The research is based on Vasubandhu’s “Abhidharmakoshabhashyam” (-“the Abidhidharma and its commentary”). “Kosha” includes nine Chapters in which almost all philosophical issues of Buddhism are discussed. The concern of the dissertation is only the philosophy of origination though and thus the research is based mostly on the Chapter III – “Lokanirdesha” (-“teaching about the world). In this Chapter Vasubandhu describes Buddhist cosmology, types of sentient beings humans included, the theory of dependent origination and the cosmic cycles called Kalpas. Theory of dependent origination serves several purposes such as explanation of rebirth mechanism, explanation of salvation and explanation of the beginning of a new Kalpa. Analyzing those interpretations of Dependent Origination one can see that nevertheless Buddhist theory opposes traditional Indian philosophical approach and comes to completely different conclusions, it still remains in the same analytical frame, which is the philosophy of causality.
In terms of Indian philosophy the problem of world’s origination is a problem of causality, that means that one has to distinguish between the causes and effects in all phenomena in an attempt to find that first cause from which the first phenomenon arose, but clearly none of the philosophical schools could find it by logical inquiry. That is why all Indian Astika schools at some point come to acceptance of the First Assumption as an eternal cause. This first assumption lies beyond logical inquiry. Buddhist philosophy opposes this approach and consequently denies first assumption as well. Vasubandhu’s way of thinking gives, in this context, completely new perspective on the nature of cause and effect definition and their relationship.
The goal of my research is to reveal all aspects of Buddhist philosophy of origination as it is stated by Vasubandhu in his work and at the same time analyse it in the context of Indian philosophy of causality. Putting Vasubandhu’s theory of origination in the broader context of Indian philosophical discourse will help to determine its place and importance in the area where it was born.
During my stay at IIAS I plan to refine and complete some of the sections of my dissertation.