Knowable Objects

Buddhist Philosophy › Pramāṇa | Tibetan MastersJamyang Loter Wangpo

English | བོད་ཡིག

Jamyang Loter Wangpo

Jamyang Loter Wangpo

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Knowable Objects

from The Word-By-Word Commentary on the Treasury of Valid Reasoning

by Jamyang Loter Wangpo

L03.1. Knowable objects

L04.1 Definition

Root verses: The definition of an object is: that which can be known by the mind.

First, the definition of an object is: that which can be known by one’s own apprehending mind, because it is [the mind] that takes[1] [something as an object].

L04.2 Divisions

L05.1 Refutation of Other Systems

L06.1 Expressing their Assertions

If one says that object generalities and non-existent appearances are both objects,...

According to some Tibetans,[2] since the appearing object[3] and the apprehended object[4] are one and the same, then 1) the object of a mistaken conceptual [cognition] would be an object generality[5] —like that of a vase—, which is not actually established as a single generality in relation to different locations, times and aspects, but is nevertheless apprehended as one; and 2) the object of a mistaken non-conceptual [cognition] would be a non-existent clear appearance, like that of two moons.

L06.2 Explaining How They Are Disproved

L07.1 The Mind That Is the Subject Would Be Non-mistaken

...then it is a contradiction [to say that those] two consciousness are mistaken. One could reply: “Even when there is an object, [the cognition] can be mistaken, like apprehending a rope as a snake.” [But] it is not mistaken, because it apprehends the existing object, multi-colouredness. Yet, since the object does not exist, apprehending a snake is mistaken.

It is contradictory [to say that] the consciousnesses that apprehend those objects (the conceptual cognition and the eye-consciousness, respectively) are mistaken, because they are a consciousness that grasps an apprehended object, like the eye-consciousness that grasps a vase.

If someone would then say: “There is no pervasion. Even when there is an apprehended object, the conceptual cognition itself can still be mistaken, like a consciousness that apprehends a rope as a snake. However, in the absence of an object, it could not be classified as a mistaken consciousness.”

[The answer is:] The meaning and the example do not match. Since the eye-consciousness that apprehends (something) multi-coloured has an apprehended object, it is not mistaken. On the other hand, the conceptual [cognition] apprehending a snake is classified as mistaken, because it grasps the non-existent apprehended object —the snake— as something existing.

L07.2 The Object Would Be Suitable to Appear

Since the two appearing objects are different from the consciousness, they should also be seen by a different person from a place where they are suitable to appear, like such things as vases.

Since these two appearing objects —the object generality and non-existent clear [appearance]— are apprehended objects, which are different in substance from the consciousness, they should also be seen by [another] person looking from a place where they are suitable to appear.

To give an example, such things as vases and pillars can be seen by anyone who stands in a place where they are visible.

“Even though that is the case, just like the inside of one’s body cannot be seen, the two mistaken appearances are always connected to oneself, and therefore cannot be known by others.” But the inside of one’s body is not a suitable object, which is why even we ourselves do not see it.

Still some say: “Even though it is the case that these two objects are different from consciousness, consider the example of how one cannot see the inside of one’s own body. Likewise, since those two mistaken appearances are always linked with one’s own mind —the looker—, there is no question of them being seen or known by a different person standing at a suitable place.”

[The answer is:] The point and the example do not match. The inside of our body is cut off by an obstruction, making it unsuitable as an object [of sight]. Therefore, not only others, but even we ourselves cannot see it.

“Being always connected with oneself, those two are also not suitable objects.” But since they are only connected to one’s own mind, even if they are expressed, they will not be comprehended by others.

If one were to object: “Since the subject is always only connected to oneself, these two objects are also not suitable to be taken as objects by others.”

Well then, since it is only connected to one’s own mind, and is therefore not shared with anyone else, it is then just like one’s own self-awareness: even if one [tries to] express it, it cannot be known or understood by others.

“Being connected with each mind, when expressed, that very thing is comprehended.” [But] the meanings that are objects of expression by the two individuals are separate, and therefore cannot be linked together.

Still some would say: “Since there exist respective object generalities, that are connected with the minds of each individual, when one person expresses their object, the other person will also [be able to] comprehend that same object, [appearing] in their own perspective.[6]

But that is not acceptable. The object generalities of the objects of expression of the two individuals (the explainer and the listener) are connected to their respective minds, and are therefore not one and the same, but separate and unconnected; they are therefore incapable of bringing about a common understanding, because there is no way to link the two together as one.

“Since the two mental aspects present in each of the individuals are similar, their similarity [can be] conceived as a unity; therefore there is no contradiction.” If it arises in one, then it is that one’s object. But if it does not arise, then it is not his object. How could then what is apprehended separately, be held as one?

If one were to reply: “The two mental aspects (object generalities) that arise and are present in each of the individuals’ minds are similar [to each other]; therefore, by focusing on their similarity conceived as a unity, they are conventionally linked, so there is no contradiction.”

In that case, [we ask:] does the aspect which arises in the mind of the explainer also arise in the mind of the listener, or not? If it does, since it is only [the listener’s] object, it cannot be apprehended as common. But if it does not arise in the mind [of the listener], since it is not its object, it is impossible for one to know this mutual similarity. How could then one conceive or apprehend those [two] objects as one, when they are apprehended by [two] separate, different [minds]? It is impossible.

“Even though they are different, they are mistakenly apprehended as being a single object.” Since this apprehension as one is mistaken, this proves that it does not have an apprehended object.

One could still object: “These objects appearing in the perspective of each individual mind are different in reality, but they are mistakenly apprehended as a single object, without their difference being known.”

But this very apprehension of what is not a single object as one is not in accord with the actual condition of the object, being a mistaken mind. In this way it is proved that such an object generality does not exist as the object apprehended by that [mind].

Examined by reasoning, it does not exist; yet it is generally conceived of as an object. When one points with a fingertip, the foolish will say: “I see space”. This was an incidental verse.

This is the point taught by this incidental verse: if one examines, with the reasoning by the power of facts, those two apprehended objects of such mistaken consciousnesses, there is no authentic substantially existent object to be found. Yet, there is generally the conception that the object exists.

To give an example, to the question “What is space?”, if one points with a fingertip and says “this is space”, there is nothing at all to be seen by looking at the empty mid-air[7] beyond the finger. Yet the foolish [will say]: “I see space”. So, this is like a fool mistakenly [thinking] that they are seeing space.

This was an incidental verse.

L05.2 Presentation of Our System

The object of comprehension is exclusively the single specifically characterized.

The ultimate or authentic object of comprehension[8] is exclusively the single specifically characterized [phenomenon]. When it is assessed[9] directly, it is [also] the apprehended object. When it is assessed as a concealed[10] [phenomenon], it is a referent object. In both cases, since people can engage with them without deception, they are objects of engagement.

L05.3 Refuting Objections

L06.1 Refuting Objections to the Lack of Object for a Mistaken Consciousness

L07.1 Refuting That It Contradicts the Teaching on the Two [Kinds Of] Object of Comprehension

One could say that this contradicts [Dignāga’s] assertion of two [kinds of] objects, [but] it is through the mode of engagement that the two of the specifically and the generally characterized [are posited].

One could object that, by saying that object generalities cannot be objects [of valid cognition], this contradicts Dignāga’s assertion that there are two kinds of objects of comprehension, as in the quote: “since there are two [kinds of] objects of comprehension, there are two [kinds of] valid cognition”.

But that is not so. It is not the case that there are two [kinds of] actual object that are objects of comprehension; however, a single specifically characterized phenomenon can be engaged with in two modes: manifest and concealed. This is why it has been taught that the objects of valid cognition [can be] are of two [types] respectively: specifically and generally characterized.

L07.2 Refuting the Objection That Object Generalities and Non-existent Clear [Appearances] Are Comparable as Objects

“Non-existent [clear appearances] are comparable [to those] as objects of comprehension.” But such objects have no purpose or power.

Gorampa:[11] One could object: If object generalities do not really exist but can be objects of comprehension, then non-existent clear [appearances] are comparable to that. But this fault is not present, because 1) the former [i.e object generalities] are not specifically characterized, but one can rely on them to obtain the specifically characterized object of engagement, whereas 2) the latter [i.e non-existent clear appearances] are not specifically characterized in their own nature, and through them no specifically characterized object of engagement can be obtained.

One could make the following objection: of to the two objects of mistaken [cognition], it is taught that object generalities are objects as comprehension. Likewise, why would non-existent clear appearances not be counted as objects of comprehension? The reason for counting them [as objects of comprehension] is similar [to that of object generalities].

But they are not actually comparable. Object generalities are not specifically characterized phenomena, but by mistakenly engaging with them, one can obtain the specifically characterized object of engagement. Non-existent clear appearances, on the other hand, are not only not specifically characterized in their own nature, but even if one were to conceive of them as specifically characterized, there is no purpose to such an object. However much one conceives in this way, there is no specifically characterized object of engagement that can be obtained. Therefore such an object also has no power.

The appearances of such things as hairs are mind itself, but their appearance as [external] hairs is not actually established.
If one analyses conceptually whether they exist or not as things, they are generally characterized.

One could still object: for a person with visual aberrations,[12] the visual appearances of such things as hairs are not actually specifically characterized phenomena. Now, if [as you say], they are also not generally characterized due to not being [object] generalities, what [category] are they then classified into?

Since such things as floating hairs are mere appearances and not outer objects, they are just the mind to which they appear, and as such they are classified as specifically characterized. As for the presumption that they appear as externally [existing] hairs, separate from the mind, this is just a mistake with no basis whatsoever, so [such externally existing hairs] are not actually established.[13]

Now, if one conceptually analyses whether these appearances of hairs exist as things or not, then the mental aspects of hair-appearances are generally characterized phenomena arising in the mind.

Therefore, there is no third category of objects of comprehension [other than these two, the specifically and the generally characterized].

L07.3 Refuting That It Contradicts with Experience

“This is refuted indirectly, being established through the self-awareness of those two non-things.”
The two mistaken consciousnesses have no object and, being experienced through self-awareness, [their appearances] are consciousness itself. Also, since they apprehend something that does not exist, they are mistaken consciousnesses.

Gorampa: One could object that, if the appearing object is not specifically characterized, that contradicts the fact that it clearly appears to consciousness. But this fault is not present. Of the two parts of this cognition, namely 1) the clearly appearing mental aspect, and 2) the outwardly projected [object], the first is consciousness, whereas the second is a generally characterized [phenomenon].

Yet some would say: “Since the subject [i.e the mind] that apprehends these two kinds of non-things —object generalities and non-existent [clear] appearances— is experienced though self-awareness, it is actually established, which indirectly also establishes the existence of its objects. [Your theory] is therefore in contradiction with experience, which is how your assertion that those two are object-less is refuted and dispelled.”

[The answer is:] The assertion that the two kinds of mistaken consciousnesses, which apprehend object generalities and such things as falling hairs, have an object, is invalidated by the valid reasoning above, which shows that no object different from consciousness can be established for them. Since, for them, a mere mental aspect is actually experienced through self-awareness, that very appearance of the object in the form of a mental aspect is no other than consciousness. Moreover, since they apprehend their own object as a real existing thing when it is not, they are mistaken consciousnesses.

L07.4 Refuting That This Implies That Negations Cannot Be Comprehended by Valid Cognition

“If there are no other objects than the specifically characterized, this contradicts taking non-things as objects of comprehension.” But there is no contradiction in proving that the object-to-be-refuted exists, or does not exist as a thing.

One could object that, if there are no other objects, or objects of comprehension, than the specifically characterized, this contradicts the possibility to take non-things as objects of comprehension,[14] since they are also not specifically characterized.

[The answer is:] For us to refute or prove [something], we first take this thing-to-be-refuted in our mind, as if it existed. There is no contradiction between this and [subsequently] establishing that it exists as a thing, or that it doesn’t.

It is not the case that some single bare non-thing would be assessed independently, without any connection with a probandum.

L06.2 Refuting Objections to the Apprehended Object Being the Specifically Characterized

L07.1 The Objection

Some say: “External apprehended objects have been refuted by scholars, whereas apprehended objects that are consciousness are not possible here. Therefore, this single object of comprehension is also not tenable.”

Some speak as follows: “External apprehended objects have already been refuted by past scholars such as Dharmakīrti, with arguments such as [particles] being simultaneously connected with six [other particles]. As for the singular apprehended object which is an inner consciousness in the absence of outer realities, that is not possible in the current context where outer objects are assumed. Therefore this [assertion] that objects of comprehension are only specifically characterized is not tenable.”

L07.1 The Answer

L08.1 A General Analysis and Presentation of Tenet Systems

“They are: nature itself, Creator, Primordial Nature, particles, cognitive awareness and interdependent origination.” These distinct tenet systems uphold the positions of ourselves and others.

First, for the non-Buddhists[15] who assert nature itself[16] to be the cause, all these phenomena arise by [their own] nature.

For those who believe in a Creator,[17] [everything] is the doing of the eternal Creator.

For the Enumerators,[18] [everything] arises out of the Primordial Nature[19] with its three even aspects of Rajas,[20] Tamas[21] and Sattva.[22]

For the Followers of Kanāda,[23] as well as the [Buddhist] Particularists[24] and Sūtra Followers,[25] [everything] arises out of particles.

For the Mind-Only School, all appearances are asserted to be cognitive awareness[26] only.

For the Middle Way School, ultimately [all phenomena] are free of elaborations, while conventionally they arise as a variety of interdependent appearances.

Here, in this context, we will use three classifications: those of the Sūtra Practitioners,[27] the Yoga Practitioners[28] and the followers of worldly convention. It is in terms of these various and distinct tenet systems that we will uphold the positions of ourselves and others.

L08.2 How the Āchārya [Dharmakīrti] Establishes [the System of the Sugata]

Gorampa: At the conventional level, the Sugata accepts particles [as the ultimate constituents of matter]; for this there are the tenet systems of the Particularists and the Sūtra Followers. When engaging with the suchness of the conventional, he asserts that [everything is] Mind Only; for this there are the True and False Aspectarian schools. And when engaging in terms of the ultimate suchness, all phenomena are [taught] to be free from elaborations

L09.1 Object-Awareness

Gorampa covers the whole “object-awareness” section as follows: First, at the occasion of asserting the first position [i.e that of object-awareness], the Particularists maintain that a sense consciousness nakedly apprehends its outer object, which is simultaneous [with it], without an [intervening] aspect. Having refuted this, we assert that from the gathering of three conditions in the previous instant, a sense consciousness arises having the aspect of the object; just this is [called] “cognizing an outer object”. With regard to this assertion of the Sūtra Followers’ way, the Āchārya [Dharmakirti] himself is known to have said: “when engaging in analysis of outer objects, I rely upon the manner[29] of the Sūtra Followers”.

L10.1 Refuting the Systems of Others

L11.1 Refuting the System of the Particularists

They claim: “Cut off [forms] are not [seen], so it’s not consciousness. It is the substantial sense faculty that does the seeing”.
But that which [composed of] matter cannot see: being simultaneous, there can be no connection.

According to the Particularists, since obstructed forms are not seen, it is not the consciousness that sees. They dubiously assert that, while the physical sense organ performs the function of directing itself towards the object, the supported[30] [sense faculty] itself does the seeing.

That, however, is not tenable. Since physical sense organs are [composed of] matter, they are not suitable to perform the action of seeing. The sense faculty and the object are different substances, and therefore cannot be identically connected. Yet, being simultaneous, they cannot be causally connected either. Therefore they are unfit to be the seer and the seen.

L11.2 Refuting the Systems of Tibetans That Are Similar to That [of the Particularists]

Some Tibetans say that the apprehending consciousness and the apprehended object are simultaneous.
But, being simultaneous, there is no connection. Also, a consciousness without a cause is contradictory.
“The previous instant of the object is the cause, while the instant simultaneous [with the consciousness] is the apprehended object.”
But the consciousness, being produced from the object, is [already] established; there is no need for the simultaneous [object].

Some Tibetans have asserted positions such as the following: “The sense faculties are not the ones doing the seeing, but both the object and the consciousness which is the subject must exist at the same time; otherwise they would not be suitable to be object [and subject]. Those two are the apprehender and the apprehended.”

But that is not tenable. As we have explained above, if the object and the consciousness are simultaneous, there can be no connection between the two. In that case, without an object to be its cause [in the previous instant], it would be contradictory for a consciousness knowing this object to exist; it would follow that [this consciousness] has no cause.

If one were to reply: the previous instant of the object is the cause for the consciousness which focuses [on it], whereas the object that is simultaneous with [the consciousness] itself is the apprehended object.

Well, when the object of the previous instant has joined with the two conditions —the sense faculty and the mental engagement—, the consciousness is produced from it. In that case, there is no further need for the object that is simultaneous with the consciousness itself.

L10.1 Presenting Our Own System

Consciousness arises from [the gathering of] the object, the sense faculty and mental engagement. It arises similar to its object, just like children are born with forms similar to their parents, even though food and other things are [also] among their causes. Therefore we assert that objects have a twofold result, and the mind also has two modes.

As the Sūtra Followers [say], the actual outer object is concealed from the consciousness [that knows it]. From the gathering of three factors in the previous instant, namely 1) the object, 2) the dominant condition of the sense faculty, and 3) the immediately preceding condition of mental engagement, in the second instant a consciousness arises having the aspect of the object. This [process] is designated as “knowing or seeing the aspect of the object”.

From a similar cause arises a consciousness similar to its object. Why is this arising [consciousness] not similar to the sense faculty? That is just the nature of things.

To give an example, food, time, warmth are counted among the causes of children, yet children are born with forms and figures similar to those of their parents. Likewise, consciousness arises similar only to its object.

Therefore, a single object, such as a vase, has two results: 1) it gives rise to an object of similar class in the next [instant],[31] and 2) it casts[32] an aspect similar to itself into one’s own apprehending sense-perception.

[Likewise], the mind which apprehends an object such as a vase has two modes: 1) looking outwardly —in the case of object-awareness— it arises in the aspect of the object, and 2) looking inwardly —in cognitive awareness— it experiences itself and emerges as naturally clear and aware.

L09.2 Cognitive Awareness

L10.1 Refuting the Systems of Others

Being free from both singularity and multiplicity, objects do not exist, and therefore neither do aspects.
If one relies on worldly convention for the conventional, this contradicts the classifications of valid cognition.

This has two parts. First, for the Particularists and the Sūtra Followers, the causes of outer objects are partless particles, which are held to be real. But that is not tenable, because partless [particles] have no power to build up coarse[33] [objects]. Without joining multiple particles to a central particle in various directions, it would be impossible for a lump[34] [of matter] to come together. But if one does [join them], then the central particle necessarily has parts, and the parts where different particles join [to the central one] are different from each other, because each spot where one particle is joined only fits [that particle], not multiple ones.

In this way, since a singular [particle] is not established, a multiplicity assembled from them is also not established, which means that neither coarse nor subtle [matter][35] is truly established. Therefore outer objects do not exist apart from consciousness and, likewise, in the absence of [an outer object] that could cast an aspect, aspects also do not exist, as in the example of the son of the barren woman: since he does not exist to begin with, neither does the aspect of his colour.

Secondly, we refute [the idea of] relying on worldly convention. Some claim that when investigating the conventional level, one should engage with a mind free from examination and analysis, as in the system of Candra[kīrti]. But that is not tenable. If one were to investigate the conventional by merely relying on worldly convention, in this non-examined perspective, none the logical classifications of valid and invalid cognition would be acceptable, nor would one engage in such things as proofs and refutations of direct perception and inference. This is contradictory.

L10.02 Proving Cognitive Awareness

[It is] proved by clarity and simultaneous observation; what is observed together cannot be different. If they were substantially different, the sign [of simultaneous observation] would not be possible. Like the appearance of two moons, [and the case of] blue and its apprehender, it is refuted by the counterargument that “different [things] have different scopes”.

All outer objects are established to be mere appearances in one’s own mind, because [they fulfil] the two signs of being clear, and simultaneously observed. Given the subject of a knowable object,[36] it is of the same nature with the consciousness that apprehends it, because it is not established as an outer object, and its merely appearing aspect is both clear and aware, thus fulfilling the defining characteristic of consciousness, just like whatever is endowed with a hump and a dewlap[37] is proved to be cattle.

When a given phenomenon is definitely observed simultaneously [with another], it is impossible for them to be substantially different. Also, if they were of different substances, it would be impossible for them to fulfil the sign of simultaneous observation. Therefore, just as in the example of the appearance of a double moon, for this very reason, it is established that [a patch of] blue and [the consciousness that] apprehends it cannot be of substantially different.

Since one’s own experience [is enough to] prove that [a patch of] blue and the consciousness that apprehends it are necessarily observed together, the property of the subject[38] and the forward pervasion[39] are established upon the concordant example of how a single moon appears as two to a mistaken sense consciousness. This is a logical argument that ascertains simultaneous observation,[40] and the predicate (that [the two] are not substantially different) applies to both.[41]

As for the reverse pervasion,[42] the opposite [of the predicate] —being of substantially different— is refuted by the counterargument that “different [things] have different scopes”,[43] by the fact that 1) different entities are apprehended separately and at different times, and 2) by the undermining reason[44] of their being simultaneous. Indeed, for unrelated things there is no certainty of simultaneous observation, as in the example of blue and yellow. Yet, [the argument goes], “you profess that the eye and the form are simultaneous, but substantially different.”

L10.03 Refuting Objections

L11.01 Refuting the Objection That [Instants] Are Comparable to Particles

“Mind-streams are comparable to wholes. Just like particles have parts, instants [of consciousness] also have a threefold nature; therefore they are neither singular nor multiple.”
Due do instants’ threefold nature, equal instants become impossible; and if equal instants are impossible, their threefold nature is also impaired.
[Particles that build up] coarse objects are surrounded by [other] simultaneously [existing particles], whereby the central particle comes to have parts. Since the three times do not arise simultaneously, the present instant is indivisible.

Certain followers of the Middle Way School claim, with a reasoning similar to the refutation of wholes,[45] that the instants of a mind’s continuum must also have directional parts [linked] to the past and future, like the parts of a particle. Therefore each instant of mind also has the nature[46] of three instants —beginning, middle and end—, which would imply that the mind is also neither singular nor multiple.

But it is not tenable that instants [can be divided] into parts. If it were the case that a single instant [of mind] had this threefold identity, then the single instant would also be impossible. And if a single instant is impossible, then its threefold nature is also impaired,[47] so the idea that “three” refutes “one” becomes untenable.[48]

Also, [instants of mind] are not comparable to particles. One the one side, in order to build up coarse matter, particles need to be surrounded by [other particles] which exist at the same time, which is how the central particle comes to have parts; when it is presented in this way, [this central particle necessarily] has parts and, if it is [further] broken apart, it breaks into partless [particles], like dew on the tip of a hair.

But this flaw does not apply to instants [of consciousness], because past, present and future cannot exist at the same time; in the present moment, neither the past nor the future exist. Therefore, from its own perspective, the present instant is indivisible.

The Noble Āchārya [Dharmakīrti], breaking up instants [of consciousness] through their threefold connection [with past, present and future] refutes the substantial existence of the three times, as it is asserted by the Particularists; this does not negate the mere partless instant. In this way, the present instant is established as a mere thing which is able to perform a function, and only in this sense it is acceptable to characterize it as partless.

L11.02 Investigating Whether Aspects Exist or Not, and Refuting Untenable [Positions]

Appearances of objects are mind itself; no appearances exist outside. In terms of dependable and non-dependable habitual tendencies, the “true” and the “false” are presented.
As long as outer [objects] are accepted, the [outer object that is the] cause is called the “apprehended object”.
When knowable objects are taken as internal, subject and object are not established. This was the concluding verse.

One could say that, for a consciousness —whether or not it is associated with a mental aspect— not to have an object contradicts the presentation of valid and invalid cognition. But whatever appears as an object is mind itself; all appearances are equal in not being in the very least established to be external.

The [appearance] of such things as a single moon and a white conch, from dependable[49] habitual tendencies, is valid cognition, whereas the [appearance] of such things as a double moon and a yellow [conch] from non-dependable [habitual tendencies] is an invalid cognition. It is acceptable to present the “true” and the “false” in these terms.

Concluding Verse

As long as one remains with a tenet system that accepts outer [objects], it is not tenable for the object and the [apprehending] consciousness to be of a single substance. In that case, the [object that is] the cause that casts an aspect [upon the consciousness] is called the apprehended object.

On the other hand, when one considers all knowable objects to have an internal identity, then the subject and the object are no longer established to be substantially different.

This concludes the first chapter of the Treasury of Valid Reasoning, on the examination of the object.

This concludes the first chapter of word-by-word commentary of the Treasury of Valid Reasoning, on the examination of the object.

| Translated by Roger Espel Llima, 2022.


Tibetan Edition

'jam dbyangs blo gter dbang po. tshad ma rigs pa'i gter gyi mchan 'grel sde bdun gsal ba'i sgron me, in tshad ma rigs gter rtsa ba dang 'grel pa, pp. 463 ff. Chengdu: si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1998. BDRC W20402

Other Primary Sources

Candrakīrti. Introduction to the Middle Way (Madhyamakāvatāra).

Devendrabuddhi. Elucidation of [Dharmakīrti’s] Commentary on Valid Cognition (Pramāṇavārttikapañjikā).

Dharmakīrti. Commentary on Valid Cognition (Pramāṇavarttika).

Dharmakīrti. Ascertainment of Valid Cognition (Pramāṇaviniścaya).

kun dga' rgyal mtshan. tshad ma rigs gter rtsa ba dang 'grel pa, pp. 104-114. si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1998. BDRC W20402

Vasubandhu. Treasury of Abhidharma (Abhidharmakośa).

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Stolz, Jonathan. Sakya Pandita and the Status of Concepts in Philosophy East and West, Vol. 56, No. 4 (October 2006), pp. 567-582.

Van der Kuijp, Leonard. Phya-pa chos kyi seng ge's Impact on Tibetan Epistemological Theory in Journal of Indian Philosophy, Vol. 4, No. 3-4 (September 1977), pp. 355-369.

Version: 1.1-20221209

  1. Tib. de’i ‘jog byed yin pa’i phyir. Gorampa explains (at the beginning of Chapter Two of his Commentary on Difficult Points) that objects are posited (Tib. ‘jog) in dependence on the mind, but the mind is not posited in dependence on objects.  ↩

  2. This refers to the system of Chapa Chökyi Senge (phya pa chos kyi seng ge), which admits three types of apprehended object: specifically characterized objects, object generalities, and non-existent clear appearances. See also P. Hugon p.32.  ↩

  3. Tib. snang yul  ↩

  4. Tib. gzung yul  ↩

  5. Tib. don spyi  ↩

  6. Tib. blo ngo, literally “to the front of their mind”  ↩

  7. Tib. bar snang, as opposed to nam mkha’ “space”  ↩

  8. Tib. gzhal bya, meaning “[thing] to be assessed”  ↩

  9. Tib. ‘jal ba  ↩

  10. Tib. lkog gyur, meaning phenomena that are assessed indirectly or conceptually, as opposed to through the senses  ↩

  11. Gorampa wrote two commentaries on the Treasury of Valid Reasoning; these quotes are from the shorter one, entitled The Unmistaken Commentary on the Intention of the Seven Treatises [of Dharmakīrti] and the Sūtra [i.e., the Pramāṇasamuccaya of Dignāga] — Clarifying the Meaning of the Treasury of Valid Reasoning (Tib. sde bdun mdo dang bcas pa’i dgong pa phyin ci ma log par ‘grel pa tshad ma rigs pa’i gter gyi don gsal bar byed pa zhes bya ba bzhugs so).  ↩

  12. Tib. rab rib: a visual impairment resulting in the appearance of floating hairs in one’s field of vision.  ↩

  13. Matthew T. Kapstein, in The Tibetan Assimilation of Buddhism pp.95–96, compares this point with this quote by Bertrand Russell:
“[M]any logicians have been driven to the conclusion that there are unreal objects ... In such theories, it seems to me, there is a failure of that feeling for reality which ought to be preserved even in the most abstract studies. ... In obedience to the feeling of reality, we shall insist that, in the analysis of propositions, nothing "unreal" is to be admitted. ... "A unicorn" is an indefinite description which describes nothing. It is not an indefinite description which describes something unreal.” From Bertrand Russell, Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, Ch. 16. Interestingly, Bimal Krishna Matilal in Epistemology, Logic and Grammar in Indian Philosophical Analysis (p. 94) quotes this same fragment by Russell, but puts Russell in agreement with a Nyāya position and in disagreement with the Buddhists (without specifying a Buddhist school).  ↩

  14. i.e., to assess them (‘jal ba)  ↩

  15. Tib. mu stegs [pa], Skt. tīrthika  ↩

  16. Tib. ngo bo nyid, Skt. svabhāva; this refers to the Materialists (Skt. Cārvāka), for whom things can arise naturally without a cause.  ↩

  17. Tib. dbang phyug, Skt. Iśvara; general Hindu term for God as creator.  ↩

  18. Tib. grangs can pa, Skt. Sāṃkhya; an Indian philosophical school.  ↩

  19. Tib. gtso bo, Skt. prakṛti  ↩

  20. Tib. rdul, the “energetic” aspect of things  ↩

  21. Tib. mun pa, the “dull” or “dark” aspect of things  ↩

  22. Tib. snying stobs, the “light” or “spiritual” aspect of things  ↩

  23. Identified with the Differentialists (Tib. bye brag pa, Skt. Vaiśeṣika), an Indian philosophical school.  ↩

  24. Tib. bye brag tu smra ba, Skt. Vaibhāṣika  ↩

  25. Tib. mdo sde pa, Skt. Sautrantika  ↩

  26. Tib. rnam par rig pa, Skt. vijñāpti; a technical term of the Mind-Only school, referring to how the sense-consciousnesses become aware of the inner mental aspects (Skt. ākāra) that arise in the form of outer forms, sounds, etc.  ↩

  27. Tib. mdo sde spyod pa, Skt. *Sūtracārya, presumably another name for the Sūtra Followers (mdo sde pa).  ↩

  28. Tib. rnal ‘byor spyod pa, Skt. Yogacāra, here used as another name for the Mind-Only school.  ↩

  29. A. Przybyslawski p.980 [24] footnote 79 claims that skabs is a misspelling of skas “step, ladder”, which he translates as “level”.  ↩

  30. Tib. brten bcas, probably referring to the inner special matter of the sense faculty, which is “supported” by the accompanying consciousness.  ↩

  31. i.e., it produces the vase of the next instant  ↩

  32. Tib. gtod pa  ↩

  33. Tib. rags pa, i.e solid, macroscopic  ↩

  34. Tib. gong bu  ↩

  35. i.e., macroscopic objects and particles, respectively  ↩

  36. Check  ↩

  37. Tib. nog [dang] lkog shal. A dewlap is a flap of loose skin hanging from the neck. “Possessor of a hump and dewlap” is the traditional definition of cattle.  ↩

  38. Tib. phyogs chos; The first of the three criteria for a logical argument is the fact that the reason applies to the subject.  ↩

  39. The second criterion for a logical argument is the fact that the reason implies the predicate.  ↩

  40. Tib. lhan cig dmigs nges, “ascertainment of simultaneous observation”.  ↩

  41. The reasoning shows that the two moons are not substantially different, and by the same token, that the patch of blue and its apprehending consciousness are also not substantially different.  ↩

  42. The third criterion for a logical argument is the fact that the negation of the predicate implies the negation of the reason.  ↩

  43. Tib. mtha’, which more generally means “ends” or “extremes”  ↩

  44. Tib. gnod pa can gyi rtags, defined as a reason that has the power to undermine another argument.  ↩

  45. Tib. yan lag can, literally “part-possessors”.  ↩

  46. Tib. bdag nyid  ↩

  47. Tib. nyams pa  ↩

  48. gsum zhes gcig ‘gog pa  ↩

  49. Tib. brtan pa, meaning stable, steadfast, trustworthy.  ↩

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