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Indian Philosophy and Text Science

Indian Philosophy and Text Science

Specifications

Item Code: NAB915

by Toshihiro Wada

Hardcover (Edition: 2010)

Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd
ISBN 9788120834057

Size: 9.0 inch X 5.6 inch
Pages: 218
Weight of the Book: 440 gms
Price: $35.00
Discounted: $28.00   Shipping Free
Viewed times since 8th Apr, 2011

Description

From the Jacket

The present book aims at clarifying various aspects of Indian philosophy by applying concepts used in text science towards their analysis. Text science attempts to establish universal rules which apply to all forms of human expression. lf we regard all human expression, including behavior’, as communication, it contains a meaning-system whether it has the form of language or not. Human expression may be classified as language, figure, body action, and so forth; we consider all these forms of• expression to be texts, for which there must apply universal rules. The aim of text science is to explain how these rules function throughout various types of texts and thus provide a better understanding of human behavior.

Here the direction of analysis is from context to text. It is also possible to move from text to context. We can arrive at a new context from texts such as commentaries, which context cannot be discovered through reading only one of those texts. Such a context will certainly help us coherently interpret other texts related to the texts. The concept of context and these two directions of analysis may not be necessarily new tools to scholars of Indian studies, who often adopt this method unconsciously. However, we aim to use this method consciously here. It is an underlying principle of this book that in order to understand texts, written in Sanskrit or other languages, we need to turn our attention towards factors outside of them, such as information provided by other areas of study, which factors we call context.

All the contributors of this book have made particular use of this concept in their analysis. Nine papers have been organized into four parts:(1) General, (II) Buddhism, (III)Vedanta, Mimamsa and Vyakarana and (IV) Nyaya and Vaisesika.

About the Author

Dr. Toshihiro Wada is Professor of Indian Studies, at Nagoya University, Japan. He obtained a Ph.D. degree from the University of Poona in 1998and D. Litt from Nagoya University, Japan in 2002. He mainly works on logic and philosophy of language in Navya-nyaya and published two books: Invariable Concomitance in Navya nyaya in 1990 and The Aanalytical Method Navya Nyaya in 2007. His papers appear in journal of Indian Philosophy, Asiatische Studien, Acta Asiatica, and Nagoya Studies in Indian Culture and Buddhism: Sambhasa, and so forth.

Preface

In 2002 the graduate School of Letters Nagoya University received a five year national grant to establish an international center of excellence (COE) in the humanities. This grant enabled us to conduct that 21st century COE program entitled integrated text science and headed by Prof. Shoichi Sato. As part of this project we held eight international conferences one of which was devoted to research on the texts of classical India. This conference was held under the title of conflict between tradition and creativity in Indian philosophy text and context in December 2005. Its proceedings was published by the graduate School of letters Nagoya University in 2006 containing five papers.

The present book includes these papers of which three have been revised. Fortunately four additional scholars have contributed to this book. Accordingly this book has got a new look and we hope will attract more readers.

I am grateful to the Graduate School of letters for permission to reproduce the five papers mentioned above with or without revision. I would also like to thank Arm corporation Nagoya for preparing the fine camera ready sheet of this book.

Introduction

The present book aims at clarifying various aspects of Indian philosophy by applying concepts used in text science towards their analysis. Text science attempts to establish universal rules which apply to all forms of human expression. If we regard all human expression, ‘inflecting behavior’, as communication, it contains a meaning—system whether it has the form of language or not. Human expression may be classified as language, figure, body action, and so forth; we consider all these forms of expression to be texts, for which there must apply universal rules. The aim oft ext science is to explain how these rules function throughout various types of texts and thus provide a better understanding of human behavior.

It may be sometimes difficult to differentiate text science from communication theory. As long as spoken or written language is being dealt with, they do not essentially differ. Text science, however, deals with certain issues which communication theory does not, such as the relationship between the meaning of a text and its context or cultural background, the genesis of texts or text groups, the relationship among the different versions (texts) of a text written by one and the same author, the relationship between the successive commentaries (texts) of one text, and so forth. Since text stands for anything meaningful, as mentioned above, text science can delve into meaning-systems underlying even art, such as; pictures and sculpture, and human behavior, such as rituals.

One of the most important concepts text science makes use of is that of context, which functions as the factor determining the meaning of a text. All the contributors to this book have made particular use of this concept in their analysis. ‘Context’ indicates not only the linguistic structure surrounding a particular expression, but also the non-linguistic structure surrounding it, sash as the speaker, the hearer, the social or cultural circumstances, etc. of that expression. Moreover the term context can be used to mean other text(s) independent of but relating to the text in question or intellectual framework which impels of that expression. Moreover, the term ‘context’ can be used to mean other text(s) independent of but relating to the text in question or intellectual framework which impels one to interpret each text as forming the whole. It is in the second or third sense that all the contributors will use this term in the following chapters.

Context will lead us to a new understanding of, for instance, a written text. When we encounter a text contradicting a general tradition or presupposition in India, we attempt to take a specific tradition, some fact, or wider presupposition as the context and thus are able to solve this contradiction by viewing the text from the viewpoint of this context. If this context allows us to understand other texts more coherently, it is a useful method of interpreting all those texts. Here the direction of analysis is from •context to text. It is also possible to move from text to context. We can arrive at a new context from texts, such as commentaries, which context cannot be discovered through reading only one of those texts. Such, a context will certainly help us coherently interpret other texts related to the texts. The concept of context and these two directions of analysis may not be necessarily new tools to scholars of Indian studies, who often adopt this method unconsciously. However, we aim to use this method consciously here. It is an underlying principle of this book that in order to understand texts, written in Sanskrit or other languages, we need to turn our attention towards factors outside of them, such as information provided by other areas of study, which factors we call context.

To classify the nine papers contributed to this book, it might have been better to take the text-context viewpoint. However, this way of classification is not so familiar to scholars of Indian studies. Moreover, since text science deals with non language meaning-systems as well as language meaning-systems, this classification would have only limited use here. It is also a fact that it is more difficult to present theories on non-language meaning-systems than on language meaning-systems, and much more difficult to connect both types of systems. As the papers in this book do not deal directly with non-language meaning systems, it is not necessary to enter into a comparison of language and non-language meaning systems here, though such a topic deserves much future work by researchers.

In this book we have adopted the orthodox classification, i.e., Buddhism or non-Buddhism, and the schools of Indian philosophy. Nine papers have been organized into four parts: (I) General, (II) Buddhism, (III) Vedanta, Mimamsa and Vyakarana, and (IV) Nyaya and Vaisesika. Below I have provided brief summaries of the nine chapters.

Chapter l "The Context of Indian Philosophy" by Johannes Bronkhorst investigates the importance of context in interpreting philosophical texts of classical India. In one case he has attempted to explain the reason for the criticism by Bhattoji Diksita (ca. 1600) of his teacher by taking notice of the religious affiliations of both; in another case Bronkhorst has shown how the debate between Kumarila (ca. 7th century), a Mimamsaka, and the Buddhists concerning the existence of universals reflected their social background; Kumarila being a Brahmin would quite naturally believe in universals like ‘Brahmin-ness’, which would distinguish him fundamentally from other human beings. In general, Bronkhorst has revealed the importance of public debates as the context of philosophical texts or systems, and has claimed that the difference between the philosophical systems of the Sarvastivada and the Theravada schools resulted from the fact that the former system developed from a context in which debate played an important role, and that the latter developed from a context in which debate did not. Finally, Bronkhorst objects to the practice of trying to understand Indian philosophy by merely looking at questions and issues it has in common with modern Western philosophy; instead Indian philosophy has to be understood within its own historical context.

Chapter 2: "Some Reflections on the History of Buddhist Canons in Ancient India" by Masahiro Shimoda attempts to interpret Buddhist scripture, in particular the teachings associated with Sakyamuni Buddha’s perfect awakening and the issues concerning it, as texts which can be influenced by their context. Shimoda has started with the episode of "the god Brahma’s entreaty of the Buddha to his discourse", which raises two significant issues: (1) words cannot adequately convey the truth or experience of the Buddha, and (2) no truth would come to the world without the utterance of words by the Buddha. Words are the medium for conveying Buddha’s experience, and they exist in particular forms in particular historical contexts. Shimoda has shown how the context of the Buddha’s teaching changed over the first two to five hundred years after his enlightenment: the Buddha’s words first heard directly and individually cherished by his disciples became public in Buddhist communities after his death. At first transmitted orally they later were consigned to writing and became scriptures. Shimoda recommends a rethinking of the history of Buddhism from the viewpoint of text-context instead of reconstructing a history by dealing with scriptures merely as documents.

Chapter 3: The Gandharan Disturbance in the Late 4th Century CE as a context" by Shigeru Saito has as its field of inquiry Gandharan Buddhism. Saito has constructed a context using the travelogue entitled Gao seng faxion zhuan by the Chinese pilgrim Faxian, who visited north India in the early 5th century. in 402 CE Faxian visited the Gandharan region. The number of temples and monks he notes in Purusapura, the capital, is much less than what he reports in other places, which, according to Saito, indicates the decline of Gandharan Buddhism. Saito argues that this decline was caused by the Gandharan Disturbance which occurred between Sapur ll’s expedition to the east and Kidara’s unification, i.e., between ca.350 and ca. 410 CE. This context can explain why the Buddhist scholars Asanga and Vasubandhu moved from their home in Purusapura to the east during this period, which facts are referred to in the Da tang xi yu ji this context also explains why nine priests left Ji bin and went to China to translate texts into Chinese, as referred to in the Gao seng zhuan .

Chapter 4: "Consuming Scripture: Philosophical Hermeneutics in Classical India" by Parimal G. Patil investigates how Kumarila assigns significance to Vedic texts. Patil has addressed three questions: (1) What counts as scripture? (2) Wherein lies its authority? (3) What can be said about philosophical theology on the basis of scripture, and how can this be justified through exegesis, and other commentarial and ‘quasi-commentarial’ practices? He claims that these questions form an ‘intellectual context’ in which all scriptural statements should be properly understood, and that to properly interpret a scriptural statement is to make good use of it. Patil calls this model of hermeneutics ‘principled consumerism’. He emphasizes that Kumarila’s intellectual context will help us understand the creativity and innovation of Hindu theology.

Chapter 5: "The Beginnings of Bhakti’s Influence on Advaita Doctrine: The Teachings of Madhusudana Sarasvati" by Shoun Hino clarifies how Madhusudana, who was active in the 16th century, introduced bhakti into the tradition of the Advaita Vedanta school. In this school bhakti is not an essential means of obtaining liberation, but he synthesized it into the Advaitic way to liberation. Some factor, in other words, context, impelled him to do this, and it is his faith in Krsna from a younger age. From the viewpoint of this context Hino has indicated two important points: (1)Madhusadana maintained the importance of bhakti as a driving force for progressing through the stages of liberation, and (2) he held the already established idea that nididhycisana is, in the end, to be equated with bhakti. This chapter shows that even the Advaita Vedanta school, whose founder, Sankara, gave only minor importance to bhakti, could not survive without incorporating bhakti into its teachings.

Chapter 6: "Bhartrhari on Text and Context" by Toshiya Unebe examines the relationship between the understanding of the meaning of a sentence (text) and its context in Bhartrhari’s Vakyapadiya. Unebe has shown that in understanding the meaning of a sentence, Bhartrhari takes into consideration the situation, or circumstances (prakarana), in which the sentence is uttered. This situation corresponds to our concept of context. Unebe further examines the argument between the Grammarians and the Mimamsakas on whether one should deal with a passage containing many verbs as a single integral sentence (ekavakya) or separate sentences. This argument presents what literal context is, according to both schools. Bhartrhari’s view is ultimately related to the concept of pratibha, a flash of understanding. Understanding of a text (whether a word or a sentence) is neither that of the meaning of all the linguistic elements which constitute it, nor that ofthe meaning of the other texts surrounding it, but an instantaneous and intuitive cognition encompassing the entire context including literal context.

Chapter 7: "New light on the Commentary Texts of Ancient India: A Genesis of the Inherence Chapter in the Commentaries on the Padartha-dharma-samgraha" by Katsunori Hirano explores the system through which the commentaries convey information and advances a new theory to explain their genesis in ancient India. Hirano has taken up the commentaries on the Padartha-dharma-samgraha of Prasastapada (ca. 550-600). They are generated via combination with already known information; that is, the ‘texture’ of quotation of the commentaries is composed of information drawn from preceding texts. Introducing the quotation theory, Hirano has focused attention on the way in which information is quoted or drawn from the preceding commentary texts, such as the Vyomavati of Vyomasiva (ca. 900-960) the Nyayakandali of Sridhara (ca. 950-l 000), and the Kiramivali of Udayana (ca. 1050—1100), implicitly and explicitly. ln addition, a social context, as the necessary conditions for the genesis of the commentary texts, has been offered.

Chapter 8: "Text, Context, and Author’s Intention: Two Frames of Reference in the Vaisesika school" by Takanori Suzuki attempts to explain the different conceptions of sabdapramana(language as a valid means of obtaining true cognition) in the Vaisesika tradition. Suzuki claims that those conceptions are rooted in two major currents in the tradition, which Suzuki calls ‘context’. He has dealt with the commentaries on the Padartha-dharma-samgraha, i.e., the Vyomavati, the Nyéyakandali, and the Krianavali as in chapter 7. the first two commentaries (texts) regard sabdopramana as one variety of inference as does the padartha dharma samgraha while the third one regards it as a means independent of inference as the Nyaya school does. Thus Suzuki has constructed the context which gives birth to the different conceptions in one tradition and has laid a foundation for future research on such a context.

Chapter 9. The genesis of Sanskrit texts and their context in Navya nyaya form Gangesa’s Tattvacintamni to its commentaries by Toshihiro wada based on the quotation theory like chapter 7 deals with the way in which commentaries are composed and what context impels them to arise in their extant forms. The present chapter takes up the Vyaptipanchka section of the Tattvacintamani and tow commentaries thereon the Tattvachintamani saravali of Vasudeva (Second half of the 15th century) and the Tattvacintamani prakasa of Rucidatta (first half of the 16th century). This chapter too supports the conclusions of chapter 7.

Contents

Preface v
Notes of Contributions vii
Introduction (Toshihiro Wada) 1
Part I: General 7
1Johannes Bronkhorst (The Context of Indian Philosophy) 9
Part II: Buddhism 31
2Masahiro Shimoda (Some Reflections on the history of Buddhist Canons in Ancient India) 33
3Shiferu Saitto (The Gandharan Distubance in the late 4th Century CE as a context a new viewpoint of gandharan Buddhism 59
Part III: Vedanta Mimamsa and Vyakarana 75
4Parimal G. Patil (Consuming Scripture Philosophical Hermeneutics in Classical India ) 77
5Shoun Hino (The Beginnings of Bhakti’s Influence on Advaita Doctrine the teachings of Madhusudana Sarasvati) 101
6Toshiya Unebe (Bhartrhari on text and context) 115
Part IV: Nyaya and vaisesika 133
7Katsunori Hirano (New Light on the Commentary texts of Ancient India) 135
8Takanori Suzuki (Text Context and Author’s Intention: Two Frames of Reference in the Vaisesika School 157
9Toshihro Wada (The Genesis of Sanskrit texts and their context in Navya-Nyaya from Gangesa’s tattvacintamani to its commentaries)183
Index203
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