Researches in Indian and Buddhist Philosophy. (book reviews)

by Frank J. Hoffman

Philosophy East and West

Vol.47 No.1



Copyright by University of Hawaii

One of the noteworthy features of Researches in Indian and Buddhist Philosophy is an introduction, "A Biographical Sketch of Alex Wayman," in which Wayman's life appears much more interesting and convoluted than that of the average academic Sanskritist. That he was for a time a shepherd in Peru and that he came to study Sanskrit by way of mathematics and Mongolian are among the interesting facts one can learn about his remarkable life. Beyond biographical detail, this is a fine collection of essays in honor of Alex Wayman, with sections on "Buddhist Philosophical Researches," "Jaina Philosophical Researches," and "Hindu Philosophical Researches." In the first part of the Buddhist section, "Miscellaneous," Andre Bareau vindicates Wayman's view that Asanga belonged to the Mahisasaka sect. Hajime Nakamura presents various views on the seven principles of the Vajjian Republic according to the Mahaparinibbana-sutta. Nakamura shows that when the seven principles were rendered into Chinese, significant changes were made to make them palatable to the Chinese, and that these changes were not "arbitrarily" done but "due to some reasons." Michael Hahn writes on Chandragomin, arguing for his own interpretation as against the account of Mark Tatz. N. H. Samtani discusses part of the Suttanipata, the first pada of the second verse (in the Uragasutta). From a detailed mass of descriptive material, Samtani infers the evaluative claim that Buddha has rightly stressed the elimination of rage. In the second part of the Buddhist section, "Karma Theory," Shinjo Kawasaki writes on Bhavya's standpoint regarding the principle of life, concluding that Bhavya is uninterested in Tathagatagarbha and more interested in holding to a logically consistent traditional Abhidharma understanding. H. S. Prasad writes on karma as a Buddhist doctrine, and T. R. Sharma covers the Karmaphalapariksa of Nagarjuna. In the third part of the Buddhist section, "Dependent Origination," Collett Cox both translates Akira Hirakawa's paper on paticcasamuppada and dhatu and contributes one of her own on dependent origination. George Elder elaborates on dependent origination in Buddhist Tantra. The second section on Jainism consists only of papers by Padmanabh S. Jaini and M. A. Dhaky. These scholars present detailed treatments of Bhavasena and the Dasavaikalika-sutra, respectively. In the third and larger section on Hinduism, K. Kunjunni Raja writes on laksana in Buddhism and Vedanta. Kamaleswar Bhattacharya discusses the Grammarians and the Philosophers. R. C. Dwivedi writes on Kashmir Saivism and Sankara. T. S. Rukman analyzes siddhi-s in Bhagavata Purana and Patanjali. R. K. Sharma writes on Indian Stotra literature and discusses oral tradition. Bhagwan Das explores the relation between pitta and agni in Aryuveda. R. V. Joshi writes on the aham-artha doctrine. In the limited compass of this review I can provide only a brief outline of the essays and an assessment of the overall quality of the volume. This reviewer found the volume stimulating, proofread to a high standard, and nicely produced. It is a fitting tribute to Professor Wayman's lifetime of scholarly endeavor. The bibliography of Wayman's work (1952-1992) is a useful feature of this volume. Since the bibliography ends at 1992, it understandably does not include Alex Wayman's recent translation of the Abbidhanavisvalocanam of Sridharasena (Monograph Series of the Naritasan Institute for Buddhist Studies, 1112 [Chiba, Japan, 1994]). Since Wayman was a frequent reviewer, the volume would have been slightly more useful had it included reviews by Wayman of the works of other major scholars (such as G. Tucci). Examples of Wayman's significant reviews are listed in the Bibliographie Bouddhique (vole. 27-31), a work which itself is listed, since Wayman was a contributor to that volume. While there is clearly more here for the scholar than for the professional philosopher, there is something for almost everyone whose work takes into account both scholarship and philosophy on South Asia. In sum, the R. K. Sharma festschrift for Alex Wayman is a fine work by a superlatively able group of scholars. As such, it is highly recommended for acquisition by libraries with significant holdings on South Asian thought.