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INDIAN BUDDHIST THEORIES OF PERSONS
In this book, Vasubandhus classic work Refutation of the Theory of aSelf is translated and provided with an introduction and commentary. Thetranslation, the first into a modern Western language from the Sanskrittext, is intended for use by those who wish to begin a careful philo-sophical study of Indian Buddhist theories of persons. Special features of the introduction and commentary are their extensive explanations of the arguments for the theories of persons of Vasubandhu and thePudgalavdins, the Buddhist philosophers whose theory is the central targetof Vasubandhus refutation of the theory of a self.
James Duerlinger has taught in the Philosophy Department at the Univer-sity of Iowa since 1971. He has published on topics in Greek philosophy,philosophy of religion, and Buddhist philosophy, which are also his currentteaching and research interests.
R U N N I N G H E A D
RoutledgeCurzon Critical Studies in BuddhismGeneral Editors:
Charles S. Prebish and Damien Keown
RoutledgeCurzon Critical Studies in Buddhism is a comprehensive study of theBuddhist tradition. The series explores this complex and extensive tradition froma variety of perspectives, using a range of different methodologies.
The Series is diverse in its focus, including historical studies, textual translationsand commentaries, sociological investigations, bibliographic studies, and consider-ations of religious practice as an expression of Buddhisms integral religiosity. Italso presents materials on modern intellectual historical studies, including the roleof Buddhist thought and scholarship in a contemporary, critical context and in thelight of current social issues. The series is expansive and imaginative in scope, span-ning more than two and a half millennia of Buddhist history. It is receptive to allresearch works that inform and advance our knowledge and understanding of theBuddhist tradition.
THE REFLEXIVE NATURE OF AWARENESS
BUDDHISM AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Edited by Damien Keown, Charles Prebish and Wayne Husted
ALTRUISM AND REALITYPaul Williams
WOMEN IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE BUDDHA
Kathryn R. Blackstone
THE RESONANCE OF EMPTINESS
IMAGING WISDOMJacob N. Kinnard
AMERICAN BUDDHISMEdited by Duncan Ryuken Williams
and Christopher Queen
PAIN AND ITS ENDINGCarol S. Anderson
THE SOUND OF LIBERATINGTRUTH
Edited by Sallie B. King and Paul O. Ingram
BUDDHIST THEOLOGYEdited by Roger R. Jackson and
John J. Makransky
EMPTINESS APPRAISEDDavid F. Burton
THE GLORIOUS DEEDS OF PURNAJoel Tatelman
Edited by Damien Keown
INNOVATIVE BUDDHIST WOMENEdited by Karma Lekshe Tsomo
TEACHING BUDDHISM IN THE WEST
Edited by V. S. Hori, R. P. Hayes and J. M. Shields
EMPTY VISIONDavid L. McMahan
SELF, REALITY AND REASON INTIBETAN PHILOSOPHY
BUDDHIST PHENOMENOLOGYDan Lusthaus
ZEN WAR STORIESBrian Victoria
IN DEFENSE OF DHARMATessa J. Bartholomeusz
RELIGIOUS MOTIVATION AND THE ORIGINS OF BUDDHISM
DEVELOPMENTS IN AUSTRALIAN BUDDHISM
THE BUDDHIST UNCONSCIOUSWilliam S. Waldron
ACTION DHARMAEdited by Christopher Queen,
Charles Prebish and Damien Keown
INDIAN BUDDHIST THEORIES OF PERSONS
INDIAN BUDDHISTTHEORIES OF
Vasubandhus Refutation of the Theory of a Self
First published 2003by RoutledgeCurzon
11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE
Simultaneously published in the USA and Canadaby RoutledgeCurzon
29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001
RoutledgeCurzon is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group
2003 James Duerlinger
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted orreproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic,
mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any
information storage or retrieval system, without permission inwriting from the publishers.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication DataA catalogue record for this book is available
from the British Library
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication DataDuerlinger, James.
Indian Buddhist theories of persons/James Duerlinger.p. cm. (RoutledgeCurzon critical studies in Buddhism)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
3. Man (Buddhism) I. Title. II. SeriesBQ2682.E5D84 2003
1. Vasubandhu. Abhidharmakoabhya. atmavadapratioeda.2. Anatman.
This edition published in the Taylor and Francis e-Library, 2005.
To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledgescollection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk.
ISBN 0-203-60764-3 Master e-book ISBN
ISBN 0-203-34205-4 (Adobe eReader Format)
Preface viiAcknowledgments xi
1 Introduction to the Translation 1
2 Translation of Vasubandhus Refutation of the Theory of a Self 71
Section 1: Vasubandhus theory of persons 71
Section 2: Vasubandhus objections to the Pudgalavdins theory of persons 73
Section 3: Vasubandhus replies to the objections of the Pudgalavdins 86
Section 4: Vasubandhus replies to the objections of theTrthikas and objections to their arguments 96
Section 5: Concluding verses 111
3 Commentary on Section 1: Vasubandhus theory of persons 122
4 Commentary on Section 2: Vasubandhus objections to the Pudgalavdins theory of persons 131
5 Commentary on Section 3: Vasubandhus replies to objections by the Pudgalavdins 206
6 Commentary on Section 4: Vasubandhus replies to the objections of the Trthikas 238
Bibliography 299Index 303
C O N T E N T S
The Refutation of the Theory of a Self is an Indian treatise (fourth orfifth century CE) on the selflessness of persons that was composed by aBuddhist philosopher known as Vasubandhu. The Refutation, as I willcall it, is basically an attempt to refute the view that persons are selves. In this book I offer a Translation of the Refutation, along with anIntroduction and Commentary, for the use of readers who wish to begindetailed research on Indian Buddhist theories of persons by making acareful philosophical study of this classic of Indian Buddhist philosophy.The Translation is the first into a modern Western language to be madefrom the Sanskrit text and avoids errors I believe to be contained in earliertranslations, which were based on a Sanskrit commentary (sixth centuryCE) by Yaomitra, and either the Tibetan translation by Jinamitra and dPalbrtsegs (twelfth century CE) or the Chinese translations by Paramrtha(sixth century), and by Xanzng (seventh century CE).
In the Introduction I provide readers with information and explanationsthat will introduce them to the main three kinds of Indian Buddhist theoriesof persons and enable them to do a careful philosophical study of theRefutation. In the Translation an attempt is made both to translate termsin a way that will promote a better understanding of the theses and argu-ments it contains and to help readers through its more difficult passagesby indicating in brackets key unexpressed parts of the theses and argu-ments it contains. The notes to the Translation explain the translation andcall attention to problems I believe to exist with previous modern transla-tions. In the Commentary, the theses and arguments contained in theRefutation are explained and assessed.
In the Refutation Vasubandhu first argues that we are not selves, whichare persons who can be identified without reference to the collections ofaggregates that comprise their bodies and minds, and that, nonetheless, wedo ultimately exist, since we are the same in existence as the collections ofthese aggregates. Then he presents a series of objections to the theory of the Pudgalavdins, who belong to the Indian Buddhist schools in whichit is claimed that, even though we are not independently identifiable, we
ultimately exist without being the same in existence as collections of suchaggregates. Then Vasubandhu replies to their objections to his own theoryof persons. Finally, he replies to objections raised by the Nyya-Vaieikas,non-Buddhist Indian philosophers who claim that we are selves in the sense that we are substances that exist independently of our bodies andmomentary mental states.
Vasubandhu not only discusses and rejects the theories of persons putforward by the Pudgalavdins and Nyya-Vaieikas, but also dismisses, ina single sentence, the thesis of Ngrjuna, the founder of the Mdhyamikaschool of Indian Buddhism, that no phenomena ultimately exist, as anadequate basis for a theory of persons. In Ngrjunas extant works (secondcentury CE) a Buddhist theory of persons is not presented in any greatdetail. But in the seventh century CE Candrakrti worked out the implica-tions of Ngrjunas thesis for the interpretation of the Buddhas theory of persons. This interpretation became the basis of t