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Buddhist Philosophy: Seeing things the way they really are yathābhūtadarśana

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James B. Apple, Ph.D., Instructor



Course Description Buddhists like to place emphasis not on belief as such but on practicing, following a path, and knowing, directly seeing. This direct ‘seeing things the way they really are’ is held to free the person from the depths of suffering through cognitive transformation. By ‘Buddhist philosophy’ we mean, in this general context, the discussions, speculations, and arguments concerning ‘how things really are.’ In this course we will try to understand this issue

through the works of various Buddhist philosophers. In examining the primary sources (via translations), we will question the notion of “schools” of Buddhism as historical realities while accepting the importance of “schools” for subsequent traditions. The goal is to perceive continuities between the works of philosophers while recognizing their unique attempts to solve some persistent philosophical problems. Our hope is to integrate our study of Buddhist philosophy and our encounter with Buddhist meditation.

Requirements 1. Weekly reflection papers 1-3 pages in length. Reflection papers provide an opportunity to consider issues raised in readings and discussions. Try to use these papers as a way of expressing yourself without concern for criticism. Any idea, style or content will be equanimously received. You may write anything, but you must write something. 2. A take-home essay. A choice of topics will be distributed on October 10. Your essay should be at least 5 pages in

length. Essays are dues at the beginning of the following class (October 12). 3. One essay at least 5 pages in length on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor. Topics are due in the class immediately following the mid-term exam. The papers will be due on November 7. 4. A final exam to be written in class (1.5 hours) on November 10. You will be given a choice of topics. 5. The daily question: for each and every class, formulate a question based on the reading for that day. You may be called upon to ask your question, depending on your ‘karma.’ Your question need not be complex. Stupid questions only come from people who have all the answers. The inquisitive instructor reserves the right to solicit arbitrarily as many questions as he pleases on any given day. Apple 2001 Buddhist Philosophy Syllabus.doc Page 2


Required Reading Gethin, Rupert. The Foundations of Buddhism. Oxford University Press, 1998. [=>Foundations]

Rāhula, Walpola. What the Buddha Taught. With a foreword by Paul Demiéville and a collection of illustrative texts translated from the original Pāli. Rev. ed. Bangkok : Haw Trai Foundation, 1988. [=>Rāhula]

Williams, Paul. Buddhist Thought: A Complete Introduction to the Indian Tradition. London; New York: Routledge, 2000. [=>Buddhist Thought]

SOURCEBOOK OF ARTICLES AND READINGS [=>SB] **Page numbers correspond with circled number at bottom of each page of Sourcebook**

Summer Reading Gethin, Rupert. The Foundations of Buddhism. Oxford University Press, 1998.

First Day: Introduction: What is ‘Buddhism’? Sept. 7: The doctrinal position of the Buddha in the context of Indian Philosophy. · Hand in summer assignment. · Buddhist Thought: 1-40; Foundations: 35-58; Rāhula: 1-15 · “The Buddha” (Harvey: 1999) [SB: 1-3]; “Buddha” (Cousins: 1998) [SB: 6-7] Week 1: ‘Mainstream Buddhism’: the basic thought of the Buddha Sept. 10: Śākyamuni’s Philosophical Foundations-The NoblesFour Truths · Buddhist Thought: 41-55; Foundations: 59-89; Rāhula: 16-34


Sept. 12: Selflessness · Foundations: 133-146; Buddhist Thought: 51-66; Rāhula: 34-50 · “Buddhist Concept of Emptiness” (Williams: 1998) [SB: 21-23] Sept. 14: Introductory Dependent Origination · REFLECTION PAPER DUE! · Buddhist Thought: 62-72; Foundations: 149-162; Rāhula: 50-66 Week 2: The Abhidharma: The Higher Teaching Sept. 17: Introduction to Abhidhamma/Abhidharma · Buddhist Thought: 87-95; Foundations: 202-223 · “Ābhidharmika Schools of Buddhism” (Cox: 1998) [SB: 24-27] Apple 2001 Buddhist Philosophy Syllabus.doc Page 3

· “Five Khandhas: Their Treatment in Early Abhidhamma” (Gethin: 1986) [SB: 28-37]


Sept. 19: Hypertrophic Path-Structures: Structural Analysis of the Awakening Process · “Attainment through Abandonment: The Sarvāstivadin Path of Removing Defilements.” (Cox: 1992) [SB: 38-59] Sept. 21: Analysis of The Person · “Refutation of the Theory of Selfhood: A Resolution of Questions about Persons.” (Vasubandhu, Trans. J. Duerlinger: 1989) [SB 60-87] · REFLECTION PAPER DUE!

Week 3 Analysis, Ontology, and Some Schools of Mainstream Buddhist Thought Sept. 24: Analysis of the Person continued and Abhidharma Ontology · “On the Abhidharma Ontology.” (Williams: 1981) [SB 90-106] Sept. 26: Some Schools of Mainstream Buddhist Thought · Buddhist Thought: 112-130 · Sarvāstivādin Thought · REFLECTION PAPER DUE! Sept. 28: Long weekend begins Week 4 Mahāyāna Buddhist Philosophy Oct. 1: Introduction to Mahāyāna Buddhist Philosophy Buddhist Thought: 96-111 & 131-139; Foundations: 224-236 Mahāyāna Buddhism (Williams 1989: 37-54). **On Reserve** · The Heart SŪtra [SB 106-107

Oct. 3: Nāgārjuna and the Madhyamaka School Introduction to Nāgārjuna’s Philosophy · Buddhist Thought: 140-152; Foundations: 237-244 · Wisdom: Verses on the Centricism [[[Mūlamadhyamakakārikā]]]. (Nāgārjuna. J.D. Dunne, trans.: 2000) [SB 114-123] · “Mādhyamika.”(YŪichi: 1987) [SB 108-111];“Nāgārjuna.” (Siderits: 1998) [SB 112113]; Oct. 5: Nāgārjuna’s Philosophy continued · “Mādhyamika Philosophy.” · “Dependent Arising and the Emptiness of Emptiness: Why did Nāgārjuna Start with Causation?” · REFLECTION PAPER DUE! Week 5 The Madhyamaka School continued Apple 2001 Buddhist Philosophy Syllabus.doc Page 4

Oct. 8: Nāgārjuna and an early Nāgārjuna interpretator · “The Soteriological Purpose of Nāgārjuna’s Philosophy Oct. 10: Madhyamaka Thought continued · “Buddhapālita’s Exposition of the Madhyamaka.” · Take-home topics distributed today! Due at the beginning of next class. Oct. 12: Introduction to the Yogācāra School · Buddhist Thought: 152-159; Foundations: 244-249 · “Yogācāra School of Buddhism.” Lusthaus: 1998) [SB 124-130] · Take-home topics due today!

Week 6 The Yogācāra School Oct. 15: Emptiness in the Yogācāra School · “Discriminating the Middle and the Extremes with the Commentary of Vasubandhu.” (Maitreyanātha, Dunne trans.: 1992) [SB 131-135] · “From Madhyamaka to Yogācāra: An Analysis of MMK, XXIV.18 and MV, I.1-2.” (Nagao: 1991c) [SB 145-151]; “What Remains in SŪnyatā: A Yogācāra Interpretation of Emptiness.” (Nagao: 1991b) [SB 136-144]

Oct. 17: Vasubandhu on the Three Natures · “Vasubandhu’s Treastise on the Three Natures Translated from the Tibetan Edition with a Commentary [1].” (Garfield: 1997) [SB 152-163]

Oct. 19: Long weekend begins: No reflection paper this week!

Week 7 The Yogācāra School Continued Oct. 22: Mereological Analysis in Vasubandhu’s Karmic Warehouse · “The Twenty Verses.” (Vasubandhu, Trans. J.D. Dunne: 1993) [SB 164-171]

Oct. 24: Some time for Dignāga and Dharmakīrti on the Means of Valid Cognition · “Dignāga.” (Hayes: 1998) [SB 172-173]; “Dharmakīrti.”(Steinkellner: 1998) [SB 174-175] ·“ Buddhist Doctrine of Nominalism.” (Dunne: 1998) [SB 176-178]

Oct. 26: The Tathāgathāgarbha · Buddhist Thought: 160-167; Foundations: 250-253 · “The Buddha Essence” in Mahāyāna Buddhism (Williams 1989: 96-109) **On Reserve** · REFLECTION PAPER DUE!

Week 8 Mādhyamikans take on the Yogācārins Apple 2001 Buddhist Philosophy Syllabus.doc Page 5

Oct. 29: The light of the Moon: Candrakīrti · “The Directly Facing (Abhimūkhī).” (Huntington: 1989) [SB 179-213]

Oct. 31: More on Candrakīrti · “The Directly Facing (Abhimūkhī).” (Huntington: 1989) [SB 179-213]

Nov. 2: Śāntideva and the deeds of a Bodhisattva · “General Introduction: Śāntideva and his World.” (Williams: 1998b) [SB 214-219] · The Bodhicaryāvatāra: Perfection of Understanding (Śāntideva: 1998) [SB 220-229] · Reflection paper due!

Week 9 Nov. 5: Śāntideva · The Bodhicaryāvatāra: Perfection of Understanding (Śāntideva: 1998) [SB 220-229] Nov. 7: · The Bodhicaryāvatāra: Perfection of Understanding (Śāntideva: 1998) [SB 220-229] · FINAL PAPER DUE! · In-class debate

Nov. 9:

Nov. 10: In-Class Exam

Apple 2001 Buddhist Philosophy Syllabus.doc Page 6


Sources for Readings

Cousins, L.S. (1998) “Buddha” in Craig (1998), Vol. 2: 51-53. Cox, Collett. (1992) “Attainment through Abandonment: The Sarvāstivadin Path of Removing Defilements.” Paths to Liberation, University of Hawaii Press (1992: 63-106). Cox, Collett. (1998) “Ābhidharmika Schools of Buddhism.” In Craig (1998), Vol. 2: 53-59. Craig, Edward. General Editor. (1998) Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Routledge: New York. Duerlinger, James. (1989) “Vasubandhu’s ‘Refutation of the Theory of Selfhood’ (ātmavadapratiṣedha).” Journal of Indian Philosophy 17: 129-135. Dunne, John D. (1998) “Buddhist Doctrine of Nominalism.” In Craig (1998), Vol. 7: 23-27. Garfield, Jay L. (1997) “Vasubandhu’s Treastise on the Three Natures Translated from the Tibetan Edition with a Commentary [1].”

Asian Philosophy 7(2): 133-154. Gethin, Rupert. (1986) “The Five Khandhas: Their Treatment in the Nikāyas and Early Abhidhamma.” Journal of Indian Philosophy 14: 35-53. Harvey, Peter. (1999) “The Buddha.” A Companion to the Philosophers. Edited by Robert Arrington. Blackwell Publishers 1999. Hayes, Richard. (1998) “Dignāga.” In Craig (1998), Vol 3: 74-76. Huntington, C.W. (1989) “The Directly Facing (AbhimŪkhī).” In The Emptiness of Emptiness: An Introduction to Early

Mādhyamika. University of Hawaii Press, 1989. Lusthaus, Dan. (1998) “Yogācāra School of Buddhism.” In Craig (1998), Vol. 2: 64-76. Maitreyanātha. (1992) “Discriminating the Middle and the Extremes with the Commentary of Vasubandhu.” Trans. J.D. Dunne. Unpublished manuscript. Nāgārjuna. (2000). Wisdom: Verses on the Centricism [MŪlamadhyamakakārikā]. J.D. Dunne, trans. Unpublished manuscript. Nagao, Gadjin. (1991) “From Madhyamaka to Yogācāra: An Analysis of MMK, XXIV.18 and MV, I.1-2.” In Nagao (1991c): 189-200. Nagao, Gadjin. (1991a) “What Remains in Śūnyatā: A Yogācāra Interpretation of Emptiness.” In Nagao (1991b): 51-60. Nagao, Gadjin. (1991c) Mādhyamika and Yogācāra. L. Kawamura, trans. Albany: Suny. Apple 2001 Buddhist Philosophy Syllabus.doc Page 7

Rahula, Walpola. (1974) What the Buddha Taught. Foreword by Paul Demiéville. Revised ed. New York: Grove Press. Śāntideva. (1998) The Bodhicaryāvatāra. Kate Crosby and Andrew Skilton, trans. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Siderits, Mark. (1998) “Nāgārjuna.” In Craig (1998), Vol. 7: 638-640. Steinkellner, Ernst. (1998) “Dharmakīrti.” In Craig (1998), Vol. 3: 51-52. Vasubandhu. (1989) “Refutation of the Theory of Selfhood: A Resolution of Questions about Persons.” Trans.

J. Duerlinger. Journal of Indian Philosophy 17: 137-187. Vasubandhu. (1993) “The Twenty Verses.” Trans. J.D. Dunne. Unpublished manuscript. Vasubandhu. (1994) “The Thirty Verses with the Commentary of Sthiramati.” Trans. J.D. Dunne. Unpublished manuscript. Williams, Paul. (1981) “On the Abhidharma Ontology.” Journal of Indian Philosophy 9: 227257. Williams, Paul. (1989) Mahāyāna Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations. The Library of Religious Beliefs and Practices, John

Hinnels and Ninian Smart, eds. London: Routledge. Williams, Paul. (1998a) “Buddhist Concept of Emptiness.” In Craig (1998), Vol. 2: 76-80. Williams, Paul. (1998b) “General Introduction: Śāntideva and his World.” In Śāntideva (1998). Yūichi, Kajiyama. (1987) “Mādhyamika.” Encyclopedia of Religion 9: 71-77.






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