« PreviousContinue »
according to the Mātikā, held to end at the end of the chapter entitled Pitṭhi-dukam or Supplementary Set of Pairs. The last thirty-seven pairs of questions 1 and answers, on the other hand, are entitled Suttantika-dukam. They are of a miscellaneous character, and are in many cases not logically opposed. Buddhaghosa has nothing to say by way of explaining their inclusion, nor the principle determining their choice or number. Nor is it easy to deduce any explanation from the nature or the treatment of them. The name Suttantik a means that they are pairs of terms met with in the Suttas. This is true and verifiable. But I, for one, cannot venture to predicate anything further respecting them.
On the Chief Subject of Inquiry-Dhammā.
If I have called Buddhist ethics psychological, especially as the subject is treated in this work, it is much in the same way in which I should call Plato's psychology ethical. Neither the founders of Buddhism nor of Platonic Socratism had elaborated any organic system of psychology or of ethics respectively. Yet it is hardly overstating the case for either school of thought to say that, whereas the latter psychologized from an ethical standpoint, the former built their ethical doctrine on a basis of psychological principles. For, whatever the far-reaching term dham mo may in our Manual have precisely signified to the early Buddhists, it invariably elicits, throughout Book I, a reply in terms of subjective consciousness. The discussion in the Commentary, which I have reproduced below, p. 2, n. 3, on dhammāram maņam, leaves it practically beyond doubt that dhammo, when thus related to mano, is as a visual object to visual perception-is, namely, mental object in general. It thus is shown to be equivalent to Herbart's Vorstellung, to Locke's idea-" whatsoever is the §§ 1296-1366.
immediate object of perception, thought, or understanding "—and to Professor Ward's "presentation ".1
The dha mm a in question always prove to be, whatever their ethical value, factors of cittam used evidently in its widest sense, i.e. concrete mental process or state. Again, the analysis of rūpam in Book II, as a species of "indeterminate" dhamma, is almost wholly a study in the phenomena of sensation and of the human organism as sentient. Finally, in Book III the questions on various dhamma are for the most part answered in terms of the four mental skandhas, of the cittani dealt with in Book I, and of the springs of action as shown in their effect on will. Thus the whole inquiry in its most generalized expression comes practically to this: Given man as a moral being, what do we find to be the content of his consciousness?
Now this term dham mo is, as readers are already aware, susceptible of more than one interpretation. Even when used for the body of ethical doctrine it was applied with varying extension, i.e. either to the whole doctrine, or to the Suttanta as opposed to Vinaya and Abhidhamma, or to such doctrines as the Four Truths and the Causal Formula. But whatever in this connexion is the denotation, the connotation is easy to fix. That this is not the case where the term has, so to speak, a secular or profane" meaning is seen in the various renderings and discussions of it.2 The late H. C. Warren, in particular, has described the difficulties, first of determining what the word, in this or that connexion, was intended to convey, and then of discovering any word or words adequate to serve as equivalent to it. One step towards a solution may be made if we can get at a Buddhist survey of the meanings of dham mo from the Buddhists'
1 Ency. Brit., 9th ed., art. " Psychology ".
2 Cf. e.g. Oldenberg, Buddha, etc., 6th ed., p. 288; Warren, Buddhism in Translations, pp. 116, 364; Kern, Ind. Buddhism, p. 51, n. 3; Neumann, Reden des Gotamo, pp. 13, 23, 91; Gogerly, Ceylon Friend, 1874, p. 21; M. & W. Geiger, Pāli Dhamma, p. 35 f.
own philosophical point of view. And this we are now enabled to do in consequence of the editing of the Atthasālinī. In it we read Buddhaghosa's analysis of the term, the various meanings it conveyed to Buddhists of the fifth century A.D., and his judgment, which would be held as authoritative, of the special significance it possessed in the questions of the Dhamma-sangani. "The word dhammo," runs the passage (p. 38), "is met with [as meaning] doctrine (pariyatti), condition or cause (he tu), virtue or good quality (gun o), absence of essence or of living soul (nissatta nijjiva tā)," etc. Illustrative texts are then given of each meaning, those referring to the last being the beginning of the answer in our Manual numbered : "Now at that time there are states"; and, further, the passage from the Satipaṭṭhānasutta 1: "Concerning dhammas he abides watchful over dhammas." And it is with the fourth and last-named meaning of dhammo that the term is said to be used in the questions of the Manual. Again, a little later (p. 40), he gives a more positive expression to this particular meaning by saying that dham mo, so employed, signifies "that which has the mark of bearing its own nature' (or character or condition―s a bhāva dharano); i.e. that which is not dependent on any more ultimate nature.2 This, to us, somewhat obscure characterization may very likely, in view of the context, mean that dham mo as phenomenon is without substratum, is not a quality cohering in a substance. Phenomenon is certainly our nearest equivalent to the negative definition of nissatta- nijjīvam, and this is actually the rendering given to dham mo (when employed in this sense in the Sutta just quoted) by Dr. Neumann: "Da wacht ein Mönch bei den Erscheinungen . . ." If I have used states, or states of consciousness, instead of phenomena, it is merely
1 D. (suttanta 22); M. i, 61.
2 Cf. Pap. Sūd. i, p. 17; attano lakkhaņam dhārenti ti dhammā. Herein dhammo = Herein dhammo dhātu, Compendium, 255.
because, in the modern tradition of British psychology, "states of consciousness" is exactly equivalent to such phenomena as are mental, or, at least, conscious. And, further, because this use of "states" has been taken up into that psychological tradition on the very same grounds as prompted this Buddhist interpretation of dham mā— the ground of non-committal, not to say negation, with respect to any psychical substance or entity.
That we have, in this country pre-eminently, gone to work after the manner of electrical science with respect to its subject-matter, and psychologized without a psyche, is, of course, due to the influence of Hume. In selecting a term so characteristic of the British tradition as states of mind or consciousness, I am not concerned to justify its use in the face of a tendency to substitute terms more expressive of a dynamic conception of mental operations, or of otherwise altered standpoints. The Buddhists seem to have held, as our psychology has held, that for purposes of analysis it was justifiable to break up the mental continuum of the moral individuality into this or that congeries of states or mental phenomena. In and through these they sought to trace the working of moral causation. To look beneath or behind them for a "thing in itself " they held to be a dangerous superstition. With Goethe they said: "Suche nichts hinter den Phänomenen; sie selbst sind die Lehre!" And, in view of this coincidence of implication and emphasis, "states of mind" or "of consciousness" seemed best to fit dham ma when the reply was made in terms of mental phenomena.
In the book on Material Form, the standpoint is no doubt shifted to a relatively more objective consideration of the moral being and his contact with a world considered as external. But then the word dham mā (and my rendering of it) is also superseded by r upam.
It is only when we come to the more synthetic matter of Book III that dhammā strains the scope of the term
I have selected if "states" be taken as strictly states of mind or of consciousness. It is true that the Buddhist view of things so far resembles the Berkeleian that all phenomena, or things or sequences or elements, or however else we may render d h a m mā, may be regarded as in the last resort "states of mind ", albeit they were not held as being, all of them, such and no more. This in its turn may seem a straining of the significance which the term possessed for early Buddhists in a more general inquiry such as that of Book III. Yet consider the definitions of dham mã, worthy of Berkeley himself, in §§ 1044-5.
The difficulty lay in the choice of another term, and none being satisfactory, I retained, for want of a better, the same rendering, which is, after all, indefinite enough to admit of its connoting other congeries of things or aspects beside consciousness.
The fundamental importance in Buddhist philosophy of this Phenomenalism or Non-substantialism as a protest against the prevailing Animism, which, beginning with projecting the self into objects, saw in that projected self a noumenal quasi-divine substance, has by this time been more or less admitted. The testimony of the canonical books leaves no doubt on the matter, from Gotama's second sermon to his first converts, and his first Dialogue in the " Long Collection ", to the first book of the Katha Vatthu.1 There are other episodes in the books where the belief in a permanent spiritual essence is, together with a number of other speculations, waived aside as subjects calculated to waste time and energy. But in the portions referred to the doctrine of repudiation is more positive, and may be summed up in one of the refrains of the Majjhima Nikaya: Suññam idam attena vā attaniyena vā ti-Void is this of soul or of aught of the nature of soul! 2 The force of the often repeated
1 Cf. Rhys Davids' American Lectures, pp. 39, 40.
2 Or "self" or "spirit" (at tena). M. i, 297; ii, 263 (lege suññam); cf. S. iv, 54; and KV. 67, 579. Cf. the "Emptinessconcept ", below, p. 30, n. 1.