Early Indian Epistemology and Logic

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Ernst Steinkellner, 2017
Early Indian Epistemology and Logic: Fragments from Jinendrabuddhi's Pramāṇasamuccayaṭīkā 1 and 2. Tokyo: The International Institute for Buddhist Studies, 2017. (Studia Philologica Buddhica, Monograph Series XXXV, xxviii + 282 S.)
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Öster­reichi­sche Aka­demie der Wissen­schaften
Institut für Kultur- und Geistes­geschichte Asiens

This volume is a collection of the fragments and reports dealing with the validity of cognitions (prāmāṇya), perception (pratyakṣa) and inference (svārthānumāna) as found in Jinendrabuddhi’s Pramāṇasamuccayaṭīkā (8th cent. CE), his commentary on the first two chapters of Dignāga’s Pramāṇasamuccaya(vṛtti) (480–540 CE). Most of collected material can be attributed to the pre-Dignāga period of epistemological thought; it stems from various works, long lost, of the brahmanical traditions of Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, Sāṅkhya and Mīmāṃsā, as well as from Vasubandhu’s Vādavidhi. The collection provides new insight into the first post-systemic period of Indian thought, a time when these respective systematic edifices urgently needed support. This resulted in an avid search for the foundations of knowledge. Very little is as yet known about this period.

The value of Jinendrabuddhi’s commentary was already shown in the late 1950s by Erich Frauwallner, first in his 1957 article on the Vādavidhi, and in another in 1958 on the classical Sāṅkhya. Both articles were based on the Tibetan translation of Jinendrabuddhi’s work, at the time the only text available. In the interim, the original Sanskrit text has become available (chapter 1, ed. 2005, chapter 2, ed. 2012), which has enabled Frauwallner’s example to be expanded upon. Along with old Bhāṣyas on the Nyāya-, Vaiśeṣika- and Mīmāṃsāsūtras, Jinendrabuddhi adduced two Vaiśeṣikavṛttis and the Vṛtti of the Mīmāṃsaka Bhavadāsa. By far the richest material is that on the Sāṅkhya tradition. Fragments from the great systematic compendium Ṣaṣṭitantra as well as from several Vṛttis on it, including those by Vindhyavāsin and Mādhava, have shed a bright light on this tradition’s development of epistemological thought, in all probability the first of its kind in India.

The collected texts are presented systematically, each with a description of their philological arguments and a translation. In addition, they have received reference designations. As more editions are published of the remaining chapters of Jinendrabuddhi’s work, these designations should provide a basis for later such collections of fragments and reports.

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Öster­reichi­sche Aka­demie der Wissen­schaften
Institut für Kultur- und Geistes­geschichte Asiens
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