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How to Attain Enlightenment Through Cognition of Particulars and Universals? Huizhao on Svalakṣaṇa and Sāmānyalakṣaṇa

  • Chen-kuo LinEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Dao Companions to Chinese Philosophy book series (DCCP, volume 9)

Abstract

This chapter attempts to explore Huizhao’s theory of svalakṣaṇa (particular) and sāmānyalakṣaṇa (universal) on the basis of his works, especially his Treatise on Two Means of Valid Knowledge. In this treatise, the main question regarding the nature of cognition in the context of mental cultivation is addressed as such: Is the cognition of universals or the cognition of particulars capable of guiding the practitioner to attain liberation? According to Abhidharmamahāvibhāṣā, universal is the correct answer to the question, since only the path that takes universal as the object is able to eliminate the defilements. For the Chinese Yogācārins and logicians who followed Dignāga, conversely, only the particular can be taken as the object of valid cognition that leads to the final awakening. In the case of Huizhao, he grounds the ontology of universal in the doctrinal framework of Yogācāra idealism, which leads him to compromise between nominalism and conceptualism. This chapter concludes that, as far as the issue of particular and universal is concerned, the Indian side is more devoted to the debate among different philosophical theories, such as realism, nominalism, and conceptualism, whereas on the Chinese side more interests are directed to contextualizing the issue within the practice of cognitive cultivation.

Keywords

Buddhist epistemology Universal Particular Huizhao Yogācāra 

Abbreviations

PS

Pramāṇasamuccaya of Dignāga

PSV

Pramāṇasamuccayavṛtti of Dignāga

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Chengchi UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

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