Thursday, July 2, 2009

Heretics in India and Tibet

In an interesting lecture (Vienna, June the 29th 2009), Dr. Pascale Hugon mentioned the debate held at sKyid Rong between Sa skya Paṇḍita and 6 "heretics". Only scant informations about its content have been recorded. It seems that the 6 heretics adored Brahmā and that Sa Paṇ convinced them (just) by saying that Brahmā is known to sleep and is hence dull. I'll here leave aside historic questions (such as: was Brahmā at all still adored at that time? the depiction of ascetics adoring him seems to depend heavily on Pāli examples) and consider only the argument. P.Hugon, answering a question, proposed that it could be a shortening of the one found in Tarkajvālā (possibly by Bhāviveka). According to the TJ, "Hindū" Gods are not capable of defending dharma because they are prey of rāga, dveṣa, moha. An example of moha is, in fact, Brahmā's sleep before each creation of the world. I wonder whether this could be a convincing argument for a non-Buddhist audience. In fact, Kumārila rather accuses the Buddha of not being a reliable speaker because he is allegedly free of rāga and has, hence, no desire to communicate at all (the desire to communicate is one of the characteristics of a reliable speaker since NS).

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