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A Jain Monk in a Buddhist Monastery: Akalaṅka’s Critique of Dharmakīrti’s Theory of Perception

This is a past event.

Thursday, November 9, 2023 at 6:00pm

Tamiami Hall 11201 SW 17th St, Miami, FL 33165

This talk will analyze the philosophical debate between the Buddhist philosopher Dharmakīrti (c. 600-660 CE) and the Jain philosopher Akalaṅka (c. 720-780 CE) regarding the nature, object, and structure of perception qua source of knowledge (pramāṇa). We will begin by examining how and why Dharmakīrti decided to polemically engage with Jain philosophy by critiquing the distinctively Jain theory of many-sidedness (anekāntavāda). Dharmakīrti’s influential critique provoked Jain philosophers such as Akalaṅka to come up with a sophisticated defense and re-evaluation of the Jain philosophical worldview.

We shall see how Akalaṅka’s Jain philosophical treatises consistently quote, paraphrase, borrow, satirize, and refute Dharmakīrti’s Buddhist philosophical theories in order to demonstrate the superiority of Jain philosophy over Buddhist philosophy. Besides discussing the relevant philosophical ideas, this talk will reflect on the significance of this inter-religious Buddhist-Jain philosophical debate as well as the later narrative representations of this fascinating episode in the history of Indian philosophy.


Guest Speaker

Shree Nahata is a DPhil candidate of the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oxford. His research interests include Jain philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, and Sanskrit poetry.


The talk will be preceded by dinner (delicious Jain vegetarian meal!) and followed by a performance titled, “The Jina Mahāvīra’s Story of Liberation, or Nirvāṇa Kalyāṇaka,” in celebration of the 2550th Mahāvīra’s Nirvāṇa.


Parking information to follow.


Presented in collaboration with:

Jain Education and Research Foundation
Ruth K. and Shepard Broad Distinguished Lecture Series
Dorothea Green Lecture Series
FIU Department of Religious Studies

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