8. Metaphysical Issues in Indian Buddhist Thought

  1. Steven M. Emmanuel
  1. Jan Westerhoff

Published Online: 5 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118324004.ch8

A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy

A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy

How to Cite

Westerhoff, J. (2013) Metaphysical Issues in Indian Buddhist Thought, in A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy (ed S. M. Emmanuel), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118324004.ch8

Author Information

  1. University of Durham, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 FEB 2013
  2. Published Print: 25 MAR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470658772

Online ISBN: 9781118324004

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Keywords:

  • Abhidharma;
  • Dharmakīrti;
  • Indian Buddhism;
  • Madhyamaka;
  • metaphysics;
  • philosophy;
  • Yogācāra

Summary

In Tibetan monasteries depictions of eight Indian Buddhist philosophers collectively referred to as the “six ornaments and two supreme ones” are often found. These “six ornaments” are Nāgārjuna, Ä€ryadeva, Asaṅga, Vasubandhu, Dignāga, and Dharmakīrti. These paintings are usually grouped around a central representation of Buddha Śākyamuni. This iconographic set gives a straightforward way of dividing Indian Buddhist philosophical thought into four intellectual streams: Abhidharma, Madhyamaka, Yogācāra and what is often referred to as the epistemological-logical school of Dignāga and Dharmakīrti. Each of these four schools constitutes a philosophical system of considerable complexity dealing with questions in metaphysics, epistemology, the philosophy of logic and language, ethics, and so forth.