• Going Off the Map: 'Transcendental Dependent Arising' in the Nettippakaraṇa

      Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester
      The early Buddhist exegetical text, the Nettippakaraṇa, apparently uniquely, describes the stages of the path as ‘transcendental dependent arising’ (lokuttara paṭicca-samuppāda), in contrast with the twelve nidānas, called ‘worldly dependent arising’ (lokiya paṭicca-samuppāda). A close reading of the Nettippakaraṇa in relation to another, related, exegetical text, the Peṭakopadesa, reveals that the latter interprets the same stages of the path in a different way. More broadly, while the Peṭakopadesa takes paṭicca-samuppāda to refer only to the twelve nidānas, the Nettippakaraṇa’s exegetical strategy takes paṭicca-samuppāda to refer to an over-arching principle of conditionality, both ‘worldly’ and ‘transcendental’. This exegesis has proved popular with modern western Buddhist exegetes.
    • ‘Preconditions’: The Upanisā Sutta in Context

      Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester
      The Upanisā Sutta (Saṃyutta Nikāya 12: 23) has been interpreted as presenting an overarching account of conditionality, joining the twelve nidānas of paṭicca-samuppāda with a further series of positive factors (upanisās) leading to awakening. The discourse has a parallel preserved in Chinese translation. A close reading of these versions shows how the series of upanisās belongs to a ‘family’ of upanisā discourses. The connection of the series to the twelve nidānas appears rhetorical rather than doctrinal. The concept of upanisā in Pāli literature is related to the concept of upaniṣad in Vedic literature, and upanisā was also a topic of debate in the ascetic milieu of ancient India. The Buddhist concept of upanisā emerges as that of a supportive inner state that is a necessary condition for achieving the aim of liberation. I propose to translate upanisā as ‘precondition’.
    • A Teleological Mode of Conditionality in Early Buddhism

      Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester
      In addition to the twelve links (nidānas) of dependent arising (paṭicca-samuppāda), early Buddhist texts record a series of stages of the path to awakening, called “preconditions” (upanisās), which in the Pāli Upanisā Sutta (S 12: 23; pts ii.29–31) are joined in one series. Modern western Buddhists take this one series to imply that nidānas and upanisās exemplify an over-arching principle of conditionality. In this article I argue that the upanisās exemplify a distinctively teleological mode of conditionality. I investigate (i) the images of a tree coming to full growth and rain flowing to the seas used to illustrate the upanisās, (ii) the distinctly goal-directed language used in relation to the stages of the path, and finally (iii), I propose, via a discussion of Aristotle on teleology, that the upanisās represent a teleological mode of conditionality, such that each stage of the path becomes the condition for the next, in relation to an aim or goal of awakening. I argue that the series of upanisās has a normative, rather than phenomenological, character, and I compare the series to a recipe. I conclude with the suggestion that the similarity between upanisās and nidānas lies in their being necessary conditions, and that this similarity constitutes a “family resemblance” (in Wittgenstein’s phrase). The over-arching principle of conditionality is not a feature of reality over and above such a family resemblance.
    • Three Ways of Denying the Self

      Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester
      Buddhist philosophers have tried to work out the implications of the Buddha’s teaching of non-self (anattā). I characterise the teaching of non-self in the Pāli discourses, noting that, although the Buddha denied the existence of a ‘metaphysical’ self, he did not completely deny the ‘everyday’ self but presupposed the ‘I’ as a continuously identical moral agent. I go on to explain three attempts to explain the Buddha’s teaching. (1) Nāgasena in the Milindapañha uses the chariot argument to show that the self, like a chariot, is a conventional designation for a functional arrangement of parts. (2) The Yogācāra philosopher Vasubandhu argues that the self is a cognitive mistake and that in reality there is only non-dual awareness. (3) The Madhyamaka philosopher Candrakīrti argues that there is the appearance of a self but it does not exist in the way that it appears. I conclude that these ways of denying the self are distinct and that Candrakīrti’s way seems closest to the Buddha’s as recorded in the Pāli canon.
    • Translating Patịcca-samuppāda in Early Buddhism

      Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester
      This chapter addresses the issue of how to translate the term paṭicca-samuppāda, which relies on the use of Prakrit and Sanskrit grammatical forms for which there are no exact English equivalents, and which expresses a core Buddhist concept for which there is no exact philosophical equivalent outside of Buddhist teachings.
    • Upaniṣadic Echoes in the Alaggadūpama Sutta

      Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester
      Scholars have already identified verbal echoes of the Upaniṣads in the Alagaddūpama Sutta (‘Discourse on the Simile of the Water-snake’, M 22 pts i.130–42). In this article I argue that the Alagaddūpama Sutta also contains muffled verbal echoes of the famous story of Indra’s search for the self in Chāndogya Upaniṣad 8.7–12. By making this echo audible, I add to the evidence that the Alagaddūpama Sutta as a whole can be understood in terms of the Buddha’s rejection of an Upaniṣadic soteriology.