Origin and Doctrines of Early Indian Buddhist Schools by Vasu-Mitra, Jiryo Masuda

By Vasu-Mitra, Jiryo Masuda

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That an entity is empty means that own-being is absent from it. ' 13 At this point, it is easy to make a mistake. If private sensations/ dharmas are only 'illustrated turns of speech' /'symbols empty of object-content', the word 'hope', for instance, doesn't refer to anything. There is no hope after all; only a word. Naturally, one becomes impatient at this, because hope is obviously a lot more than a word. In fact, both Wittgenstein and the Madhyamika have been accused of substituting a gap for our inner life.

But we no longer have to pretend, or need to imagine, that being able to understand what pleasure is involves comparing, say, a particular pleasure-sensation (piti) with a dharma representing the 'essential pleasure sensation'. Nor that understanding what pain is involves having in mind a certain universal quality of painfulness or a kind of Sensations and Language 47 archetypal pain which can be seen to fit in a given case. Enlightenment is not now equated with a passage from object to object, but with a new way of understanding, among other things, pain and how we understand what it is.

Even though statements about how things taste, for example, are normally complete translations of statements about taste sense-data, 'things' did not really exist in Russellian and Abhidarmist metaphysics. As we know, they were replaced by particulars taken from our analysed experience, and some of the particulars were meant to be sense-data in the 'new kind of object' sense of the term. But sense-data as a new kind of object, it now turns out, are only really applicable to vision (if indeed they are defensible at all).

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