Luminous Mind among the Logicians—An Analysis of Pramāṇavārttika II.205–211

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Luminous Mind among the Logicians—An Analysis of Pramāṇavārttika II.205–211
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Citation: Jackson, Roger R. "Luminous Mind among the Logicians—An Analysis of Pramāṇavārttika II.205–211." In Buddha Nature: A Festschrift in Honor of Minoru Kiyota, edited by Paul J. Griffiths and John P. Keenan, 95–123. Tokyo: Buddhist Books International, 1990.

Article Summary

Roger R. Jackson, in his essay "Luminous Mind Among the Logicians", treats the Indo-Tibetan commentarial discussions of the affirmation of the mind's natural luminosity (prabhāsvaratā) found in Pramāṇavārttika II.208. Such an affIrmation, as he shows, has deep roots in the Buddhist tradition, and is usually connected with tathāgatagarbha thought. That it is also affirmed by Dharmakīrti and discussed extensively by his commentators in India and Tibet shows that it is not without significance for the logicoepistemological tradition represented by Dignāga and his successors. The idea that the mind is naturally luminous or radiant and that its defIlements have only an adventitious status is of obvious relevance to Buddhist soteriology; it affirms that, in some important sense, the goal of Buddhist religious practice has already been attained or is already present. The importance of Jackson's study is that it shows the same idea to be relevant also to Buddhist epistemological theory: it is precisely the mind's natural radiance that makes apprehension of things as they really are a possibility. It is this metaphysical and epistemological fact which leads Jackson to categorize Dharmakīrti and his school as epistemological optimists. (Griffiths and Keenan, introduction to Buddha Nature, 5)