The Buddhist Theory of Self according to Acarya Candrakirti

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The Buddhist Theory of Self according to Acarya Candrakirti
Dissertation
Dissertation

Whether one approaches the Buddhist tradition from a historical, cultural, or philosophical perspective, scholarship in this area of study has largely been the province of individuals possessing some degree of proficiency in one, or a number of, various Asian languages. Obviously, the first challenge facing the scholar is simply that of determining exactly what Buddhism was and, to some extent, continues to be. However, the intellectual tradition of Western civilization has developed virtually in total isolation from this religion. Thus, the ultimate, and perhaps most difficult, challenge is that of pointing out the merits of Buddhism to a largely unfamiliar Western audience. The person who is unversed in any of the canonical languages of Buddhism only has access to Buddhist literature through the writings that are available in a Western language. And, at present, this body of writings does not provide anything like a complete and thorough representation of Buddhist literature. Consequently, in addition to those who are well-versed in Buddhist ideology, this dissertation is also intended for individuals who have little familiarity with this subject.
      More specifically, my objective has been to make a contribution to the ongoing investigations into the history of Buddhist philosophy by focussing on one Buddhist author's interpretation of a specific topic— the doctrine of anātma— and providing an analysis of it in relation to the views of several other Buddhist schools. I have attempted to demonstrate how Acarya Candrakirti's theory of self is significantly different from the generally accepted Buddhist explanation of this topic. In doing so, several relevant areas of Candrakirti's overall system are also examined. With regard to his Prasangika views on logic, I have introduced new material from the writings of Svatantrika scholars for the purpose of further clarifying the nature of the differences between these two Madhyamika schools of thought.
      Part Two consists of a translation of Candrakirti's most comprehensive discussion of his views on the self. This text was not previously available in English. In several instances my translation also corrects misinterpretations that occur in the incomplete French translation of Professor Louis de la Vallée Poussin. The text consists of a section of the sixth chapter from Acarya Candrakirti's Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya. Since the original Sanskrit is not extant, my translation is based on the Tibetan translation. For a manuscript I have used the 1912 edition prepared by Professor Poussin and published by the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences as Volume IX of the Bibliotheca Buddhica series. In preparing the English translation, Professor Poussin's French translation as well as a partial Sanskrit reconstruction by N. Aiyaswami Sastri were consulted; however the most useful aid proved to be the Tibetan translation of a 12th century Indian commentary to Candrakirti's text composed by a certain Jayānanda and entitled Madhyamakāvatāratīka. This work provides a literal explanation for almost every word of Candrakirti's text and was extremely helpful for understanding numerous obscure passages.
      Although several of the texts cited in Part One of the dissertation can be found in translations prepared by other scholars, I have presented my own version for all these quotations in order to maintain a consistency of style and terminology. The one exception occurs in the chapter on Prasangika logic, for which ample explanation is given there. (Engle, preface, iii–v)

Citation Engle, Artemus Bertine. "The Buddhist Theory of Self According to Acarya Candrakirti." PhD diss., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1983.