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Paradigms of Logic in Dharmakirti's Nyayabindu

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Paradigms of Logic in Dharmakirti's Nyayabindu
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Item Code: NAH452
Author: Dr. K.K. Ambikadevi
Publisher: Publication Division University of Calicut
Language: English
Edition: 2012
ISBN: 9788177481730
Pages: 130
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
weight of the book: 135 gms
About The Book

Dharmakirti is considered to be one of the significant writer on Buddhist logicians, His famous work Nyayabindu is an epoch making and typical work on the Buddhist logic. Already a large number of works on Nyayabindu have come forth and even now studies on this small treatise is going on implying the importance of this small treatise. The present work also is an attempt to study Dharmakirti's Nyayabindu and its contribution to Buddhist logical system.

The work is divided into six chapters, the first chapter deals with the development of Buddhism as a philosophy in the country. The second chapter discusses the origin and development of the Buddhist logical thinking and its sources. The third chapter is an account of the life and works of the renowned logician Dharmakirti, author of Nyayabindu. The fourth and fifth chapters are a critical analysis of the work. The concluding chapter summarizes the contribution of Dharmakirti to Indian logical system, especially to the development of Buddhist logic.



It is well known that Buddhist philosophers contributed substantially for the development of Indian Logic. The contributions of intellectual giants like Dinnaga and Dharmakirti are well acclaimed by scholars. The Nyayabindu of Dharmakirti is a work dealing with epistemological and syllogistic tenets of Sautrantika school of Buddhist philosophy. The present work Paradigms of Logic in Dharmakirti's Nyayabindu substantially is the doctoral thesis of Dr. K.K. Ambikadevi. Divided into six chapters, the work critically analyzes the Nyayabindu of Dharmakirti. I am very happy to introduce this work as the 42nd number of Calicut University Sanskrit Series. I am sure that scholarly world would receive the present work with the same fervour as is shown to our earlier publications.



In ancient India, logic developed through the practice of Vadavidya and Hetuvidya that formed an important part of the traditional system of investigation that progressed later into philosophy, which was known as darsana, or perception of reality. The teacher of Darsanas was called as Rsi or seer, and as there were many seers, their perception of reality also became different according to the thoughts and methods they pursued. Logic was a common element of the darsanas but its conception and use was different in each system. The logic handled by the Buddhists was called the Buddhist logic. The Buddhist monks developed logic as a system of epistemology and syllogism, and the contributions of the two masterminds Dinnaga and Dharmakirti were substantial and decisive in the shaping of its form and content.

Dharmakirti is a reputed Buddhist philosopher, saint and logician who lived in India about seventh century B.C. He wrote seven noted works on logic. These works were known as 'seven celebrated treatise.' Among them Nyayabindu is regarded as his masterpiece. This work gives an introduction to Buddhist logical and epistemological thoughts. It deals with right means of valid knowledge and formulates the structure of syllogism in precise and systematic manner. Dharmakirti's language is simple and his thoughts are clear, This book is the result of research I carried out for Ph.D. under the guidance of Dr. T. K. Narayanan, Professor of Sanskrit, University of Calicut. I am grateful to him for the help he gave me at the time of research and also in the publication of this book.



Buddhism is a religious movement which sprang out of the ancient Indian religion, call it Vedic or Hindu. It presupposes all literary works belonging to Vedic schools like the Vedas, Brahrnanas and Upanishads. It also presupposes all cults within the society as well as free thinkers. Buddhism revolted against some of the doctrines and practices current in that religion, which as a result, stopped contributing to the progress of humanity. The founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, a scion of the Ksatriya race of the sakya clan, found that the current religious practices were no longer conducive to progress of humanity, and started on his quest for a new path for that purpose. For this, he had to go through the older ways of studies of philosophical schools like Samkhya and Yoga, as well as through the discipline. All this went in vain for him. He did not realise his objections. He, therefore, abandoned them all and started his normal ways of life, and one day, in deep meditation, he discovered an ethical solution to his problems which is called the middle path and also a philosophical doctrine known as Pratitya-samutpada, a theory of dependent origination, four noble Truths and eight fold path of conduct. This, in fact, is the essence of Buddhism.'

One of the synonyms of Buddha is Sarvajna or omniscient. The science of logic of Buddhism, keeping up the daring and unorthodox spirit of Buddha's pursuit of knowledge, represented itself as the investigation of right knowledge, a doctrine of truth and error. The systematized logic of Buddhism starts with a theory of sense- perception as a most indubitable voucher for the existence of an external world. Then it proceeds as Th. Stcherbatsky observes to a theory of co-ordination between the external world and the representation of it as constructed by our understandings in images and concepts. Next the theory of judgement of inference and of syllogism leads the theory on the art of conducting philosophic disputations in public debate.

The two great central figures of Buddhist logic are Dinnaga and Dharmakirti who lived and worked during the 5th and 7th Centuries A.D. They had systematized the rather unsystematic logic of Buddhism, which claims a prolonged history.

In the first stage Buddhism had no special connection with the doctrine as a religion. It was considered as merely the teaching of a path to salvation which asserted with the natural and general logic of human understandings. Later on it developed to a religion based on the teachings of Buddha.

Buddhism denied the soul, the God and the eternity by admitting the transcient flow of evanescent events and their final eternal quiescence in Nirvana. Buddhists were of opinion that the reality stabilizes in concept and thought so it seems to be kinetic but not static. The final goal of Buddhist Logic is a task to analyse the relation between a moving reality and static construction of thought. It is against to the school of Hindu logicians, Vaisesikas and Mimamsakas. According to them the reality is static and enough to the concepts of our knowledge. So other religious champions in India considered the Buddhists as arrogant, nihilists and outsiders. Therefore the logic formulated by Buddhists is known as Buddhist Logic.

Buddhist Logic has a remarkable position in the history of Buddhism and in the general history of Indian Logic and in Indian philosophy. In the prosperous field of Indian Logic, Buddhist logic constitutes an intermediate Buddhist period and a remarkable feature in the domain of Buddhist Philosophy. Buddhist Logic is exactly considered as the concluding phase of Indian Buddhism.

Th. Stcherbatsky remarks that, "beginning with 500 B.C., 1500 years of an actual existence of Buddhism in the land of its birth, this duration is equally distributed into three periods, each having a duration of 500 years."3 According to him the first phase is known as Abhidharmic phase. The duration of this period is marked from Buddha's death to 1st century A.D. The second period is the time between 2nd century A.D. to 500 A.D. In this period the earlier phase was known as the Madhyamika philosophy or Sunyavada and the later as Yogacara or Vijnanavada. He remarks that "the main interest of third phase was the development of Tantra. The dominant feature of this school was occultism."

Another observation gives us a vivid picture of the gradual development of Buddhist philosophy from the doctrines of Buddha to Buddhist Logic. The duration of the period was between 5th century B.C. to 10th Century A.D., which is divided into three, based on its philosophical growth. In the first period the teachings of Buddha is preached among the people by oral tradition. These doctrines were delivered at speech by Buddhist monks in the language of Pali or Magadhi. Giving a perpetual form these oral teachings were transferred from generation to generation.




Foreword 7
Abbreviations 8
Preface 9
Abbreviations 10
Introduction 11
The Origin and Development of Buddhist Logic 17
Dharmakirti - His Life and Works 46
Nyayabindu - An Analysis 54
Critical Analysis 73
Conclusion 110
Select Bibliography 124
Glossary 129
Sample Pages

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