An appraisal of the Svaatantrika-Prasangika debates

By Nathan Katz
Philosophy East and West
Vol.26, no.3 (July 1976)
P 253-267

P.253 I. THE PROBLEM: ITS SCOPE AND OUR PROCEDURE There were myriad issues in conflict between the Prasa^ngika and Svaatantrika schools of Maadhyamaka Buddhism: philosophic, formal, and practical. It seems to us that the central focus of these interrelated problems is where the limit of speakability is to be drawn. This issue is reflected in their understanding of the relationships and levels of the relative ( and ultimate (paramaartha) truths, the validity of syllogistic (formal) reasoning, as well as the absolute or relative quality of the prasa^nga (reductio ad absurdum) methodology of refutation. Our procedure in this article shall be as follows: First we shall view Maadhyamaka scholarship in the West, demonstrating its Prasa^ngika bias, and pointing out some errors. We shall then consider the question of the two truths, comparing the systematizations of Bhaavaviveka and Candrakiirti. It is by understanding Bhaavaviveka's pivotal position here that we may address the question of the validity of his syllogistic reasoning, as well as to conjecture at his purpose behind the syllogism, which we see as an attempt at (1) salvaging the integrity of other Buddhist schools from the Maadhyamaka critique, and (2) pointing to the fundamental contradiction of and paramaartha, which is not the mere accident of illogicality. Finally we shall consider the debates held at bSam.yas. in Tibet between exponents of the Svaatantrika and Prasa^ngika positions, although the latter debator has long been erroneously thought to have been of another school. II. BACKGROUND: SCHOLARSHIP ON THE QUESTION Scholars of Maadhyamaka have not been kind to the Svaatantrikas. Edward Conze expresses utter incomprehension at the Svaatantrikas who, he claims, "have upheld the well-nigh incredible thesis that in Maadhyamika logic valid positive statements can be made."(l) Bhikshu Sangharakshita chides Bhaavaviveka for holding "...the heterodox view that realization of 'Suunyata was not indispensible for the attainment of Nirvaana"(2) which he sees as "...evidence of ennervation and the precursor of decline."(3) T. R. V. Murti more bluntly states that the Svaatantrika " against the correct standpoint of the Maadhyamika."(4) L. de la Valee Poussin erroneously claims that "...the official school of Tibet is called the Prasa^ngika."(5) Th. Stcherbatsky applauds Candrakiirti because "He succeeds in driving Bhaavaviveka's school into the shade and finally settles that form of Maadhyamika system which is now studied in all monastic schools of Tibet and Mongolia, where it is considered to represent the true philosophic basis of Mahaayaana Buddhism."(6) However, Richard H. Robinson keenly observed Nathan Katz is a Ph.D candidate, University Fellow, and teacher in the Dept. of Religion, Temple University, Philadelphia. P.254 that "...Naagaarjuna's system has not been clearly distinguished from Candrakiirti's, "(7) an observation we would second. Poussin shows greater insight when he writes of Bhaavaviveka and Dharmapaala: "These two each represent an extreme; together they indicate the Middle Way. They are in accord and not in contradiction."(8) Frederick Streng concurs: "We follow the lead of L. de la Valee Poussin...who suggests that together the Prasa^ngikas and Svaatantrikas show the `middle way', one destroying the voidness of existence and the other destroying the existence of the void."(9) Although Streng nowhere does so, it shall be the purpose of this article to indicate some of the vital contributions of Bhaavaviveka. III. HISTORY OF THE SVAATANTRIKAS Bhaavaviveka(490-570 C.E.) , or Bhavya (Tib. Legs.Idan. ' or Legs. Idan.), is credited with having founded the Svaatantrika school. His contemporary, Buddhapaalita, is considered the founder of the Prasa^ngikas. Both schools claim Maadhyamaka self-identity and refer in their writings to Naagaarjuna's works. The Prasa^ngikas derive their name from the methodology of reductio ad absurdum refutation (prasa^nga) employed by Naagaarjuna in his Muulamadhyamakakaarikaa. This methodology claims the refutation of all views (d.r.sti) without offering any view of its own. The Prasa^ngikas (and most contemporary scholars of Buddhism) claim that the utilization of the prasa^ng methodology defines one as a Prasa^ngika. The Svaatantrikas see the question differently. According to their sources, a Prasa^ngika is one who absolutizes the prasa^nga methodology. It was Buddhapaalita, say the Svaatantrikas, and not Naagaarjuna who was the first Prasa^ngika, and he was followed by Candrakiirti, 'Santideva, and others. The Svaatantrikas' name means "self-styled, or independent, argumentation." This means that although a system of argumentation (for example, the prasa^nga) may be valid on one level, it does not necessarily follow that it is valid on all levels. One must adapt his argumentation to correspond to a particular level of truth, which would seem to follow better Naagaarjuna's claim that he has no position of his own, but adopts his opponent's presuppositions and logic to point to their self-contradictory nature. Poussin sums up their initial positions as follows: Buddhapaalita founded a school, the official school of Tibet (sic), which is called the Prasa^ngika, and, one believes, is well within the lineage of the thought of Naagaarjuna. The Maadhyamika, or `man of the middle', with nothing to affirm, nothing to negate; he has neither thesis, nor argumentation, nor example. The only procedure available to him to destroy adversary doctrines, all doctrines, is the prasa^nga, reasoning ad hominem to absurdity...Thus he establishes emptiness. His position is pure criticism. Bhaavaviveka demonstrated the weakness of this methodology and replaced the prasa^nga of Buddha- P.255 paalita with fromal reasoning, a svatantraanumaana: 'From ultimate reality, perception is not self-born...' (`En verite vrai, l'oeil ne nait pas de soi...') The name Svaatantrika is given by scholars who trace themselves back to him.(10) Poussin's observation is formal: that whereas the Prasa^ngikas content themselves with the negation of all views as their modality for the cognition of 'suunyataa, the Svaatantrikas want to demonstrate 'suunyataa by positive argumentation. Yuichi Kajiyama sees the fundamental question separating the two schools more philosophically: Although yearning for the absolute truth is naturally accompanied by negation of the relative and conditioned knowledge...(a) question should in this context be reflected upon; that is, whether the system of the relative knowledge can be, so far as the phenomenal world is concerned, recognized as valid or not, though it is always delusive from the absolute point of view. This very problem seems to have been a fork which divided...the Maadhyamaka itself into the Prasa^ngika and the Svaatantrika.(11) What is in question here is the very nature of the relative ( itself, and its relation to the ultimate (paramaartha). Is the absolute to be found only in the negation of the relative, or is the stuff of the relative somehow contiguous to the absolute, allowing one to attain cognition of the absolute by means of the relative? Bhaavaviveka employs syllogism in order to state that the two truths are contiguous, as we shall see later. However the question is not, as some scholars would have us believe,(l2) of the implicit value of logic or syllogism. The question, rather, is of the continuity of and paramaartha. There were divisions within the Svaatantrika school itself. As dKon.mchob. ' writes in the'i.mtha' che' If one divides it, there are two (that is) the Yogaacaara-Svaatantrika-Maadhyamaka and the Sautraantika-Svaatantrika-Maadhyamaka among them. The Maadhyamika who maintains self-awareness (rang.rig.; Skt. svaasa.mvedana) while rejecting the external object, has the character of the first, namely AAcaarya 'Saantirak'sita...The Maadhyamika who rejects self-awareness but admits the external object established through its particular (svalak.sana) has the latter characteristic, namely AAcaarya Bhaavaviveka. This is a further explanation of terms: As far as the most basic points are concerned, by reasoning of maintaining agreement with the Vijnnaanavaadin, is called a Yogacaara-Maadhyamika. By reasoning of maintaining the external object as an aggregate of atoms, in the manner of the Sautraantikas, he is called a Sautraantikacara-Maadhyamika.(13) The differences between the two subschools of the Svaatantrika are not signiticant for the purposes of our discussion. On fasc. 26a of the same work, we find the conclusion that they differ only with regard to the status of self-awareness (rang.rig.) and of external objects. Both of these categories apply to the level of only, and both maintain the ultimate unspeakableness of paramaartha, and the role of logic and syllogism in general. As Poussin rightly notes, "...the P.256 distinction is not carried to the conception of ultimate truth, but to their theories of relative truth."(14) 'Saantirak.sita, the founder of the Yogaacaara-Svaatantrika-Maadhyamaka school, lived from 705-762 C.E. and played a great role in the establishment of Buddhism in Tibet. He was one of the first Indian aacaaryas to teach there, and it was at his suggestion that Guru Padmasambhaava was invited to Tibet. His disciple, Kamala'siila (713-793), represented the Indian (Svaatantrika) position in the great debate of bSam.yas. (792-794), which shall be discussed in detail later, and established the svaatantrika norm for Maadhyamaka philosophy among the early lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. IV. THE TWO TRUTHS The question of the relationship between the two levels of truth, and paramaartha, is of utmost importance in understanding Maadhyamaka philosophy in general and the Svaatantrika-Prasa^ngika debates in particular. Two key verses of Naagaarjuna underscore the vitality of the question: ye 'nayorna vijaananti vibhaaga.m satyayordvayo.h/ te tattva.m na vijaananti gambhiira.m buddha'saasane// Those who do not know the distinction between the two truths cannot understand the profound nature of the Buddha's teaching. vyavahaaramanaa'sritya paramaartha na de'syate/ paramaarthamanaagamya naadhigamyate// Without relying on everyday common practices (that is, relative truths), the absolute truth cannot be expressed. Without approaching the absolute truth, cannot be attained.(15) The point which we wish to make in citing these two verses is that apparently the Prasa^ngika school concentrates on the former, while the Svaantantrika school relies more heavily on the latter. For the Prasa^ngikas, paramaartha is utterly beyond constructed thought; they "...stress the contradictions between absolute reality and the human attitude of understanding, which constitutes the ground of logic."(16) Because of this assumption, they claim that paramaartha is the absolute negation of (`Absolute negation' means negation without counter thesis, or, the negation of A does not imply B. 'Relative negation', on the other hand, means negation from a position, that not A implies B.) The Svaatantrikas, on the other hand, follow more closely verse 10 above, the charge that paramaartha cannot be expressed without samv.rtti. Due to their understanding of the contiguity of the relationship between paramaartha and, the Svaatantrikas seek to establish paramaartha not only by the negation of samv.rtti, as do the Prasa^ngikas, but also by positive argumentation of the syllogistic form. As Herbert V. Guenther observes: "What the MaadhyamikaSvaatantrikas wanted to emphasize was that all human experience, inasmuch as it is experience and not mere propositions or the like, is an insight into P.257 reality, an awareness of coherence which is not its own authentication of reality, but reality itself."(17) This validity of all human experience of which Guenther speaks is a way of expressing the contiguity of paramaartha and samv.rtti, a way of reminding us that paramaartha is not something above and beyond our experience, but a way of experiencing reality directly (yathaabhutadar'sana), insofar as it is not 'mere proposition' (d.r.sti). Kajiyama offers a helpful, though somewhat misleading, analysis of the problem. He writes that " of the most important subjects of the Maadhyamaka if the absolute is immanent in the phenomenal world or transcends it, in other words, if the two worlds are absolutely disparate or can have any kind of logical connection."(18) We do not believe that any good Maadhyamika would care to speculate about any immanence or transcendence of worlds, but the point to be discussed is whether paramaartha is transcendent to or expressible in logico-linguistic construction; and if so, to what extent. Both Bhaavaviveka and Candrakiirti agree that the highest truth is beyond speech.(19) But Bhaavaviveka adds the most interesting category in his systematization (vibhaaga) of the two truths: he divides paramaartha into aparyaaya (that paramaartha which could not be inferred) and paryaaya (that paramaartha which could be inferred), the former having a higher position than the latter.(20) This is done to express the contiguity of the two truths; it gives "...a kind of logicality to the relation of the absoluteness and the ground of our delusion."(21) Some scholars see this systematization as a concession to the Vij~naanavaadins, leading them to label the Svaatantrika movement as, unhappily, `synchronistic.'(22) But whereas the Vij~naanavaadins are speaking of a metaphysical immanence, Bhaavaviveka is merely trying to call to our attention the value of the teachings of Buddhism for our spiritual development, and is not formulating yet another d.r.sti. Shotaro Iida makes this point quite clearly: Bhaavaviveka grades ultimate reality into two kinds, i.e., supremundane-ultimate-reality and mundane-ultimate-reality. The former has no attributes (nirlak.sana) and is inexpressible. However, the words and deeds of the aarya, who had some experience of paramaartha, differ from those of the: worldlings. This is the meaning of `p.r.stha-labdha' (=paryaaya-paramaartha). In other words, the words and deeds of the aarya based on ultimate reality should be pure and true knowledge of the world (thathya-samvrtti-jnnaana).(23) Despite Iida's unfortunate translation of paryaaya-paramaartha as `mundane-ultimate-reality', his point is well taken. Even Murti, who exhibits a strong bias for the Prasa^ngika as the only true representative of Naagaarjuna's teachings, agrees that Bhaavaviveka was trying to rescue Buddha's words from the relentless negation of the Prasa^ngikas: "In his Madhyamakaartha Sa^ngraha, he accords to the Absolute of Hiinayaana and heretical systems the status of paryaaya paramaartha. This makes him out as a liberal-minded Maadhyamika unlike Candrakiirti."(24) P.258 We feel that this attempt by Bhaavaviveka is a well-taken one. Certainly there is a difference, as Iida suggests, between the words of the sage and the words of the common man. Whereas the latter may be said to be d.r.sti, or mere construction, the latter have aided devotees in liberation. If such is the case, of what need is their negation? Would it not somehow be more true to speak about sarvadharma'suunyataa than to make ontic-ontological claims about the existence of dharmas? The difference is that of karma (bondage-producing activity) and Buddhakarma (spontaneous openness). Bhaavaviveka's criterion for differentiating between the two types of words, or paryaaya-paramaartha and samv.rtti, is simply causal efficacy (kriyaa-kaara-saamarthya) .(25) When Candrakiirti goes so far as to claim that only Maadhyamikas could attain nirva.naa, his position smacks of dogmatism rather than dialectic.(26) Bhaavaviveka, on the other hand, wants to affirm logically the veneration due to the aarya of another school. As dKon.mchog.' writes: "When the 'sravaka and the pratyekabuddha are arhats, they integrate (themselves) by entering the path of the Mahaayaana, because they (=a school) maintain the culmination in the one ultimate vehicle (conducive to enlightenment) ."(27) For the Svaatantrikas, then, the idea of ekayaana means that is possible regardless of school or formulations; for the Prasa^ngikas, this high ideal is reduced to the dogmatic insistence upon the realization of 'suunyataa as the absolutely necessary condition for the attainment of The Prasa^ngikas got into trouble because of the thoroughgoingness of their negation. Although the Svaatantrikas would agree with them that in the long run negation must become absolute (that is, without offering a counter thesis) , as Bhaavaviveka's aparyaaya-paramaartha-satya and Candrakiirti's paramaarthasatya are both beyond any specification, Bhaavaviveka's category of paryaayaparamaartha rescues him from the charges of nihilism, which the critics of Maadhyamaka launch. The problem for the Prasa^ngikas (who, by definition of the Svaatantrikas, are those who absolutize the prasa^nga methodology) is that consistent application of the prasa^nga to leads to the denial of If, as Naagaarjuna tells us in MMK, XXIV, 10, is our only way of expressing paramaartha, then are we not left at a loss in which we must negate even paramaartha? Although the Prasa^ngika would respond that we are negating CANDRAKIIRTI'S SYSTEMATIZATION SATYA | |-------------------------------------| Paramaartha (unspeakable | absolute truth) |---------------------| (real empirical (unreal empirical truth) truth) from Maadhyamakaavataara P.259 BHAAVAVIVEKA'S SYSTEMATIZATION SATYA | |-------------------------------------| Paramaartha |------------------| |--------------| Paryaaya- Aparyaaya- Mithyaa- Tathya- paramaartha paramaartha (speakable (unspeakable | ultimate truth) ultimate truth) |----------| | Sakalpa- Akalpa- |-------------------| mithyaa- mithyaa- Jatiparyaaya- Janmarodha- samv.rtti samv.rtti vastu-paramaartha paramaartha from Maadhyamaarthasa^ngraha only views (d.r.sti) and remaining nobly silent about reality, are we still not in the dilemma of having no way of teaching? This type of debate was carried on between Naagaarjuna and Harivarman, the founder of the Satyasiddhi school, who agreed that concepts cannot adequately express reality but who taught that is cessation. C. D. C. Priestley recapitulates: Harivarman evidently thinks that the prasa^nga of the nihilist [sic] leads him to a denial of conventional truth; and as Harivarman and Naagaarjuna both realize, conventional truth cannot consistently be denied, since the denial itself must have at least conventional existence. The prasa^nga, then, seems to be too wholesale in its effect: although it certainly can put an end to the depredations of heterodoxy, it is liable to devour also the domestic concepts of Buddhism which it was meant to protect. Naagaarjuna is of course not unaware of this danger; his Vigrahavyaavartanii contains a detailed reply to what is essentially Harivarman's objection. But even if Harivarman had seen and accepted Naagaarjuna's defense, he would still have been obliged to reject the prasa^nga. For in trying to maintain simultaneously the reality of cessation and the reality of non-existence, he involves himself; as we have seen, in precisely the kind of inconsistencies that the prasa^nga is designed to expose.(29) It was for Bhaavaviveka to come and rescue the Maadhyamaka from the dead end of overzealously applied negation, to logico-linguistically detranscendentalize paramaartha into the realm of the speakable. His methodology of doing so was syllogistic argumentation, which he largely adopted from Dignaaga with some important revisions. V. SYLLOGISM According to Dignaaga, syllogism is inference for others. It is not a source of knowledge in the classic sense of perception (as distinct from recognition) and inference. As Th. Stcherbatsky recounts: "When an inference is communi- P.260 cated to another person, it then is repeated in his head, and only in this metaphorical sense can it be called an inference. Syllogism is the cause which produces an inference in the mind of the hearer. Its definition is, therefore, the following one--'A syllogism consists in communicating the Three Aspects of the Logical Mark to others'."(30) The Three Aspects are: minor premise (pak.sadharmatva); major premise (anvaya); and the counterposition of the major premise.(31) Or, as expressed by Dharmottara: Communicating the three aspects of the logical mark, that is, (the logical mark appears here also in) three aspects which are called (respectively) direct concomitance (or major premise expressed positively) [anvaya], its contraposition (or the same premise expressed negatively) [vyatireka], and (the minor premise of) the fact of the presence of that mark in the subject (of the inference, that is, the fact that the subject of the inference is characterized by the logical mark) []."(32) Karl Potter expresses the syllogistic paradigm thus: Hypothesis. That mountain (is) fire-possessing ( Reason: (Because) that mountain (is) smoke-possessing (hetu) Examples: (a) (as in) kitchen ( (b) (unlike) lake ( The variant syllogistic formulations and controversies between the Buddhists and Naiyaayikas have been fully treated by Stcherbatsky,(34) so we will confine our discussion to the adaptations made by Bhaavaviveka from this standard form offered by Potter. A. K. Warder states Bhaavaviveka's syllogism as follows: Ultimately (at the level of ultimate truth) the synthesized phenomena are empty (of any own-nature), because of their conditioned origination (middle term), as things illusorily created (example: that is, works of art, paintings, clay models and the like do not have the real nature of the things they represent--women, elephants and so on). At the concealing level, on the other hand, the phenomena commonly accepted may be admitted. We do not contradict the experience of the world but say that ultimately the phenomena of the experience are not real.(35) Iida represents the argument as follows: Hypothesis:Earth, etc. (is) not own-being-possessing ( from the standpoint of ultimate reality Reason: (Because) earth, etc. (is) (hetu) (a) manufacture-possessing (b) cause-possessing Example: (like) knowledge. ( We at once notice some striking departures from Potter's formulation. In the first place, we note the accretion of "from the standpoint of ultimate reality" P.261 to the hypothesis, as we find in all of his syllogisms. This is because, as Kajiyama writes, "His logic is logic of paramaartha, which criticizes the ground of logic of the practical world, viz., the laws of identity, contradiction, excluded middle, causality, etc., and the criticism has been done through the peculiarities of his syllogistic form."(37) Unlike the Prasa^ngikas who criticize from the internal inconsistency of the opponent's argument, Bhaavaviveka criticizes by offering his own hypothesis from the standpoint of ultimate reality. Kajiyama claims that the Prasa^ngikas miss the essence of the contradiction when they restrict themselves to internal criticism; that the real contradiction lies in the relationship of to paramaartha, and that this is the true meaning of absolute negation. He writes: When we argue the transcendental contradiction arises not from logic itself, but from the disparity between absoluteness and the ground of logic. The transcendentality of the paramaartha is nothing but the contradictory relation of the paramaartha and the samv.rtti. If this is granted, cannot we speak of the absolute reality through the logic of contradictions? The contradiction is not merely illogicality but the unique method which can reduce to the absolute reality our world, which is the human logicalization of the Absolute. Naagaarjuna and the Prasa^ngikas can be accused for their negating logicality without strictly showing the real contradiction. It is not efficient to condemn logic merely standing on transcendence of the paramaartha. For Bhaavaviveka to use the logic of contradiction in the place where samv.rtti and the paramaartha meet together is methodological completion of the absolute negation of the Maadhyamaka philosophy. Bhaavaviveka did not wildly fit in logical tendency of the age, but he did, observing the traditional method, the same exertion in the Maadhyamaka theory as Dignaaga did in the Vijnnaanavaada.(38) We quote this passage with the reservation that paramaartha is understood as logico-linguistically transcendental to in the Parasa^ngika school. The fundamental contradiction of which Kajiyama speaks is not mere illogicality on the part of the opponent but must be absolute negation, in the sense of our modality of being in the world. Thus Bhaavaviveka seeks to restore teachings of other Buddhist schools as paryaaya-paramaartha, the meeting point of paramaartha and, and his only method of establishing the fundamental (absolute) contradiction is by means of his syllogism. We also notice in comparing Bhaavaviveka's formulation of the syllogism with Potter's standard form that Bhaavaviveka has a negative hypothesis. Since Bhaavaviveka has unearthed the fundamental contradiction, any negation which begins on the level of must proceed to the level of paramaartha. For the same reason, his syllogism lacks the (negative example) component: his negation is absolute, and, therefore, he cannot offer a contradictory example. Although, following Potter's formulation, we can offer the negative example of the lake which is not fire-possessing, we cannot offer any for Bhaavaviveka's transcendental syllogism, which is not not-own-being-possessing without invalidating the entire syllogism. After all, the syllogism must conform to experience, and because Bhaavaviveka begins with a negative hypothesis P.262 from the standpoint of ultimate reality which he intends to demonstrate, employing in this case would be absurdity. In conclusion of this discussion of Bhaavaviveka's syllogism, we may say that his category of paryaaya-paramaartha served two purposes: (1) it rescued early Buddhist teachings from the counterproductive negation, which in an important sense is inconsistent; and (2) it pointed to the fundamental contradiction of paramaartha and samv.rtti, which is not the accident of illogicality (as with the Prasa^ngikas) , but logically demonstrates the emptiness of d.r.sti inductively. In this specific sense, it may be said, as so many scholars have, that Bhaavaviveka sought to `prove' 'suunyataa logically. VI. CONFRONTATION AT BSAM. YAS The great debates held at the monastery of bSam.yas. (792-794 C.E.) between representatives of the Indian and Chinese Buddhist traditions are well-known to scholars as shaping the form that Buddhism was to take in Tibet. We intend to demonstrate that these debates were held between representatives of the Svaatantrika and Prasa^ngika schools, the former the Indian aacaarya, and the latter, the Chinese. After demonstrating this by consulting Tibetan historical records, we shall review some of the issues at point, showing the practical application of Bhaavaviveka's principles. A word about the continuity between the Svaatantrikas and the Tantrikas will also be added. Most scholars assume that the Chinese debater was of the Ch'an (Zen) school, probably due to the popularity of that sect in some regions of China during the eighth century. The bSam.yas. debates did take place about one hundred years after the death of Hui-neng, during the rise of his Southern School of Ch'an.(39) This historical coincidence has misled such scholars as Warder into saying: In due course he (Kamala'siila) was invited to Tibet, whose Buddhists had become divided, in fact because simultaneously with the missions of Indian Buddhists there the Chinese Buddhists of the Dhyaana (Ch'an, Zen) school were spreading their own version of the Buddhist teaching.(40) and caused Robinson to remark: A Chinese Ch'an master named Mahaayaana came to the court and made many converts. A debate was held before the king in 794 or thereabouts, in which 'Saantarak.sita's school vigorously attacked the Ch'an faction and succeeded in getting the king to banish the Chinese. Despite continual intercourse with the Chinese, Tibetan Buddhism has ever since been based on that of India.(41) Both Robinson and Warder are wrong, probably due to their lack of familiarity with Tibetan historical materials. The contestants in the debate were Kamala'siila, disciple of 'Saantirak.sita, the founder of the Yogaacaara-SvaatantrikaMadhyamaka, and an anonymous representative of the "Chinese Fa-shang Mahaayaana" school.(42) "Fa-shang" is the Taoist term for monk, literally "home- P.263 leaver"; "Mahaayaana" is not the name of the debater, but a designation of his general philosophic stance. Bu.ston. is no more specific about this individual than that. However if we see what else Bu.ston. has to say about this "Chinese Fa-shang Mahaayaana" school, we might be able to deduce their identity. All he says about their beliefs is that "These favored nihilistic views and did not exert themselves in the practice of virtue."(43) We also know that their numbers had been increasing among the Tibetan court. It is rather unlikely that a Tibetan chronicler would refer to the Ch'an school as nihilistic; this epithet had generally been reserved in Buddhist literature as a perjorative against the Maadhyamaka. In fact, this charge was often levelled against the Maadhyamaka by the Sarvaastivaadins, who had long before this time established themselves in Central Asia and had been exerting influence in Tibet. However, since 'Saantirak.sita and Kamala'siila were also Maadhyamikas, and Bu.ston.'s text is unreservedly laudatory of them, it is logical that this term would only be used against their Maadhyamaka rivals, the Prasa^ngikas. Fortunately, Bu.ston. gives us more information than this. We also tells us that the "Chinese Fa-shang Mahaayaana" were specialists in two texts: the ('Satasahasrikasuutra) and the`i. `khor.lo (Dhyaana-svapna-cakra).(44) While we have found no reference to this second text elsewhere in Tibetan annals (possibly it was composed by the Chinese themselves), the former praj~naapaaramitaa work is repeatedly attributed to Naagaarjuna himself, (45) making it a Maadhyamaka text. Thus the primary texts of the "Chinese Fa-shang Mahaayaana" were Maadhyamaka, leading us to conclude that the debater himself was a Maadhyamika. It is quite clear that the Chinese version of Maadhyamaka was Prasa^ngika and not Svaatantrika. The founder of this Chinese school, which they called San-lun (The Three Treatise School), was Kumarajivaa (344-413 C.E.), who lived a century before the formulation of the Svaatantrika by Bhaavaviveka. Their beliefs are described by Junjiro Takakusu thus: "The truth can be attained only by negation or refutation of wrong views within and without Buddhism and of errors of both the Great and Small Vehicles.... Refutation--and refutation only--can lead to ultimate truth."(46) and by Wing-Tsit Chan thus: To this school, refutation of all erroneous views is essential for and indeed identical with the elucidation of right views. But when a right view is held in place of a wrong one, the right view itself becomes one-sided and has to be refuted. It is only through this dialectic process that Emptiness can be arrived at, which alone is free from names and character and is `inexplicable in speech and unrealizable in thought'. The specific method in this dialectic process is Naagaarjuna's Middle Path of Eightfold Negations....(47) Quite obviously these are clearly Prasa^ngika positions and not Svaatantrika, as it is a central theme of Bhaavaviveka that one call establish paramaartha by P.264 positive argumentation since the fundamental contradiction is not the accident of illogicality, but the relation of paramaartha to samv.rtti. For these reasons we conclude that Kamala'siila's opponent at bSam.yas. was a Prasa^ngika. The issues in conflict between Kamala'siila and this anonymous Chinese Prasa^ngika were fundamentally two: the negativistic attitude of the Prasa^ngika and his insistence upon a sudden, rather than a gradual, path to enlightenment. Kamala'siila skillfully argued that the negation of must, consistently speaking, lead to a negation of paramaartha, or a nihilism of sorts. Offering a counterposition, he claimed that one realizes the nonsubstantiality of dharmas (sarvadharma'suunyata) by positive application of logic and intellect. This encounter is recorded by Bu.ston. as follows: Then the Fa-shang spoke: If one commits virtuous or sinful deeds, one comes to blissful or to evil births (respectively). In such a way the deliverance from sa.msaara is impossible, and there will always be impediments to the attainment of Buddhahood. (The virtuous and sinful deeds) are just like white and black clouds which alike obscure the sky. But he who has no thoughts and inclinations at all can be fully delivered from phenomenal life. The absence of any thought, search, or investigation brings about the non-perception (; anupalambha) of the reality of separate entities. In such a manner one can attain Buddhahood at once, like a Bodhisattva who has attained the tenth stage. To this Kamalasiila himself answered as follows: Thou sayest that one ought not to think about anything whatsoever. But this means the negation (or rejection) of highest analytic wisdom (shes.rab.; prajnnaa) likewise. Now as the latter represents the foundation of the divine wisdom of a saint, the rejection of it necessarily leads to the negation of this sublime transcendental wisdom. If analytic wisdom is absent, what meditator can come to abide in a state where there is no constructive thought? If one has no thought concerning any of the elements of existence (chos.; dharmas) and does not direct the mind upon them, this does not mean that one can cease to remember all that one has experienced and to think of it. If I think: `I must not recall in my mind any element of existence', such a thought will itself be an intense recollection and activity of the mind. If the mere absence of (consciousness and) recollection is regarded as sufficient, it follows that in a swoon or at the time of intoxication one comes to the state where there is no constructive thought. Now, (in reality) without correct analysis there is no means of attaining the liberation from constructive thought. If we merely cease to reflect and have no discrimination, how can we come to the cognition of the non-substantiality, it is impossible to remove the obscurations. Therefore, the incorrect representation can be cast away only by means of the correct analytic wisdom. For this reason, it is not proper to say that one does not reflect, when in reality it is the reverse. Without recollection and correct activity of the mind, how can one come to remember the place of former residence and attain omniscience? But the yogin who reflects over an object of correct analytic wisdom, cognizes all the external and internal elements in the present, past, and future as non-substantial, has all thought-constructions pacified within him, and rejects all evil doctrines. On this foundation he becomes skillful in expedience and is the manifestation of highest wisdom.(48) Kamala'siila is presenting here, couched in terms related to religious practices, many of the same ideas which Bhaavaviveka presented three centuries earlier. His is affirming paryaaya-paramaartha against the Prasa^ngika negation. He asks us to arrive at the cognition of the nonsubstantiality of dharmas by means of P.265 discrimination, much as Bhaavaviveka arrives at paramaartha syllogistically, rather than by casting away logic, which is the negation of by means of unearthing internal inconsistency (prasa^nga methodology). He likens his opponent's negation to a swoon or intoxication and relies upon analysis based on offering countertheses. He also points to the fundamental contradiction rather than being satisfied with the accidental contradiction of the illogicality of the opponent: "...the incorrect representation can be cast away only by means of correct analytic wisdom. For this reason, it is not proper to say that one does not reflect, when in reality it is the reverse."(49) VII. A WORD ON THE CONTINUITY FROM SVAATANTRIKA TO TANTRA The effects of this debate on the shape of Buddhism in Tibet were more profound than many imagine. 'Saantirak.sita, who instructed Kamala'siila for this debate, also recommended to the king that Guru Padmasambhaava from UU.rgyen. (Uddayaana; Swat Valley) be invited to Tibet. Padmasambhaava, of course, was the great Tantric master who was largely responsible for the popularization of Buddhism in Tibet and was held in special reverence by the oldest of the four Tibetan lineages (the We offer that the link between the Svaatantrikas and the Tantrikas is more than historical. One of the fundamental principles of the tantras is that one should use the means of sa^msaara for the attainment of We are reminded here of Bhaavaviveka's contention that we can use the language of the relative to denote the ultimate, following from MMK, XXIV, 10. It seems that the Prasa^ngikas could not allow for this, contenting themselves with demonstrating that paramaartha is beyond all logico-linguistic construction. Thus a Tantrika saying that we can use the means of sa^msaara to attain is but a jump from Bhaavaviveka saying that we can use the language of to express paramaartha. NOTES 1. Buddhist Thought in India (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1967), p. 239. 2. A Survey of Buddhism (Bangalore: Indian Institute of World Culture, 1966), p.346. 3. A Survey of Buddhism, p.348. 4. The Central Philosophy of Buddhism (London: George Allen & Unwin,1960), p. 132n. 5. "Bhaavaviveka, "(Brussels: Melanges Chinois et Bouddhiques, 2, July, 1933, pp. 60-69). p.66. My translation. This error is understandable, since the dominant lineage accepts the Prasa^ngika standpoint. However, at the time of these debates, this school was not in existence. The earlier lineages were, and still are, inclined toward the Svaatantrikas. 6. The Buddhist Conception of Nirvana(Varanasi: Bharatiya Vidya Prakashan, 1968) , p.67. Stcherbatsky's error here needs no further comment. 7. "Some Logical Aspects of Naagaarjuna's System," Philosophy East and West(5, no.4,January, 1957, pp. 291-308), p. 292. 8. Poussin, "Bhaavaviveka," p.65. 9. Emptiness: a Study in Religious Meaning (Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon, 1967), p. 36n. 10. Poussin, "Bhaavaviveka," p. 66. P.266 11. "Bhaavaviveka and the Prasa^ngika School, " (Nava-Nalanda-Mahavihara Research Publication, vol. 1, n.d.), p. 291. 12. dKon.mchod.','i.mtha.' S. Iida, "An Introduction to Svaatantrika-Maadhyamika," Ph.D.diss., University of Wisconsin, 1968), fasc. 22b-23a: /rnal.''i. /'i.dbu. /phya.don.gas.mi.len.zhing. /'i'i.mtshan.nyin.'tzho.bu./... rang.rig.khas.mi.len.zhing. /'i.mtshan.nyid./ mtshan.gzhi. ni./slob.dpon.leg.Idan.`byed.lta.bya./'i.rnam.bzhang.sems.'byor.'' // Vide also Khai.dub.,Stong.thun.bskal.bzang.mig. 'byed., Tsang ed., fasc. 37a sq. 14. Poussin, "Bhaavaviveka," p.67. 15. Naagaarjuna, Muulamadhyamakakaarikaa, trans. K. K. Inada, (Tokyo: Hokuseido, 1970), XXIV, 9-10. 16. Kajiyama, "Bhaavaviveka and the Prasa^ngika School," p.299. 17. Buddhist Philosophy in Theory and Practice (Baltimore, Md.: Penguin Books, 1971), p.125. 18. Kajiyama, "Bhaavaviveka and the Prasa^ngika School," p.306. 19. Vide Bhaavaviveka, Maadhyamaarthasa^ngraha, and confer Candrakiirti, Maadhyamakaavat a. 20. See charts, p. 259. 21. Kajiyama, "Bhaavaviveka and the Prasa^ngika School," p.300. 22. See A. K. Warder, Indian Buddhism (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1970), pp. 474 sq., and Sangharakshita, A Survey, of Buddhism, p. 347. 23. S. Iida, "An Introduction to Svaatantrika- Maadhyamaka," Ph.D.dissertation University of Wisconsin, 1968, p.244, fn. 16. 24. Murti, The Central Philosophy of Buddhism, p.98. 25. See Iida. "An Introduction." p. 257. 26. Candrakiirti, Maadhyamikakaarika-V.rtii, pp. 351-3: tad ayam aacaa yo yathaivamvidhe vi.saye naacaarya-mataanuvarti tathaa pratiipaadita^m Madhyamakaavataare `duura^ngamaayaa^m tu dhiyaadhika ityatreti na punas tad yatha aasthiiyate. Quoted in Murti, The Central Philosophy of Buddhism, p. 96, n. 3. 27. dKon.mchog.`, op cit., fasc. 25a: theg.cen(sic, schould read chen.) lam.du.`jug.pas.khyab.ste. /''i. phyir.// 28. See Murti, The Central Philosophy of Buddhism, p.96. 29. "Emptiness in the `Satyasiddhi'," Journal of Indian Philosophy (vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 30-37), pp. 36--37. 30. Buddhist Logic (Leningrad: Biblioteca Buddhica, 1932). 1, p.275. 31. Buddhist Logic, 2, p.109). 32. Nyaaya-Bindu, 41.3, in Buddhist Logic, 2 pp. 109-110 33. Iida, "An Introduction," p. 246, n. 26. 34. Buddhist Logic, 1, 275-319; 2, 109-253. 35. Warder, Indian Buddhism, p. 475. From Bhaavaviveka's Karalaratna. 36. Following Iida, "An Introduction," p. 246n. 37. Kajiyama, "Bhaavaviveka and the Prasa^ngika School," p.305. 38. Kajiyama, "Bhaavaviveka and the Prasa^ngika School," p.300. 39. See Kenneth Ch'en, Buddhism in China (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1964), pp. 355-357. 40. Warder, Indian Buddhism, p. 477. 41. R. H. Robinson, The Buddhist Religion (Belmont, Calif.: Dickenson, 1970), p. 110. 42. Bu.ston., Chos.`byung. (trans. E. Obermiller [Heidelberg: Materialien zur Kunde des Buddhismus, 1931]), fasc. 142a. 43. Bu.ston., Chos.`byung., fasc. 142a. 44. Bu.ston., Chos.`byung., fasc. 142b. 45. See Bu.ston., Chos.`byung., fasc. 22a, fasc. 11a, and fasc. 131a.