Omniscience and the Rhetoric of Reason: Santaraksita and Kamalasila on Rationality, Argumentation, and Religious Authority

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Wisdom Publications, Oct 12, 2010 - Philosophy - 432 pages
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The great Buddhist writer Santaraksita (72588 C.E.) was central to the Buddhist traditions spread into Tibet. He and his disciple Kamalasila were among the most influential thinkers in classical India. They debated ideas not only within the Buddhist tradition but also with exegetes of other Indian religions, and they both traveled and nurtured Buddhism in Tibet during its infancy there. Their views, however, have been notoriously hard to classify. The present volume examines Santaraksita's encyclopedic Tattvasamgraha and Kamalasila's detailed commentary on that text in his Tattvasamgraha-pantilde;jika, two works that have historically been presented together. The works cover all conceivable problems in Buddhist thought and portray Buddhism as a supremely rational faith. One hotly debated topic of their time was omniscience-infinite, all-compassing knowledge-whether it was possible and whether one could defensibly claim it as a quality of the Buddha. Santaraksita and Kamalasila affirm that both are true, but in their argumentation they employ different rhetorical strategies in different parts of their works, and advance what appear to be contradictory views. McClintock's investigation of the complex strategies these authors use in defense of omniscience sheds light onto the highly rhetorical nature of their enterprise, one that shadows their own ultimate views as they focus on the most effective approach to convince the audience at hand.

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User Review  - jvalamala - LibraryThing

This is a very focused study of an exegetical nature. It flows easily without the discursiveness of many interdisciplinary studies. I did feel the subject started to drag when we were discussing the ... Read full review


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