free ebooks

A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

From these proceed the vijnana and the four skandhas

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_.]

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us