By Dan Lusthaus
Yogacara Buddhism as a special and significant tuition first attracted the
attention of Western students early within the 20th century. The enormity and
complexity of Yogäcära has posed a frightening, yet profitable problem to the
Western students who've tried to take on it.
At the start of the 20 th century the various seminal Indian
Yogacara texts have been now not extant of their unique Sanskrit yet simply in
Chinese or Tibetan translations. With intrepid choice, already in the
nineteenth century students similar to Pelliot, Stein, and Levy, scoured India and
Central Asia trying to find old, forgotten websites and texts, usually successfully
relying at the travelogue composed by way of Hsüan -tsang within the 7th centurythe
Hsi yu chi (Record of Western Lands) to find and establish such places.
Propelled through the invention of lengthy misplaced Sanskrit manuscripts (e.g., Sylvain
Levy's discovery in Nepal and next publishing of Asaiiga's
Mahäyänasütralamkära and Sthiramati's observation on Vasubandhu's
Trimsika)' and the huge translation efforts of Louis de los angeles Vallee Poussin
(especially the Ch'eng wei -shih Jun and, from Hsüan - tsang's chinese language rendering,
the comparable Abhidharmakoia of Vasubandhu, prior to the Sanskrit textual content was
rediscovered),2 and achieving a end result in Etienne Lamotte's French
translation of Asai ga's Mahliysnasamgraha with the commentaries of
Vasubandhu and *AsvabhAva utilizing the chinese language and Tibetan types (the
Sanskrit continues to be lost),' students all started making to be had, in Western language
translations, prolonged examples of the YogicAra process with all its categorial
and terminological complexity. This part of Western Yogäcara studies
primarily hired philological and old methodologies constructed in
European 19th century bible study.
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Extra resources for Buddhist phenomenology, A philosophical investigation of Yogācāra Buddhism and the Chʼeng Wei-shih lun
Since the problem lies in the propensities and compulsions that impel us to attribute some status or another to the 'objects' we cognize and experience, Yogacara suggests that it would be more useful and soterically pertinent to examine the causes which produce those impulses with an aim towards erasing them than to endlessly insist on the metaphysical validity of one theory after another. Their use of the term vijnapti- mätra is thus hermeneutical and soteric, since its aim is the rupture and definitive overcoming of cognitive closure, not its reification.
The history of philosophy, both East and West, seems to bear this out: Whether Descartes' grounding of certainty in thinking, Buddha's grounding of his claims in cognitive experience, or Mencius' grounding of the Confucian ethos in a theory of Mind Nature, etc. From there one may either 'leap' to a realism, as for instance Russell does when he concedes that solipsism is an airtight argument to be rejected not because it is logically untenable, but because, in his view, more is to be gained by assuming that a real, non - mental world exists than by assuming its opposite.
That the self's freedom remains perpetually challenged by the 'unwilling,' the 'involuntary,' the `unconscious' in other words, one is always opposed and constrained by things one can never fully control by deliberate, conscious decisions became the fundamental problematic that Ricouer wrestled with in many of his works. If meaning is not simply an invention of noetic intentionality, what is its source? It should not be shocking then that in his latest writings Husserl turns to history, for, with the empty selfhood that he was etching through his narrowed search for a transcendental ego, where else could he go for constitutive meanings?