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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Their belief that Devadatta moves is conditioned

them. The Vaibha@sika finds

himself in agreement with Vasumitra's view and holds that the difference in time depends upon the difference of the function of an entity; at the time when an entity does not actually produce its function it is future; when it produces it, it becomes present; when after having produced it, it stops, it becomes past; there is a real existence of the past and the future as much as of the present. He thinks that if the past did not exist and assert some efficiency it could not have been the object of my knowledge, and deeds done in past times could not have produced its effects in the present time. The Sautrantika however thought that the Vaibha@sika's doctrine would imply the heretical doctrine of eternal existence, for according to them the stuff remained the same and the time-difference appeared in it. The true view according to him was, that there was no difference between the efficiency of an entity, the entity and the time of its appearance. Entities appeared from non-existence, existed for a moment and again ceased to exist. He objected to the Vaibha@sika view that the past is to be regarded as existent because it exerts efficiency in bringing about the present on the ground that in that case there should be no difference between the past and the present, since both exerted efficiency. If a distinction is made between past, present and future efficiency by a second grade of efficiencies, then we should have to continue it and thus have a vicious infinite. We can know non-existent
entities as much as we can know existent ones, and hence our knowledge of the past does not imply that the past is exerting any efficiency. If a distinction is made between an efficiency and an entity, then the reason why efficiency started at any particular time and ceased at another would be inexplicable. Once you admit that there is no difference between efficiency and the entity, you at once find that there is no time at all and the efficiency, the entity and the moment are all one and the same. When we remember a thing of the past we do not know it as existing in the past, but in the same way in which we knew it when it was present. We are


never attracted to past passions as the Vaibha@sika suggests, but past passions leave residues which become the causes of new passions of the present moment [Footnote ref.1].

Again we can have a glimpse of the respective positions of the Vatsiputtriyas and the Sarvastivadins as represented by Vasubandhu if we attend to the discussion on the subject of the existence of soul in _Abhidharmakos'a_. The argument of Vasubandhu against the existence of soul is this, that though it is true that the sense organs may be regarded as a determining cause of perception, no such cause can be found which may render the inference of the existence of soul necessary. If soul actually exists, it must have an essence of its own and must be something different from the elements or entities of a personal life. Moreover, such an eternal, uncaused and unchanging being would be without any practical efficiency (_arthakriyakaritva_) which alone determines or proves existence. The soul can thus be said to have a mere nominal existence as a mere object of current usage. There is no soul, but there are only the elements of a personal life. But the Vatsiputtriya school held that just as fire could not be said to be either the same as the burning wood or as different from it, and yet it is separate from it, so the soul is an individual (_pudgala_) which has a separate existence, though we could not say that it was altogether different from the elements of a personal life or the same as these. It exists as being conditioned by the elements of personal life, but it cannot further be defined. But its existence cannot be denied, for wherever there is an activity, there must be an agent (e.g. Devadatta walks). To be conscious is likewise an action, hence the agent who is conscious must also exist. To this Vasubandhu replies that Devadatta (the name of a person) does not represent an unity. "It is only an unbroken continuity of momentary forces (flashing into existence), which simple people believe to be a unity and to which they give the name Devadatta. Their belief that Devadatta moves is conditioned, and is based on an analogy with their own experience, but their own continuity of life consists in constantly moving from one place to another. This movement, though regarded as

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