- The Concept of Personality
Revealed Through The Pancanikaya
- Ven. Thich Chon-Thien
- Part Two: Dependent Origination (Paticcasamuppada)
- II.2 Chapter 2
- In the Light of Dependent
The problems often discussed in a culture
are the outlook on life and universe, individual questions, environment and values. These
problems play their role in determining the course of development of culture. They are
going to be reviewed in this chapter in the light of Dependent Origination.
II.2.1: THE OUTLOOK ON LIFE AND UNIVERSE
Examining the origin or nature of life and
universe is the main task of the sphere of metaphysics. This problem has a very important
position in philosophy. It was examined from the dawn of Egyptian, Indian and Chinese
thought. This is the searching for the essence of existing things relating to the problem
of eternity and non - eternity, self and non - self, reality and annihilation, creator and
Lord Buddha Gotama, who Himself realized
the Noble Truth, considered all metaphysical questions empty. He often kept silent and
gave no answers to such metaphysical questions, because for Him, those questions do not
realistically relate to the purpose a monk should aim at - that is the final freedom. This
experimental attitude of His mind is mentioned in many discourses of the Pancanikāya.
However, on the authors way to study universe and human beings, some philosophical
problems relating to spirituality and materiality are necessary tobe discussed.
When a man is examining universe, he is
with it in the here - and- now. How can he know what the universe really is when he cannot
understand who he really is? So, the practical thing for him is turning back to himself
and seeing where and who he is so that he can come to the destruction of all hindrances to
the truth of things. In doing this, he is to follow a practical method of phenomenology,
and experimental method of mind by Lord Buddha.
For materiality, Lord Buddha declared that
the material world is formed by the Four Great Elements as many Indian thinkers before Him
did: they are Earth element, Water element, Fire element and Air element. These elements
are dynamic and impermanent, so all existing things compounded by them must be
impermanent. The question about the originof them is unacceptable to the truth of
Dependent Origination as discovered by Lord Buddha; it becomes senseless.
According to Dependent Origination, this
pheno menal world is conditioned, selfless and empty; human beings are but the compound of
the five aggregates (pancakkhandha) which are selfless and empty; both the world and men
co - exist, but cannot separate from each other. This truth was proved again by Lord
Buddhas teaching recorded in the discourse of Mahāpunnama (Majjhimanikāya,Vol.III)
and of Dhātuvibhanga (Majjhimanikāya, Vol. III): Form aggregate among the five
aggregates compounding a manincludes an inside part which is his physical body, and an
outside part which is the physical world; this means the universe itself is a part of a
Since mens thought is limited by
self - thought and by the limit of mens sense organs, it cannot set its feet on the
true world of things, so people may ask: does this universe exist as what human beings
perceive? or, does it exist independently from what human beings perceive?
In response to the above questions, the
realists claim the universe appears exactly as what human beings perceive; the Western
idealists supposed men can know only the world perceived by their sense organs, but can
never know the world itself, as Platon did; Immanuel Kant is a rationalist but he accepted
that idealist point of view. Although there are various regards to things, Western
philosophers and educators believe that there is an objective world independent from human
beings that can never be known. This means to the author the root difference between Lord
Buddhas teaching and other schools of thought, and gives him a hope to find
solutions for the crises caused by the self - thought way.
Once, in the discourse of Pātigamiya
(Khuddakanikāya), Lord Buddha Gotama mentioned the unconditioned world (asankhāra) as
the world existing out of the sphere of going and coming, birth and death etc., and
declared that is the world of the destruction of suffering, or of attachment to things.
This proves that the world people see and know is that of attachment or of inversions
(mental, perceptual, emotional inversion andinversion of view) which is derived from
The true world is therefore this
phenomenal world without mens attachment to things. Lord Buddha affirmed:
" And, I, Bhaggava, who teach this and declare this,
am wrongly, vainly, lyingly, and falsely accused by some ascetics and Brahmins who say:
The ascetic Gotama is on wrong track, and so are His monks. He has declared that whoever
has attained to the stage of deliverance called "the Beautiful" finds everything
repulsive". But I do not say this. What I say is that whenever anyone has attained to
the stage of deliverance called the Beautiful he finds that it is beautiful". (1)
("Evam - vādim kho mam Bhaggava evam akkhāyim eke
Samana- Brāhmanā asatā tucchā musā abhutena abbhācikkhanti: Viparito Samano Gotamo,
bhikkhavo, ca. Samano Gotamo evam āha: -Yasmim samaye subham vimokham upasampajja
viharati, sabbam tasmim samaye asubhan teva sanjānātiėti". Na kho panāham
Bhaggava evam vadāmi: "Yasmim samaye subbam vimokham upasampajja viharati, sabbam
tasmim samaye asubhan teva sanjānātiėti. Evanca kho aham Bhaggava vadāmi: Yasmim
samaye subbham vimokham upasampajja viharati, subhan teva tasmim samaye
The above teaching also reveals Lord
Buddhaseducational point of view which is: educating men means helping them culivate
their mind for the deliverance from all troubles and defilements. When their mind is pure,
they will immediately see the purity of the world (or the true world): Happiness and truth
appear at the same time to them. It is not training them according to any theory of
personality, or any pattern of education. It is not either the searching for the origin of
life or universe.
Then another question may be asked:
spirituality comes after materiality, or materiality comes after spirituality? - This is a
problem of philosophy.
As mentioned before, mans thinking
operates on the basis of self - concept. Without self - concept, it cannot function. It is
self - concept which makes up the concept of order of things, then the concept of
"before", "after" or "the first cause". Reality itself has
nothing to do with that self - concept. It always says that materiality or spirituality is
conditioned as the doctrine of Dependent Origination does. If form aggregate cannot
separate from other aggregates, materiality cannot either separate from spirituality: both
co - exist. However, because of the emphasis of cultivating mans mind, Lord Buddha
" All that we are is the result of what we have
thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or
acts with an evil thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that
draws the carriage". (3) Dhp.1.
(" Manopubbangamā dhammā manosetthā manomayā
Manasā ce padutthena bhāsati vā karoti vā
Tato nam dukkhamanveti cakkam va vahato padam".) (4)
-" All that we are is the result of what we have
thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or
acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him like shadow that never leaves
(" Manopubbangamā dhammā manosetthā manomayā
Manasā ce pasannena bhāsati vā karoti vā
Tato nam sukhamanveti chāyā va anapāyini".) (6)
Men should be sure that thought (or mind)
mentioned in the above teachings is conditioned, even the Tibhava, or three Worlds, they
are conditioned; and all conditioned things, as materiality and spirituality, are selfless
and therefore empty. Only problem of suffering of man and its cessation, but not
speculations, was considered seriously by Lord Buddha on His way of teaching.
Knowledge is another important matter to
be reviewed. It relates to existing things and is so close to a man that he considers it
something of his self. What is it? A knowledge of the outer world is but a synthesis of
the sources of information given by sense - organs. But sense - organs are not believable
information givers. For example, when a man puts his left hand in a basin of cold water,
his right hand in a basin of pretty hot water; then right after that he puts both hands in
a basin of warm water; his hands do not give him the same feeling. This is an error. It is
the same for other sense organs. The above synthesis is done by the mans thinking
based on self -thought, so it is something of ignorance. Therefore, knowledge must not
belong to the true self of the man, or to the true world. In the light of Dependent
Origination, it leads men just to suffering; it really is not what human beings are
A system of education, which as almost all
systems of education of today world only offers men knowledges, will not bring happiness
to them. It should be adjusted as early as possible.
In addition to the above clarification,
the doctrine of Dependent Origination, to the authors knowledge, can suggest new
regards to the problems of individuals, society and environment that will be studied next.
II.2.2. DEPENDENT ORIGINATION AND
The big problems of a modern society with
which leaders, educators and thinkers are concerned are individuals, individuals and
society, history and environment, because these things have a very close relationship to
individual happiness and survival; they seem to exist as a part of human existence,
therefore they deserve to be observed under the light of truth- Dependent Origination.
Individuals and happiness:
It is very evident that everybody is born
to be happybut not suffering, to serve his practical purpose of happiness but not any
other purpose that does not relate intimately to it. It is also very evident that one is
searching for truth of life because of his peace of mind in the here and now. So, the main
object of education and culture must be individuals, and the root aim of education and
culture must be happiness of individuals.
From the very old days, human beings
gathered together in groups called tribes for their survival for the improvement of their
life, and for the coping suitably with weather, environmental conditions and nature. It is
these things which made up what is called society, culture and civilization. Since life
stream was flowing from change to change, human beings efforts to build up their
happiness and society must have changed from generation to generation accordingly. Then
individuals came to work for two inseparable purposes: one for individuals, one for their
group or society. When these two purposes did not work, individual problems arose and
needed solutions. However, peoples regards to individuals, society and happiness are
different from each other. This made the problems become more and more complicated, and
the searching for solutions became the reason for religions and schools of thought to come
into existence and to be developed. Let us follow the typical regards to them from great
spheres of culture all over the world.
P.T. Raju, in the work titled "The
concept of Man" edited by him and S.Radhakrishnan, gave the following comments:
For Greek thoughts :
"The pre - sophist philosophies did not say much
about mans relation to society... The sophists were more individualistic, being
mainly devoted to training leaders of men who would influence society and use it as means
to their own ends... Each man was the measure of things for himself, not only of things
cognized but also of good and evil in society. But Plato and Socrates were opposed to this
radical individualism and relativism of the sophists. Man, the measure of things, is not
to be the particular man, but the universal man. The structure of society and the
structure of mans soul reflect each other, and are interdependent. The essence of
man is rearon and is found in a rationally ordered society. The modern idea that the
individual cannot be studied apart from society and that the personality of man is formed
by society and grows in society, is not strong in Greek thought...
Socrates and Platon showed that society is a projection of
human nature on a vast canvas or is a much enlarged reflection, of human nature. Man
cannot live without society and can have full life only within it.
...Aristotle, a rationalist accepted main principles of
Platon. Man cannot be man without society.. (7)
For Chinese thoughts:
"In Chinese thought, mans concern for man is
thestrongest and is considered to be self - sufficient... and how to have the best kind of
state and society in which man can be virtuous is an ever - recurring question in the
history of Chinese philosophy.
" Study human relationships in order to organize the
state well is Confucian advice... When Mencius says that the universe, which is the
universe of human relationships, is to be found within mind, he meant that this universe
can be found within man and is not to be derived from any reality outside man. Hsun Tzu
different from Mencius and said that man is essentially selfish and evil and therefore
needs education and culture in order to become good...
... Man is essentially a social creature and can live a
virtuous life only in a society of men, whether God exists or not. (8)
For Indian thoughts, they seem to be the
most interesting of the world as mentioned in (I.2.)
For Marxist thought, P.T. Raju estimated:
" Marxist philosophy proceeds from the thesis that
the individual is a social creature... Marx and Engels considered that the individual and
the social life of a person are not different things, even though they have different
forms of expression... "Man can settle only in society", Marx wrote, "Only
in society can his individuality be revealed in accordance with the social
In the authors opinion, Greek
thoughts belong to dualism supposing that every existing has its own nature, regardless of
the point of view considering individual and society interdependent or not. So, they must
belong to the operation of ignorance (avijja) which actually leads to suffering.
Chinese thoughts emphasize individuals as
virtuous men living in the order of a society well - organized. They are but the
production of self - thought, not of reality itself. These thoughts must bring troubles to
individuals as people could see in the history of China: many tragical contradictions
among human relationships happened.
Generally, to human beings point of
views, Lord Buddha Gotama gave the following estimate:
" When those ascetics and Brahmins who are
speculators about the past (the future and present), having fixed views about the past
(the future and present), put forward views in sixty two different ways, that is merely
the feeling of those who do not know and see, the worry and vascillation of those immersed
in craving". (10)
("Tatra, bhikkhave, ye te samanabrāhmanā
pubbantakappikā ca pubbantakappikā ca aparanta kappikā ca pubbantāparantā-
parantānuditthino pubbantāparantam ārabbha aneka - vihitam adhivutti padāni
abhivadanti dvā - satthiyā vatthųhi, tad api tesam bhavatam samana brāhmānanām
ajānatam apassatam vedayitam tanhā - gatānamparitasitavipphanditam eva".) (11)
With His perfection of wisdom, Lord Buddha
did know and see the truth of this Universe, then explained the formation of this earth
and human beings society that may be summarized as below: (12)
- At the time of the contraction of this world, beings
were mostly born in the Ābhassara Brahmā world. There they dwell, mind - made, feeding
on delight, self - luminous, moving through the air, glorious...
- At the time of the expansion of this world, the beings
having passed away from Ābhassara Brahmā world were mostly reborn in this world. Here
they dwell, mind - made, feeding on delight, self - luminous, moving through the air,
- At that period expansion, there was just one mass of
water; all was darkness...; night and day were not distinguished, beings being reckoned
just as beings, no male and female were discriminated...
- Then earth appeared as a skin that forms over water with
the colour of fine ghee or butter and was very sweet like wild honey.
- Then some beings of greedy nature tasted earth, attached
the flavour; craving began to arise in them. They became more greedy, and earth became
stuffy; they became coarser and coarser.
- Among those beings, those with less greedy nature became
more good - looking, others became ugly. The good - looking dispised the ugly; this made
the good flavourof earth disappear. Then, a fungus cropped up, in the manner of a mushroom
with good colour, smell and taste.
- Then, beings craving increased more and more,
earth became worse and worse, and beings became coarser and coarser.
- The rice appeared in open spaces, free from powder and
from husks, fragrant and clean - grained. What beings had taken in the evening for supper
had grown again and was ripe in the morning, and what they had taken in the morning for
breakfast was ripe again by evening. At this time, beings became coarser; females
developed female sex - organs, and males developed male - organs; passion was aroused and
their bodies burnt with lust; then sexual intercourse appeared.
- At first times, beings cursed and swore at those who
were making love, and threw dust and ashes at them; and did not allow them to live with
others in villages, towns two months.
- Beings became more and more lazy and wanted to gather
rice as much as possible and keep rice in their own places for personal use..., then rice
fields appeared... sexual life was openly acceptable. Beings started building houses to
cover sexual activities.
- Then some beings stole rice of others: stealing and
- Then beings chose the best looking man and asked him to
be the one as a lawyer or a referee to try the cases of stealing rice. This person
received a share of rice from them; he did not have to work for rice. Thiswas the start of
the social class of Khattiya.
- Some beings kept away from a sexual life, lived in
separate places in leaf - huts in forest, and practised meditation. They were called
Brahmins. Some of them could not meditate in lonely places and turned to towns or villages
to compile books; they were also considered as Brahmins.
- Other beings adopted various trades and were called
Vessas. Those who went to forests for hunting were named Suddas.
So, right after this Earth was formed, the
first beings from Ābhassara heaven appeared without need for food. Then the sweet taste
of earth and rice attracted them and made desire for things arise and grow up in them.
After that, sex organs appeared together with desire for sexuality. When their desire grew
up, social needs existed requiring social organization: human society was formed then, and
social classes came into existence according to beings conduct: society was for the
response to the individuals requirements only. This is the first and last role of
society. This is the reason why Lord Buddha concerned only about suffering of individuals
in this life, and their deeds for their happiness. He therefore taught:
" One does not become an outcast by birth, one does
not become a brahmin by birth. It is by deed that one becomes an outcast, it is by deed
that one becomes a brahmin. (13)
("Na jaccā vasalo hoti, na jaccā hoti brāhmano,
Kammanā vasalo hoti, kammuna hoti brāhmano".) (14)
Society should do nothing but help
individuals resolve their problems by their own deeds. Culture and tradition which are
belongings of a society should do the same thing. This is the most traditional meaning of
the role of society, culture or tradition. And the most original or traditional meaning of
individuals purpose of life may be, at least as it happened in the beginning of this
world, a peaceful mind of self - delight.
The world of today appears as a whole
society very great with so many problems to be resolved relating to languages, political
systems, customs, ways of life, religions, beliefs, race, sex, ..., and environment. All
these things which put a lot of strong influences on men are existing as a very rough
ocean sinking a boat of individuals. In those conditions of life, individuals feel so
strange to themselves that they are surprisingly asking about their origin while they
actually are there, and the truth of life is there. Because of this, Lord Buddha, who did
know and see the past and future of this universe, declared:
" Do not say that, Ānanda, do not say that! This
dependent origination is profound and appears profound. It is through not understanding,
not penetrating this doctrine that this generation has become like a tangled ball of
string, covered as with a blight, tangled like coarse grass, unable to pass beyond states
of woe, the ill destiny, ruin and the round of birth-and-death". (15)
("Mā hevam, Ānanda, avaca, mā hevam
avaca. Gambhėro cayam, Ānanda, paticca samuppādogambhėrāvabhāso ca. Etassa,
Ānanda, dhammassa ananubodhā appativedhā evam ayam pajā tantākulaka - jātā
gulāgunthika - jātā munjababbaja - bhuųtā apāyam duggatim vinipātam samsāram
Indeed, when this culture cannot help
individuals be themselves and cannot bring them happiness, human beings will not have any
choice other than accepting the fateful suffering as they are, if its course of operation
is not changed. A phenomenon, as the evident result of the current culture, happening is
the grave pollution of environment which may cause disaster on Earth. There must be
something wrong in mens course of thought and action that needs to be adjusted for
the protection of environment from pollution. This is the subject of hot discussion of our
time that the author is going to mention in (II.2.3.). In his opinion, without
understanding the close relationship between man and nature, people cannot understand what
a man really is; without protecting environment from pollution as protecting mens
life from suffering, human beings will come to their ruin.
II.2.3. INDIVIDUALS AND ENVIRONMENT
What is environment? What is pollution of
environment? Let us start examining it now.
Environment is a new term of nature. A new
study branch on environment of the modern time is called ecology.
Some concepts of ecology:
Ecology is relatively a new science
dealing withvarious principles which govern the relationships between organisms and their
environment. American ecologist Frederick Clements (1916) considered ecology to be
"the science of the community"; British ecologist Charles Elton (1927) defined
ecology as "scientific natural history" concerned with the "sociology and
economics of animals"; Woodbury (1954) treated ecology as "a science which
investigates organisms in relation to their environment, and a philosophy in which the
world of life is interpreted in terms of natural processes". Krebs (1972) defined it
as "the scientific approach to the study of environmental interactions which control
the welfare of living things, regulating their distribution, abundance, reproduction and
P.D. Sharma (F.N.I.E.) (Department of
Botany, Univ. of Delhi) wrote in his book titled "Ecology and Environment" that:
" These days ecology has been contributing very much
to socio- economic, political and other similar policies of the world. It is so common to
find references of ecology in socio - economic writings, magazines, weekly and daily
newspapers... Ecology indeed plays an important role in human welfare. This is primarily a
field subject and modern ecology which is concerned with the functional interdependencies
between living things and their environment". (17)
P.D. Sharma introduced many basic concepts
of ecology, in this part the author only quotes sometypical ones:
*"All living organisms and their environment are
mutually reactive, affecting each other in various ways. Animal population, flora, and
vegetation are interdependent through the environment and are mutually reactive".
*"Environment, which is actually a complex of several
inter-related factors and is much dynamic (i.e. varying with time and space), works as a
sieve selecting organisms for growth from so many forms, as its one or the other factor
becomes critical at critical stages of the life cycle of the species". (19)
*"It is not only environment which influences the
life of organisms, but organisms too modify their environment as a result of their growth,
dispersal, reproduction, death, decay etc. Thus, the environment is caused to change due
to organisms activities. The dynamic environment and organisms make ways for the
development of different kinds of organisms through a process known as succession. The
process continues till the development of a community which is now able to keep itself
adjusted in equilibrium with the environment. This final stage of community is called
The above three quotations prove that
there is a live relationship between men and environment which iscontinuous, inseparabable
and natural. This very close relationship says that violating environment means violating
individuals life as people could see from the current environmental crisis.
The current environmental crisis is
enviromental pollutions: air, water, earth pollutions. These pollutions as recorded in
books, magazines, etc., are caused by atomic tests, chemical arms tests, by poisonous gas
emitted from engineering factories, and by the fast increase of world population, etc.
The term pollution is defined by the
Environmental Pollution Panel of the Presidents Science Advisory Committee in its
report: "Restoring the Quality of Our Environment", held in November, 1965, as
"Enviromental pollution is the unfavorable alteration
of our surroundings, wholly or largely as a by - product of mans actions, through
direct or indirect effects of changes in energy patterns, radiation levels, chemical and
physical constitution and abundances of organisms. These changes may affect man directly,
or through his supplies of water and of agricultural and other biological products, his
physical objects or possessions, or his opportunities for recreation and appreciation of
For air pollution produced in a year by
human sources in the U.S.A., Edward J. Kormondy recorded (21 b)
(millions of tons per
* Natural dusts
* Forest fires
* Other minor sources
Mentioning the problem of
"Nuclear energy - Salvation or Damnation?", E.F. Schumacher, in his book titled
"Small is Beautiful" wrote:
" Of all the changes introduced by man into the
household of nature, large - scale nuclear fission is undoubtedly the most dangerous and
profound. As a result, ionising radiation has become the most serious agent of pollution
of the environment and the greatest threat to mans survival on earth. The attention
of the layman, not surprisingly, has been captured by the atom bomb, although there is at
least a chance that it may never be used again. The danger to humanity created by the so
called peaceful uses of atomic energy may be much greater". (22)
For water and earth pollution, E.F.
"No international agreement has yet been reached on
waste disposal. The conference of the International Atomic Energy Organization at Monaca,
in November, 1959, ended in disagreement, mainly on account of the violent objections
raised by the majority of countries against the American and British practice of disposal
into the ocean. "High level" wastes continue to be dumped into the sea, while
quantities of so - called "intermediate" and "low level" wastes are
discharged into rivers or directly into the ground. An AEC report observes laconically
that the liquid wastes work their way slowly into ground, water, leaving all or part (sic
!) of their radioactivity held either chemically or physically in the soil". (23)
From the above quotations, it can be
imagined how dangerous the current environmental pollution is, how threatened human beings
life on earth is !
This pollution must be an evident result
of the modern scientific civilization with its fast and uncontrolled development of
industries and economics. This civilization, in its turn, is the result of a very high
development of self- thought, way of thinking and enjoying pleasures of men. So, the main
causes of the great environmental crisis which is being warned are ignorance (avijjā) and
craving (tanhā) of men. Here, it may be asked whether Lord Buddhas teaching on the
truth of Dependent Origination (Paticcasamuppāda) can give a solution to it?
As mentioned before, the element of Name -
and - Form (Nāma - Ruųpa) of the Dependent Origination is considered as the five
aggregates of human beings which were defined by Lord Buddha Gotama as follows:
" And what, brethren, are the five factors? All body,
brethren, be it past, future, or present, inward or outward, gross or subtle, low or
lofty, far or near, that is called "the body factor".
Every feeling, every perception, all activities, ...,every
consciousness, be it past, future or present, inward or outward, etc, that is called the
"Consciousness factor". (24)
("Yam kinci, bhikkhave, ruųpam
atėtānāgatapaccuppannam ajjhattam vā bahiddhā vā olārikam vā sukhumam vā hėnam
vā paniėtam vā yam dure santike vā ayam vuccati ruųpakkhandho // Yā kāci vedanā //
yā kāci sannā // pe // ...ayam vuccati vinnānakkhandho //".) (25)
Twenty six centuries ago Lord Buddha did
give human beings a very interesting and extremely surprising definition: the body
aggregate of a man includes his physical body and this whole physical world. This
definition affirms that environment or nature really is the body, or a big part of the
body, of a man; without it he cannot come into exsistence and survive. If nature or
environment is gravely polluted, his physical body or life will immediately come to its
ruin. So, if everybody understands the truth of Dependent Origination, or if allmeans of
communication of men introduce this doctrine, he will voluntarily protect environment from
pollution as he can, because this is the meaning of protection of his happiness and
survival in this life.
It may be said that the science of ecology
and the danger of the enviromental pollution are offering human beings a vision that there
is no limit of the physical body of a man: it cannot be limited to the extent of his own
body, of his country or of any continent: this is the real meaning of selflessness of his
body. It is similar for his other aggregates. Does this truth say the Buddhas
doctrine of selflessness or Dependent Origination is the solution for the environmental
crisis? - In the authors opinion, Dependent Origination may be the solution for
various problems of men. Lets continue examining it.
II.2.4. INDIVIDUALS AND HUMAN VALUES
To men, living means living with
knowledges and values of life. As people could understand, the role of education is
imparting to men knowledges about spheres of learning, nature and human beings. These
knowledges, their values and the value itself, in fact, are created by mens thinking
which has been discussed about in philosophy as well as in education. What is mens
thinking? What is the meaning of the current values of life? The answers to these
questions are what the writer must reach in this part of his work. These are great
Mentioning philosophy, P.T. Raju wrote:
" Philosophy, if it is true to itself, has to be
aphilosophy of life, not of one part of life but of the whole. This life is the life of
man. He wants a theory of life as a guide. Other creatures do not care for any such
theory, the drives themselves of their nature are enough for them. The aim of philosophy
to be a guide to life is tacitly recognized by thinkers like Russel, who, speaking of
logical analysis, says at the end of his book, "A History of Western
Philosophy", that it also is meant to suggest and inspire a way of life" (26)
Chandradhar Sharma supposed:
" The etymological of the word "philosophy"
is "love of learning" (or love of knowledge). It signifies a natural and a
necessary urge in human beings to know themselves and the world in which they "live
and move and have their being" It is impossible for man to live without a
Western philosophy has remained more or less true to the
etymological meaning of "philosophy", in being essentially an intellectual quest
for truth. Indian has been, however, intensely spritual and has always emphasized the need
of practical realization of truth..." (27)
As the above expressions suggest, the
author also thinks that the common meaning of philosophy to be concerned much about is
serving human beings and their happiness in life, and that the western way of thinking is
different from the Eastern way: the former emphasizes knowledges about life, the latter
concerns about therealization of the truth of life. This difference will be clarified if
we examine mens way of thinking, in general, expressed by Aristotle, a Greek great
philosopher, as the following:
For Aristotle, there are three basic
principles for mens thinking:
1. Principle of identity: A thing called
(A) must always be (A). If it changes from moment to moment, mens thinking cannot
2. Principle of no-contradiction: A thing
called (A) may be named (A) or(<>A), but not sometimes (A), sometimes ( <>A).
If it is often changed, mens thinking cannot work.
3. Principle of excluded middle: A thing
may be called (A) now, and (B) at another time, but not (A +B) - half is A and half is B-.
If it is (A + B), mens thinking can
never function. (28)
Those principles presuppose that every
existing thing has a fixed nature, while in life it changes from moment to moment. This is
a big gap between mens knowledges about life and life itself that can never be
It is the above way of thinking which puts
value on all things. Having no root in reality, these values only make men confused in
making any choice between conventional values and the real life, and only brings them
Having seen this wrong view and thought,
Lord Buddha taught the doctrine of Dependent Originationshowing that mens thinking
is Activities element (sankhāra), or Activities aggregate of the five aggregates of Name-
and - Form element (Nāma - Rųpa), which is of the operation of Ignorance (avijja)
leading to suffering. So the true values of things exist only in the operation of wisdom
(vijjā or pannā) or mens regard of wisdom.
It is the above thinking which forces men
to search for the first cause of life and the nature of man (or personality) which never
exist in life as well as the conventional values.
In the authors opinion any search
for personality or any search for the essence of things is but a utopia. This problem will
be discussed much more in the next part.
(1) : "Discourse on Pātika, Long Discourses,
Translation by Maurice Walshe, Wisdom Publications, London, 1987, p.382.
(2) : "Pātika-Sutta", Dėgha-Nikāya, Vol. III, PTS, London, 1992, p. 34.
(3) : Dhammapada, Verse No. 1, Tr. by F. Max Muller, Sacred Books of the East, Reprinted
by Motilal Banarsidass, 1992, p. 3.
(4) : Dhammapada, Verse No. 1, Devanāgari, Ist Edition, 1977, Department of Buddhist
Studes, Delhi University.
(5) : Dhammapada, Verse No. 2, Translation by F. Max Muller,..., 1992, p.4.
(6) : Dhammapada, Verse No. 2, Devanāgari,..., Delhi University.
(7) : "The Concept of Man", edited by Radhakrishnan, P.T. Raju, Motilal
Banarsidass, Delhi, 1992, p. 334.
(8) : Ibid., p. 335.
(9) : Ibid., pp. 511-512.
(10) : "Discourse on Brahmajāla", Long Discourses, Tr. by Maurice Walshe,
Wisdom Publications, London, 1987, p. 88.
(11) : "Brahmajāla-Sutta", Dėgha-Nikāya, Vol. I, PTS, London, 1975, p. 41.
(12) : "Discourse on Knowledge of Beginnings", Vol. I, PTS, London, 1975, p. 41.
(13) : "Discourse on Vasala", Suttanipāta, Minor Sayings, PTS, London, 1985, p.
(14) : "Vasala Sutta", Suttanipāta, Khuddakanikāya, PTS, London, 1990, p. 24.
(15) : "Discourse on Dependent Origination", Long Discourses, tr. by Maurice
Walshe,..., p. 223.
(16) : "Mahānidāna-Sutta", Dėgha-Nikāya,Vol. II, PTS, London, 1982, p.55.
(17) : P.D. Sharma, "Ecology and Environment", Rastogi Publications, 6th
edition, 1992, p.2.
(18) : Ibid., p. 14.
(19) : Ibid., p. 14.
(20) : Ibid., p. 14.
(21) : Edward J. Kormondy, "Concept of Ecology", Prenticehall of India, Private
Limited, New Delhi-110001, 1991, p. 246.
(21b) : Ibid., p. 268.
(22) : E.F. Schumacher, "Small is Beautiful", An Abacus book, Printed in England
by Clays Ltd. St. Ires plc, 1993, p. 112.
(23) : Ibid., p. 113.
(24) : Kindred Sayings, Vol. III, PTS, London, 1992, p. 41.
(25) : Samyutta-Nikāya, Vol. III. PTS, London, 1975, p. 47.
(26) : P.T. Raju, "The Concept of Man",..., 1992, p.30.
(27) : Chandradhar Sharma, "A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy", Motilal
Banarsidass Publishers, Pvt., Ltd, Delhi, 1991, p. 13.
(28) : Spaulding, "The New Rationalism", New York, Henry Holt and Company, 1918,