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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Distinction between linguistic and external reality

In his contribution to a recent symposium (Does Asia think differently? –Symposium zu Ehre Ernst Steinkellners), Johannes Bronkhorst answered that yes, there is a substantial difference between “our” thought and the Indian one, in so far as the latter does not distinguish between purely linguistic problems and genuine ones. For instance, Indians care for the status of an object which is linguistically present before its actual existence, such as a pot in “the potter makes the pot”. However, many Buddhist schools seem to aptly distinguish between the two and so do, as far as my knowledge reaches, at least also Mīmāṃsakas. For instance, Rāmānujācārya speaks of karman and kriyāphala as two distinct realities (cf. Tantrarahasya, IV §3.13.2: kriyāphalaśali karma).

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