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Journal of Indian Philosophy and Religion

Volume 26, December 2021

Kisor Kumar Chakrabarti
Pages 155-164

Annotated Translation of Udayana's Aatmatattvaviveka

One approaching a thing from a distance may perceive it as existent, then as a substance, then as a tree and, finally, as a fig tree. Thus, the same fig tree can be the object of all these different perceptions. This shows, Udayana argues, that difference in cognitive states does not necessarily prove that their objects are different. This argument is in response to the Buddhist claim that since perceptual cognitive states and non-perceptual cognitive states are different, their respective objects are also different; unique particulars (svalakSaNa) that alone are real, are grasped in perception; general features (saamaanyalakSaNa) that are not real are grasped in non-perceptual cognitive states. The Buddhist objects: when the same thing appears to be the object of different cognitive states, only that cognitive state which leads to useful result is reliable. Udayana replies: More than one cognitive state in the above situation may lead to useful result; it is not justified to accept only one of them as reliable and reject the others. The Buddhist objects again: perceptual awareness is direct but non-perceptual awareness is indirect: hence their objects are different. Udayana replies: The same thing may be perceived when there is sensory connection with it and then inferred from an invariably connected sign when there is no sensory connection. Thus, the same thing may be the object of both direct and indirect cognitive states depending on different causal conditions.