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Title: A critical analysis of the early Buddhist theory of causality as embodied in the Pali Nikayas and the Chinese Agamas
Author: Kalupahana, David Jinadasa
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1966
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The present work is an attempt to examine the early Buddhist theory of causality as embodied in the Pali Nikayas and the Chinese Agamas. Since the Buddhist theory is a product of criticism, assimilation and synthesis of ideas found in the different streams of pre-Buddhistic thought, a detailed analysis of this background was found to be necessary. Chapter I deals with the main ideas on the problem of causality found in the Vedic tradition, represented by two main theories, self-causation and creation by God. The Materialist, Ajivika and Jaina theories have been examined in Chapter II and it has been shown how information from the Chinese Agamas contribute to a better understanding of some of the obscure concepts in these schools. In Chapter III an attempt has been made to clear some misconceptions with regard to the use of terms expressive of causality and to trace the origin of these misconceptions. Confusion of the Sarvastivada theories with those of early Buddhism necessitated detailed examination, not only of the problem of causality, but also some allied conceptions such as change, impermanence, dharma, etc., and covers the first part of the Chapter IV, while the second part is devoted to an examination of the philosophical significance of the general formula of causality. Chapter V is on the special application of the causal principle and the importance of the Chinese sources in shedding more light on the definition of ignorance (avijja) has been pointed out. Chapter VI shows how the causal principle has been applied in almost every sphere of life. A comparison of the early Buddhist theory with some later developments, with special reference to Madhyamika thought is the subject matter of Chapter VII. The status of the causal principle and the method of its verification is discussed in Chapter VIII and the importance of the extrasensory perceptions has also been pointed out. In Chapter IX an attempt has been made to determine, with the information available, the relationship between the Nikayas and the Agamas. The Appendix was necessitated by a problem in Chapter III.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral