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1. Journal of Indian Philosophy and Religion: Volume > 27
Juyan Zhang

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Edward Conze suggested that the first two chapters of the Ratnaguṇa (hereafter “the 41 verses”) were the earliest Mahāyāna text. Yet the origin of the verses and their relationship with other prajñāpāramitā texts have been murky. Through five levels of analysis, this research argues that the 41 verses were most likely the verse section of the Sūtra of Mahā-prajñāpāramitā Pronounced by Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva (SMPMB) and later became independent and expanded. The five levels of analysis are as follows. First, the Mahāyāna origin narratives, the Mahāyāna sutras, and ancient Indian Buddhist art all point to Mañjuśrī as the most likely architect of the prajñāpāramitā doctrine. Second, as an early Mahāyāna text, the SMPMB’s narrative shows that Mañjuśrī pronounced prajñāpāramitā and the Buddha sanctioned it. Third, the Tibetan Ratnaguṇa bears the line “Homage to Holy Mañjuśrī” in its beginning, and the text is usually found in conjunction with “The Recitation of Mañjuśrī’s Attributes.” Lexical items also show high parallelism between the 41 verses and the SMPMB. Fourth, a semantic intertextual analysis demonstrates full and complete intertextuality between the two texts. That is, the two texts can fully annotate each other. Finally, a content analysis of the references to the “one four-line verse” (yi si ju ji 一四句偈) in Mahāyāna texts indicates that it is most likely a corrupted reference to the 41 verses. The research further notes that intertextuality between the 41 verses and other prajñāpāramitā sutras cannot provide explanations for the observations in the above analysis, thus excluding alternative explanations. Finally, the research notes that how to attain wisdom deliverance was a widely explored subject from the Buddha’s time to the early schools. Mañjuśrī’s prajñāpāramitā doctrine is the most sophisticated interpretation of the Buddha’s teaching on “see things as they really are” and thus constituted the foundation of early Mahāyāna Buddhism.

2. Journal of Indian Philosophy and Religion: Volume > 27
Shai Tubali

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The Phaedo’s intense preoccupation with the notions of self-liberation and self-transcendence in the face of death is strikingly reminiscent of Hindu and Buddhist philosophies. It is therefore not surprising that comparative philosophers have shown great interest in comparing this particular Platonic work to various South Asian texts: The Phaedo has been compared to the philosophy underlying yoga and Patanjali, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, and Mahāparinibbāṇa Sutta, the canonical account of the Buddha’s final days. Of particular relevance is the Katha Upanishad, which shares with the Phaedo enough common features, both textual and structural and thematic, for a comparative analysis to be fruitful. These striking resemblances enable me to bring important dissimilarities in the dialogical processes into focus— dissimilarities which have much to convey to us philosophically. These dissimilarities demonstrate that although the two traditions engaged in transformative ideas and practices that centered on the liberation of the soul, there is still a substantial difference between the nature of the philosophy celebrated by the Greeks and the mystical thought developed by the Upanishadic sages.

3. Journal of Indian Philosophy and Religion: Volume > 27
Steven Tsoukalas

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Śaṅkara and Rāmānuja were not solely textists; nor were they merely existential metaphysicians; nor were they a combination of both. Rather, their epistemologies involve a sixfold use of vitally important sacred and secular pramāṇa-s as instruments in orchestrated fashion where symphonies of their respective ontologies are given to their listeners. With the two Vedāntins, no pramāṇa is in every case the lead instrument. Rather, they employ any of the six as lead instrument at various times, depending on the pedagogic and/or apologetic context, while the others support the melody played by the lead. The result for both teachers is a melodic epistemological opposed-to-the-other composition characterized by careful thought and use of the six pramāṇa-s, all with the goal of defending their respective traditions of Vedānta as the truth of the matter at hand—knowledge of Brahman.

4. Journal of Indian Philosophy and Religion: Volume > 27
Kisor K. Chakrabarti

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This paper is historical and is devoted to an old controversy in the Indian philosophical tradition with the Vedantins (and others) holding that cognitive states are self-revealing and the Nyaya taking the opposite position. I have summarized the major Vedantin arguments for their viewpoint and offered a critique from the Nyaya perspective. This throws light on a major philosophical controversy in the Indian tradition, a controversy that has not been studied in-depth in the Western tradition. Notably the problem of induction, a major problem in contemporary epistemology, has been studied in-depth in the Western tradition since its introduction by David Hume in the 18th century but the said problem has been studied deeply in Indian tradition for centuries earlier. I have argued in my Classical Indian Philosophy of Induction (2010) that the older Indian contribution on this problem is fully relevant for the very best that contemporary philosophers have offered on this. I hope that this paper will draw the attention of contemporary Western epistemologists who would get involved in this critically important epistemological debate and address a lacuna in the Western tradition.