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By Georges B. J. Dreyfus

Dreyfus examines the significant principles of Dharmakirti, probably the most vital Indian Buddhist philosophers, and their reception between Tibetan thinkers. throughout the golden age of historical Indian civilization, Dharmakirti articulated and defended Buddhist philosophical ideas. He did so extra systematically than an individual earlier than his time (the 7th century CE) and used to be by way of a wealthy culture of profound thinkers in India and Tibet. This paintings offers an in depth photo of this Buddhist culture and its relevance to the historical past of human principles. Its viewpoint is usually philosophical, however it additionally makes use of ancient issues as they relate to the evolution of principles.

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Such an assimilative approach to comparison falls into the extreme of presuming an overwhelming degree of similarity between mystical phenomena. Despite their transcendent vocations, however, even these cannot escape the status of cultural object. To be more fruitful, comparison must walk the finer path described by Dilthey: "Interpretation would be impossible if [past] expressions of life were completely strange. It would be unnecessary if nothing strange were in them. "13 Whereas something utterly alien could not be understood, something identical is self-evident and requires no interpretation.

Other Buddhist schools adopted its vocabulary. Hence, it has central importance for understanding later developments in Buddhist philosophy. The influence of the logico-epistemological tradition was already clearly noticeable in Bhavya (500-570). He reconsidered Madhyamaka doctrine in the light of Dignaga's logical system. Jñanagarbha (700-760) offers the example of a Madhyamika who has adopted many of the key Dharmakirtian epistemological concepts we examine here. His works mark a strong shift toward epistemology within the Madhyamaka tradition.

They also have provided interesting glimpses into the rival Sa-gya tradition but have not explained its philosophy in great detail. The excellent works of all these scholars have provided students of Buddhist thought with rich material, which was previously totally inaccessible. Nevertheless, there is ample room for further improvements. An example is the need to articulate in a clear philosophical language the views of Tibetan traditions, which Tom Tillemans, Paul Williams, Roger Jackson, and others have begun for the Ge-luk views, whereas the views of Sa-gya epistemology have remained mostly absent from the discussion.

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