On the Buddha’s Cognition of Other Minds in the Bahirarthaparīkṣā of the Tattvasaṅgraha

Journal of Indian Philosophy 42 (2-3):297-307 (2014)
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This paper aims at examining the arguments between Śubhagupta (c.720–780) and Śāntarakṣita (c.725–788) over the Buddha’s cognition of other minds and shows how the question of the Buddha’s cognition of other mindsis incorporated into the proof of vijñaptimātratā or “consciousness-only” by Śāntarakṣita. According to Śāntarakṣita, Śubhagupta assumes that the Buddha’s cognition, which is characterized as “the cognition [of the Blessed One] which follows the path of cognition” (aupalambhikadarśana), grasps other minds when the Buddha’s cognition is similar (sārūpya) to other minds. For Śāntarakṣita, the Buddha’s cognition cannot be aupalambhika. If the Buddha’s cognition were similar to the other minds, it would follow that the Buddha, whose cognition erroneously grasps other minds as something distinct from it, has not yet removed the hindrance constituted by objects of knowledge (jñeyāvaraṇa). But if it is accepted that the Buddha’s cognition is beyond the grasped-grasper duality, can the Buddha, who does not know other minds, be called sarvajña “omniscient”? According to Śāntarakṣita, even though the Buddha has no seeing (adarśana), the Buddha causes all sentient beings to gain benefits by virtue of seeing other minds and hence deserves to be called sarvajña. What underlies this argument is that the Buddha knows other minds without making a distinction between his own mind and other minds, which is possible only on the basis of self-cognition (ātmasaṃvedana)



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