A study of the philosophy of Jainism

by Deepa Baruah | 2017 | 46,858 words

This page describes the Prabhachandra’s refutation of Buddhist theory of not-Self from the study of the philosophy of Jainism: one of the oldest religions in India having its own metaphysics, philosophy and ethics. Jainism is regarded as an ethical system where non-violence features as an important ethical value.

Chapter IV.e - Prabhāchandra’s refutation of Buddhist theory of not-Self

In Prameyakamalamārtaṇḍa, Prabhācandra has refuted the Buddhist view of non-existence of the self and has established the existence of the self from Jaina point of view.

The Buddhists do not accept any substance called ātman other than particular modes of joy, sorrow etc. But this view is not acceptable to the Jainas. Hence, Prabhācandra says that the self can be directly perceived through selfcognition (svasaṃvedana) as something which pervades different mental states of joy, sorrow etc., just as the cognition of something of mixed colour. It is a general rule that if something is manifested in one way, it should be treated in that way. Just as cognition which is manifested in the form of self-cognition of the object, cogniser etc., so also the self is manifested through different states of joy, sorrow etc. Thus, the existence of the self is established through this inference. If the Buddhists do not accept any pervading self and maintain that the modes like happiness, sorrow etc. are absolutely different, then the introspective observation as “Before I was happy, now I have become unhappy” will not be possible.

The Buddhists may here argue that such introspective observation is possible because of the awakening of such vāsanā (impression). But, Prabhācandra says, this is not true. The question arises here thus: whether this vāsanā is different from the happiness, sorrow etc. which are recognized here, or non-different from them. If different, then just as this vāsanā cannot give rise to the recognition of happiness, sorrow etc. in other santāna (chain of ever-changing elements), similarly it will not generate the recognition of happiness etc. in one”s own santāna. If vāsanā is accepted as non-different from happiness etc., then there will be as many vāsanās as there is happiness etc. Because it is not possible that vāsanā, which is identical with happiness etc., remains the same, while there are differences in happiness etc. If vāsanā remains one in different happiness etc., then there will be over-pervasion of ghaṭatva (potness) etc. which remains one in different pot etc. To avoid this over- pervasion it is to be accepted that there are different vāsanās in different happiness etc. in that case, again, how recognition of oneness is possible in happiness etc. through the awakening of this vāsanā. If the Buddhists here accept that vāsanā is somehow different from happiness, sorrow etc., then there is only the difference of name between vāsanā and ātman (self). Vāsanā will be only another name of the self which is the object of self-perception in the form of aham, i.e., “I” and which possesses guṇa and paryāya.

Moreover, if one does not accept the self then there will be the defects of kṛtaṇāśa and akṛtābhyāgama. That means in the absence of a permanent doer self continuing to exist in different stages of life, there will be the destruction of the fruit of action done by someone (kṛtaṇāśa). Similarly there will befall enjoyment of deeds not committed by someone (akṛtābhyāgama). Hence, a permanent self has to be accepted.

Further, if the permanent self is not accepted then the process of recognition (pratyabhijñāna) will not be possible. For example, in the statement “It is I who has known that and I now know it”, there is the recognition of oneself in different times. It is admitted by all that the process of recognition establishes the existence of a permanent self. Prabhācandra has also shown here that momentary chain of cognitions cannot explain the process of recognition.

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