Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.568805
Title: The conception of language in Indian Mahāyāna : with special reference to the Laṅkāvatāra
Author: Lugli, Ligeia
ISNI:       0000 0004 2730 6616
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2011
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Abstract:
This thesis sets out to explore the Mahayana idea that of language is inefficacious and potentially misleading as it emerges from the Laṅkāvatāra. This is the sutra that discusses the pitfalls of verbalizations most articulately and forcefully. Its distrust for language unfolds in four tenets. First, words distort meaning (artha). Second, language fails to express reality. Third, language is the source of saṃsāric experience. Fourth, verbal teachings are misleading (deśanāvyabhicārī). Drawing on the Laṅkāvatāra and other thirty-eight texts that contain useful material on these four issues (Akśayamatinirdeśa, Anavataptanāgarājaparipṛcchā, Aṣṭasahāsrikāprajñāpāramitā, Bodhisattvabhūmi, Bodhisattvagocaropāyaviśayavikurvitanirdeśa, Brahmaviśeṣacintīparipṛcchā, Buddhapiṭaka, Buddhasaṃgīti, Dharmasaṃgīti, Ghanavyūha, Jñānālokālaṃkāra, Kuśalamūlaparigraha, Lokadharaparipṛcchā, Madhyāntavibhāga, Mahāyānasaṃgraha, Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkāra, Mahāyanopadeśa, Maitreya section of the Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikāprajñāpāramitā. Ratnagotravibhāga, Ratnākara, Ratnakaraṇḍa, Ratnaketudhāraṇī, Ratnamegha, Ratnolkadhāraṇī, Sāgaramatiparipṛcchā, Sāgaranāgarājaparipṛcchā, Samādhirāja, Saṃdhinirmocana, Saṃvṛitiparamārthanirdeśa, Sarvadharmapravṛttinirdeśa, Sarvapuṇyasamuccayasamādhi, Strīvivartavyākaraṇa, Suvikrāntadevaputraparipṛcchā, Tathāgatamahākaruṇānirdeśa, Tathāgatasaṃgīti, Trayastriṃśatparivarta, Vikurvāṇarājaparipṛcchā, Vimalakīrtinirdeśa), this thesis proffers that the Mahāyāna evaluation of language derives from its conception of reality as sameness (samatā) and of realization as awareness of such sameness. Being intrinsically divisive, language cannot express what is undifferentiated. Any attempt to verbalize reality would introduce fictitious conceptual differentiation in the ultimate. Moreover, verbalization affects the speaker's conceptual representation of the world and informs the misperception of reality as diversity. On account of their verbal nature, Buddhist teachings, too, inevitably involve plurality and misrepresent reality. Hence, scriptures are not suitable to lead to realization. Enlightenment emerges in silence.
Supervisor: Pagel, Ulrich Sponsor: AHRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.568805  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Mahayana Buddhism ; Sacred books ; India
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