[Buddha-l] Kathavatthu I.1.1

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Sun Jan 13 01:13:37 MST 2008

> Theravadin - Is 'the person' known in the sense of a real and ultimate
> Puggalavadin - Yes.
> Theravadin - Is the person known in the same way as a real and ultimate
fact is known?
> Puggalavadin - Nay, that cannot truly be said
> Rahula

The Pali reads:

1. Sakavadipuccha: puggalo upalabbhati saccika.t.tha-paramatthena'ti. -1.
Paravadipa.tiñña: amanta.

Sakavadianuyogo: yo saccika.t.tho paramattho. Tato so puggalo upalabbhati

Paravadipa.tikkhepo: naheva.m vattabbe.

Sakavadiniggaho: ajanahi niggaha.m.

The PTS Dictionary defines saccik' a.t.tha as "truth, reality, the highest
truth" -- a synonym for paramattha.
upalabbhati = to be found or got, to be known; to exist

The attack here -- as is also the case in the Abhidharmakosabhasya's attack
on the pudgalavadins -- is to accuse them of equivocating, being promiscuous
with "is, is not" and "neither, nor" expressions.

As we discussed on this list awhile back, the pudgalavadins themselves -- 
based on the surviving examples of their literature -- always insist that
the pudgala is a prajnapti. Thus it would not be a dravya ("real" thing).
Their opponents were always eager to accuse them of taking the pudgala as
too real. Among the non-pudgalavada sources that support the contention that
for the pudgalavadins, the pudgala is a prajnapti are Vasumitra and
Bhavaviveka. The former begins his exposition of their tenets with:

"The pudgala is neither the same [as] nor different from the skandhas. It is
a prajñapti dependent on the skandhas, ayatanas, and dhatus."

Thus, be suspicious of any pudgalavada opponent who says or implies

Priestley's otherwise fine study of pudgalavada Buddhism is plagued by
ignoring that advice. Every text (pudgalavadin or otherwise) that
acknowledges that for the pudgalavadins the pudgala is a prajnapti he treats
with suspicion, or as he says, puzzlement. He just can't believe them, and
jumps through hoops trying to make such texts "mean" otherwise than what
they say. He even tries to develop a theory of types of prajnapti that would
allow that -- a prajnapti that, in his view, ends up meaning "real."

There is no doubt that some of their opponents accused them of atmadrsti
because of making the pudgala too real; there is much doubt whether any
pudgalavadin actually ever held such a view, since their extant literature
strenuously denies it.

Dan Lusthaus

More information about the buddha-l mailing list