Journal of Indian Philosophy

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 437–454 | Cite as

How to Deal with Future Existence: sarvāstivāda, Yogic Perception, and Causality



This paper mainly addresses the following issues: how Buddhists deal with future existence, the difference between yogic perception and the cognition of ordinary people with regard to future entities, and how Buddhists resolve the contradiction between the theory of momentariness and that of action and its fruit. According to the Sarvāstivādins, a future entity exists in reality as long as there is cognition that has this entity as its object. According to the Sautrāntikas, however, that theory does not hold true. A future entity is just what will occur hereafter, and it is never the case that such an entity exists at present. Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla do not directly negate an opponent’s argument that the distinction between past and future entities is made by yogic perception, but implicitly accept it. They state that because a future entity is situated in a causal stream (saṃtāna), yogis can cognize it through purified worldly cognition (śuddhalaukikajñāna). As for an effect that will occur in the future, Buddhists do not seem to follow the model that one and the same agent of action will necessarily receive the fruit of past action, which is often seen in other schools such as the Naiyāyikas and Mīmāṃsakas. Rather, Buddhists adopt the theory of the uninterrupted succession of cause and effect.


sarvāstivāda Sautrāntika Causality Śāntarakṣita Kamalaśīla Yogic perception saṃtāna 


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I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Prof. Phyllis Granoff (Yale University), Prof. Eli Franco (Leipzig University), and Prof. Kei Kataoka (Kyūshū University) for providing valuable comments and suggestions before and during the workshop. This research was supported in part by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Nos. 15H03159 and 15K02047.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Intercultural Studies, Faculty of Cultural StudiesKyoto Sangyo UniversityKyotoJapan

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