Indian Epistemology the Concept of Perception in Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta

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Indian Epistemology: The concept of Perception in Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta (Philosophy)

Perception in Buddhism

  • According to Buddhism, perception is the most important means of knowledge or pramana.

  • According to Buddhism, perception means the bare awareness.

  • Or it means simple sensation of the object, without any determination and imagination or Kalpana.

  • In other words, it means direct sense experience which is undifferentiated, non-relational and free from assimilation, discrimination, analysis and synthesis.

  • So, according to Buddhism, perception is a presentative process and not a representative process.

  • Buddhism rejects determinate perception.

  • According to them, determinate perception is invalid perception because it includes memory.

  • It is therefore, not presentative but representative in nature.

  • Hence, Buddhism rejects the concept of determinate perception which deals with assimilation, discrimination, analysis and synthesis.

Dignaga’s View on Perception

According to Dignaga, perception is devoid of thought constructions, namely, universals, name, and the five predicable, namely;

  • Species or essence

  • Genus or part or kind of essence

  • Differentia or separation of one species from another within a genus

  • Property or quality common to all

  • Accident or quality which may or may not apply

So, the definition of perception is, “pratyaksha kalpanapodam”

Dharmakirti’s View on Perception

  • According to Dharmakirti, perception is devoid of illusions, imagination and determination.

  • It has no conceptual content.

  • In other words, it means no association of a genus with a thing.

  • It is non-illusive in nature.

  • The definition of perception is, “pratyaksha kalpanapodam abhrantam.”

  • Hence, according to Buddhism, perception is inexpressible by words.

  • Note: Buddhism accepts the nirvikalpa or indeterminate perception of Nyaya and rejects savikalpa or determinate perception.

Perception in Advaita Vedanta

  • According to the Advaita Vedanta school of Sankara, perception is both mere awareness and sensation and it is also determinate in nature.

  • Simply put, according to Shankara, without senses no perception is possible and without perception no pramana is possible.

  • So, the school accepts that perception is both mere sensation and mere awareness and at the same time it is differentiated, relational and deals with assimilation, discrimination, analysis and synthesis.

  • So, perception is both, presentative and a representative process.

Questions

1. According to _____, perception is a presentative and re-presentative process

A. Buddhism

B. Dignaga

C. Dharmakirti

D. Sankara

Answer: D

2. According to _____, perception is devoid of thought constructions, namely, universals, name, and the five predicable.

A. Buddhism

B. Dignaga

C. Dharmakirti

D. Sankara

Answer: B

3. According to ____, perception sis devoid of genus, species, property, etc.

A. Buddhism

B. Dignaga

C. Dharmakirti

D. Sankara

Answer: B

4. The definition of is, “pratyaksha kalpanapodam abhrantam” according to

A. Buddhism

B. Dignaga

C. Dharmakirti

D. Both A and C

Answer: C

5. According to _____, perception is a presentative process and not a representative process.

A. Buddhism

B. Nyaya

C. Vaisesika

D. Sankara

Answer: A

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#Epistemology

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#Pratyaksha

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