness, heaviness, cold, hunger and thirst. These
qualities represent the feelings generated in sentient beings by
the objects of touch, hunger, thirst, etc., and are also counted
under it, as they are the organic effects produced by a touch
which excites the physical frame at a time when the energy of
wind becomes active in our body and predominates over other
energies; so also the feeling of thirst is caused by a touch which
excites the physical frame when the energy of the element of fire
becomes active and predominates over the other energies. The
indriyas (senses) can after grasping the external objects arouse
thought (_vijnana_); each of the five senses is an agent without
which none of the five vijnanas would become capable of perceiving
an external object. The essence of the senses is entirely
material. Each sense has two subdivisions, namely, the principal
sense and the auxiliary sense. The substratum of the principal
senses consists of a combination of parama@nus, which are extremely
pure and minute, while the substratum of the latter is
the flesh, made of grosser materials. The five senses differ from
one another with respect to the manner and form of their respective
atomic combinations. In all sense-acts, whenever an act is
performed and an idea is impressed, a latent energy is impressed
on our person which is designated as avijnapti rupa. It is called
rupa because it is a result or effect of rupa-contact; it is called
avijnapti because it is latent and unconscious; this latent energy
is bound sooner or later to express itself in karma effects and is
the only bridge which connects the cause and the effect of karma
done by body or speech. Karma in this school is considered
as twofold, namely, that as thought (_cetana karma_) and that as
activity (_caitasika karma_). This last, again, is of two kinds, viz.


that due to body-motion (_kayika karma_) and speech (_vacika
karma_). Both these may again be latent (_avijnapti_) and patent
(_vijnapti_), giving us the kayika-vijnnpti karma, kayikavijnapti
karma, vacika-vijnapti karma and vacikavijnapti karma. Avijnapti
rupa and avijnapti karma are what we should call in modern
phraseology sub-conscious ideas, feelings and activity. Corresponding
to each conscious sensation, feeling, thought or activity
there is another similar sub-conscious state which expresses itself
in future thoughts and actions; as these are not directly known but
are similar to those which are known, they are called avijnapti.

The mind, says Vasubandhu, is called cittam, because it
wills (_cetati_), manas because it thinks (_manvate_) and vijnana
because it discriminates (_nirdis'ati_). The discrimination may be
of three kinds: (1) svabhava nirdes'a (natural perceptual discrimination),
(2) prayoga nirdes'a (actual discrimination as present,
past and future), and (3) anusm@rti nirdes'a (reminiscent discrimination
referring only to the past). The senses only possess the
_svabhava nirdes'a_, the other two belong exclusively to manovijnana.
Each of the vijnanas as associated with its specific sense discriminates
its particular object and perceives its general characteristics;
the six vijnanas combine to form what is known as the
Vijnanaskandha, which is presided over by mind (_mano_). There
are forty-six caitta sa@msk@rta dharmas. Of the three asa@msk@rta
dharmas akas'a (ether) is in essence the freedom from obstruction,
establishing it as a permanent omnipresent immaterial substance
(_nirupakhya_, non-rupa). The second asa@msk@rta dharma, apratisa@mkhya
nirodha, means the non-perception of dharmas caused
by the absence of pratyayas or conditions. Thus when I fix my
attention on one thing, other things are not seen then, not because
they are non-existent but because the conditions which would
have made them visible were absent. The third asa@msk@rta
dharma, pratisa@mkhya nirodha, is the final deliverance from
bondage. Its essential characteristic is everlastingness. These
are called asa@msk@rta because being of the nature of negation
they are non-collocative and hence have no production or dissolution.
The eightfold noble path which leads to this state consists of right
views, right aspirations, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood,
right effort, right mindfulness, right rapture [Footnote ref 1].


[Footnote 1: Mr Sogen mentions the name of another Buddhist Hinayana
thinker (about 250 A.D.), Harivarman, who founded a school known as
Satyasiddhi school, which propounded the same sort of doctrines as
those preached by Nagarjuna. None of his works are available in Sanskrit
and I have never come across any allusion to his name by Sanskrit writers.]



It is difficult to say precisely at what time Mahayanism took
its rise. But there is reason to think that as the Mahasa@nghikas
separated themselves from the Theravadins probably some time in
400 B.C. and split themselves up into eight different schools, those
elements of thoughts and ideas which in later days came to be
labelled as Mahayana were gradually on the way to taking their
first inception. We hear in about 100 A.D. of a number of works
which are regarded as various Mahayana sutras, some of which
are probably as old as at least 100 B.C. (if not earlier) and others
as late as 300 or 400 A.D.[Footnote ref 1]. These Mahayanasutras, also
called the Vaipulyasutras, are generally all in the form of instructions
given by the Buddha. Nothing is known about their authors or
compilers, but they are all written in some form of Sanskrit and
were probably written by those who seceded from the Theravada

The word Hinayana refers to the schools of Theravada, and
as such it is contrasted with Mahayana. The words are generally
translated as small vehicle (_hina_ = small, _yana_ = vehicle) and great
vehicle (_maha_ = great, _yana_ = vehicle). But this translation by
no means expresses what is meant by Mahayana and Hinayana
[Footnote ref 2]. Asa@nga (480 A.D.) in his _Mahayanasutrala@mkara_ gives


[Footnote 1: Quotations and references to many of these sutras are found in
Candrakirtti's commentary on the _Madhyamika karikas_ of Nagarjuna; some of
these are the following: _A@s@tasahasrikaprajnaparamita_ (translated into
Chinese 164 A.D.-167 A.D.), _S'atasahasrikaprajnaparamita, Gaganaganja,
Samadhisutra, Tathagataguhyasutra, D@r@dhadhyas'ayasancodanasutra,
Dhyayitamu@s@tisutra, Pitaputrasamagamasutra, Mahayanasutra,
Maradamanasutra, Ratnaku@tasutra, Ratnacu@daparip@rcchasutra,
Ratnameghasutra, Ratnaras`isutra, Ratnakarasutra,
Ra@s@trapalaparip@rcchasutra, La@nkavatarasutra, Lalitavistarasutra,
Vajracchedikasutra, Vimalakirttinirdes'asutra, S'alistambhasutra,
Samadhirajasutra, Sukhavativyuha, Suvar@naprabhasasutra,
Saddharmapu@n@darika (translated into Chinese A.D. 255),
Amitayurdhyanasutra, Hastikakhyasutra, etc.]

[Footnote 2: The word Yana is generally translated as vehicle, but a
consideration of numerous contexts in which the word occurs seems to
suggest that it means career or course or way, rather than vehicle
(_Lalitavistara_, pp. 25, 38; _Prajnaparamita_, pp. 24, 319;
_Samadhirajasutra_, p. 1; _Karu@napu@ndarika_, p. 67; _La@nkavatarasutra_,
pp. 68, 108, 132). The word Yana is as old as the Upani@sads where we read
of Devayana and Pit@ryana. There is no reason why this word should be
taken in a different sense. We hear in _La@nkavatara_ of S'ravakayana
(career of the S'ravakas or the Theravadin Buddhists), Pratyekabuddhayana
(the career of saints before the coming of the Buddha), Buddha
yana (career of the Buddhas), Ekayana (one career), Devayana (career of
the gods), Brahmayana (career of becoming a Brahma), Tathagatayana
(career of a Tathagata). In one place _Lankavatara_ says that ordinarily
distinction is made between the three careers and one career and no career,
but these distinctions are only for the ignorant (_Lankavatara_, p. 68).]


us the reason why one school was called Hinayana whereas the
other, which he professed, was called Mahayana. He says that,
considered from the point of view of the ultimate goal of religion,
the instructions, attempts, realization, and time, the Hinayana
occupies a lower and smaller place than the other called Maha
(great) Yana, and hence it is branded as Hina (small, or low).
This brings us to one of the fundamental points of distinction
between Hinayana and Mahayana. The ultimate good of an
adherent of the Hinayana is to attain his own nirva@na or salvation,
whereas the ultimate goal of those who professed the Mahayana
creed was not to seek their own salvation but to seek the
salvation of all beings. So the Hinayana goal was lower, and in
consequence of that the instructions that its followers received,
the attempts they undertook, and the results they achieved were
narrower than that of the Mahayana adherents. A Hinayana man
had only a short business in attaining his own salvation, and this
could be done in three lives, whereas a Mahayana adherent was
prepared to work for infinite time in helping all beings to attain
salvation. So the Hinayana adherents required only a short period
of work and may from that point of view also be called _hina,_ or

This point, though important from the point of view of the
difference in the creed of the two schools, is not so from the point
of view of philosophy. But there is another trait of the Mahayanists
which distinguishes them from the Hinayanists from the
philosophical point of view. The Mahayanists believed that all
things were of a non-essential and indefinable character and
void at bottom, whereas the Hinayanists only believed in the
impermanence of all things, but did not proceed further than

It is sometimes erroneously thought that Nagarjuna first
preached the doctrine of S'unyavada (essencelessness or voidness
of all appearance), but in reality almost all the Mahayana sutras
either definitely preach this doctrine or allude to it. Thus if we
take some of those sutras which were in all probability earlier than
Nagarjuna, we find that the doctrine which Nagarjuna expounded


with all the rigour of his powerful dialectic was quietly accepted
as an indisputable truth. Thus we find Subhuti saying to
the Buddha that vedana (feeling), samjna (concepts) and the
sa@mskaras (conformations) are all maya (illusion) [Footnote ref 1]. All
the skandhas, dhaetus (elements) and ayatanas are void and absolute
cessation. The highest knowledge of everything as pure void
is not different from the skandhas, dhatus and ayatanas, and this
absolute cessation of dharmas is regarded as the highest knowledge
(_prajnaparamita_) [Footnote ref 2]. Everything being void there is in
reality no process and no cessation. The truth is neither eternal
(_s'as'vata_) nor non-eternal (_as'as'vata_) but pure void. It should
be the object of a saint's endeavour to put himself in the "thatness"
(_tathata_) and consider all things as void. The saint (_bodhisattva_)
has to establish himself in all the virtues (_paramita_), benevolence
(_danaparamita_), the virtue of character (_s'ilaparamita_), the virtue
of forbearance (_k@santiparamita_), the virtue of tenacity and strength
(_viryyaparamita_) and the virtue of meditation (_dhyanaparamita_).
The saint (_bodhisattva_) is firmly determined that he will
help an infinite number of souls to attain nirva@na. In reality,
however, there are no beings, there is no bondage, no salvation;
and the saint knows it but too well, yet he is not afraid
of this high truth, but proceeds on his career of attaining for
all illusory beings illusory emancipation from illusory bondage.
The saint is actuated with that feeling and proceeds in his
work on the strength of his paramitas, though in reality there
is no one who is to attain salvation in reality and no one who
is to help him to attain it [Footnote ref 3]. The true prajnaparamita is
the absolute cessation of all appearance (_ya@h anupalambha@h
sarvadharma@nam sa prajnaparamita ityucyate_) [Footnote ref 4].

The Mahayana doctrine has developed on two lines, viz. that
of S'unyavada or the Madhyamika doctrine and Vijnanavada.
The difference between S'unyavada and Vijnanavada (the theory
that there is only the appearance of phenomena of consciousness)
is not fundamental, but is rather one of method. Both of them
agree in holding that there is no truth in anything, everything
is only passing appearance akin to dream or magic. But
while the S'unyavadins were more busy in showing this
indefinableness of all phenomena, the Vijnanavadins, tacitly accepting


[Footnote 1: _A@s@tesahasiihaprajnaparamita_, p. 16.]

[Footnote 2: Ibid p. 177.]

[Footnote 3: Ibid p. 21.]

[Footnote 4: Ibid p. 177.]


the truth preached by the S'unyavadins, interested themselves in
explaining the phenomena of consciousness by their theory of
beginningless illusory root-ideas or instincts of the mind (_vasana_).

As'vagho@sa (100 A.D.) seems to have been the greatest teacher
of a new type of idealism (_vijnanavada_) known as the Tathata
philosophy. Trusting in Suzuki's identification of a quotation in
As'vagho@sa's _S'raddhotpadas'astra_ as being made from
_La@nkavatarasutra_, we should think of the _La@nkavatarasutra_ as
being one of the early works of the Vijnanavadins [Footnote ref 1].
The greatest later writer of the Vijnanavada school was Asa@nga
(400 A.D.), to whom are attributed the _Saptadas'abhumi sutra,
Mahayana sutra, Upades'a, Mahayanasamparigraha s'astra, Yogacarabhumi
s'astra_ and _Mahayanasutrala@mkara_. None of these works excepting the
last one is available to readers who have no access to the
Chinese and Tibetan manuscripts, as the Sanskrit originals are
in all probability lost. The Vijnanavada school is known to
Hindu writers by another name also, viz. Yogacara, and it does
not seem an improbable supposition that Asa@nga's _Yogacarabhumi
s'astra_ was responsible for the new name. Vasubandhu,
a younger brother of Asa@nga, was, as Paramartha (499-569) tells
us, at first a liberal Sarvastivadin, but was converted to Vijnanavada,
late in his life, by Asa@nga. Thus Vasubandhu, who
wrote in his early life the great standard work of the Sarvastivadins,
_Abhidharmakos'a_, devoted himself in his later life to Vijnanavada
[Footnote ref 2]. He is said to have commented upon a number of
Mahayana sutras, such as _Avata@msaka, Nirva@na, Saddharmapu@n@darika,
Prajnaparamita, Vimalakirtti_ and _S'rimalasi@mhanada_, and
compiled some Mahayana sutras, such as _Vijnanamatrasiddhi,
Ratnatraya_, etc. The school of Vijnanavada continued for at
least a century or two after Vasubandhu, but we are not in
possession of any work of great fame of this school after him.

We have already noticed that the S'unyavada formed the fundamental
principle of all schools of Mahayana. The most powerful
exponent of this doctrine was Nagarjuna (1OO A.D.), a brief account
of whose system will be given in its proper place. Nagarjuna's
karikas (verses) were commented upon by Aryyadeva, a disciple
of his, Kumarajiva (383 A.D.). Buddhapalita and Candrakirtti
(550 A.D.). Aryyadeva in addition to this commentary wrote at


[Footnote 1: Dr S.C. Vidyabhushana thinks that _Lankavatana_ belongs to
about 300 A.D.]

[Footnote 2: Takakusu's "A study of the Paramartha's life of Vasubandhu,"
_J.R.A.S_. 1905.]


least three other books, viz. _Catu@hs'ataka, Hastabalaprakara@nav@rtti_
and _Cittavis`uddhiprakara@na_ [Footnote ref 1]. In the small work called
_Hastabalaprakara@nav@rtti_ Aryyadeva says that whatever depends
for its existence on anything else may be proved to be illusory;
all our notions of external objects depend on space perceptions
and notions of part and whole and should therefore be regarded
as mere appearance. Knowing therefore that all that is dependent
on others for establishing itself is illusory, no wise man
should feel attachment or antipathy towards these mere phenomenal
appearances. In his _Cittavis'uddhiprakara@na_ he says
that just as a crystal appears to be coloured, catching the reflection
of a coloured object, even so the mind though in itself
colourless appears to show diverse colours by coloration of imagination
(_vikalpa_). In reality the mind (_citta_) without a touch
of imagination (_kalpana_) in it is the pure reality.

It does not seem however that the S'unyavadins could produce
any great writers after Candrakirtti. References to S'unyavada
show that it was a living philosophy amongst the Hindu writers
until the time of the great Mima@msa authority Kumarila who
flourished in the eighth century; but in later times the S'unyavadins
were no longer occupying the position of strong and active disputants.

The Tathataa Philosophy of As'vagho@sa (80 A.D.) [Footnote ref 2].

As'vagho@sa was the son of a Brahmin named Sai@mhaguhya
who spent his early days in travelling over the different parts of
India and defeating the Buddhists in open debates. He was probably
converted to Buddhism by Par@sva who was an important
person in the third Buddhist Council promoted,
according to some authorities, by the King of Kashmere
and according to other authorities by Pu@nyayas'as [Footnote ref 3].


[Footnote 1: Aryyadeva's _Hastabalaprakara@nav@rtti_ has been reclaimed by
Dr. F.W. Thomas. Fragmentary portions of his _Cittavis'uddhiprakara@na_
were published by Mahamahopadhyaya Haraprasada s'astri in the Bengal
Asiatic Society's journal, 1898.]

[Footnote 2: The above section is based on the _Awakening of Faith_, an
English translation by Suzuki of the Chinese version of
_S'raddhotpadas`astra_ by As'vagho@sa, the Sanskrit original of which
appears to have been lost. Suzuki has brought forward a mass of evidence
to show that As'vagho@sa was a contemporary of Kani@ska.]

[Footnote 3: Taranatha says that he was converted by Aryadeva, a disciple
of Nagarjuna, _Geschichte des Buddhismus_, German translation by Schiefner,
pp. 84-85. See Suzuki's _Awakening of Faith_, pp. 24-32. As'vagho@sa wrote
the _Buddhacaritakavya_, of great poetical excellence, and the
_Mahala@mkaras'astra_. He was also a musician and had invented a musical
instrument called Rastavara that he might by that means convert the
people of the city. "Its melody was classical, mournful, and melodious,
inducing the audience to ponder on the misery, emptiness, and non-atmanness
of life." Suzuki, p. 35.]


He held that in the soul two aspects may be distinguished
--the aspect as thatness (_bhutatathata_) and the aspect as the cycle
of birth and death (_sa@msara_). The soul as bhutatathata means
the oneness of the totality of all things (_dharmadhatu_). Its essential
nature is uncreate and external. All things simply on account
of the beginningless traces of the incipient and unconscious
memory of our past experiences of many previous lives (_sm@rti_)
appear under the forms of individuation [Footnote ref 1]. If we could
overcome this sm@rti "the signs of individuation would disappear and
there would be no trace of a world of objects." "All things in their
fundamental nature are not nameable or explicable. They cannot
be adequately expressed in any form of language. They
possess absolute sameness (_samata_). They are subject neither to
transformation nor to destruction. They are nothing but one soul"
--thatness (_bhutatathata_). This "thatness" has no attribute and
it can only be somehow pointed out in speech as "thatness."
As soon as you understand that when the totality of existence is
spoken of or thought of, there is neither that which speaks nor
that which is spoken of, there is neither that which thinks nor
that which is thought of, "this is the stage of thatness." This
bhutatathata is neither that which is existence, nor that which is
non-existence, nor that which is at once existence and non-existence,
nor that which is not at once existence and non-existence;
it is neither that which is plurality, nor that which is
at once unity and plurality, nor that which is not at once unity
and plurality. It is a negative concept in the sense that it is
beyond all that is conditional and yet it is a positive concept
in the sense that it holds all within it. It cannot be comprehended
by any kind of particularization or distinction. It is
only by transcending the range of our intellectual categories of
the comprehension of the limited range of finite phenomena that
we can get a glimpse of it. It cannot be comprehended by the
particularizing consciousness of all beings, and we thus may call
it negation, "s'unyata," in this sense. The truth is that which


[Footnote 1: I have ventured to translate "_sm@rti_" in the sense of vasana
in preference to Suzuki's "confused subjectivity" because sm@rti in the
sense of vasana is not unfamiliar to the readers of such Buddhist works
as _La@nkavatara_. The word "subjectivity" seems to be too European a
term to be used as a word to represent the Buddhist sense.]


subjectively does not exist by itself, that the negation (_s'unyata_) is
also void (_s'unya_) in its nature, that neither that which is negated
nor that which negates is an independent entity. It is the pure
soul that manifests itself as eternal, permanent, immutable, and
completely holds all things within it. On that account it may be
called affirmation. But yet there is no trace of affirmation in it,
because it is not the product of the creative instinctive memory
(_sm@rti_) of conceptual thought and the only way of grasping the
truth--the thatness, is by transcending all conceptual creations.

"The soul as birth and death (_sa@msara_) comes forth from
the Tathagata womb (_tathagatagarbha_), the ultimate reality.
But the immortal and the mortal coincide with each other.
Though they are not identical they are not duality either. Thus
when the absolute soul assumes a relative aspect by its self-affirmation
it is called the all-conserving mind (_alayavijnana_).
It embraces two principles, (1) enlightenment, (2) non-enlightenment.
Enlightenment is the perfection of the mind when it is
free from the corruptions of the creative instinctive incipient
memory (_sm@rti_). It penetrates all and is the unity of all
(_dharmadhatu_). That is to say, it is the universal dharmakaya of all
Tathagatas constituting the ultimate foundation of existence.

"When it is said that all consciousness starts from this fundamental
truth, it should not be thought that consciousness had any
real origin, for it was merely phenomenal existence--a mere imaginary
creation of the perceivers under the influence of the
delusive sm@rti. The multitude of people (_bahujana_) are said to be
lacking in enlightenment, because ignorance (_avidya_) prevails
there from all eternity, because there is a constant succession of
sm@rti (past confused memory working as instinct) from which
they have never been emancipated. But when they are divested
of this sm@rti they can then recognize that no states of mentation,
viz. their appearance, presence, change and disappearance, have
any reality. They are neither in a temporal nor in a spatial relation
with the one soul, for they are not self-existent.

"This high enlightenment shows itself imperfectly in our corrupted
phenomenal experience as prajna (wisdom) and karma
(incomprehensible activity of life). By pure wisdom we understand
that when one, by virtue of the perfuming power of dharma,
disciplines himself truthfully (i.e. according to the dharma), and
accomplishes meritorious deeds, the mind (i.e. the _alayavijnana_)


which implicates itself with birth and death will be broken down
and the modes of the evolving consciousness will be annulled, and
the pure and the genuine wisdom of the Dharmakaya will manifest
itself. Though all modes of consciousness and mentation are
mere products of ignorance, ignorance in its ultimate nature is
identical and non-identical with enlightenment; and therefore
ignorance is in one sense destructible, though in another sense
it is indestructible. This may be illustrated by the simile of the
water and the waves which are stirred up in the ocean. Here
the water can be said to be both identical and non-identical
with the waves. The waves are stirred up by the wind, but the
water remains the same. When the wind ceases the motion of
the waves subsides, but the water remains the same. Likewise
when the mind of all creatures, which in its own nature is pure and
clean, is stirred up by the wind of ignorance (_avidya_), the waves
of mentality (_vijnana_) make their appearance. These three (i.e.
the mind, ignorance, and mentality) however have no existence,
and they are neither unity nor plurality. When the ignorance is
annihilated, the awakened mentality is tranquillized, whilst the
essence of the wisdom remains unmolested." The truth or the
enlightenment "is absolutely unobtainable by any modes of relativity
or by any outward signs of enlightenment. All events in
the phenomenal world are reflected in enlightenment, so that they
neither pass out of it, nor enter into it, and they neither disappear
nor are destroyed." It is for ever cut off from the hindrances both
affectional (_kles'avara@na_) and intellectual (_jneyavara@na_), as well
as from the mind (i.e. _alayavijnana_) which implicates itself with
birth and death, since it is in its true nature clean, pure, eternal,
calm, and immutable. The truth again is such that it transforms
and unfolds itself wherever conditions are favourable in the form
of a tathagata or in some other forms, in order that all beings
may be induced thereby to bring their virtue to maturity.

"Non-elightenment has no existence of its own aside from its
relation with enlightenment _a priori_." But enlightenment _a priori_
is spoken of only in contrast to non-enlightenment, and as
non-enlightenment is a non-entity, true enlightenment in turn loses
its significance too. They are distinguished only in mutual relation
as enlightenment or non-enlightenment. The manifestations
of non-enlightenment are made in three ways: (1) as a disturbance
of the mind (_alayavijnana_), by the avidyakarma (ignorant


action), producing misery (_du@hkha_); (2) by the appearance of an
ego or of a perceiver; and (3) by the creation of an external world
which does not exist in itself, independent of the perceiver. Conditioned
by the unreal external world six kinds of phenomena
arise in succession. The first phenomenon is intelligence (sensation);
being affected by the external world the mind becomes
conscious of the difference between the agreeable and the disagreeable.
The second phenomenon is succession. Following upon
intelligence, memory retains the sensations, agreeable as well
as disagreeable, in a continuous succession of subjective states.
The third phenomenon is clinging. Through the retention and
succession of sensations, agreeable as well as disagreeable, there
arises the desire of clinging. The fourth phenomenon is an attachment
to names or ideas (_sa@mjna_), etc. By clinging the mind
hypostatizes all names whereby to give definitions to all things.
The fifth phenomenon is the performance of deeds (_karma_). On
account of attachment to names, etc., there arise all the variations
of deeds, productive of individuality. "The sixth phenomenon
is the suffering due to the fetter of deeds. Through deeds suffering
arises in which the mind finds itself entangled and curtailed of
its freedom." All these phenomena have thus sprung forth through

The relation between this truth and avidya is in one sense
a mere identity and may be illustrated by the simile of all kinds
of pottery which though different are all made of the same clay
[Footnote ref 1]. Likewise the undefiled (_anasrava_) and ignorance
(_avidya_) and their various transient forms all come from one and the
same entity. Therefore Buddha teaches that all beings are from all
eternity abiding in Nirva@na.

It is by the touch of ignorance (_avidya_) that this truth assumes
all the phenomenal forms of existence.

In the all-conserving mind (_alayavijnana_) ignorance manifests
itself; and from non-enlightenment starts that which sees, that
which represents, that which apprehends an objective world, and
that which constantly particularizes. This is called ego (_manas_).
Five different names are given to the ego (according to its different
modes of operation). The first name is activity-consciousness
(_karmavijnana_) in the sense that through the agency of
ignorance an unenlightened mind begins to be disturbed (or


[Footnote 1: Compare Chandogya, VI. 1. 4.]


awakened). The second name is evolving-consciousness (_prav@rttiivijnana_)
in the sense that when the mind is disturbed, there
evolves that which sees an external world. The third name is
representation-consciousness in the sense that the ego (_manas_}
represents (or reflects) an external world. As a clean mirror
reflects the images of all description, it is even so with the
representation-consciousness. When it is confronted, for instance,
with the objects of the five senses, it represents them instantaneously
and without effort. The fourth is particularization-consciousness,
in the sense that it discriminates between different things defiled
as well as pure. The fifth name is succession-consciousness, in the
sense that continuously directed by the awakening consciousness
of attention (_manaskara_) it (_manas_) retains all experiences and
never loses or suffers the destruction of any karma, good as well
as evil, which had been sown in the past, and whose retribution,
painful or agreeable, it never fails to mature, be it in the present
or in the future, and also in the sense that it unconsciously
recollects things gone by and in imagination anticipates things
to come. Therefore the three domains (_kamaloka_, domain of
feeling--_rupaloka_, domain of bodily existence--_arupaloka_, domain
of incorporeality) are nothing but the self manifestation of the
mind (i.e. _alayavijnana_ which is practically identical with
_bhutatathata_). Since all things, owing the principle of their
existence to the mind (_alayavijnana_), are produced by sm@rti,
all the modes of particularization are the self-particularizations
of the mind. The mind in itself (or the soul) being however free from
all attributes is not differentiated. Therefore we come to the conclusion
that all things and conditions in the phenomenal world, hypostatized
and established only through ignorance (_avidya_) and memory
(_sm@rti_), have no more reality than the images in a mirror. They
arise simply from the ideality of a particularizing mind. When
the mind is disturbed, the multiplicity of things is produced; but
when the mind is quieted, the multiplicity of things disappears.
By ego-consciousness (_manovijnana_) we mean the ignorant mind
which by its succession-consciousness clings to the conception of
I and Not-I and misapprehends the nature of the six objects of
sense. The ego-consciousness is also called separation-consciousness,
because it is nourished by the perfuming influence of the
prejudices (_asrava_), intellectual as well as affectional. Thus believing
in the external world produced by memory, the mind becomes


oblivious of the principle of sameness (_samata_) that underlies all
things which are one and perfectly calm and tranquil and show no
sign of becoming.

Non-enlightenment is the _raison d'etre_ of samsara. When
this is annihilated the conditions--the external world--are also
annihilated and with them the state of an interrelated mind is also
annihilated. But this annihilation does not mean the annihilation
of the mind but of its modes only. It becomes calm like an unruffled
sea when all winds which were disturbing it and producing
the waves have been annihilated.

In describing the relation of the interaction of avidya (ignorance),
karmavijnana (activity-consciousness--the subjective mind),
vi@saya (external world--represented by the senses) and the tathata
(suchness), As'vaghosa says that there is an interperfuming of
these elements. Thus As'vaghosa says, "By perfuming we mean
that while our worldly clothes (viz. those which we wear) have no
odour of their own, neither offensive nor agreeable, they can yet
acquire one or the other odour according to the nature of the substance
with which they are perfumed. Suchness (_tathata_) is likewise
a pure dharma free from all defilements caused by the perfuming
power of ignorance. On the other hand ignorance has nothing to
do with purity. Nevertheless we speak of its being able to do the
work of purity because it in its turn is perfumed by suchness.
Determined by suchness ignorance becomes the _raison d'etre_ of
all forms of defilement. And this ignorance perfumes suchness
and produces sm@rti. This sm@rti in its turn perfumes ignorance.
On account of this (reciprocal) perfuming, the truth is misunderstood.
On account of its being misunderstood an external world
of subjectivity appears. Further, on account of the perfuming
power of memory, various modes of individuation are produced.
And by clinging to them various deeds are done, and we suffer
as the result miseries mentally as well as bodily." Again "suchness
perfumes ignorance, and in consequence of this perfuming
the individual in subjectivity is caused to loathe the misery of
birth and death and to seek after the blessing of Nirvana. This
longing and loathing on the part of the subjective mind in turn
perfumes suchness. On account of this perfuming influence we
are enabled to believe that we are in possession within ourselves
of suchness whose essential nature is pure and immaculate; and
we also recognize that all phenomena in the world are nothing


but the illusory manifestations of the mind (_alayavijnana_) and
have no reality of their own. Since we thus rightly understand
the truth, we can practise the means of liberation, can perform
those actions which are in accordance with the dharma. We
should neither particularize, nor cling to objects of desire. By
virtue of this discipline and habituation during the lapse of innumerable
asa@nkhyeyakalpas [Footnote ref 1] we get ignorance annihilated. As
ignorance is thus annihilated, the mind (_alayavijnana_) is no longer
disturbed, so as to be subject to individuation. As the mind is no
longer disturbed, the particularization of the surrounding world
is annihilated. When in this wise the principle and the condition
of defilement, their products, and the mental disturbances are all
annihilated, it is said that we attain Nirva@na and that various
spontaneous displays of activity are accomplished." The Nirva@na
of the tathata philosophy is not nothingness, but tathata (suchness
or thatness) in its purity unassociated with any kind of disturbance
which produces all the diversity of experience.

To the question that if all beings are uniformly in possession
of suchness and are therefore equally perfumed by it, how is it
that there are some who do not believe in it, while others do,
As'vagho@sa's reply is that though all beings are uniformly in
possession of suchness, the intensity of ignorance and the principle
of individuation, that work from all eternity, vary in such
manifold grades as to outnumber the sands of the Ganges, and
hence the difference. There is an inherent perfuming principle
in one's own being which, embraced and protected by the love
(_maitri_) and compassion (_karu@na_) of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas,
is caused to loathe the misery of birth and death, to believe
in nirva@na, to cultivate the root of merit (_kus'alamula_), to habituate
oneself to it and to bring it to maturity. In consequence
of this, one is enabled to see all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and, receiving
instructions from them, is benefited, gladdened and induced
to practise good deeds, etc., till one can attain to Buddhahood and
enter into Nirva@na. This implies that all beings have such perfuming
power in them that they may be affected by the good wishes
of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for leading them to the path
of virtue, and thus it is that sometimes hearing the Bodhisattvas
and sometimes seeing them, "all beings thereby acquire (spiritual)
benefits (_hitata_)" and "entering into the samadhi of purity, they


[Footnote 1: Technical name for a very vast period of time.]


destroy hindrances wherever they are met with and obtain all-penetrating
insight that enables them to become conscious of the absolute oneness
(_samata_) of the universe (_sarvaloka_) and to see innumerable Buddhas
and Bodhisattvas."

There is a difference between the perfuming which is not in
unison with suchness, as in the case of s'ravakas (theravadin
monks), pratyekabuddhas and the novice bodhisattvas, who only
continue their religious discipline but do not attain to the state
of non-particularization in unison with the essence of suchness.
But those bodhisattvas whose perfuming is already in unison with
suchness attain to the state of non-particularization and allow
themselves to be influenced only by the power of the dharma.
The incessant perfuming of the defiled dharma (ignorance from
all eternity) works on, but when one attains to Buddhahood one
at once puts an end to it. The perfuming of the pure dharma
(i.e. suchness) however works on to eternity without any interruption.
For this suchness or thatness is the effulgence of great
wisdom, the universal illumination of the dharmadhatu (universe),
the true and adequate knowledge, the mind pure and clean in its
own nature, the eternal, the blessed, the self-regulating and the
pure, the tranquil, the inimitable and the free, and this is called
the tathagatagarbha or the dharmakaya. It may be objected that
since thatness or suchness has been described as being without
characteristics, it is now a contradiction to speak of it as embracing
all merits, but it is held, that in spite of its embracing all merits,
it is free in its nature from all forms of distinction, because all
objects in the world are of one and the same taste; and being
of one reality they have nothing to do with the modes of particularization
or of dualistic character. "Though all things in their
(metaphysical) origin come from the soul alone and in truth are
free from particularization, yet on account of non-enlightenment
there originates a subjective mind (_alayavijnana_) that becomes
conscious of an external world." This is called ignorance or
avidya. Nevertheless the pure essence of the mind is perfectly
pure and there is no awakening of ignorance in it. Hence we assign
to suchness this quality, the effulgence of great wisdom. It is
called universal illumination, because there is nothing for it to
illumine. This perfuming of suchness therefore continues for ever,
though the stage of the perfuming of avidya comes to an end with
the Buddhas when they attain to nirva@na. All Buddhas while at


the stage of discipline feel a deep compassion (_mahakaru@na_) for all
beings, practise all virtues (_paramitas_) and many other meritorious
deeds, treat others as their own selves, and wish to work out a
universal salvation of mankind in ages to come, through limitless
numbers of _kalpas_, recognize truthfully and adequately the
principle of equality (_samata_)among people; and do not cling
to the individual existence of a sentient being. This is what is
meant by the activity of tathata. The main idea of this tathata
philosophy seems to be this, that this transcendent "thatness" is
at once the quintessence of all thought and activity; as avidya veils
it or perfumes it, the world-appearance springs forth, but as the
pure thatness also perfumes the avidya there is a striving for the
good as well. As the stage of avidya is passed its luminous
character shines forth, for it is the ultimate truth which only
illusorily appeared as the many of the world.

This doctrine seems to be more in agreement with the view
of an absolute unchangeable reality as the ultimate truth than
that of the nihilistic idealism of _La@nkavatara_. Considering the
fact that As'vagho@sa was a learned Brahmin scholar in his early
life, it is easy to guess that there was much Upani@sad influence in
this interpretation of Buddhism, which compares so favourably
with the Vedanta as interpreted by S'a@nkara. The _La@nkavatara_
admitted a reality only as a make-believe to attract the Tairthikas
(heretics) who had a prejudice in favour of an unchangeable self
(_atman_). But As'vagho@sa plainly admitted an unspeakable reality
as the ultimate truth. Nagarjuna's Madhyamika doctrines which
eclipsed the profound philosophy of As'vagho@sa seem to be more
faithful to the traditional Buddhist creed and to the Vijnanavada
creed of Buddhism as explained in the La@nkavatara [Footnote ref 1].

The Madhyamika or the S'untavada school.--Nihilism.

Candrakirtti, the commentator of Nagarjuna's verses known as
"_Madhyamika karika_," in explaining the doctrine of dependent
origination (_pratityasamutpada_) as described by Nagarjuna starts
with two interpretations of the word. According to one the word
pratityasamutpada means the origination (_utpada_) of the nonexistent
(_abhava_) depending on (_pratitya_) reasons and causes


[Footnote 1: As I have no access to the Chinese translation of
As'vagho@sa's _S'raddhotpada S'astra_, I had to depend entirely on
Suzuki's expressions as they appear in his translation.]


(hetupratyaya). According to the other interpretation pratitya
means each and every destructible individual and pratityasamutpada
means the origination of each and every destructible individual.
But he disapproves of both these meanings. The second meaning does
not suit the context in which the Pali Scriptures generally speak
of pratityasamutpada (e.g. _cak@su@h pratitya rupani ca utpadyante
cak@survijnanam_) for it does not mean the origination of each and
every destructible individual, but the originating of specific
individual phenomena (e.g. perception of form by the operation in
connection with the eye) depending upon certain specific conditions.

The first meaning also is equally unsuitable. Thus for example
if we take the case of any origination, e.g. that of the visual percept,
we see that there cannot be any contact between visual
knowledge and physical sense, the eye, and so it would not be
intelligible that the former should depend upon the latter. If we
interpret the maxim of pratityasamutpada as this happening that
happens, that would not explain any specific origination. All
origination is false, for a thing can neither originate by itself nor
by others, nor by a co-operation of both nor without any reason.
For if a thing exists already it cannot originate again by itself.
To suppose that it is originated by others would also mean
that the origination was of a thing already existing. If again
without any further qualification it is said that depending on
one the other comes into being, then depending on anything any
other thing could come into being--from light we could have darkness!
Since a thing could not originate from itself or by others,
it could not also be originated by a combination of both of them
together. A thing also could not originate without any cause,
for then all things could come into being at all times. It is therefore
to be acknowledged that wherever the Buddha spoke of this
so-called dependent origination (_pratityasamutpada_) it was referred
to as illusory manifestations appearing to intellects and
senses stricken with ignorance. This dependent origination is
not thus a real law, but only an appearance due to ignorance
(_avidya_). The only thing which is not lost (_amo@sadharma_) is
nirva@na; but all other forms of knowledge and phenomena
(_sa@mskara_) are false and are lost with their appearances
(_sarvasa@mskaras'ca m@r@samo@sadharma@na@h_).

It is sometimes objected to this doctrine that if all appearances


are false, then they do not exist at all. There are then no
good or bad works and no cycle of existence, and if such is the
case, then it may be argued that no philosophical discussion
should be attempted. But the reply to such an objection is that the
nihilistic doctrine is engaged in destroying the misplaced confidence
of the people that things are true. Those who are really
wise do not find anything either false or true, for to them clearly
they do not exist at all and they do not trouble themselves with
the question of their truth or falsehood. For him who knows thus
there are neither works nor cycles of births (_sa@msara_) and also he
does not trouble himself about the existence or non-existence of
any of the appearances. Thus it is said in the Ratnaku@tasutra that
howsoever carefully one may search one cannot discover consciousness
(_citta_); what cannot be perceived cannot be said to exist,
and what does not exist is neither past, nor future, nor present, and
as such it cannot be said to have any nature at all; and that which
has no nature is subject neither to origination nor to extinction.
He who through his false knowledge (_viparyyasa_) does not comprehend
the falsehood of all appearances, but thinks them to be
real, works and suffers the cycles of rebirth (_sa@msara_). Like all
illusions, though false these appearances can produce all the harm
of rebirth and sorrow.

It may again be objected that if there is nothing true
according to the nihilists (_s'unyavadins_), then their statement that
there is no origination or extinction is also not true. Candrakirtti
in replying to this says that with s'unyavadins the truth is absolute
silence. When the S'unyavadin sages argue, they only accept for
the moment what other people regard as reasons, and deal with
them in their own manner to help them to come to a right
comprehension of all appearances. It is of no use to say, in spite
of all arguments tending to show the falsehood of all appearances,
that they are testified by our experience, for the whole thing that
we call "our experience" is but false illusion inasmuch as these
phenomena have no true essence.

When the doctrine of pratityasamutpada is described as "this
being that is," what is really meant is that things can only be
indicated as mere appearances one after another, for they have
no essence or true nature. Nihilism (_s'unyavada_) also means just
this. The true meaning of pratityasamutpada or s'unyavada is
this, that there is no truth, no essence in all phenomena that


appear [Footnote ref 1]. As the phenomena have no essence they are neither
produced nor destroyed; they really neither come nor go. They
are merely the appearance of maya or illusion. The void (_s'unya_)
does not mean pure negation, for that is relative to some kind of
position. It simply means that none of the appearances have any
intrinsic nature of their own (_ni@hsvabhavatvam_).

The Madhyamaka or S'unya system does not hold that anything
has any essence or nature (svabhava) of its own; even
heat cannot be said to be the essence of fire; for both the heat
and the fire are the result of the combination of many conditions,
and what depends on many conditions cannot be said to be the
nature or essence of the thing. That alone may be said to be the
true essence or nature of anything which does not depend on
anything else, and since no such essence or nature can be pointed
out which stands independently by itself we cannot say that it
exists. If a thing has no essence or existence of its own, we cannot
affirm the essence of other things to it (_parabhava_). If we
cannot affirm anything of anything as positive, we cannot consequently
assert anything of anything as negative. If anyone first
believes in things positive and afterwards discovers that they are
not so, he no doubt thus takes his stand on a negation (_abhava_),
but in reality since we cannot speak of anything positive, we cannot
speak of anything negative either [Footnote ref 2].

It is again objected that we nevertheless perceive a process
going on. To this the Madhyamaka reply is that a process of
change could not be affirmed of things that are permanent. But we
can hardly speak of a process with reference to momentary things;
for those which are momentary are destroyed the next moment
after they appear, and so there is nothing which can continue to
justify a process. That which appears as being neither comes
from anywhere nor goes anywhere, and that which appears as destroyed
also does not come from anywhere nor go anywhere,
and so a process (_sa@msara_) cannot be affirmed of them. It cannot
be that when the second moment arose, the first moment had
suffered a change in the process, for it was not the same as the
second, as there is no so-called cause-effect connection. In fact
there being no relation between the two, the temporal determination
as prior and later is wrong. The supposition that there is a
self which suffers changes is also not valid, for howsoever we


[Footnote 1: See _Madhyamikav@rtti_ (B.T.S.), p. 50.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid_. pp. 93-100.]


may search we find the five skandhas but no self. Moreover if
the soul is a unity it cannot undergo any process or progression,
for that would presuppose that the soul abandons one character
and takes up another at the same identical moment which is
inconceivable [Footnote ref 1].

But then again the question arises that if there is no process,
and no cycle of worldly existence of thousands of afflictions, what
is then the nirva@na which is described as the final extinction of
all afflictions (_kles'a_)? To this the Madhyamaka reply is that it does
not agree to such a definition of nirva@na. Nirva@na on the Madhyamaka
theory is the absence of the essence of all phenomena, that
which cannot be conceived either as anything which has ceased
or as anything which is produced (_aniruddham anntpannam_}. In
nirva@na all phenomena are lost; we say that the phenomena cease
to exist in nirva@na, but like the illusory snake in the rope they
never existed [Footnote ref 2]. Nirva@na cannot be any positive thing or
any sort of state of being (_bhava_), for all positive states or things
are joint products of combined causes (_sa@msk@rta_) and are liable to
decay and destruction. Neither can it be a negative existence, for since
we cannot speak of any positive existence, we cannot speak of a
negative existence either. The appearances or the phenomena are
communicated as being in a state of change and process coming
one after another, but beyond that no essence, existence, or truth
can be affirmed of them. Phenomena sometimes appear to be
produced and sometimes to be destroyed, but they cannot be
determined as existent or non-existent. Nirva@na is merely the
cessation of the seeming phenomenal flow (_prapancaprav@rtti_). It
cannot therefore be designated either as positive or as negative for
these conceptions belong to phenomena (_na caprav@rttimatram
bhavabhaveti parikalpitum paryyate evam na bhavabhavanirva@nam_,
M.V. 197). In this state there is nothing which is known,
and even the knowledge that the phenomena have ceased to
appear is not found. Even the Buddha himself is a phenomenon,
a mirage or a dream, and so are all his teachings [Footnote ref 3].

It is easy to see that in this system there cannot exist any
bondage or emancipation; all phenomena are like shadows, like
the mirage, the dream, the maya, and the magic without any real
nature (_ni@hsvabhava_). It is mere false knowledge to suppose that


[Footnote 1: See _Madhyamikav@rtti_ (B.T.S.), pp. 101-102.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid_. p. 194.]

[Footnote 3: _Ibid_. pp.162 and 201.]


one is trying to win a real nirva@na [Footnote ref 1]. It is this false
egoism that is to be considered as avidya. When considered deeply it is
found that there is not even the slightest trace of any positive existence.
Thus it is seen that if there were no ignorance (_avidya_), there
would have been no conformations (_sa@mskaras_), and if there were
no conformations there would have been no consciousness, and so
on; but it cannot be said of the ignorance "I am generating the
sa@mskaras," and it can be said of the sa@mskaras "we are being
produced by the avidya." But there being avidya, there come the
sa@mskaras and so on with other categories too. This character of
the pratityasamutpada is known as the coming of the consequent
depending on an antecedent reason (_hetupanibandha_).

It can be viewed from another aspect, namely that of dependence
on conglomeration or combination (_pratyayopanibandh_).
It is by the combination (_samavaya_) of the four elements, space
(_akas'a_) and consciousness (_vijnana_) that a man is made. It is
due to earth (_p@rthivi_) that the body becomes solid, it is due to
water that there is fat in the body, it is due to fire that there is
digestion, it is due to wind that there is respiration; it is due
to akas'a that there is porosity, and it is due to vijnana that
there is mind-consciousness. It is by their mutual combination
that we find a man as he is. But none of these elements think
that they have done any of the functions that are considered to be
allotted to them. None of these are real substances or beings or
souls. It is by ignorance that these are thought of as existents and
attachment is generated for them. Through ignorance thus come
the sa@mskaras, consisting of attachment, antipathy and thoughtlessness
(_raga, dve@sa, moha_); from these proceed the vijnana and
the four skandhas. These with the four elements bring about name
and form (_namarupa_), from these proceed the senses (_@sa@dayatana_),
from the coming together of those three comes contact (_spars'a_);
from that feelings, from that comes desire (_tr@s@na_) and so on.
These flow on like the stream of a river, but there is no essence
or truth behind them all or as the ground of them all [Footnote ref 2].
The phenomena therefore cannot be said to be either existent or
non-existent, and no truth can be affirmed of either eternalism
(_s'as'vatavada_) or nihilism (_ucchedavada_), and it is for this reason


[Footnote 1: See _Madhyamikav@rtti_ (B.T.S.), pp. 101-108.]

[Footnote: _Ibid._ pp. 209-211, quoted from _Salistambhasutra_.
Vacaspatimis'ra also quotes this passage in his _Bhamati_ on
S'a@nkara's _Brahma-sutra_.]


that this doctrine is called the middle doctrine (_madhyamaka_) [Footnote
ref 1]. Existence and non-existence have only a relative truth
(_samv@rtisatya_) in them, as in all phenomena, but there is no true
reality (_paramarthasatya_) in them or anything else. Morality
plays as high a part in this nihilistic system as it does in any
other Indian system. I quote below some stanzas from Nagarjuna's
_Suk@rllekha_ as translated by Wenzel (P.T.S. 1886) from
the Tibetan translation.

6. Knowing that riches are unstable and void (_asara_) give according to
the moral precepts, to Bhikshus, Brahmins, the poor and friends for there
is no better friend than giving.

7. Exhibit morality (_s'ila_) faultless and sublime, unmixed and spotless,
for morality is the supporting ground of all eminence, as the earth is of
the moving and immovable.

8. Exercise the imponderable, transcendental virtues of charity, morality,
patience, energy, meditation, and likewise wisdom, in order that, having
reached the farther shore of the sea of existence, you may become a Jina

9. View as enemies, avarice (_matsaryya_), deceit (_s'a@thya_), duplicity
(_maya_), lust, indolence (_kausidya_), pride (_mana_), greed (_raga_),
hatred (_dve@sa_) and pride (_mada_) concerning family, figure, glory,
youth, or power.

15. Since nothing is so difficult of attainment as patience, open no door
for anger; the Buddha has pronounced that he who renounces anger shall
attain the degree of an anagamin (a saint who never suffers rebirth).

21. Do not look after another's wife; but if you see her, regard her,
according to age, like your mother, daughter or sister.

24. Of him who has conquered the unstable, ever moving objects of the
six senses and him who has overcome the mass of his enemies in battle, the
wise praise the first as the greater hero.

29. Thou who knowest the world, be equanimous against the eight worldly
conditions, gain and loss, happiness and suffering, fame and dishonour,
blame and praise, for they are not objects for your thoughts.

37. But one (a woman) that is gentle as a sister, winning as a friend,
careful of your well being as a mother, obedient as a servant her (you
must) honour as the guardian god(dess) of the family.

40. Always perfectly meditate on (turn your thoughts to) kindness, pity,
joy and indifference; then if you do not obtain a higher degree you
(certainly) will obtain the happiness of Brahman's world (_brahmavihara_).

41. By the four dhyanas completely abandoning desire (_kama_), reflection
(_vicara_), joy (_priti_), and happiness and pain (_sukha, du@hkha_) you
will obtain as fruit the lot of a Brahman.

49. If you say "I am not the form, you thereby will understand I am
not endowed with form, I do not dwell in form, the form does not dwell in
me; and in like manner you will understand the voidness of the other four

50. The aggregates do not arise from desire, nor from time, nor from


[Footnote 1: See _Madhyamikav@rtti_ (B.T.S.), p. 160.]


nature (_prak@rti_), not from themselves (_svabhavat_), nor from the Lord
(_is'vara_), nor yet are they without cause; know that they arise from
ignorance (_avidya_) and desire (_t@r@s@na_).

51. Know that attachment to religious ceremonies (_s'ilabrataparamars'a_),
wrong views (_mithyad@r@s@ti_) and doubt (_vicikitsa_) are the three

53. Steadily instruct yourself (more and more) in the highest morality,
the highest wisdom and the highest thought, for the hundred and fifty one
rules (of the _pratimok@sa_) are combined perfectly in these three.

58. Because thus (as demonstrated) all this is unstable (_anitya_) without
substance (_anatma_) without help (_as'ara@na_) without protector
(_anatha_) and without abode (_asthana_) thou O Lord of men must become
discontented with this worthless (_asara_) kadali-tree of the orb.

104. If a fire were to seize your head or your dress you would extinguish
and subdue it, even then endeavour to annihilate desire, for there is no
other higher necessity than this.

105. By morality, knowledge and contemplation, attain the spotless dignity
of the quieting and the subduing nirva@na not subject to age, death or
decay, devoid of earth, water, fire, wind, sun and moon.

107. Where there is no wisdom (_prajna_) there is also no contemplation
(_dhyana_), where there is no contemplation there is also no wisdom; but
know that for him who possesses these two the sea of existence is like a

Uncompromising Idealism or the School
of Vijnanavada Buddhism.

The school of Buddhist philosophy known as the Vijnanavada
or Yogacara has often been referred to by such prominent teachers
of Hindu thought as Kumarila and S'a@nkara. It agrees to a great
extent with the S'unyavadins whom we have already described.
All the dharmas (qualities and substances) are but imaginary
constructions of ignorant minds. There is no movement in the
so-called external world as we suppose, for it does not exist. We
construct it ourselves and then are ourselves deluded that it exists
by itself (_nirmmitapratimohi_) [Footnote ref 1]. There are two functions
involved in our consciousness, viz. that which holds the perceptions
(_khyati vijnana_), and that which orders them by imaginary constructions
(_vastuprativikalpavijnana_). The two functions however mutually
determine each other and cannot be separately distinguished
(_abhinnalak@sa@ne anyonyahetuke_). These functions are set to work
on account of the beginningless instinctive tendencies inherent
in them in relation to the world of appearance
(_anadikala-prapanca-vasanahetukanca_) [Footnote ref 2].

All sense knowledge can be stopped only when the diverse


[Footnote 1: _Lankavatarasutra_, pp. 21-22.]

[Footnote 2 _Ibid._ p. 44.]


unmanifested instincts of imagination are stopped
[Footnote ref 1]. All our phenomenal knowledge
is without any essence or truth (_nihsvabhava_) and is but a
creation of maya, a mirage or a dream. There is nothing which
may be called external, but all is the imaginary creation of the
mind (_svacitta_), which has been accustomed to create imaginary
appearances from beginningless time. This mind by whose movement
these creations take place as subject and object has no
appearance in itself and is thus without any origination, existence
and extinction (_utpadasthitibha@ngavarjjam_) and is called the
alayavijnana. The reason why this alayavijnana itself is said to be
without origination, existence, and extinction is probably this,
that it is always a hypothetical state which merely explains all
the phenomenal states that appear, and therefore it has no existence
in the sense in which the term is used and we could not
affirm any special essence of it.

We do not realize that all visible phenomena are of nothing
external but of our own mind (_svacitta_), and there is also the
beginningless tendency for believing and creating a phenomenal world
of appearance. There is also the nature of knowledge (which
takes things as the perceiver and the perceived) and there is also
the instinct in the mind to experience diverse forms. On account
of these four reasons there are produced in the alayavijnana (mind)
the ripples of our sense experiences (_prav@rttivijnana_) as in a lake,
and these are manifested as sense experiences. All the five skandhas
called _panchavijnanakaya_ thus appear in a proper synthetic
form. None of the phenomenal knowledge that appears is either
identical or different from the alayavijnana just as the waves cannot
be said to be either identical or different from the ocean. As
the ocean dances on in waves so the citta or the alayavijnana
is also dancing as it were in its diverse operations (_v@rtti_). As
citta it collects all movements (_karma_) within it, as manas it
synthesizes (_vidhiyate_) and as vijnana it constructs the fivefold
perceptions (_vijnanan vijanati d@rs'yam kalpate pancabhi@h_) [Footnote
ref 2].

It is only due to maya (illusion) that the phenomena appear in their
twofold aspect as subject and object. This must always be regarded as
an appearance (_samv@rtisatyata_) whereas in the real aspect we could
never say whether they existed (_bhava_) or did not exist [Footnote ref 3].


[Footnote 1: _Pancavatarasutra_, p. 44.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid_., pp. 50-55.]

[Footnote 3: Asa@nga's _Mahayanasutrala@mkara_, pp. 58-59.]


All phenomena both being and non-being are illusory (_sadasanta@h
mayopama@h_). When we look deeply into them we find that
there is an absolute negation of all appearances, including even
all negations, for they are also appearances. This would make the
ultimate truth positive. But this is not so, for it is that in which
the positive and negative are one and the same (_bhavabhavasamanata_)
[Footnote ref 1]. Such a state which is complete in itself and has no
name and no substance had been described in the La@nkavatarasutra
as thatness (_tathata_) [Footnote ref 2]. This state is also described in
another place in the _La@nkavatara_ as voidness (_s'unyata_) which is one
and has no origination and no essence [Footnote ref 3]. In another place
it is also designated as tathagatagarbha [Footnote ref 4].

It may be supposed that this doctrine of an unqualified
ultimate truth comes near to the Vedantic atman or Brahman
like the tathata doctrine of As'vagho@sa; and we find in La@nkavatara
that Rava@na asks the Buddha "How can you say that
your doctrine of tathagatagarbha was not the same as the atman
doctrine of the other schools of philosophers, for those heretics
also consider the atman as eternal, agent, unqualified, all pervading
and unchanged?" To this the Buddha is found to reply
thus--"Our doctrine is not the same as the doctrine of those
heretics; it is in consideration of the fact that the instruction
of a philosophy which considered that there was no soul or substance
in anything (nairatmya) would frighten the disciples, that
I say that all things are in reality the tathagatagarbha. This
should not be regarded as atman. Just as a lump of clay is made
into various shapes, so it is the non-essential nature
of all phenomena and their freedom from all characteristics
(_sarvavikalpalak@sa@navinivrttam_) that is variously described as
the garbha or the nairatmya (essencelessness). This explanation of
tathagatagarbha as the ultimate truth and reality is given in order to
attract to our creed those heretics who are superstitiously
inclined to believe in the atman doctrine [Footnote ref 5]."

So far as the appearance of the phenomena was concerned,
the idealistic Buddhists (_vijnanavadins_) agreed to the doctrine of
pratityasamutpada with certain modifications. There was with
them an external pratityasamutpada just as it appeared in the


[Footnote 1: Asa@nga's _Mahayanasutrala@mkara_, p. 65.]

[Footnote 2: _Lankavatarasutra_, p. 70.]

[Footnote 3: _Ibid._ p. 78.]

[Footnote 4: _Ibid._ p. 80.]

[Footnote 5: _Ibid._ pp. 80-81.]


objective aspect and an internal pratityasamutpada. The external
pratityasamutpada (dependent origination) is represented in the
way in which material things (e.g. a jug) came into being by the
co-operation of diverse elements--the lump of clay, the potter,
the wheel, etc. The internal (_adhyatmika_) pratityasamutpada
was represented by avidya, t@r@s@na, karma, the skandhas, and the
ayatanas produced out of them [Footnote ref 1].

Our understanding is composed of two categories called the
_pravichayabuddhi_ and the
_vikalpalak@sa@nagrahabhinives'aprati@s@thapikabuddhi_. The
pravicayabuddhi is that which always seeks to take things in either
of the following four ways, that they are either this or the other
(_ekatvanyaiva_); either both or not both (_ubhayanubhaya_), either
are or are not (_astinasti_), either eternal or non-eternal (_nityanitya_).
But in reality none of these can be affirmed of the phenomena. The second
category consists of that habit of the mind by virtue of which it
constructs diversities and arranges them (created in their turn by
its own constructive activity--_parikalpa_) in a logical order of diverse
relations of subject and predicate, causal and other relations. He who
knows the nature of these two categories of the mind knows that there
is no external world of matter and that they are all experienced only
in the mind. There is no water, but it is the sense construction of
smoothness (_sneha_) that constructs the water as an external substance;
it is the sense construction of activity or energy that
constructs the external substance of fire; it is the sense construction
of movement that constructs the external substance of air.
In this way through the false habit of taking the unreal as the
real (_mithyasatyabhinives'a_) five skandhas appear. If these were
to appear all together, we could not speak of any kind of causal
relations, and if they appeared in succession there could be
no connection between them, as there is nothing to bind them
together. In reality there is nothing which is produced or
destroyed, it is only our constructive imagination that builds up
things as perceived with all their relations, and ourselves as
perceivers. It is simply a convention (_vyavahara_) to speak of things
as known [Footnote ref 2]. Whatever we designate by speech is mere
speech-construction (_vagvikalpa_) and unreal. In speech one could not
speak of anything without relating things in some kind of causal


[Footnote 1: _La@nkavatarasutra_, p. 85.]

[Footnote 2: _Lankavatarasutra_, p. 87, compare the term "vyavaharika" as
used of the phenomenal and the conventional world in almost the same
sense by S'a@nkara.]


relation, but none of these characters may be said to be true;
the real truth (_paramartha_) can never be referred to by such

The nothingness (_s'unyata_) of things may be viewed from
seven aspects--(1) that they are always interdependent, and hence
have no special characteristics by themselves, and as they cannot
be determined in themselves they cannot be determined in terms
of others, for, their own nature being undetermined, a reference
to an "other" is also undetermined, and hence they are all indefinable
(_laksanas'unyata_); (2) that they have no positive essence
(_bhavasvabhavas'unyata_), since they spring up from a natural
non-existence (_svabhavabhavotpatti_); (3) that they are of an unknown
type of non-existence (_apracaritas'unyata_), since all the skandhas
vanish in the nirvana; (4) that they appear phenomenally as connected
though non-existent (_pracaritas'unyata_), for their skandhas
have no reality in themselves nor are they related to others, but
yet they appear to be somehow causally connected; (5) that none
of the things can be described as having any definite nature,
they are all undemonstrable by language (_nirabhilapyas'unyata_);
(6) that there cannot be any knowledge about them except that
which is brought about by the long-standing defects of desires
which pollute all our vision; (7) that things are also non-existent
in the sense that we affirm them to be in a particular place and
time in which they are not (_itaretaras'unyata_).

There is thus only non-existence, which again is neither eternal
nor destructible, and the world is but a dream and a maya; the
two kinds of negation (_nirodha_) are akas'a (space) and nirvana;
things which are neither existent nor non-existent are only
imagined to be existent by fools.

This view apparently comes into conflict with the doctrine of
this school, that the reality is called the tathagatagarbha (the
womb of all that is merged in thatness) and all the phenomenal
appearances of the clusters (_skandhas_), elements (_dhatus_), and
fields of sense operation (_ayatanas_) only serve to veil it with
impurities, and this would bring it nearer to the assumption of a
universal soul as the reality. But the _La@nkavatara_ attempts to
explain away this conflict by suggesting that the reference to
the tathagatagarbha as the reality is only a sort of
false bait to attract those who are afraid of listening
to the nairatmya (non-soul doctrine) [Footnote ref 1].


[Footnote 1: _La@nkavatarasutra_, p. 80.


The Bodhisattvas may attain their highest by the fourfold
knowledge of (1) _svacittad@rs'hyabhavana_, (2)
(3) _bahyabhavabhavopalak@sa@nata_ and
(4) _svapratyaryyajnanadhigamabhinnalak@sa@nata_. The first means
that all things are but creations of the imagination of one's mind.
The second means that as things have no essence there is no origination,
existence or destruction. The third means that one should
know the distinctive sense in which all external things are said
either to be existent or non-existent, for their existence is merely
like the mirage which is produced by the beginningless desire
(_vasana_) of creating and perceiving the manifold. This brings us
to the fourth one, which means the right comprehension of the
nature of all things.

The four dhyanas spoken of in the _Lankavatara_ seem to be
different from those which have been described in connection with
the Theravada Buddhism. These dhyanas are called (1) _balopacarika_,
(2) _arthapravichaya_, (3) _tathatalambana_ and (4) _tathagata_.
The first one is said to be that practised by the s'ravakas
and the pratyekabuddhas. It consists in concentrating upon the
doctrine that there is no soul (_pudgalanairatmya_), and that everything
is transitory, miserable and impure. When considering all
things in this way from beginning to end the sage advances on
till all conceptual knowing ceases (_asa@mjnanirodhat_); we have
what is called the valopacarika dhyana (the meditation for beginners).

The second is the advanced state where not only there is
full consciousness that there is no self, but there is also the
comprehension that neither these nor the doctrines of other heretics
may be said to exist, and that there is none of the dharmas that
appears. This is called the _arthapravicayadhyana_, for the sage
concentrates here on the subject of thoroughly seeking out
(_pravichaya_) the nature of all things (_artha_).

The third dhyana, that in which the mind realizes that the
thought that there is no self nor that there are the appearances,
is itself the result of imagination and thus lapses into the thatness
(_tathata_). This dhyana is called _tathatalambana_, because it has for
its object tathata or thatness.

The last or the fourth dhyana is that in which the lapse of
the mind into the state of thatness is such that the nothingness
and incomprehensibility of all phenomena is perfectly realized;


and nirvana is that in which all root desires (_vasana_) manifesting
themselves in knowledge are destroyed and the mind with knowledge
and perceptions, making false creations, ceases to work. This
cannot be called death, for it will not have any rebirth and it cannot
be called destruction, for only compounded things (_sa@msk@rta_)
suffer destruction, so that it is different from either death or
destruction. This nirvana is different from that of the s'ravakas
and the pratyekabuddhas for they are satisfied to call that state
nirva@na, in which by the knowledge of the general characteristics
of all things (transitoriness and misery) they are not attached to
things and cease to make erroneous judgments [Footnote ref 1].

Thus we see that there is no cause (in the sense of ground)
of all these phenomena as other heretics maintain. When it is
said that the world is maya or illusion, what is meant to be
emphasized is this, that there is no cause, no ground. The phenomena
that seem to originate, stay, and be destroyed are mere
constructions of tainted imagination, and the tathata or thatness
is nothing but the turning away of this constructive activity or
nature of the imagination (_vikalpa_) tainted with the associations
of beginningless root desires (_vasana_) [Footnote ref 2]. The tathata has
no separate reality from illusion, but it is illusion itself when the
course of the construction of illusion has ceased. It is therefore
also spoken of as that which is cut off or detached from the mind
(_cittavimukta_), for here there is no construction of imagination
(_sarvakalpanavirahitam_) [Footnote ref 3].

Sautrantika Theory of Perception.

Dharmottara (847 A.D.), a commentator of Dharmakirtti's [Footnote ref 4]
(about 635 A.D.) _Nyayabindu_, a Sautrantika logical and epistemological
work, describes right knowledge (_samyagjnana_) as an
invariable antecedent to the accomplishment of all that a man


[Footnote 1: _Lankavatarasutra_, p. 100.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid._ p. 109.]

[Footnote 3: This account of the Vijnanavada school is collected mainly
from _Lankavatarasutra_, as no other authentic work of the Vijnanavada
school is available. Hindu accounts and criticisms of this school may be
had in such books as Kumarila's _S'loka varttika_ or S'a@nkara's bhasya,
II. ii, etc. Asak@nga's _Mahayanasutralamkara_ deals more with the duties
concerning the career of a saint (_Bodhisattva_) than with the metaphysics
of the system.]

[Footnote 4: Dharmakirtti calls himself an adherent of Vijnanavada in his
_Santanantarasiddhi_, a treatise on solipsism, but his _Nyayabindu_ seems
rightly to have been considered by the author of _Nyayabindu@tika@tippani_
(p. 19) as being written from the Sautrantika point of view.]


desires to have (_samyagjnanapurvika sarvapuru@sarthasiddhi_) [Footnote
ref 1]. When on proceeding, in accordance with the presentation of any
knowledge, we get a thing as presented by it we call it right
knowledge. Right knowledge is thus the knowledge by which one
can practically acquire the thing he wants to acquire (_arthadhigati_).
The process of knowledge, therefore, starts with the perceptual
presentation and ends with the attainment of the thing
represented by it and the fulfilment of the practical need by it
(_arthadhigamat samapta@h prama@navyaparah_). Thus there are
three moments in the perceptual acquirement of knowledge:
(1) the presentation, (2) our prompting in accordance with it,
and (3) the final realization of the object in accordance with
our endeavour following the direction of knowledge. Inference
is also to be called right knowledge, as it also serves our practical
need by representing the presence of objects in certain connections
and helping us to realize them. In perception this presentation
is direct, while in inference this is brought about indirectly
through the li@nga (reason). Knowledge is sought by men for the
realization of their ends, and the subject of knowledge is discussed
in philosophical works only because knowledge is sought
by men. Any knowledge, therefore, which will not lead us to
the realization of the object represented by it could not be called
right knowledge. All illusory perceptions, therefore, such as the
perception of a white conch-shell as yellow or dream perceptions,

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