Is Enlightment Possible?: An Analysis of Some Arguments in the Buddhist Philosophical Tradition with Special Attention to the Pramāṇasiddhi Chapter of Dharamakīrti's Pramāṇavārttika

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Snow Lion Publications, 1993 - Religion - 571 pages
Enlightenment connotes for traditional Buddhists the attainment of a state that radically and finally transcends the unsatisfactoriness that pervades existence in the cycle of rebirths known as samsara. Whether enlightenment is conceived of as "merely" the elimination of attachment, aversion and ignorance, or is invested with such qualities as omniscience, omnibenevolence and miraculous powers, it is a state far beyond anything most of us have ever believed possible, let alone experience. In the West, in particular, where secular and psychological views of human possibility have by and large replaced religious notions, traditional Buddhist descriptions of enlightenment most often are greeted either with incredulity or with a "demythologized" reformation along psychological or existential lines more palatable to the agnostic tastes of the late twentieth century. Yet, there are also examples of traditional teachings that insist that the Buddhist world-view, if it is to be regarded as "true," must be validated via the universally accepted means of perception and inference. Dharmakirti's teachings here represent such a tradition within Buddhism, offering an exploration of the most sophisticated argument for the truth of the Buddhist world view.

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