Dharmakīrti’s Criticism of Anityatva in the Sāṅkhya Theory

Journal of Indian Philosophy 39 (4-5):553-569 (2011)
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Abstract

In his Pramāṇaviniścaya 3, Dharmakīrti criticizes the view of the Sāṅkhyas that the word anityatva (“impermanence”) means a process of transformation ( pariṇāma ) of primordial matter ( pradhāna ). In this connection, he deals with the following two explanations of transformation: (1) the disappearance ( tirodhāna ) of the previous dharma of an entity ( dharmin/dravya ) and (2) the cessation ( nivṛtti ) of the previous state ( avasthā ) of an entity ( avasthātṛ ). In response to these explanations, he proves that whenever a transformation takes place, the previous entity is destroyed, and therefore, impermanence does not mean transformation, but only destruction ( vināśa ). His criticism is basically along the same lines as Vasubandhu’s arguments found in the Abhidharmakośabhāṣya . However, because of developments in the theory of transformation, Vasubandhu’s criticism allows room for a retort from the Sāṅkhya. For this reason, Dharmakīrti augments Vasubandhu’s theory in order to make it sustainable against the more developed Sāṅkhya theory

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