Of seeds and sprouts: Defilement and its attachment to the life-stream in the sarvstivda hdaya treatises

Asian Philosophy 18 (1):17 – 33 (2008)
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The notions of selflessness ( an tmaka ) and karman are two key concepts in Buddhist philosophy. The question how karman functions with respect to the rebirth of a worldling who is, actually, devoid of a self, was a major philosophical issue in early Buddhist doctrine. Within the Sarv stiv da school, the Vaibh ⋅ ikas became the representative of an interpretation of this problem that hinges on the notion of 'possession' ( pr pti ). Their theory was contradicted by the Sautr ntikas, whose interpretation is based on the notion of 'seed' ( bīja ). The Sarv stiv da H daya treatises, compiled in a time period spanning from the beginning of the common era to the fourth century AD, i.e. the period of the rise of the Sautr ntika school, are a particularly interesting set of works, as they reflect the gradual development of these two major theories



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