Sankaranandana's “Summary of the refutation of God”

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Attention: This page reflects the state of 2002. It is meant for documentary purposes and will not be updated any longer.

Based on the essay "Summary of the refutation of God" (Isvarapakaranasanksepa, abbr. IAS) of Sankaranandana (940/50-1020/30 in Kashmir), the development of the polemic debate between the Buddhist epistemological school and the theistic Nyaya-Vaisesika school is unfolded from its initial stages, observable in the works of Dharmakīrti (ca. 600-660). For this purpose the relevant passages from Dharmakīrti's Pramanavarttika (PV 2.8-16) and Pramanaviniscaya (PVin 3.70-75), together with the commentaries of Devendrabuddhi, Sakyabuddhi, Dharmottara and Manorathanandin, are presented in a critical edition that includes an annotated translation. With this edition (critical and facsimile) and the interpretation of the IAS, a work by Sankaranandana will be made accessible for the first time. The edition is supplemented with an incomplete anonymous commentary that deals with about half of the IAS. In an introductory study, Dharmakīrti's arguments against the existence of God, emphasized in the polemics of the following centuries, as well as relevant material from the works of Santaraksita, Kamalasila and Prajnakaragupta are discussed and explained. Another focus is the theistic tradition's rejection of Buddhist criticism. Here, the corresponding counterarguments of Sankarasvamin, Trilocana, Vacaspatimisra, Jayantabhatta, Bhasarvajna and Vittoka that determine the polemic debate are depicted, based on selected passages that are systematically presented. The study is rounded out with a philosophical-historical classification of Sankaranandana's IAS with respect to the arguments of the above-named scholars and in the light of Utpaladeva's treatise "Proof of the existence of God" (Isvarasiddhi).

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