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Nigrahasthana in the Vadanyaya: Controversy between DharmakIrti and the Nyaya School

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The VAdanyAya (VN) is a philosophical work by Dharmaklrti (ca. 600-660) in which he criticizes the definition of “the point of defeat” (nigrahasthAna) used in the NyAya school 1)and uniquely redefines the term from the position of his theory of Buddhist logic. As can be seen in the following passage, the definition of “the point of defeat” in VN is contrasted with the traditional definition of the NyAya school.

VN 1, 4-5: AsAdhanAGgavacana and adoSodbhAvana are the points of defeat for the two(debaters, i. e. a proponent and an opponent, respectively).2) However, other [points of defeat that the Nyaya school and the like explain]3) are not correct, hence [they are] not accepted.

Here DharmakIrti presents his original idea of dividing “the point of defeat” into asAd- hanAGgavacana(the point of defeat for a proponent) and adoSodbhAvana(the point of de¬feat for an opponent) . In the first half of VN(pp. 1-24) , many issues with the interpreta¬tions of these two concepts are considered, and ultimately the former is shown to have five types of interpretations and the latter two types of interpretations. 4)On the other hand, the twenty-two types of “the point of defeat” established by the NyAya school are criticized in¬dividually in the latter half of VN(pp. 25-68) , with consideration given to the interpretations presented earlier in the first half.

VN was translated and critically edited by M. T. Much in 1991 and he presented com-prehensive results of VN research up until that point, marking a significant contribution to research on the text. However, it still cannot be said that the analytical framework of “the point of defeat” in its whole context has been clearly explained. Accordingly, this paper aims to demonstrate a method for analyzing “the point of defeat” in VN and to partially clarify the originality and historical significance of DharmakIrti's definition through a comparison of the first and second halves of VN.

1. DharmakIrti's Criticism of the NyAya School in the Second Half of VN

“Deficient”(nyUna), 5)the eleventh point of defeat among the twenty-two types estab¬lished by the NyAya school, provides a good example of the clear contrast of DharmakIrti's definition of “the point of defeat” with that of the NyAya school. The NyAya school defines “deficient” as the lack of any one of

the five parts that comprise an inferential statement: a thesis(pratijJA), a logical reason(hetu), an example(udAharaNa), an application upanaya), and a conclusion(nigamana). This definition is based on the perspective that all five parts are means of proof(sAdhana)that are indispensable for establishing what is to be proven(sAdhya). 6)DharmakIrti, however, presents the following criticism of the NyAya school in the second half of VN.

VN 49, 9-13: It has been already explained that [an inferential statement] deficient in a thesis is not lacking [in a means of proof] because apprehension takes place [even] when it (a thesis) is not included[in an inferential statement] .[On the other hand] another person(Uddyotakara)[insists that] it(an

inferential statement deficient in a thesis) is certainly lacking[in a means of proof] because defeat takes place even when[an inferential statement is] deficient in a thesis. 8)A person who makes an useless speech which is already known is to be defeated 9)and is not a speaker of meaningful things. Therefore, this is a thoughtless remark[by Uddyotakara] . 10)

The NyAya school considers a thesis to be a means of proof, whereas DharmakIrti con-siders that it can be understood through paksadharmata (a logical reason's being a property of a subject)and vyApti(pervasion)if it is not mentioned in an inferential statement; hence he thinks that a thesis given in an inferential statement is useless and is not in fact a means of proof. 11)Furthermore, he applies this view to an application and a conclusion 12) also. 12 However, like the NyAya school, he considers a logical reason and an example to be indispensable means of proof.

2. DharmakIrti's Definitions of the Point of Defeat in the First Half of VN

Let us focus on the first, second, and third interpretations of asAdhanAGgavacana, which are considered in the first half of VN, in order to make a comparison with DharmakIrti's criticism of “deficient” in the second half of VN. The first interpretation is explained as fol-lows. VN 1 , 6-11: Proof(sAdhana) 13)means establishment of what is intended[to be proven] , 14)and a factor(aGga) 15)means what accomplishes it(proof) . Not

stating it(a factor of proof) ,[that is to say] not uttering this factor,16) is a point of defeat for a proponent. The reason is either that [a proponent] falls silent because he does not think of [a factor of proof]17) despite accepting it (what is intended to be proven) , or that he does not verify the factor of proof. That is to say, the factor that establishes what is not being perceived is[confined to] the only three logical marks, which are essential property, effect, and non-apprehension.

In the first interpretation, asAdhanAGgavacana is resolved into sAdhanAGgasya avacanam, translated as “not stating a factor of proof.” A “factor of proof”(sAdhanAGga)in this con¬text is one of the three logical reasons, namely, essential property, effect, and non-apprehension. Therefore, as mAdhanA Ggavacana means “not stating any one of the three logical reasons.” It seems reasonable then to conclude according to DharmakIrti's theory that a proponent is defeated if he intends to prove a thesis but fails to state any one of these logical reasons. DharmakIrti's comprehension of the point of defeat differs from that of the NyAya school in how they define the logical reason, but they are similar in that both of them accept the logical reason as means of proof.

The second interpretation of asadhanagavacana is explained as follows

VN 17, 4-8: Alternatively, a means of proof (sadhana)18) is what proves a thing that is not known by others,[namely,] the set of statements expressing a logical reason satisfying the three characteristics. 19)An element(agga) 20)of it(a means of proof) is the statement expressing a property of a subject

and so forth. Not stating any one of them(elements) is “not stating an element of a means of proof”(asAdhanAGgavacana) . 21)This is also a point of defeat for a proponent. The reason is that when it(an element of a means of proof) is not stated, there is no establishment because of not stating just the characteristic of the logical reason.

In this second interpretation, asAdhanAGgavacana is resolved into sAdhanAGgasya ava- canam, translated as “not stating an element of a means of proof.” An “element of a means of proof”(sAdhanAGga)is one of the three characteristics of a logical reason; therefore, if a proponent who intends to prove a thesis

does not sufficiently state the three characteristics of a logical reason, he is defeated. Furthermore, bearing in mind DharmakIrti's notion that the logical reason satisfying the three characteristics implies the concept of the exam¬ple, 22)we can indirectly reach the conclusion that a proponent who does not state an ex¬ample is defeated. We can conclude that this comprehension of DharmakIrti is similar to that of the NyAya school, as in the first interpretation.

Lastly, the third interpretation of asadhanagavacana is explained as follows:

VN 17, 9-11: Alternatively, a thesis, an application, a conclusion, and so forth23) are not the element of the means of proof [that is to say, not the element of the set of statements expressing a log¬ical reason satisfying the three characteristics]. Making mention of “what is not the element of a means of proof”(asAdhanAGga) 24)in the inferential statement is a point of defeat for a proponent because[it is] a useless reference.

In this interpretation, asAdhanAGgavacana is resolved into asAdhanAGgasya vacanam, translated as “stating what is not the element of a means of proof.” Here, “what is not the element of a means of proof”(asAdhanAGga)are a thesis, an application, a conclusion, and so forth, so asAdhanAGgavacana means “stating a thesis, an application, a conclusion, and so forth.” Thus, a proponent who refers to a thesis, an application, or a conclusion is defeated. DharmakIrti's comprehension of this point of defeat is the exact opposite of the NyAya school's understanding, and shows originality based on DharmakIrti's own ideas about the means of proof.

3. Conclusion

This article shows the following three important points.

1. Dharmakirti defines “the point of defeat”(nigrahasthana) using two totally new concepts of asAdhanAGgavacana(the point of defeat for a proponent) and adoSodbhAvana(the point of defeat for an opponent) .

2. DharmakIrti's theory of logic is reflected in asAdhanAGgavacana and adoSodbhAvana. Within the narrow limits of this article, the three types of logical reasons are reflected in the first interpretation of asAdhanAGgavacana; the three characteristics of a logical reason are reflected in its second inter¬pretation; and what is not the means of proof is reflected in its third interpretation.

3. Based on a comparison of DharmakIrti's interpretations of asAdhanAGgavacana in the first half of VN and his criticism of the eleventh point of defeat, namely “deficient”(nyUna) of the NyAya school, in the second half of VN, some similarities and differences in thoughts on “the point of de¬feat” between DharmakIrti and the NyAya school become clear.

From what has been discussed above, we can conclude that DharmakIrti reflects his di¬verse theory of Buddhist logic in asAdhanAGgavacana and adoSodbhAvana, and thereby re¬defines “the point of defeat” in a way that has both differences with and similarities to the NyAya school's definition. These brief highlights show the originality and historical signifi¬cance of his definition. A future direction for work in this area will be to compare Dharma- kIrti's whole definition of “the point of defeat” in the first half of VN with his refutation of all the other NyAya school's definition of it in the latter half of VN.


1) Cf. NS 5.2.1-24. 2) See VA 3, 5-6. 3) See VA 3, 6-8. 4) For a discussion

of the five types of interpretations of asAdhanAGgavacana, see Sasaki 2012. 5 ) Cf. NS 5.2.12;

VN 49, 6. 6) Cf. NV 1185, 6-7; VN 49, 6-8. 7) Cf. VN 17, 9-11; 17, 16-18, 7.

8) See VA 109, 16-18. 9) See VA 109, 18-19; HB 5*, 23-24. 10) See VA 109, 21¬23. 11) Cf. HB 6*, 15-17. 12) Cf. HB 6*, 23-24. 13) Cf. VA 3, 10.

14) See VA 3, 9-10. “What is intended [to be proven] ” means a thesis. Cf. NB III 38-39. 15)

See VA 3, 13-14. 16) See VA 3, 14-16. 17) See VA 3, 21-22. 18) See VA 60,

30-61 , 7. 19) This is equivalent to the definition of inference for others(parArthAnumAna) .

Cf. NB III 1. 20) See VA 61, 7-8. 21) ZAntarakSita resolves a contradiction of VN's

explanation. Cf. VA 61, 12-15. 22) Cf. NB III 121. 23) Cf. Much 1991: 40, Anm.

194-195. 24) See VA 61, 19.

Abbreviations and Bibliographical References

HB Hetubindu of DharmakIrti. DharmakIrti's HetubinduH. Teil I, Tibetischer Text und rekonstruierter Sanskrit-Text. Ed. Ernst Steinkellner. VKSKSO 4. Vienna: VÖAW, 1967. NB NyAyabindu of Dhar- makIrti. PaNDita Durveka Mizra's DharmottarapradIpa: Being a Sub-commentary on Dharmottara's NyAyabinduTIkA, a

Commentary on DharmakIrti's NyAyabindu. Ed. Dalsukhbhai Malvania. TSWS 2. Patna: KPJRI, 1955. NS NyAyasUtra of Gautama. See NV. NV NyAyavArttika of Uddyotakara. NyAyadarzanam: With VAtsyAyana's BhASya, Uddyotakara's VArttika, VAcaspati Mizra's TAtparyaTIkA and VizvanAtha's VRtti. 2 vols. Ed. Taranatha

Nyaya-Tarkatirtha et al. CSS 18 & 29. Calcutta: MPPH, 1936-44. Rep. Kyoto: Rinsen Book, 1982. VA VipaJcitArthA of ZAntarakSita. Dharmakirti's VAdanyAya: With the Commentary of ZAntarakSita. Ed. RAhula SAGkRtyAyana. Appendix to JBORS 21 & 22. Patna: BORS, 1935-36. VN VAdanyAya of DharmakIrti. DharmakIrtis VAdanyAyaH. Teil I, Sanskrit-Text. Ed. Michael Torsten Much. VKSKS 25, Vienna: VÖAW, 1991.

Much, Michael Torsten. 1991. DharmakIrtis VAdanyAyaH. Teil II, Übersetzung und Anmerkungen. VKSKS 25. Vienna: VÖAW.

Sasaki Ryo 2012. “Darumaklruti no nigrahasthAna kaishaku (1): asAdhanAGgavacana ni tsuite”

O nigrahasthAna M^( (1): asAdhanAGgavacana [Dharmaklrti's in¬ terpretation of nigrahasthAna (1): On asAdhanAGgavacana]. Kuon: KenkyU ronbunshU AÄ: W 3:69-90.

This research was supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Fellows.)

(Key words) Dharmaklrti, VAdanyAya, nigrahasthAna, asAdhanAGgavacana, nyUna

(Graduate Student, Waseda University, JSPS Research Fellow)