While a short work of only eight verses and a three-page autocommentary, the Investigation of the Percept has inspired epistemologists for centuries and has had a wide-ranging impact in India, Tibet, and China. Dignaga, one of the major figures in Buddhist epistemology, explores issues such as the relation between the mind and its percepts, the problems of idealism and realism, and the nature of intentionality in this brief but profound text.
This volume provides a comprehensive history of the text in India and Tibet from 5th century India to the present day. This team of philologists, historians of religion and philosophers who specialize in Tibetan, Sanskrit and Chinese philosophical literature has produced the first study of the text and its entire commentarial tradition. Their approach makes it possible to employ the methods of critical philology and cross-cultural philosophy to provide readers with a rich collection of studies and translations, along with detailed philosophical analyses that open up the intriguing implications of Dignaga's thought and demonstrate the diversity of commentarial approaches to his text.
The comprehensive nature of the work reveals the richness of commentary in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism and shows surprising parallels between the modern West and traditional Buddhist philosophy.
Dignaga's Investigation of the Percept: A Philosophical Legacy in India and Tibet, Douglas Duckworth, Malcolm David Eckel, Jay L. Garfield, John Powers, Yeshes Thabkhas, and Sonam Thakchoe, Oxford University Press, Paperback, 2016, 384 pages, $35.00
Douglas Duckworth is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at Temple University. He is the author of Mipam on Buddha-Nature: The Ground of the Nyingma Tradition (2008) and Jamgön Mipam: His Life and Teachings (2011). He also introduced and translated Distinguishing the Views and Philosophies: Illuminating Emptiness in a Twentieth-Century Tibetan Buddhist Classic by Bötrül (2011).
Malcolm David Eckel is a Professor of Religion and Director of the Institute for Philosophy and Religion at Boston University. His scholarly interests range across the religious traditions of Asia, particularly the philosophy and practice of Mahayana Buddhism in India, Tibet, China, and Japan. He received his B.A. from Harvard, his M.A. from Oxford, and his Ph.D. in the Study of Religion from Harvard. His publications include Bhaviveka and His Buddhist Opponents (2008); Understanding Buddhism (2002); and To See the Buddha: A Philosopher's Quest for the Meaning of Emptiness (1992). He has edited two volumes of essays: India and The West: The Problem of Understanding and Deliver Us from Evil. At Boston University he has served as Director of the Core Curriculum (2007-2013) and Distinguished Teaching Professor of the Humanities (2002-5). In 1998, he won the university's highest teaching award, the Metcalf Award for Teaching Excellence. Before joining Boston University, he served as Associate Professor and Administrative Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School.
Jay L. Garfield is Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Professor of Humanities and Head of Studies in Philosophy at Yale-NUS College, Professor of Philosophy at the National University of Singapore, Recurrent Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Yale University, Doris Silbert Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy at Smith College, Professor of Philosophy at Melbourne University and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the Central University of Tibetan Studies. His most recent books include Engaging Buddhism: Why it Matters to Philosophy (2015), Moonpaths: Ethics and Emptiness (with the Cowherds, 2015), The Moon Points Back: Buddhism, Logic and Analytic Philosophy (edited with Koji Tanaka, Yasuo Deguchi, and Graham Priest, 2015) and Madhyamaka and Yogacara: Allies or Rivals?(edited, with Jan Westerhoff, 2015).
John Powers is Professor of Asian Studies in the School of Culture, History and Language in the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities. He is the author of fourteen books and more than sixty book chapters and academic articles. He is the recipient of a national teaching award from the Australian Learning and Teaching Centre and an Excellence in Supervision Award from ANU. He is the co-chair of the Yogacara Studies Group of the American Academy of Religion. His publications include A Bull of A Man: Images of Masculinity, Sex, and the Body in Indian Buddhism (2009) and Historical Dictionary of Tibet (with David Templeman; 2012).
Yeshes Thabkhas is Professor Emeritus of Indian Buddhist Philosophy at the Central University of Tibetan Studies. He completed his Geshe Lharampa degree at Drepung Loseling Monastic University in 1948 and joined the faculty of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (now the Central University of Tibetan Studies) in 1972, where he taught until his retirement in 1990. He is the author of several books, including A Straightforward Analysis of Interpretable and Definitive Meanings in the Treatise "Essence of Eloquence" (Vana dbus bod kyi ches mtho'i gtsug lag slob gnyer khang, 1997). Geshe Yeshes Thabkhas has lectured in the United States, India, and Nepal and has collaborated with and taught many of the leading scholars of Buddhist Studies in the West.
Sonam Thakchöe is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy in the School of Humanities at the University of Tasmania and Director of the University of Tasmania Buddhist Studies in India Program. He holds an Acarya degree from the Central University of Tibetan Studies and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Tasmania. He is the author of The Two Truths Debate: Tsongkhapa and Gorampa on the Middle Way (2007), a coauthor (with the Cowherds) of Moonpaths: Ethics and Emptiness (2015) and Moonshadows: Conventional Truth in Buddhist Philosophy (2011). His has also published several academic articles.
The Research Team
Part I. Studies and Translations
1. The Subject Matter of Investigation of the Percept: A Tale of Five Commentaries
Malcolm David Eckel, Jay L. Garfield, and John Powers
2. Investigation of the Percept
3. Autocommentary to Investigation of the Percept
4. "To Please Beginners": Vinitdadeva's Subcommentary on Investigation of the Percept in its Indian Context
Malcolm David Eckel
5. Subcommentary on Investigation of the Percept
6. Introduction to Ornament for Dignaga's Thought in Investigation of the Percept
7. Ornament for Dignaga's Thought in Investigation of the Percept
Gung thang dKon mchog bstan pa'i sgron me
8. Ngawang Dendar's Commentary
9. Beautiful String of Pearls: A Commentary on Investigation of the Percept
Ngag dbang bstan dar
10. Introduction to Summary of the Essence: A Commentary on Investigation of the Percept
Jay L. Garfield, John Powers, and Sonam Thakchöe
11. Summary of the Essence: A Commentary on Investigation of the Percept
Part II. Tibetan Texts
Investigation of the Percept and Its Autocommentary: The Tibetan Texts
12. Investigation of the Percept (Alambana-pariksa)
13. Autocommentary to Investigation of the Percept (Alambana-pariksa-vrtti)
14. Subcommentary on Investigation of the Percept: The Tibetan Text
15. Subcommentary on Investigation of the Percept (Alambana-pariksa-tika)
16. Ornament for Dignaga's Thought Regarding Investigation of the Percept: Tibetan Text
17. Ornament for Dignaga's Thought Regarding Investigation of the Percept (dMigs pa brtag pa'i 'grel pa phyogs glang dgongs rgyan)
Gung thang dKon mchog bstan pa'i sgron me
18. Beautiful String of Pearls: A Commentary on Investigation of the Percept: Tibetan Text
19. Beautiful String of Pearls: A Commentary on Investigation of the Percept (dMigs pa brtag pa'i 'grel pa mu tig 'phreng mdzes)
Ngag dbang bstan dar
20. Summary of the Essence: A Commentary on Investigation of the Percept (dMigs brtag 'grel pa snying po bsdus pa)