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The Question of Doctrinalism in the Buddhist Epistemologists

Approximately one thousand years after the career of Sakyamuni Buddha, there arose in India a school of Buddhist philosophers whose putative interest was to set forth and describe the principles according to which beliefs may be deemed justifiable. Among the key figures in this movement were the philosophers Vasubandhu, Diimaga, Dharmakirti, Santarak~ita and Kamalasila. In the present paper I wish to deal with two closely related questions pertaining to these Buddhist epistemologists. First, I should like to examine the stances taken by some of them on the question of the authority of Buddhist scriptures (iigama); essentially what I hope to discover is whether these epistemologists regarded the body of Buddhist canonical writings as sources of knowledge as opposed to regarding them, for example, simply as objects of worship or as liturgical instruments used in the generation of religiOUS merit and its attendant powers.1 And second, I should like to look into the question of

Richard P. Hayes (Ph.D., University of Toronto) is a lecturer and researcher in South Asian philosophy and Buddhist philosophy and religion at the University of Toronto. The principal focus of his research for the past decade has been the linguistic and epistemological theories of the Indian scholastics, aspects of which have been presented in articles published in JOUf'fItJl of Indian PhUosophy, Jouffllll of the American Chlental Society. and Wiener Zeitschrlft far die Kunde SildaBlens.