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Saturday, 12 November 2011

Occupy Wall Street Comes to Tunisia

 
From Tunisia Live:

Occupy Wall Street Comes to Tunisia
Myriam Ben Ghazi | 11 November 2011 
 
Musicians at Tunisia's Occupy the World protest

Hundreds of protesters occupied the Place des Droits de l’Homme in downtown Tunis today as part of the call to use the date of 11/11/11 to spread the anti-capitalist Occupy Wall Street protests across the world.

Around 200 people gathered in the square, nearly all of them young, but from varied backgrounds: artists, students, activists, some religious and some not, and coming from all parts of the country. What brought them together was an opposition to what they called global imperialism and capitalism. Protesters held banners with slogans like “No More Capitalism” and “Artistic Revolution against Capitalism,” sang freedom songs, and played music with homemade instruments.

Many leftist groups and political parties had a strong presence at the scene, but several of the protesters described themselves as independents.

Houssam Hamdi, a young man from Gafsa in the southwest of Tunisia, was one such independent. Wearing a T-shirt that read “Occupying Tunis” and “No More Capitalism,” he described his reasons for attending the demonstration. “Imperialism is already destroying itself,” he said, adding that the protest was just a way “to push a little bit further” that destruction.

The communist sickle and hammer and other leftist political signs were present in abundance, but a young woman who identified herself as Affef chose different signs: she wore both a traditional version of the hijab headscarf and a Tunisian flag around her neck. She was there because, as she said, “as a Muslim it’s an obligation to protest against imperialism.” She went on to say, “Arab people are the first victims of capitalism.”

Ayoub Amara of The Union for Communist Youth (a branch of one of Tunisia’s communist parties) saw the activities of his group as a continuation of Tunisia’s democracy movement. He said, “The party has never left the street, before and after the January 14th.” He explained that for his party, demonstrating was the only way to reach its goals.

Speeches were giving by representatives of the Tunisian Worker’s Communist Party and other leftist parties promoting socialism as the solution to the current economic situation in Tunisia and in the world at large.

The call for “Occupy the World” movement to take place on 11/11/11 came from the United States, where Wall Street occupiers have been protesting for months against economic inequality in that country. In  Tunisia the message of solidarity with workers was present, but the protest had a more post-colonial angle, with protesters shouting slogans like “no more imperialism.”

Like in certain OWS protests in the US, the demonstration was marked by a moment of violent confrontation between police and protesters. According to Houssam Hamdi, the violence was started by the protesters, but the police response was out of proportion to the provocation. This moment passed without major incident and the protests ended peacefully.

http://www.tunisia-live.net/2011/11/11/occupy-wall-street-comes-to-tunisia/

Lebanon:the invisible domestic 'slaves'

Lebanon:the invisible domestic 'slaves' 
18 October , 17:55

(ANSAmed) - BEIRUT, OCTOBER 18 - They meet in the streets of Beirut's trendy quarters, often wearing uniforms, walking a dog or accompanying children to a playground or an elegant shopping centre. They look like well-paid workers who are happy with what they are doing, also considering the wealth of many of the families that hire them. But the reality of the 200 thousand domestic helps who are working in Lebanon is completely different, according to Gulnara Shahinian, UN rapporteur for initiatives against slavery. In a conference in Beirut she denounced the existence of a situation of exploitation and physical and sexual abuse, asking the government to intervene. ''The domestic helps who immigrated to Lebanon, most of them women, are legally invisible. This makes them extremely vulnerable to domestic slavery,'' said Shahinian, who has been rapporteur for three years now and has recently made her first visit to Lebanon. ''Immigrated domestic helps,'' she continued, ''are forced to live in the houses of their employers. They face race and gender discrimination, and are deprived of the necessary legal protection." ''I have met women,'' Shahinian added, ''who have been forced to work long hours without remuneration and without a valid contract. They are physically and sexually abused and psychologically mistreated through constant insults and humiliations." Just looking at most of the apartments and houses in Beirut's better districts gives an idea of the conditions these women, most of them coming from south-east Asia and Africa, have to live in. A tiny room is usually connected to the kitchen, completely separated from the luxurious salons and rooms, so small that it is hard to imagine that someone actually lives there. And yet most maids are forced to sleep in these rooms, which usually have a small toilet next to it. And they are 'forced' in the real meaning of the word: ''Current legislation on visas,'' the UN representative for the fight against slavery points out, ''states that if a domestic help leaves his or her employer, he or she breaks the law.

Therefore a maid who is held as a slave and decides to leave the house is treated as a criminal, not a victim." Gulnara Shahinian admits that the Lebanese government has taken some steps in the right direction, like opening a telephone line to hear the complaints and help requests of domestic helps. Also, a national committee has been created to offer suggestions on how to deal with the situation. One of the first initiatives of this committee was to write a standard labour contract and a draft law for immigrant workers. ''But this draft,'' Shahinian underlines, ''has been under discussion for three years now and its approval must become a government priority now. The law must explicitly guarantee that immigrant workers can keep their passport, can move around freely, that they have one day off per week so that they can leave the house, and that they get adequate accommodation and wages. The law must also include clear regulations on how employment agencies must do their work." 

http://www.ansamed.info/en/news/ME.XEF57398.html

At least 2 thousand Dalits convert to Buddhism to escape marginalizatio

05/26/2011 14:52
INDIA
At least 2 thousand Dalits convert to Buddhism to escape marginalization 
by Nirmala Carvalho
According to the Scheduled Castes Order, only Dalit Hindus and Buddhists can enjoy the rights provided for their status. Christians and Muslims loose all rights, including the right to political representation. But even within Christianity, non Dalits alienate their outcast brothers and sisters. 

Udupi (AsiaNews) – In a state ceremony (Dhamma Dheekshe) at least 2 thousand Dalits converted to Buddhism in Karnataka, on May 24 last. The monks Manorakhit Bhanteji, Lobsana and Tenguru officiated at the function organized by the Karnataka Baudha Maha Sabha and Karnataka Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (Ambedkar Vada). The "Dhamma Dheekshe" was part of celebrations for "Vesak" the 2,600th anniversary of Buddha's enlightenment. 

In India Dalits are "untouchables", but since 1950 pursuant to paragraph No. 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order only Hindus and Buddhists have the status and rights provided to the Dalits. In contrast, the Dalits converted to Christianity or Islam lose all rights, including that of political representation. For this reason, the majority of Dalits choose to convert to Buddhism. 

However, according Sri Vishweshateertha Swamiji, head of the Brahmin Buddhist monastery Pejavar, this conversion will not give any advantage to the outcast. " The Monk explains: "With the exception of the Dalits, there are few Buddhists in India. The question of untouchability is independent of religion. " 

The Indian activist Vincent Manoharan, president of the National Federation of Dalit Land Rights Movement (Nfdlrm) does not agree with Swamiji: "Buddhism and other religions do not sanctify the caste system as happens in Hinduism. For Dalits, that's enough to leave Hinduism. " 

The Nfdlrm has been fighting for years to abolish at least the section of the Scheduled Castes Order against Dalit Christians and Muslims. Manoharan explains: "Dalits are discriminated against, as enacted by a 1950 Act. But the Christians outcastes are marginalized even by non-Dalit Christians, who alienate them for social reasons”. And he concludes: "The Dalits are segregated, humiliated and persecuted in every aspect of their lives: social, economic, political and religious. As long as this law exists, the Christian outcastes suffer triple discrimination: from Christians of other castes, from non Dalits of other religions and the government. " 

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/At-least-2-thousand-Dalits-convert-to-Buddhism-to-escape-marginalization-21670.html

These Panini girls can cross swords with anyone

  These Panini girls can cross swords with anyone

Swati Chandra, TNN | Nov 10, 2011, 11.29AM IST

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/varanasi/These-Panini-girls-can-cross-swords-with-anyone/articleshow/10676985.cms

VARANASI: Words of wisdom and Vedas on their lips; swords, javeline, arrows and bows in hand, girls of Panini Kanya Mahavidyala, Varanasi, are not only challenging the 5,000-year-old laws of Manusmriti (that women cannot perform religious rites, chant hymns and read Vedas), but are also showcasing perfect example of self defence to the contemporary world. The 40-year-old 'Gurukul only' for girls has been imparting knowledge in Sanskrit, Astyadhyayi, Vedas, vedic hymns, Science, Indian philosophy and karmakands. At the same time, ample training in self defecnce and warfare is given to the girls in the residential school based on ancient methods of teaching.

Archery, swords, daggers, javeline, lathi, horse riding girls of this Gurukul have kept alive the ancient methods of war games and at the same time are overshadowing modern world with their self defence skills that also includes karate and martial arts.

Dharmavati Arya, a student, has won accolades in the field of archery. Her calm nature and depth of knowledge in her eyes do not give even a clue that this young girl has mastered archery at national level. She was recently invited by Tata Archery Academy, Jamshedpur, for advanced training in the sport at international level. "I can hit the object with my arrow by looking at the object in the mirror (this act was practiced by Arjun of Mahabharat)," says 22-year-old Dharmavati.

"By the time girls reach 18-20 years, they know all the warfares. As the Gurukul is based on Agra Shishya Shiksha Pranali (seniors teaching juniors), they pass on the knowlegde to the little girls and in this way we revise our art," says Jyoti Arya, a student of Acharya (Post Graduation) who has also crossed many 'swords' with her contemporaries from other other 'gurukuls' of the country. Little girls, Akriti (13) and Kasturi (14) have mastered two handed swords and knives while some of them have mastered the art of art of archery performing yogasans. They can also offer flower garlands to guests with a click from their bow and arrow and can produce dance drama with the sounds of their swords.

According to Jyoti, apart from applying the art as self defence, girls of the Gurukul have been participating in various warfares that are held in the country during special occasions. Rani Laksmi Bai, being the idle of for these girls, holds special importance and they perform regulary at Jhansi every year when during the celebration of the birthday of the brave queen.

Acharya Dr Priti Vimarshini, teacher of warfares who herself studied in the same Gurukul, says: "There are several tales of self defence. Madhuri Arya, a student of the Gurukul, jumped off from a running train chasing a thief and came back safely. Similarly Dharmvati Arya has solved many cases of eve teasing on roads."

"Girls here do not panic while walking alone on roads and when trapped in problematic situations. Instead, they fight hard and emerge victorious.I believe it is very important to have these skills in this times when we do not know who might turn out to be our enemy," added Priti.

At present, around 80 girls are residing at the Gurukul. Out of them, 60 know the art of self defence and warfares and they practice it daily on the premises of the Gurukul in the evening. The minimum age to enter the ancient system of education is nine years. However care is taken with their age groups and matching war sports. Eyebrows were raised on the methods of the Gurukul as according to Manusmriti, law code of Hindus, women and Shudras (dalits) were not supposed to attain priest hood and learn Vedas. Moreover the Gurukul follows on Vedic system instead of the caste system. Girls from different regions of the country having different caste, including dalits, and some special guests from foreign lands study here.

In his message, Swami Avimukateshwaranand Saraswati, the desciple of Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati, appreciated the Gurukul and the Panini temple describing it as one of its kind which would attract others towards the Indian culture.

A local resident Anand Kesari says: "We invite girls of Panini Kanya Mahavidyalaya during our religious functions to perform Vedic mantras every year. The way they perform rituals is highly appreciating and accepted by all."

"The Vedic methods of these girls is very effective," says Rahul Srivastava, a resident of Pandeypur. According to him, the 'karmakand' (all 16 sanskars) performed by these girls at various homes of city is so very methodological that his family always invites these girls for offer religious rites at different occasions.

According to Acharya Priti, the girls were also invited by chief minister of New Delhi to enchant Vedic mantras at a programme organised by the Delhi government

Ruining Innocent Lives: Guilt of Investigation agencies

Ruining Innocent Lives: Guilt of Investigation agencies

Ram Puniyani
Nine youth accused in Malegaon blast case of 2006 have been granted bail by the MCOCA court. (Nov 6 2011). These Muslim youth were arrested after the bomb exploded on the Shab-e-Barat, killing several people. Immediately after that the Anti Terrorist Sqaud, arrested nine Muslim youth, there was really no evidence worth its name against them. Still police which is, motivated more by biases than by professionalism, arrested these Muslims youth. The investigation agencies have firmly believed all through that all terrorists are Muslims. Human rights workers tried to reason with the top police authorities that how can Muslim youth conspire to kill their own kin. In other quarters the way the virus of Islamophobia and anti Muslim sentiments has gripped a large section in society including the police authorities, have strong biases against Muslims. The investigation for authorities so far had become an easy job, after every blast, catch hold of few Muslim youth put them behind bars and then try to generate the evidence, if possible.

Similar things happened in Mecca Masjid blast when the authorities arrested nearly 25 Muslim youth after the blast in the mosque. That time even the National Commission for Minorities minced no words and concluded that the case against Muslim youths, who were detained in the immediate aftermath of the 2007 Mecca Masjid blasts, has been fabricated.

 The Godhra train burning investigation is also mired in much deeper misconception, where nothing could be proved against the alleged Chief conspirator, Maulana Haji Umarji. Despite that, other Muslim youth were given the sentence.  All these investigations show a clear pattern that the biases of the investigation authorities overtake their professional training.  This was also one of the lazy way of going about things as arresting Muslims after such an episode is passé’ in public opinion and in the media in particular. Barring a small section of media others hardly played their role of raising doubts about the methods of investigating authorities.

In the blasts in Nanded (April 2006) two Bajrang dal activists died while making the bombs. They were making the bombs in the house of  one Mr. Rajkondawar, a RSS worker. It had all the clear evidence of the Hindutva terror gang undertaking such terrorist operations.  But Mahrashtra ATS stubbornly ignored the basic point and protected the real guilty of the crime. It took the like of Hemant Karkare to impeccably unearth the evidence linking the Malegaon blast of 2008 with Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Swami Dayanand Pandey and other RSS associates, to meticulously demonstrate that the real cause of terror attacks in these places from Nanded, Modassa, Parbhani, Jalna, Aurangabad, Ajmer and Samjhauta blast lies somewhere else. It is unfortunate that the police officer of such an integrity was killed in the Mumbai terror attack on 26/11 2008.

What was happening so far was that since police was merrily botching up the investigation, the real culprits were becoming bolder and they went on committing one after the other acts of terror. There is a long list of RSS affiliates, against whom there is a strong ground to allege them. Of course, RSS true to its character was quick to say that those involved in acts of terror, had already ‘left’ the RSS. The matters really could not be hidden after the confession of Swami Aseemanand, which was reported first by the gutsy magazine Tehelka. Swami Aseemanand, an RSS worker, who was working for VHP in Dangs, organizing Shabri Kumbh in the presence of top RSS top brass, confessed in presence of a magistrate. This confession as per the law can be treated as an evidence in the court. He spilled the beans and confessed his role in Mecca masjid and other blasts and also named his colleagues in the crime. This forced the agencies to do the course correction in some ways. Aseemanand has named senior RSS leader Indresh Kumar, the murdered RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and senior RSS pracharaks Sandeep Dange and Ramji Kalsangra, among others, as being key conspirators in the terror blast.

The result of this fortunately is that in Malegaon blast accused after 5 years of their suffering and loss of youthful years in jails, have been granted the bails. This raises multiple questions as far as our society and nation are concerned. First is, do we deserve such a biased investigation agencies who, episode after episode, keep repeating the same method despite the lack of proper evidence. The heavy reliance of agencies on the role of SIMI, a banned organization and some vague groups with Muslim names has been the favorite line of investigation of the authorities. How can this trend be reversed? The biases in the minds of authorities are also a reflection of ‘social common sense’ prevalent in the society. This ‘social common sense’ has been manufactured by communal forces and media has disseminated it further. Despite the Harmony Programs by Government, despite the Home ministry’s lip service to prop up National Foundation for communal harmony, not many awareness programs have been consistently followed or taken up seriously.

The state has enough resources to ensure that police academies, the officers training institutes and college-universities are made the conduit to disseminate the values of plural traditions, the synthesis of religions in the form of Bhakti and Sufi traditions, the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi on communal harmony. A lot is possible to give a prop to the values of harmony which underlie the India’s freedom movement and are inherent in Indian Constitution. There are many a NGOs and individuals who are trying to do this work, but definitely their reach is very limited. This promotion of culture of amity and celebration of diversity by the state is a must at this juncture.
 The second point of serious concern is what does state and society do when the lives of innocents are ruined by the callous attitude of investigation authorities. There have demands that these youth should be adequately compensated and their amount of compensation should be recovered from the salaries of the police officers who are blinded by their prejudices and push aside professionalism to give a free play to their biases in arresting these youth. A suitable rehabilitation program, scholarship, assistance to rebuild the life has to be the responsibility of the state in these matters. State must come forward to undo the severe harm it has inflicted on these innocent youth. 

--
Issues in Secular Politics
II November 2011
response only to ram.puniyani@gmail.com

Kiran- The ray of Life.

Kiran- The ray of Life. 

In Hindi, the word 'Kiran' means the ray of light that chase away the darkness. A ray of light from the sun brings end to the night to bring out a new day to the world. A ray of light has many positive qualities. A ray of life always brightens one’s life. That is why; the ray of light can be also called as the 'Ray of Life'. In the field of 'Cancer', this has been found very beneficial for the patients. Radiation Therapy is a boon to the modern world. It is a well known choice of treatment of the disease, so called 'Cancer', where the patients receive high dosed rays on the site of 'Tumour' to kill the cancerous cells. These rays are also a sort of light that can bring a new life to a cancer strucked patient. It is the ‘Soul Treatment’ in ‘Head and Neck Cancers‘, which is highest in India’s north east region.
The human body is built up of living cells. Normally the cells divide, mature and die. The division of cells is a highly regulated process. The process is controlled by the Dioxyribo Nucleic Acid or DNA. DNA is a complex molecule that serves as the brain of the cell. It is the blue print of everything that a cell does. In human cell, DNA is arranged in 46 Chromosomes and the chromosomes are arranged in 23 pairs. Altogether the 46 chromosomes contain 100,000 genes. A gene is a segment of DNA that determines the structure of Protein. It is needed for development, growth as well as to carry out other vital chemical reaction in a human body.
A cell divides when it receives proper signal from growth factors that is present in the blood stream. In case of Cancer the cells stray away from the programmatic physiological path. It grows and divides getting out of control, ignoring the signals to stop dividing. In a cancer cell, several genes undergo the process mutation making the cell to become defective. A gene mutation may allow an already abnormal cell to invade the normal tissue where the cancer started or to travel in the bloodstream to other parts of the body, where it continues to divide. The reason behind the mutation of cells is many. It may be due some infection, hereditary factor, climatic condition, food habits etc. A cell can become abnormal when part of a gene is lost or deleted, when part of a chromosome is rearranged and ends up in the wrong place, or when an extremely small defect occurs in the DNA, which results in an abnormal DNA "blueprint" and production of a defective protein occurs. This process takes several years.
Radiation Therapy is a type of cancer treatment where high dosed rays are used to shrink down a tumour or to kill the cancer cells. It is of two types. The first one is the External Beam Radiation Therapy where the rays are delivered, by a instrument outside the body. It is often delivered in form of Photon Beams. A photon is a basic unit of light and electro magnetic radiation. The external beam radiation therapy is delivered using a machine called Linear Acceletor. The second one is the Internal Beam Therapy, also known as Brachytherapy, where the rays come from radio active materials placed in the body near to the cancer cells. Several brachytherapy techniques are used in cancer treatment. Brachytherapy may be able to deliver higher doses of radiation to some cancers than external-beam radiation therapy while causing less damage to normal tissue. In brachytherapy, radioactive isotopes are sealed in tiny pellets. These pallets are placed in patients using delivery devices, such as needles, catheter, or some other type of carrier. As the isotopes decay naturally, they give off radiation those damages nearby cancer cells. The another one also exist, which is known as Systematic Radiation Therapy, where radio active substances are used to travel through the blood stream to kill the cancer cells. In systemic radiation therapy, a patient swallows or receives an injection of a radioactive substance. For example, radioactive substances like radioactive iodine that is used to treat many cancers in thyroid.
Radiation Therapy is advised to a patient in three conditions. The first one is may be advised before surgery which is known as Pre Operative or Neo Adjuvant. Neo adjuvant radiation is given to a patient to shrink a tumour, so that it can be easily removed through surgery. The second one may be advised during surgery. It is also known as Intra Operative Radiation Therapy. It can be either external-beam radiation therapy or brachytherapy. When radiation is given during surgery, nearby normal tissues can be physically shielded from radiation exposure. Sometimes it is used when normal structures are too close to a tumor to allow the use of external-beam radiation therapy. The third and the last condition may be Post Operative or Adjuvant radiation therapy. It is used to eliminate the residual disease after the surgery. Sometimes Chemo Therapy ( treatment using medicines) and radiation therapy are combined together as treatment. The combination is known as Chemoradiation Therapy, where the rays act as fire to burn the cancer cells and medicines as fuel.
Radiation therapy is sometimes used as Curative treatment. It is used with curative intend to cure a cancer by eliminating the tumour or preventing cancer recurrence. It is also used as Palliative treatment. During palliative treatments, it is not intended to cure the disease but for symptomatic relief and to low down the sufferings of the patient.
The radiation therapy prescribed by a specialist depends on many factors. All the factors includes Type of the cancer, Size of the cancer, Location of cancer in the body, Closeness of the cancer to normal cells that are radio sensitive, distance in the body that radiation needs to travel, General health and medical history of the patient, other sort on ongoing treatments, Age of the patient and other factors and medical conditions.
Along with the cancer cells, the rays destroy many healthy cells and tissues also. That is why it can cause both acute and chronic side effects. Acute side effects may occur during the treatment where as the Chronic side effects may be seen quite late after the treatment. Acute radiation side effects are caused by damage to rapidly dividing normal cells in the area being treated. These effects include skin irritation or damage at regions exposed to the radiation beams. Examples include damage to the salivary glands or hair loss when the head or neck area is treated, or urinary problems when the lower abdomen is treated. Most of the acute side effects disappear when the treatment ends, but sometimes symptoms like dryness of oral cavity due to damage in salivary glands or Xerostomia remains permanent. Chronic side effects of the radiation therapy can be hardly seen. It included problems like Fibrosis, Infertility, Memory loss or damage in bowels causing bleeding or diarrhea. Proper Nutrition, mostly protein rich diets are necessary for a patient receiving rays to build up the damaged healthy cells and tissues. Other medications prescribed by the Doctor should be followed always to fight the side effects.
(A part of Project Kiran,
Reference: National Cancer Institute, USA)
By: Dr. Gitartha Roymedhi,
Medical Officer,
                                                                               North East Cancer Hospital and Research Institute.

Judicial secret out in open - Former judge skewers appointment process

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1111111/jsp/frontpage/story_14735972.jsp
Judicial secret out in open
- Former judge skewers appointment process
SAMANWAYA RAUTRAY
New Delhi, Nov. 10: Former Supreme Court judge Ruma Pal today tore into the process of appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the high courts and the lack of an embedded mechanism to ensure judicial accountability.
Pal, a widely respected jurist not known to mince words, chose to put a caveat to her words: she was speaking from the “safe haven of retirement”.
“The process of appointment of judges to the superior courts was possibly the best kept secret of the country,” she said.
Judges’ appointments are now initiated and cleared by a collegium of the four senior-most judges and the Chief Justice of India for the Supreme Court and three senior judges and the chief justice for a high court. Since 1993, the executive’s role has been to dutifully appoint those cleared by the collegium. The executive can return the names but has to appoint the judges if the collegium clears the list again.
Pal said the criticism of appointments by the executive to the judiciary applied equally well to appointments made by judges to the judiciary.
The “mystique” of the process, the small base from which the selections were made and the “secrecy and confidentiality” ensured that the “process may, on occasions, make wrong appointments and, worse still, lend itself to nepotism”, she said.
An indiscreet comment or a chance rumour was enough to rule out a person’s perceived suitability for the post, she said. Friendships and obligations also sometimes colour recommendations, she added.
Consensus in the collegium is often arrived at by “trade-offs”, she said, with “disastrous effects”. Pal also lamented the growing “sycophancy” and “lobbying” which colour these appointments.
These appointments, she said, should be done by a judicial commission of non-partisan members. Unless the process is made transparent and the resource pool widened and some objective criteria laid down, “arbitrariness” in appointments will remain, she said.
There has been a good deal of talk in recent years on the judicial accountability and standards bill but it is still pending. It proposes a judicial commission made of people from all walks of life and strong representation from the executive.
Pal was delivering the fifth V.M. Tarkunde memorial lecture here. Tarkunde, considered the father of the human rights movement in the country, was a lawyer in the Bombay Bar. He became a high court judge but later gave up the post to don black robes again.
Tarkunde was never elevated to the Supreme Court because of extraneous reasons, speakers at the lecture said. His landmark judgment, that a person was entitled to a passport as a matter of right under Article 21 of the Constitution (right to life and liberty), was later adopted by the Supreme Court in the Maneka Gandhi case.
Pal also listed several sins of the judiciary (see chart). She called for a judicially “embedded” strong mechanism to ensure accountability. Any non-judicial mechanism will impinge on the judiciary’s independence, she said.
The current solutions adopted by the judiciary — which give the CJI only the power to transfer, or not allot work, to erring judges — were inadequate and ad hoc, she said.
She described the increasing tribunalisation (the executive decision to set up specialised tribunals) as a serious encroachment on the judiciary’s independence. The judiciary, she said, had been “timorous” in not fighting these tribunals that force it to share its adjudicating powers with the executive.
A government law that bars judges from foreign travel even at their own cost also came in for attack. This ensures that judges are obliged to the secretaries in various departments, she said.
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RED ALERT! Nos. of State Info Commissioners fell from 106 to 80

Dear fellow RTI Activists,
 
Please sit up and take notice. We are like frogs in a pan of water that is being slowly heated to the boiling point. Only because it is a creeping change, we are not jumping out. We are in a crisis already.

Over the past few months, a number of states have appointed no new State Information Commissioners (SICs). At end-2009, there were around 106 SICs. Today, there are only around 80. This is a drop of about 25% in two years. Most of this drop has happened in the last six months!

This fall in numbers has disproportionately impacted the working of those state information commissions, for reasons that we will explain later. It is estimated that pendency figures are up 150% on an all-India basis in these two years. In Andhra Pradesh, the pendency figure has doubled in one single year. In many states, cases being heard today were filed in 2008.

 SIX STATES CRIPPLED BY RETIRING INFORMATION COMMISSIONERS:
 
1.       ANDHRA PRADESH has had no new appointments after three information commissioners retired in 2010. For the last one year, there is only one chief state information commissioner, and the pendency has doubled in the last one year -- from 4000 in November 2010, it is today 8000. This state boasted four information commissioners in 2009-10.

2.       MAHARASHTRA today has only five information commissioners, including one acting chief, who is about to retire. Four have ended their tenure at various points of 2011, and the last of them was Navin Kumar, four months ago. There are no new appointments so far. In January 2011, the queue of pendency was 12,000 cases. In September, it had risen to 18,000 cases. Currently, information commission staff reckon that it is around 20,000, and rising at the rate of 2,000 cases every month.

3.       JHARKHAND, which had seven Information Commissioners in July 2011, now has only one.
 
4.       RAJASTHAN had two Information Commissioners, including one chief. When the chief retired in mid 2011, the entire commission stopped functioning for four months. The remaining commissioner was appointed as Chief only in mid-October. No new appointments have been made. Pendency is over 12,000.

5.       GUJARAT had three information commissioners until July. Now, there is only one -- the chief.
 
6.       TAMIL NADU used to have seven information commissioners until last year. Now there are only three. Three appointments were stayed in 2010 by the High Court after they were challenged for lack of due procedure.

The same story is being repeated in many other states. If you wish to enquire about other states, here are the CONTACT DETAILS OF OVER 80 ACTIVISTS attended Arvind Kejriwal’s meeting in Delhi at the beginning of 2010, to discuss the problems of their respective State Information Commissions: http://tinyurl.com/List-82-RTI-Activist-all-India

State governments are now dragging their feet in appointments – either because they are feeling the heat of RTI, or because they feel under pressure to select information commissioners by a proper process. (A notable exception is Uttar Pradesh, where Chief Minister Mayawati has been merrily appointing her cronies as information commissioners, and is completely unafraid of RTI.)

Look at Central Information Commission’s list of State Information Commissioners, which has not been updated since end-2009: http://cic.gov.in/state_chief__information_commissioners.htm
This list indicates that there were around 106 information commissioners in 27 states in 2009.

And compare this with the list made a few days back by C J Karira, super-moderator of India’s foremost RTI discussion forum, RTIIndia.org. He got his facts meticulously by calling up each State Information Commission: http://tinyurl.com/SICs-Overview-CJKarira

Here are Karira’s comments on his data collection process: http://tinyurl.com/Karira-Report-Note
 
WHY PENDENCY IS SHOOTING UP IN MANY STATES:

a)      HEARINGS, NO ORDERS: As the earlier batch of Information Commissioners retired upon completion of the five-year tenure, or attaining age 65, many of them did not dictate the orders of the cases that they had heard. Thus, they left behind a lot of confusion, and cases to be re-heard. This process continues, and things are getting worse.

b)      BAD RECORD KEEPING: Record-keeping practices in information commissions are terrible. Although information commissions are quasi-judicial forums, no judicial officers are appointed as SICs or their secretariat staff. So filing and records maintenance is done in the same way as administrative offices, which is not good enough. So the newcomers find it difficult to pick up where their predecessors left off.

c)       CHRONIC UNDERSTAFFING & LACK OF BUDGETS. The chief information commissioners have no direct control over staffing. Their state governments are deliberately not giving them adequate staff. Many information commissioners don’t have either English language or local language stenographers and typists, and are forced to type out their own orders, which reduces their productivity.

d)      INFORMATION COMMISSIONERS RECEIVE NO TRAINING OR ORIENTATION in doing their job as per Sec. 18 and 19 of Right to Information Act. They have neither background nor training in court-like procedures, office administration etc. They have no understanding of how to apply the RTI Act to the cases that they hear. Many of them have poorer understanding of RTI Act 2005 than the appellants and public information officers (PIOs) appearing before them. So newcomers have a very long learning curve, and depend entirely on their staff and the appellants to show them the ropes and teach them the law.

e)      POOR WORK ETHICS: Almost all of them are political appointees, who have no intention to put in an honest day’s work at the information commission. Many of them are retired bureaucrats, who consider this job as a kind of post-retirement benefit from their grateful political masters. They come to office around noon, and take long lunch breaks as well.

f)       TOO MANY UNNECESSARY HEARINGS: In some states, information commissions are going the way of the judiciary. Instead of holding one or two hearings and then dictating the order, states like UP and Orissa have commissioners who take 10-15 hearings per case, and still don’t give meaningful orders.

The queue of pending cases has already reached a critical point. In many State Information Commissions, matters of 2008 or 2009 are being heard i.e. a lag of 2-3 years. The usefulness of the second appeal mechanism is becoming questionable, because the apex bodies of RTI i.e. Information Commissions, are slowly becoming useless.

Friends, the water is too hot already. Please don’t stay calm and quiet while the RTI movement gets boiled to death. Now is a good time to press the panic button.
 
WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY IS IT? The Prime Minister’s.

The apex body for implementation of RTI Act 2005 is DOPT (Department of Personnel and Training), which answers directly to the Prime Minister. Therefore, like many other things, the buck stops with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for not having laid down a clear mandate to the various state governments, and not set up a monitoring system. Mr Prime Minister, Sir, are you listening? Please do something fast!

Warm Regards,
Krish
098215 88114
Mumbai
 
IMPORTANT NOTE: The websites of almost all State Information Commissions (and Central Information Commission) is not updated for months or even years. Please don’t rely on these websites for current figures on information commissioners and other statistics. Instead, ask the local RTI activists to personally contact the information commission staff and find out.

PRINCIPLED ATHEISM IN THE BUDDHIST SCHOLASTIC TRADITION


RICHARD P. HAYES
PRINCIPLED ATHEISM IN THE
BUDDHIST SCHOLASTIC TRADITION
0. INTRODUCTION
In their systematic presentations of religious philosophy, the Indian
Buddhists consistently defended the position that belief in an eternal
creator god who superintends his creation and looks after the
concerns of his creatures is a distraction from the central task of the
religious life. This was clearly the position taken in the early P~i
literature and in the Therav~da philosophy based on that literature,
but even in the later Mah~y~na writings such as the Lotus Sfitra and
the Lafik~vat~ra Sfitra, in which buddhahood is portrayed not as a
feature of the isolated career of Siddh~rtha Gautama but rather as a
constant feature of the entire cosmos at all times, great care is taken
to try to distinguish the concept of the cosmic Buddha-nature in the
forms of Dharmak~ya or Tath~gatagarbha from the concept of a
creator god. The Buddhists were, for whatever reasons, eager to avoid
falling into a theistic position. The motivation behind the present
paper has been to discover what those reasons were.
Section 1 will outline how the issue of God's existence is treated in
the early Buddhist literature, especially in the Suttapitaka, where
systematic Buddhist philosophy begins. Section 2 will review the
treatment of the question of divine creation as an issue in the
systematic philosophy of such thinkers as Vasubandhu (400--480),
Dharmakirti (600--660), ~mtaraksita (725--788) and Kamala~na
(740--795). And section 3 will show how the arguments for atheism
are isomorphic with the arguments for a variety of other positions to
which the Buddhist philosophers were committed.
1.0. BUDDHIST AGAMAS ON THE QUESTION OF GOD
In the Nik~ya literature, the question of the existence of God is
treated primarily from either an epistemological point of view or a
Journal of lndian Philosophy 16 (1988) 5--28.
© 1988 by Kluwer Academic Publishers.
6 RICHARD P. HAYES
moral point of view. As a problem of epistemology, the question of
God's existence amounts to a discussion of whether or not a religious
seeker can be certain that there is a greatest good and that therefore
his efforts to realize a greatest good will not be a pointless struggle
towards an unrealistic goal. And as a problem in morality, the
question amounts to a discussion of whether man himself is ultimately
responsible for all the displeasure that he feels or whether there exists
a superior being who inflicts displeasure upon man whether he
deserves it or not.
An instance of the epistemological treatment of the question of the
highest good occurs in the Tevijja Sutta, the thirteenth sutta of the
Digha Nikfiya. In this sutta there is an account of a dispute between
two young brahmins, Vfise.t.tha and Bhfiradv~ja, over the issue of which
religious practices lead most directly to union with Brahmfi. Brahmfi is
typically treated in the Nikfiya literature as an object of brahmanical
devotion who is believed by his devotees to be the master over whom
no other being has mastery (abhibhfi anabhibhfito), who sees everything
(afifiad-atthu-daso), the mighty one (vasavattO, who is lord,
maker, designer, chief, creator, master and father of all beings that
have been and of all beings that shall be (issaro kattfi nimfittfi settho
safijitfi vasi pitfi bhfitabhavyfinam). ~ Moreover, companionship with
Brahmfi (Brahma-sahavyatfi) is believed to be the state of salvation,
and so whatever set of practices leads most directly to companionship
with Brahmfi may be considered the most direct path to salvation
(afijasfiyano niyyfiniko). 2 But the brahmin students Vftset.tha and
Bhfiradv~ja have heard from their respective teachers differing
accounts on which practices lead to the goal that they both desire.
And so they decide to approach Gotama the Buddha to see whether
he can decide which party is right in this very important dispute.
On being told the nature of the dispute between Vfiset.tha and
Bhfiradvfija, Gotama Buddha begins by asking the disputants a few
questions of his own, and the answers to the questions show that the
young brahmins believe that there are many alternative paths that lead
to Brahrnfi, but the dispute is really over which path is most direct. On
learning this much, Gotama Buddha then pursues the supposition that
there are paths that lead men to meet Brahmfi face to face. What, asks
the Buddha, entitles us to believe that anyone meets Brahmfi face to
ATHEISM IN BUDDHIST TRADITION 7
face? Prompted by Gotama's questions, the young brahmins concede
that no living brahmin teacher claims ever to have seen Brahmfi face
to face, nor has any living brahmin teacher's teacher, nor has any
teacher in the lineage of teachers for the past seven generations.
Moreover, not even the Rsis, the ancient seers who made the Vedas
available to man and whose words the brahmin priests learn and
chant and transmit down through the generations, claim to have seen
Brahmfi face to face. What we have then, is the astonishing state of
affairs in which the followers of the brahmanical religious tradition are
striving towards a goal for the existence of which no one has any
evidence. Their religious goal, says the Buddha, is laughable (hassaka),
vain (rittaka) and empty (tucchaka)?
It is not only fellowship with God that is dismissed in this way.
Very nearly the same treatment is given to a Jaina disciple and his
teacher in the Cfi!a-Sakuladfiyi-sutta and the Vekhanassa-sutta
respectively, suttas seventy-nine and eighty in the Majjhima Nikfiya.
Here the Jainas are depicted as seeking after a "highest lustre," a
lustre superior to which and more excellent than which there is
nothing. On hearing of this unsurpassed lustre, the Buddha's response
is exactly the same as his reaction to the idea of comradeship with the
mighty lord and creator of all beings: he challenges the devotees to
point to that to which they are devoted. When they cannot do so,
Gotama spins out an analogy to illustrate to the devotees the nature of
their search. They are, he says, like a young man who goes about
saying "I love and cherish the loveliest woman in the land," but who
cannot say whether she is of high birth or low, of pale complexion or
dark, a city-dweller or a villager, and does not even know what her
name is. In short, the poor fool does not know, directly or indirectly,
the identity of the woman with whom he claims to be in love. We are
entitled to wonder, then, whether he is really in love at all.
The Buddha's reaction to those who seek to meet the creator or
who seek the unsurpassed lustre is not to deny that such things exist.
Rather, it is to take the epistemologically cautious stand that even
though the loveliest woman in the world may exist, one might very
well see the person who uniquely answers to the description of the
world's loveliest woman and yet not realize that she is the person who
answers to that description. Furthermore, it is not clear how one could
8 RICHARD P. HAYES
ever be certain that a given woman were the loveliest in the world,
unless he could see every woman in the world and know that he had
seen every woman. Similarly, it is not clear how a religious seeker
could be sure that he had correctly identified the greatest lustre or the
master over whom no other being has mastery. And, as we see in the
Brahmajgda Sutta in the Digha Nikhya, the case can be made that
people often misinterpret religious experiences and draw false conclusions
from them, which should make one suspicious of even the very
claims of direct experience of such things as unsurpassed masters.
Until his identification of the supreme being is specific and certain, the
religious seeker may be said to be pursuing such an ill-defined and
nebulous goal that it becomes difficult to determine whether a given
set of practices leads toward or away from the desired goal. In
contrast, the goal of nirvana towards which Gotama's disciples strive is
sufficiently definite -- the elimination of selfish desire and hostility --
that a disciple can have a very clear idea of whether he has or has not
reached it and whether he is or is not making progress toward it. It is
a goal to be realized in this life, not in some future existence, says
Gotama, and he makes no promises to anyone other than that nirvS.na
can be achieved by anyone who strives diligently to attain it. The
definiteness of the goal of Buddhist striving is what makes that goal
more worthy of pursuit than the goals of the BrS.hmanas and the
Jainas -- this seems to be the message so tirelessly repeated in the
Nikhyas. And so the Buddha Gotama is portrayed not as an atheist
who claims to be able to prove God's nonexistence, but rather as a
skeptic with respect to other teachers' claims to be able to lead their
disciples to the highest good.
The above described reactions of the Buddha to the claims of other
religious teachers are simply instances of his well-known aversion
to speculative views concerning matters that are beyond man's ken.
Speculation about such matters as whether the universe is beginningless
or had a definite point at which it came into being was regarded
as a distraction from pursuits closer at hand, and time spent thinking
about such things was regarded as wasted time that could more
profitably be spent on gradually ridding oneself of those counterproductive
attitudes and beliefs that, when acted upon, bring further
distress rather than the desired relief from the inconveniences of the
ATHEISM IN BUDDHIST TRADITION 9
human condition. That the attitude of the Buddha as portrayed in the
Nikfiyas is more anti-speculative than specifically atheistic is illustrated
by a refrain that is frequently repeated in the Brahmajfila Sutta. Here
Gotama the Buddha differentiates himself from other teachers on the
grounds that he, unlike them, does not propound doctrines concerning
the nature of the self after death. Furthermore, unlike other teachers,
the Buddha realizes that "these dogmatic tenets thus taken up and thus
embraced will lead to such and such consequences and will lead to
such and such a destiny."4 What the reader of this sutta is left to
conclude is that if the consequences of embracing certain tenets about
the existence of the self were healthy, then Gotama would certainly
recommend that his followers embrace them; but, since he in fact
repeatedly warns people to avoid embracing certain tenets, there must
be something about them that he regards as unhealthy or counterproductive.
Some insight into why it is that Gotama regarded the belief in God
as unhealthy, as an obstacle to spiritual progress, can be gained by
looking at the Devadaha-sutta, the one hundred first discourse in the
Majjhima Nikfiya) Here we find an enumeration of the types of
reasons that people often give for why they experience pleasure and
pain. Among the five reasons, one is that pleasure and pain are
created by God (issara). This view is not refuted in the sutta in
question, which is a polemical dialogue against the Jainas. All that is
said is that if God creates pleasure and pain, then the Jainas are made
by an evil creator who inflicts much suffering on them through their
programme of austerities; the Buddha, on the other hand, feels only
pleasant feelings in his dispassionate state, and so, if pleasure be
created by God, then the Buddha's creator must be a kind one. The
other theories, incidentally, as to why men experience pleasure and
pain are that such experiences are (1) the result of actions done in the
past, (2) the result of fate, (3) innate to certain species of beings, and
(4) the outcome of efforts undertaken in the present life. A Buddhist
monk, says this sutta, realizes that the source of all displeasure is selfcentred
craving (ta.nhfi), while the source of pleasure is nonattachment
and dispassion. And so, while the reader is left to conclude that it is
attachment rather than God, actions in past lives, fate, type of birth or
efforts in this life that is responsible for our experiences of sorrow, no
10 RICHARD P. HAYES
systematic argument is given in an attempt to disprove the existence of
God.
Nor do we encounter actual arguments against the existence of
a creator god in later Therav~da works such as Buddhaghosa's
Visuddhimagga. Here it is explained that the Buddha's teaching that
craving is the root cause of all distress is offered as a corrective to
such false theories as that the world with all its woes is the creation of
a god (issara), or that it is an evolution of primordial matter (padhfma)
as in the S~rhkhya system of philosophy, or that it is a product of time
or fate or that it is an accidental by-product of material elements. 6 But
how and why these theories are false is not explained.
2.0. VASUBANDHU'S DISCUSSION OF DIVINE CREATION
Like Buddhaghosa, the dogmatist Vasubandhu refers to alternative
accounts of how the world and its attendant suffering began, and he
too refers to the views that it began through divine creation, through
an evolution of primordial matter, or on account of time, fate or pure
chance. Unlike Buddhaghosa, however, Vasubandhu supplies arguments
designed to show why these various theories are inadequate.
Concerning the theory of divine creation of the world, Vasubandhu
focuses his attention on three issues. First, he explores the question
of how a single, undivided God, existing at all times, can create a
complex universe the parts of which arise in temporal sequence.
Second, he examines God's psychological motivation in creating the
world. And third, he looks into the relationship between God as
principal creator and auxiliary causal factors that go into making
up the world. Vasubandhu treats these issues in about one page of
Sanskrit prose. Later Buddhist philosophers wrote more extensively on
each of these three issues than did Vasubandhu, but for the most part
they did not explore other issues beyond these three. Let us look at
the issues one by one, seeing first how Vasubandhu treated each one
and then how later philosophers expanded on his treatment.
2.1. GOD'S UNITY
The position that Vasubandhu and most other Buddhist scholastics
ATHEISM IN BUDDHIST TRADITION 1 1
accepted is that the world is caused by a virtually infinite number of
causes, namely, the intentional actions of the countless sentient beings
who have lived through all beginningless time. The belief that there is
a single entity responsible for the rich diversity of experiences is
fundamentally wrong-headed. "The world," says Vasubandhu, "does
not have a single cause. Although they generate their own actions
in birth after birth, the poor wretches of unripened wisdom, who
experience the consequences of their own actions, wrongly contrive
a supreme God." 7 And so it should be noted at the outset that
Vasubandhu's arguments are designed to demonstrate the untenability
of any theory whereby the world's diversity is traced to a single
source. In particular, Vasubandhu points out that all his arguments for
the necessary plurality of causes does as much damage to the
Sfiriakhya theory of primordial matter (pradhfina, or prakrti) as to the
theory of divine creation. 8
Given that understanding of Vasubandhu's own position, let us see
how he criticized the positions that were contradictory to it. He begins
by saying:
If the world had a single cause, whether that single cause be God or something else,
the entire universe would have to arise all at once. But what we observe is that beings
occur one after another. Now that fact could be a function of God's intending for
each individual thing that it arise at a given time and disappear later. But in that case,
since there are numerous intentions, it would turn out that the cause of the world is
manifold. Moreover, that plurality of intentions would be simultaneous, for the reason
that God, which is their source, putatively has no internal divisions?
As will be discussed more fully below in section 3, this argument, or
various modifications of it, was one to which Buddhist academics
repeatedly resorted, not only in their arguments against theism but
also in their arguments against any hypothetical entity that was
supposed to retain its singularity while possessing a plurality of parts
or characteristics. By the time of Vasubandhu a real thing (dravyasat
vastu) is defined as any ultimate simple, that is, anything that cannot
be reduced either physically or conceptually into smaller components.
~° Consistent with that understanding of what it means for
something to be a real thing, Vasubandhu argues that if it is claimed
that God is real and therefore simple, then it cannot consistently be
said that he also have a plurality of separate intentions, one for each
12 RICHARD P. HAYES
object in the universe. But if God's uniformity is taken seriously, then
he must have only one intention that is applicable to everything at
once. And if that single intention is "Let it be," then everything must
be at once. A simple God can create, it would seem, only a perfectly
static universe. But the universe that we experience is not static.
Vasubandhu anticipates one objection to the above line of reasoning:
"Now one might argue that even if God's intentions occur all at
once, the [created] universe need not do so, since it is created in
accordance with divine will." 11 God's mind could have exactly the
same set of intentions at each moment in history, and in that case it
could not be said that he undergoes change. His unchanging set of
intentions could be: "Let A be at t a, B at tb, C at tc •. • X at tx." Each
event in history could then occur in the sequence that we observe and
still the sequence could occur according to a constant set of volitions.
Vasubandhu rejects this possibility, saying: "That is not so, because
there is nothing that distinguishes those [intentions at one time] from
[those that occur[ later." 12 The point appears to be that if God's set of
volitions is constantly in the form "Let all the events of history occur
in a prescribed order," the problem still remains that in order for the
intentions to be realized by being translated into action, some change
must occur in something; some potentiality must be converted into an
actuality. That change that must occur cannot occur in God himself,
for he is changeless. It must, then, occur outside God. But if that
which converts God's intentions into actions is something outside
God, then we should say that it, rather than God, is the creator of the
universe.
This question of how potentiality becomes actuality is taken
up somewhat more fully in Dharmakirti's arguments adduced to
demonstrate the nonexistence of God. The first observation that
Dharmaldrti makes is that a permanent, unchanging entity such as
God would have to have exactly the same nature before the creation
of the world as after; there would be no difference whatsoever
between God as creator and God as a being that is not yet a creator. 13
To be a cause of something is to undergo some change, as when a
seed and the earth in which it is planted undergo changes in nature as
they evolve into a shoot. 14 But if God suffers no changes in nature,
then he surely cannot be regarded as the cause of anything. 15 Even if
ATHEISM IN BUDDHIST TRADITION 13
there is no apparent change in nature within the cause itself, there
must be some change in at least the cause's circumstances. For
example, it must move from one place to another, or it must come
into contact with an object with which it was not previously in contact.
A weapon, for example, can be recognized as the cause of a wound in
the body only if the body is not wounded before contact with the
weapon, then contacts the weapon, and immediately upon such
contact develops a wound. But if God is supposed to be omnipresent
and therefore always in contact with everything, it cannot then be the
case that God comes into contact with a thing with which he was not
previously in contact, and so it is impossible that a change in some
object be due solely to that object's change in relationship with God. 16
Central to Dharmakirti's argument is the claim that no action is
possible without change, and so no unchanging thing can perform the
action of creating the universe. In this connection he anticipates a
possible counterexample that might be cited to disprove this central
claim. A sense object such as a patch of colour apparently undergoes
no change at all when it is perceived, and yet it is acknowledged as a
cause of sight, as can be shown by pointing out that sight occurs when
a patch of colour is present and fails to occur when no visible object
is present. Is it not possible, therefore, that God can be an unchanging
cause of the universe in the same way that a patch of colour is an
unchanging cause of vision? 17 Dharmakirti replies to this hypothetical
counterargument by stating the principle that nothing can become an
actuality without first being a potential. A visible object could never
actually be seen unless it had the potential to be seen, and so a sense
object must have an intrinsic potential to be sensed, and this potential
must be in some way triggered into actuality. Similarly, if God is a
creator of the universe, it must be admitted that he has a potential to
create that exists prior to his actually creating anything. But if this is
so, we must ask how that potential becomes realized. A visible object's
potential to be seen, for example, is triggered into actuality by factors
extrinsic to the visible object itself; there must be such factors as light,
a sentient being with a functioning eye and an attentive mind and so
forth, or else the potentially visible object cannot actually be seen. But
is there a similar set of factors extrinsic to God that are required to
trigger his potential to create? If so, then God is at least not a
14 RICHARD P. HAYES
sufficient condition for creation of the universe -- whether or not he is
a necessary condition is a separate question, to which we shall return
in section 2.3 below. But if there are no factors extrinsic to God that
are required to trigger his potential to create, then the conversion of
God's potentiality into actuality must be seen as an action that he
himself performs. But if God performs an action, then he must
undergo change and thus cannot be permanent.
Dharmakirti could also have pointed out in this context that serious
problems result from saying that a thing has an intrinsic potential
to act. For following the parallel to an argument made in another
context, we can see that if we claim that a certain object has an
intrinsic potential to act, then we are forced to conclude that the
object realizes that potential in every moment of its existence. ~8 For
otherwise we have no means of explaining why that which is a mere
potential at one moment becomes an actuality in the next. Just as an
object that has an intrinsic potential to perish must perish in every
moment of its existence (and must, therefore, exist for only one
moment), so also God, if he has a wholly intrinsic potential to create,
must create in every moment of his existence. But this means that
there is never a time when God exists and the created universe does
not. If God is beginningless, then so is the universe. And if the
universe is beginningless, there is no creation after all and therefore
no need to answer the question of who brought the creation about.
Post-Dharmakirtian Buddhist academics, such as gS.ntaraksita
and Kamalasl'ila, provided a natural corollary to Vasubandhu and
Dharmakirti's conclusions that a changeless being cannot perform the
action of creation. Not only can a changeless being not create the
world of sequential events, says g~ntaraksita, but he cannot even know
about the world of change. Even if there were a simple, beginningless
and endless being endowed with the faculty of intelligence, such a
being could not know the events of the transitory world, for if such a
being knew each event separately as it occurred, then he would have a
plurality of cognitive acts and would lose his unity. But if he knew all
events at once, then he would not know the essential characteristic of
events, which is that they occur in sequence. Knowing all events in
history at once would be like hearing every note in a melody played at
once rather than in sequence. Just as the essence of a melody lies in
ATHEISM IN BUDDHIST TRADITION 15
the sequentiality of the notes rather than in the mere presence of the
notes, the essence of history lies in the sequentiality of events. And so,
concluded ~hntaraksita, if God is indeed simple and eternally changeless,
he cannot participate in or know about history, and so those
of us who are caught in history can derive no benefit from God's
existence at all.
As can be seen from the above discussions, Vasubandhu's claim
that a complex world cannot have a simple and thus eternal cause was
a very powerful and rich claim indeed, which thinkers were still
exploring and expanding upon for several centuries.
2.2. GOD'S MOTIVATIONS
A second question that Vasubandhu raises about the theory of divine
creation focuses on the issue of why a self-sufficient and supposedly
perfect being would either need or wish to create anything at all.
Vasubandhu asks:
For what purpose would God expend so much effort in creating the world? Perhaps
for pleasure? Well, if God cannot make an effort without pleasure, then he has no
control over that, and thus he has no control over anything else either! ~9
Even more alarming than the possibility that God's creation of the
universe was a mere indulgence in hedonism is the possibility that it
was an act of cruelty, as evidenced by God's apparent willingness to
allow his creatures to err and to suffer for their errors:
And if God allows his creatures to be afflicted in hells by many guardians and takes
pleasure in that, then we should prostrate ourselves before such a God as that! For
the verse composed about him is very apt that goes:
Because he torments, because he is severe,
because he is cruel and full of might,
because he devours flesh, blood and marrow
they call him the Dreadful (Rudra). 2°
In contrast to the argument concerning the impossibility of the
creator's unity, which became the principal Buddhist argument against
the existence of God, this issue of the creator's motivations was
not stressed by Dharmakirti, ~fintaraksita or Kamala~l-la. In his
Nyfiyamafijari, however, the Hindu theistic philosopher Jayanta Bhatta
16 RICHARD P. HAYES
devotes a section to arguments adduced by atheists before providing
his own arguments in favour of God's existence. Among the arguments
that Jayanta cites against God's existence is a version of Vasubandhu's
question concerning motivations:
Did the Lord of creation undertake the creation of the universe just as it is after he
had pondered upon a purpose? If the undertaking were purposeless, then he would be
like a madman, in that his actions would not be preceded by reflection. 21
But, Jayanta reports his atheist opponent as saying, God is putatively
endowed with every possible joy and is free of passionate desire, and
so it is difficult to see what he would think he had to gain by creating
a universe without which he is already quite content. The standard
answer that the theist gives to this question is that God created the
world out of compassion. But, says Jayanta's adversary, for whom are
we to believe that God has compassion? Compassion is a response to
beings who are in pain. But surely there can have been no beings in
pain before the creation of the universe; indeed, it was precisely
because of the creation that previously contented souls began to feel
pain and anguish. Moreover, since God is supposedly omnipotent, he
might have created a universe in which sentient beings felt only joy
and happiness instead of this sorry world in which what little pleasure
there is is fleeting and serves only to taunt us in our misery. Perhaps
we can conclude only that the creation was a joke (kri.da) that God
played to amuse himself. But, Jayanta has the atheist say, if the
creation was a joke, it is one the humour of which is too subtle for the
sentient beings to appreciate: "Neither is the Magnanimous One's joke
appropriate, which causes dread in all his creatures, nor is this great
effort to play it." 22
As effective as this investigation into divine psychology might be in
casting doubt upon the purity of the creator's motivation in making
the world such as ours, this line of attack was not as commonly used
by Buddhist academics as the more fundamentally persuasive arguments
based on metaphysical considerations such as the problem of
God's unity and permanence. There is no need, then, for us to dwell
any longer upon the teleological issue.
ATHEISM IN BUDDHIST TRADITION 17
2.3. GOD AS ONE CAUSAL FACTOR AMONG OTHERS
We have already seen how Vasubandhu, who was followed in this by
Dharmakirti, argued that God cannot be regarded as a sufficient
condition of creation, that is, as a wholly self-sufficient creator with an
innate self-actualizing potential to enact the creation of the world. But
the possibility still remains open that God might be one of several
necessary conditions in the origin of the universe. Historically, in
fact, this view of creation, whereby God is a sentient, noncorporeal
agent whose volition puts coeternal atoms into motion to make up
macroscopic corporeal forms and puts eternal souls into these created
physical bodies, is the one adopted by most Indian theists, who
generally condemned the theory of crefitio ex nihil6 as absurd. In
dealing with the possibility that God requires factors outside himself in
order to create the universe, Vasubandhu first considers the possibility
that the creator's dependence upon other things is due to his being
himself an effect of other causes. If anyone were to hold such a view,
then he would have to answer what it was that caused the creator's
causes and so on ad infinitum. In fact, says Vasubandhu, this theory
amounts to admitting that the universe is beginningless, which is the
view accepted by Buddhists; but if one accepts that the universe is
beginningless, there is of course no need to posit a creator at all. 23
The possibility that God's dependence upon other things is in the
nature of his being the effect of those other things is not to be taken
very seriously, since no one actually advocates such a view, and
Vasubandhu's refutation of it must be seen as a result of a good
philosopher's penchant for thoroughness. Far more serious, however,
is the claim that the world made up of insentient matter requires some
conscious force to put it into motion. The principal argument of the
theistic philosophers in India, in fact, was that since all complex
products require sentient makers and since the universe is a complex
product, the universe must have a sentient maker.
The above argument was one that the Buddhist academics tended
not to reject; the medieval Indian Buddhists, in other words, did not
advocate a position anything like the view accepted by most modern
thinkers to the effect that the universe is for the most part uninhabited
and that sentient life is a development that has come about relatively
18 RICHARD P. HAYES
recently in the history of an inconceivably vast expanse of lifeless
matter. On the contrary, Buddhist mythology and systematic philosophy
generally endorsed the view that the vast universe is everywhere
populated by sentient beings and that the shape the universe takes
is an accommodation to the force of the constant fruition of the
multitudes of deeds performed by those sentient beings throughout the
history of a beginningless universe. The medieval Buddhist view, in
other words, is no more attuned to modern scientific views than is the
theistic view of creation that the Buddhist academics sought to refute.
What in particular Vasubandhu rejected in the theistic theory that the
universe is sustained and influenced by noncorporeal sentience was
the alleged unity of that sentience. If the material universe obeys the
dictates of only one sentient force, namely God, then human beings
and other sentient beings must be ultimately powerless, and their role
in making all the manufactured items of ordinary life must ultimately
be denied. As Vasubandhu puts the matter:
He who accepts that there is but one cause of the universe must deny the obvious
human effort in other matters. And he who fancies God as a creator along with
[other] causal factors would merely be proclaiming his devotion, for we do not
observe the operation of anything other than [the other[ causal factors when
something arises from them. z4
Dharmakirti did not develop this argument in his discussion of the
theory of divine creation, but gfintaraksita expanded Vasubandhu's
argument considerably. First, ~ntaraksita recapitulates the theist's
claim as follows: "Others regard God as the cause of all things that are
produced. No insentient being, they say, produces its effects by itself. ''z5
But, he argues later, granting that an insentient universe cannot put
itself into motion does not force us to conclude that there is but one
sentient being who motivates insentient nature. On the contrary, in
everything that we observe in the world around us we see that a
multiplicity of effects is preceded by a multiplicity of creators. It takes
many ants to make an anthill, and many men to construct a city and
all the things in it; potters make pots, weavers make cloth, carpenters
build houses and so forth, but we never observe that behind all these
many manufacturers of things there is but a single sentient being at
work with a single will. z6 If there were but a single purposive will
driving all apparently independent sentient beings, there would be no
ATHEISM IN BUDDHIST TRADITION 19
conflicts among beings, but this is hardly what we in fact observe. And
so, concludes g~ntaraksita, "We have no dispute with what is claimed
in general, namely, that ]products] are preceded by something
intelligent, for diversity is born of deliberate action. In the argument
for ]products'] being preceded by a single, eternal intelligence, the
conclusion is frivolous and [the evidence is] inconclusive, because it is
observed that palaces and so forth are built by many people. ''2v
Closely related to the general issue of whether God is one factor
among many in building and sustaining the universe is the contention
held by some theists that God's function is an essentially administrative
one in that he keeps an account of all the deeds of his creatures
and dispenses retribution in accordance with merit. The crucial
question to be asked in this connection, say the Buddhists, is whether
or not God actually tampers in any way with anyone's stock of merit
and demerit. If not, then it must be admitted that God is essentially
doing nothing more than being aware of the natural process of the
ripening of past deeds that would presumably take place whether or
not he were conscious of it. God would then be much like us, a
powerless bystander witnessing a series of virtually inevitable events.
Positing such a god has no explanatory value, and paying respects
to such an impotent figure would provide little comfort to the
worshipper. And so, if God's administrative talents are to command
our respect, it would appear to be more promising to assume that
God can and does play a decisive role in the maturation of the seeds
of past deeds into present realities. And to say that God plays a
decisive role amounts to saying that he accomplishes something that
the natural fruition process itself would not accomplish. But what can
God accomplish that could not be accomplished by a natural process
of individual karmic seeds maturing into new realities? The most likely
answer to this question is that God must somehow be able to alter the
karmic configurations of sentient beings, to give beings rewards and
punishments that they do not rightly deserve on the basis of the moral
momentum of their own actions. But if God has this power to give
those beings under his care gratuitous benefits, then we are entitled to
ask why he does not consistently exercise this power so that all beings
might always be happy. That he does not do so would appear to
indicate either God's insensitivity to our pain or his cruel willingness
20 RICHARD P. HAYES
to see us undergo suffering that he could easily prevent. And so, the
Buddhists conclude, whether God is unable to help us, unwilling to
help us or unaware that we need help, he is of little value to man. We
are better off conducting our affairs on our own powers and acting as
if there is no divine power to help us in the task at hand, which is to
transform our characters in such a way that we do only meritorious
actions that naturally ripen into happy experiences in the present and
future.
3.0. THE PROBLEM OF UNITY IN
GOD, INDIVIDUALS AND UNIVERSALS
Of the issues concerning the existence of God that have been outlined
above, the one that received the greatest attention from the Indian
Buddhist academic tradition was that of the possibility of God's unity,
simplicity and permanence. 28 In fact, this principal argument for the
nonexistence of God may be seen as a special application of a form of
argument that occurs repeatedly in Buddhist metaphysical treatises, it
being but another instance of the general Buddhist preoccupation with
the problem of unity in diversity. Generally speaking, the Buddhist
philosophers denied the existence of anything that was supposed to
retain its unity while occurring in or being related to a plurality of
things, as this verse from the Lafikftvat~ra Sfitra acknowledges:
Personal identity, continuum, groups, causal conditions, atoms, primordial matter, and
God the creator are regarded as mere ideas. 29
Why each of these items is regarded as a purely conceptual fiction is
that each is construed as a unity that is composed of a plurality of
components. To give an exhaustive account of all occurrences of the
Buddhist treatment of the one-many problem would be to tell nearly
the whole story of Indian Buddhist philosophy, which is a bit like a
symphony played on a one-stringed violin. Rather than attempting that
monumental task here, let me simply outline four issues that at first
glance might seem unrelated but which all turn out to be versions of
the fundamental Buddhist claim that no whole exists over and above
the existence of individual parts. Following this, I shall indicate briefly
ATHEISM IN BUDDHIST TRADITION 21
how this same fundamental claim was behind the Buddhist rejection of
real universals and real relations.
3.1. WHOLES AND PARTS
Among the first Buddhist philosophical writings to become familiar to
a relatively wide audience within the English-reading world was the
celebrated Questions of King Milinda. In this text the monk Nfigasena
is depicted as explaining to King Milinda that the personal identity
that most people naively believe they possess is in fact no more than a
mere designation, a convenient fiction. To demonstrate this principle,
Nfigasena argues that the person is, like a chariot, really analyzable
into discrete components, any one of which may be altered or
replaced or deleted without impairing the supposed integrity of the
collection of those parts. 3° Just as a chariot's wheel can be replaced
without altering the chariot's "identity" -- that is, without making it a
different chariot -- a person's body can undergo changes, and some
habits can be replaced by others, and knowledge can be gained or
lost, and all these changes can occur without changing the person's
"identity." But when we inquire into where this so-called identity
resides, we find that it cannot reside in its totality in any one component
part, nor can it reside in the set of parts taken as a whole. For
if, let us say, the entire identity of the chariot were to reside in, for
example, the left wheel, then the chassis and the axle and the right
wheel would not be parts Of the chariot at all, for the chariot would be
just the left wheel. And if the left wheel should break and be replaced,
we should have to say that the entire chariot was broken and replaced
by an entirely different chariot. On the other hand, if we assume that
the identity of the chariot resides in the collection of parts taken as
a whole, then, since the whole changes any time any part changes,
to replace any part would be to change the identity of the whole;
to replace a single screw in the chariot would be to create a wholly
different chariot. But it goes against our intuitions of the chariot's
identity to say either that the chassis is not part of the chariot or that
the change of a tiny part creates an entirely different chariot. This
intuition of identity, then, is no more than an intuition. It resides
22 RICHARD P. HAYES
purely in the mind of the beholder and has no counterpart in the
world outside the mind. What we take to be a person is in fact devoid
of personal identity. Further arguments along this line are developed
in Vasubandhu (pp. 461--479) and throughout the Buddhist academic
tradition.
In Uddyotakara's Nyfiyav~rttika under Nyfiya-sfitra 2.1.31--33
there is a discussion concerning whether or not it is justifiable to infer,
when one sees the part of a tree that one is facing, that the tree has a
backside as well. Uddyotakara represents the Buddhists as being
unable to regard such an inference as justifiable. In order to use an
observation of A to serve as a sign of B, say the Buddhists, one must
have seen A and B together at some point and one must never have
seen A without B. But it is impossible to see the face and back of a
three-dimensional object simultaneously, and so one can never legitimately
conclude that there is a backside to a tree or any other large
object that one is facing. The Naiyfiyika is spared from having to hold
such a patently silly view, thinks Uddyotakara, because he believes it
possible to see not only the parts of the tree but the tree itself as a
whole object. To see the front of a tree is to see a tree, and to see a
tree is to know immediately that it must have a backside as well, since
having sides facing all directions is part of what it is to be a tree. But
the Buddhists, says Uddyotakara, continue to dispute this Naiyfiyika
claim by availing themselves of the following line of argument. We
cannot say that the tree-as-a-whole resides entirely in any one part,
such as a single leaf, for if that part were destroyed we should then
have to say that the whole tree was destroyed. On the other hand, we
cannot say that the tree-as-a-whole exists only partially in the single
leaf, since that would entail admitting that the tree-as-a-whole is
partite, which runs counter to our intuition that a whole is a unit
rather than a mere assemblage of smaller units. And so, say the
Buddhists, the tree-as-a-unit resides only in our mind and is not
something that can be seen or in any way sensed as a datum of the
world external to awareness.
In Pramfin.asamuccayav.rtti under kfirikfi 5.50, Diflnfiga argues that
proper names (yadrcchfi~abda), usually regarded as words that apply
only to given individuals, are in fact a type of class noun, since what
we ordinarily think of as individuals are in fact complex objects. And
ATHEISM IN BUDDHIST TRADITION 23
so, just as the word "cow" applies to a plurality of objects that the
intellect gathers together and treats as a unit called a class, a proper
name like "Devadatta" applies to a plurality of traits that the intellect
collects and treats as a unit called a person. But persons and classes
are both convenient fictions for the supposed unity of which there is
no justification in the facts of the world external to consciousness.
In the examples given so far, objects that are usually regarded
naively as units have turned out on closer reflection to be complexes
that because of their complexity in fact lack unity. Atoms, on the other
hand, are defined as absolute simples in that they are divisions of
matter than which nothing could be smaller. But the only unity than
which nothing could be smaller must be without any dimension at all
and so must not be a unit of matter at all, since unlike all other matter
the atom cannot occupy space and be resistent to other units of matter
occupying the same space. The same arguments are applied in some
Buddhist works to the smallest possible unit of time, the moment
(ksana).
Individuality, then, is merely an idea (cittam~ttra), say the Buddhist
academics, for reason shows that things that are given in experience
as existing, such phenomena as persons and chariots, have no real
individuality, while things that theoretically have true individuality,
such things as atoms and moments, cannot really exist.
3.2. UNIVERSALS AND RELATIONS
At Pramfinasamuccaya 5.1--4, Difinfiga argues that the intellect's act
of gathering a plurality of individuals together under a single concept
is done without any basis in a real unity binding the objects together
in the world external to consciousness. There are, in other words, no
real universals that retain their unity while residing in a plurality of
individuals. At Pramfinasamuccaya 5.17 Difinfiga argues that if there
were such a thing as a universal like cowness, then either it would
have to reside in its entirety in a single individual cow or it would
have to reside partially in each individual cow. In the former case
there would then be only one cow, which is not what we in fact
observe. In the latter case the universal cowhood would have internal
divisions and so would not be a unity, which runs counter to the usual
24 RICHARD P. HAYES
definition of a universal. Therefore universals do not reside in objects
in any way at all, says Difmfiga; rather, they are superimposed by the
mind upon the objects of experience.
Using an argument that is parallel to the argument against the
existence of real universals, Difinfiga concludes that there are also no
relations in the real world. For a relation is supposed to be a unity
that binds a plurality of relata together. But if the relation is a real
object in the world, then it must reside either wholly in a single
relatum or partially in each, neither of which consequences is possible.
Similarly, resemblance cannot be a real feature of objects in the world,
for resemblance is a kind of relation. Resemblance, like any other
relation and like universals, is something that the intellect superimposes
upon the objects of experience rather than something that
is a discovered feature of objects that they have outside our experience
of them.
4.0. CONCLUSION
The doctrine that there is no permanent creator who superintends
creation and takes care of his creatures accords quite well with each
of the principles known as the four noble truths of Buddhism. The
first truth, that distress is universal, is traditionally expounded in terms
of the impermanence of all features of experience and in terms of the
absence of genuine unity or personal identity in the multitude of
physical and mental factors that constitute what we experience as a
single person. As we saw above, the principal Buddhist arguments
against the existence of God focus on the impossibility of permanence
and unity in the causal structure of the universe. The second noble
truth, that distress is the outcome of one's own unrealistic aspirations,
is traditionally seen as ruling out the erroneous view that distress is
something inflicted upon creatures by a cosmic superintendent or by
other circumstances completely beyond their control. The third noble
truth, that distress can be eliminated by divesting oneself of all
unrealistic aspirations, rules out the view that sentient beings, as
powerless victims of a divine will, have no alternative to a life of
constant frustration. And the fourth noble truth, that the best means
of removing unrealistic desires is to follow a methodical course of
ATHEISM IN BUDDHIST TRADITION 25
self-discipline, counters the view that the road to happiness lies in
obedience to divine will or in trying to manipulate the sentiments of a
cosmic intelligence through prayer or ritual.
Atheism, then, is a doctrine of fundamental importance within
Buddhist religious philosophy rather than a mere accretion acquired
through historical accident. As such it was a doctrine for which the
Buddhist apologists during the academic period were strongly
motivated to find good arguments. Although a variety of arguments
were used, the most frequently used and the most powerful was a
special application of the general Buddhist commitment to the
principle that there can be no real unity binding together any plurality
of things and that all notions of unity in plurality are therefore
superimposed gratuitously upon experience by the experiencing mind.
From this same principle the Buddhist scholastics in India also derived
their commitment to nominalism or conceptualism in the realm of
linguistic philosophy and to the theory of radical momentariness in the
realm of metaphysics.
NOTES
J Davids and Carpenter (1890), p. 18.
2 Davids and Carpenter (1890), p. 235.
3 Davids and Carpenter (1890), p. 240.
4 "Tayidam, bhikkave, Tathfigato pajfinfiti: 'Ime ditthit.thfin~ eva .m-gahitfi evampar~
ma.t.thfi eva .m-gatikfi bhavissanti eva .m-abhisamparfiyfi ti.'" Davids and Carpenter
(1890), p. 30.
5 Chalmers (1898), pp. 214--228.
"samudayafi~nam issarapadh~mak~lasabh~vfid~i loko pavattati ti akfirane
kfiranfibhim~napavattath hetumhi vippatipattith." (Knowledge of the origin [of distress]
puts an end to misconception with respect to causes, which concerns the belief that
something is a cause when it is not, such as that the world arises owing to God,
primordial matter, time or the inherent properties [of the material elements].)
Buddhaghosa, p. 1156.
7 "tasmfin na lokasyaikarh k~ranam asti. sv~ay evais~n karmfi.ni tasy~uh tasyfifia jfitau
janayanti, akrtabuddhayas tu var~k~h svaih svafia vip~kaphalarh c~nubhavanta igvaram
apararh mithy~ parikalpayanti." Vasubandhu, p. 102, under Abhidharmako~a 2.64.
"evarh pradhfine'pi yath~yogarh vficyam." Vasubandhu, p. 102.
9 "yadi hy ekam eva kfiranam i~varah syfid anyad v~ yugapat sarvena jagata
bhavitavyaria syfit, drgyate ca bh~v~nfiria kramasarhbhavah, sa tarhi cchandavag~d
~varasya sy~d ayam idfinim utpadyathm nirudhyat~m ayam pasr~d iti. cchandabhed~t
tarhi siddham anekarh k~ranafia sy~t. sa cfipi cchandabhedo yugapat syfit taddhetor
i~varasy~bhinnatv~t." Vasubandhu, pp. 101-- 102.
26 RICHARD P. HAYES
1o yatra bhinne na tadbuddhir anyfipohe dhiyfi ca tat/
ghatfirthavat sa~hvrtisat paramfirthasad anyathfi//AK 6.4//
Vasubandhu, p. 334.
i1 "yaugapadye'pi~varacchandfin~trh jagato na yaugapadyam, yathficchandam
utpfidanfid iti cet." Vasubandhu, p. 102.
12 "na. tesSzh pa~c~d vi~esfibhfiv,~t." Vasubandhu, p. 102.
~3 yathfi tat kfiranam vastu tathaiva tad akfiranam/
yadfi tat k,~ranafia kena matarh nestam ak~ranam//PV 1.23//
(That thing [which like God is permanent] is exactly the same way when it is not a
cause as when it is a cause. When it is a cause, by what is it so recognized? Why is it
not believed [to remain] a noncause?) Dharmakirti, p. 16.
14 svabhfivaparinfimena hetur afikurajanmani/
bhfimyfidis tasya sarhskfire tadvi~esasya dar~anfit//PV 1.27//
(Soil and so forth, owing to a transformation Qf nature, is a cause of a seedling's
arising, since the seedling's attributes [such as growth[ are observed in the soil's
constitution.) Dharmakirti, p. 17.
~5 svabhfivabhedena vin~ vyfipfiro'pi na yujyate/
nityasy~vyatirekatvfit sfimarthyafa ca duranvayam//PV 1.25//
(No activity is possible without a change in nature. Since a permanent thing is
unchanging, its capacity to act is hard to believe.) Dharmakirti, p. 17.
~6 ~astrausadhfibhisafiabandhfic caitrasya vranarohane/
asathbaddhasya kiria sth~noh kfiranatvarh na kalpyate//PV 1.24//
(Owing to his contact with a weapon or with medicines, Caitra gets wounded or
healed. But a permanent thing that is disassociated [from activity[ is not considered to
be a cause.) Dharmakirti, pp. 16--17.
J7 yathfi vi~esena vinfi visayendriyasarhhati.h/
buddher hetus tathedaria cet ...//PV 1.28//
(But could this [creation of the world by God] be similar to a sense-faculty's
contacting a sense-object, which without changing [serves as] a cause of awareness?)
Dharmakirti, p. 17.
18 Jayanta Bhatta (pp. 453 f.) reports a Buddhist argument for momentariness based
on the principle that if a thing has an intrinsic, self-realizing potential, then that
potential must be constantly actualized, for otherwise there is no accounting for how
the potential becomes actualized just when it does and no sooner or later.
~9 "ka~ ca tfivad i~varasyeyatfi sargaprayhsenfirthah, yadi pritis tfifia tarhi
n~ntarenop~yarh ~aktah karttum iti na tasyfim i~varal~, syfit tathaiva cfinyasmin."
Vasubandhu, p. 102.
20 "yadi ce~varah narakfidisu prajfirh bahubhi~ cetibhir upasrstarh srstvfi tena priyate
namo'stu tasmai tfidr~fiye~var~ya, sugita~ cfiyarh tam firabhya ~loko bhavati.
yan nirdahati yat tl-ksno yad ugro yat pratfipavfin/
m~rhsa~onitamajjfido yat tato rudra ucyate//
Vasubandhu, p. 102.
2~ "kirh kimapi prayojanam anusadadhfiya jagatsarge pravarttate prajfipatir evam eva
vfi. nisprayojanfiyfirh pravrttfiv apreksfipfirvakfiritvfid unmattatulyo'sau bhavet." Jayanta
Bhat.ta, p. 192.
ATHEISM IN BUDDHIST TRADITION 27
22 na ca kridfipi ni.h~esajanatfitaflkakfiri.~/
fiyfisabahulfi ceyarh kartum yukUl mahfitmanah//
Jayanta Bhat.ta, p. 192.
23 "kfiranfintarabhedfipeksane vfi ne~vara eva k~ranafil syfit, tesfim api ca kramotpattau
kfiranfintarabhedfipeksanfid anavasth~prasafiga.h syfid ity anantarabhedfiyfi.h kfiranapararhparfiyfi
an~ditvfibhyupagamfid ayam i~varakfiran~ldhimuktah gfikyapfirviyam eva
nyfiymh nfitiv.rttah syfit." (On the other hand, if God is dependent on a variety of
other causal factors to create the world, then he is not in fact the cause of the world.
And if other causal factors arise one after another, then there would be an infinite
regress, since each would require a variety of anterior causes. And so he who believes
that God is the creator does not really reject the Buddhist position, since he too
believes that the sequence of causal conditions, in which one comes immediately after
the other, is beginningless.) Vasubandhu, p. 102.
24 "ekath khalv api jagatah kfiranarh parigrhnatfinyes~m arth~nfith pratyaksah
purusakfiro nihnutah syfit, sahfipi ca kfiranaih kfirakam i~varalh kalpayatfi kevalo
bhaktibfidah syfit, kfiranebhyo'nyasya tadutpattan vyfipfirfidar~an~t." Vasubandhu, p.
102.
25 sarvotpattimatfim i~am anye heturh pracaksate/
nficetanath svakfiryfini kila prfirabhate svayam//TS 46//
~fintaraksita p. 51.
26 kintu nityaikasarvajfianityabuddhisamfi~rayah./
s~dhyavaikalyato'vy~pter na siddhirh upagacchati//TS 72//
tathfi hi saudhasopfinagopur~t.tfilakfidayah/
anekfinityavijfi~napfirvakatvena ni~citfih//TS 73//
(But [the world's] dependence upon that which is eternal, one, and of unchanging,
omniscient mind is a conclusion that does not admit of proof. Because [the property
that the theist cites as evidence for that conclusion, namely, the fact that the world is
a complex product] is not pervaded [by the property of depending upon that which is
eternal, etc.], for the property that is in need of proof does not extend [to all created
things]. For example, such things as houses, staircases, gateways and towers are known
to be preceded by many beings with changing mental states.) ~fintaraksita p. 63.
27 buddhimatpfirvakatvarh ca sfim~nyena yad isyate/
tatra naiva vivfido no vai~varfipyarh hi karmajam//TS 80//
nityaikabuddhipfirvatvas~dhane sfidhya~finyatfi/
vyabhicfira~ ca saudhfider bahubhih kara.neksanfit//TS 81//
gfintaraksita, p. 65.
28 Another issue that came to be frequently discussed by the academics after
Difinfiga's time was that of God as a revealer of truths to which mankind would
without revelation have no access. As this issue has been treated in Hayes (1984), I
have not discussed it any further in the present writing.
29 pudgalah safiltatih skandhfil.l, pratyayfi anavas tathfi/
pradhfinam i~varah kartfi cittamfitrafn vikalpyate//
Vaidya, p. 34.
30 This discussion occurs in gfistri, pp. 19--20.
28 RICHARD P. HAYES
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Chalmers, Robert (1898). Editor. The Majjhima-Nikfiya. Vol. 2. London: Pali Text
Society, 1951 (reprint).
Davids, T. W. Rhys and J. Estlin Carpenter (1890). Editors. The Digha Nikfiya. Vol.
1. London: Pali Text Society, 1967 (reprint).
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Dvfirikfidfisa gfist'ri. Bauddha Bharati, 3. Vfirfinasi: Bauddhabhfirati, 1968.
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