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date: 23 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Arguing that progress toward enlightenment requires gradually developing specific cognitive achievements, the Buddhist philosopher Kamalaśīla alternately appeals to scripture and reasoning in ways that typify the always hermeneutical context for the development of Indian Buddhist philosophy. This context did not preclude great originality; his distinctive appeal to both of the Mahāyāna tradition’s main streams of thought (Yogācāra and Madhyamaka) creatively appropriates a famous Yogācāra argument for idealism—an argument against the coherence of any account of atoms—in service of a conclusion that finally undermines the idealism the argument originally supported. The best argument for Madhyamaka, Kamalaśīla thus urges, consists in pressing an argument for idealism against itself. In developing this line of argument, Kamalaśīla well exemplifies the scholastic character of his tradition.

Keywords: Kamalaśīla, Madhyamaka, Yogācāra, cultivation, bhāvanā, idealism, atomism, scholasticism, Steps of Cultivation, philosophy

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