The Central Philosophy of Jainism (book review) Bimal Krishna Matilal

280120: reading essay on buddhist logic https://aeon.co/essays/the-logic-of-buddhist-philosophy-goes-beyond-simple-truth and another book on jaina [book:Jaina Theory of Multiple Facets of Reality and Truth|3150643] and another [book:Jainism as Meta-Philosophy|34729893]


150619 review of reviews i gave five to: this sounds very much like way of thought i wanted to pursue, but now much later i see i do not. limits of relevant texts, limits of genre, limits of present gurus, are some reasons, but mainly of the jaina ethics texts i did read, the philosophy becomes encumbered by extensive, detailed, recipes to ‘cleanse the clouded mirror’ of our individual atman, which interests me as little as learning how to form correct catholic prayer... and you have an entire metaphysic to follow to even believe in ‘particles’ as such, though i can think in ‘wave-particle duality’ terms...


211216: there is difficulty in rating this: how much is this the philosophy and how much the text- and of course how much do i understand it... this is early in my fascination with jaina thought, this is a very concise, condensed, logical work, and the 'seven-membered' logic is perhaps beyond me or disputed by logicians 'western' and 'Indian', in ways i do not fully follow...


so rather than sum up the the entire book, short as it is, i will concentrate on one chapter on 'syat', the essential term as variously translated from Sanskrit. in jaina ethics the first duty is to 'do no harm', and this applies not only to act but also to thought, to speech, to ontological, indeed all philosophical positions. the jaina thinker is scrupulously aware, must argue, must contend that all such varied assertions are of human provenance and thus limited, partial, perspectives, and rather than thus argue for 'emptiness' of all such identities, as nagarjuna and other Buddhists- jaina argues for 'many-pointedness' and synthesizes rather than rejects such apparent dualities and opposites as finite world/infinite world, soul/body, and the suffix 'syat' is used to note this contention...


'syat' is not ambiguity, not maybe, not doubt, not median, not negation, though it is often mistranslated in such terms- as it asserts the truth of opposites, synthesizes, brings together, is a 'conditional Yes' in the sense of 'from such perspective this, from this other perspective this'. in other words context and perspective is vital, as in answering the dispute between substance and motion, which Buddhists resolve entirely in favour of motion and substance is only 'emptiness', or that substance is real and motion is ‘emptiness’, or both are real, or neither are real, and ‘emptiness’ is all, the jaina contend that from one way of looking at it substance is real, is practical, is evident, such as water in a river- but from this, in this case current, there is also motion and this is equally real... etc, and ‘emptiness’ is ‘inexpressible’ in perspective yes, perspective no, and in perspective both yes and no...


so the 'perspective' from which we determine ‘truth’ does not invalidate other 'standpoints' and 'do no harm' to others, to other thoughts, such as the common aristotlelian logic of substance and quality is seen as necessarily bound together (something must be a substance to be a quality, must be a quality to be a substance), the syllogism of binary thought transcended, though there are arguments that the questions are simply badly phrased and may be this way of thinking reduces to semantic disputes rather than metaphysical.... as said, such logical work is beyond me, it is only intuitively that this seems to me so correct as 'and... and... and...' (deleuze?) rather than 'either... or...'.. for example, as i understand, from one scientific perspective it seems the universe is finite (in time, in modeling as a sphere expanding through four dimensions) and through another scientific perspective the universe is infinite (there are no borders of modeled sphere) and then that according to scientific perspective a determination unanswerable and inexpressible (once in thought you get to such questions concepts of infinite/finite in spacetime are meaningless)...


note: in this way of thinking, anekanta-vada (many-pointedness) it is not actually a 'vada' or 'theory/assertion' of 'Indian thought' but an attitude applicable to those of many schools and perhaps 'western' thought as well...

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if you like this review, i now have website: www.michaelkamakana.com 220611: this is probably the most academically accurate of the translations I have read of this book, but still prefer commentary o