The Perception of Yogis (yogipratyakṣa, yogijñāna)

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Project Data

Attention: This page reflects the state of 2009. It is meant for documentary purposes and will not be updated any longer.

The project deals with the concept of para- and supra-normal perception in the Buddhist epistemological tradition. This topic constitutes a hitherto neglected theme in the study of Buddhist philosophy of religion, despite its considerable importance inasmuch as para- and supra-normal perception concerns the very basis of the Buddhist religious tradition, namely, the foundational insights of the historical Buddha. In the classical period of Buddhist philosophy, these insights are classified and interpreted by the scholars of the logical-epistemological tradition as instances of yogic perception. It is this notion of yogic perception, its theoretical conceptions, the arguments for and against it, that form the broader topic of the project.

More specifically, and as a first step, my aim is to investigate the contributions of two of the most important philosophers of the epistemological tradition, that is, Dharmakīrti (7th c.) and his independently minded commentator Prajnakaragupta (9th c.), on yogic perception. Due to the specific situation regarding the transmission and state of the relevant textual materials, as well as due to the inherent difficulty of the argumentations contained in them, the study of Dharmakīrti's and Prajnakaragupta's ideas about yogic perception has to be preceded by editions and translations (relying partly on unpublished work of M. Pemwieser) of the pertinent passages in their oeuvre as it has come down to us.


As a part of this project, an international Symposium was organized in 2006. The proceedings have been published at:

Eli Franco, Dagmar Eigner, ed., 2009
Yogic Perception, Meditation and Altered States of Consciousness. (BKGA 65.) Wien: VÖAW, 2009 (order online).

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