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Sakya Paita's anti-realism as a return to the mainstream

Author(s): Gold, JC

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Abstract: Sakya Paṇḍita (Sa-paṇ) (1182-1251), one of Tibet's most revered and influential philosophers, often complained about the inadequacies of his Tibetan rivals. This essay analyzes two passages from Sa-paṇ's Treasury of Reasoning (Tshad ma rigs pa'i gter) to display his belief that his contemporaries had adopted non-Buddhist approaches to the philosophy of language, and to explicate his attempts to return Tibetans to positions more reminiscent of Vasubandhu and Dharmakīrti. The first passage treated is Sa-paṇ's discussion of "appearance" (snang ba), in which he critiques the idea of granting "perceptual" status to what he deems conceptual constructions. The second passage contains Sa-paṇ's own view of the linguistic "signified" (brjod bya) and his karmically grounded causal theory of linguistic signification. Sa-paṇ's analyses help to illuminate the depths of a traditional Buddhist approach to language by refusing to cede its core assumptions in the face of more moderate, commonsense views.
Publication Date: 1-Jan-2014
Citation: Gold, Jonathan C. "Sakya Paṇḍita's Anti-realism as a Return to the Mainstream." Philosophy East and West (2014): 360-374. doi:10.1353/pew.2014.0027.
DOI: doi:10.1353/pew.2014.0027
ISSN: 0031-8221
EISSN: 1529-1898
Pages: 360 - 374
Language: English
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Philosophy East and West
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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