28.  (External objects are) not non-existent, for perceived.


It cannot be asserted that external things do not exist


“Because they are perceived.” As a matter of fact such things

as a pillar, a wall, a pot, a cloth, are perceived along with each act of cognition. And it cannot be that the very thing perceived is non-existent. How can a man’s words be acceptable who while himself perceiving an external object through sense-contacts still says, “I do not perceive, and that object does not exist”, just as much as a man while eating and himself experienc­ing the satisfaction arising from that act might say, “Neither do I eat, nor do I get any satisfaction”?

Vijnavadin:    Well, I do not say that I do not perceive any object, but all that I hold is ‘that I do not perceive anything  apart from the perception.

Vedantin: Yes, you do speak like that, since you have no curb) to your mouth; but you do not speak logically, for some­thing other than the perception has to be admitted perforce, just because it is perceived. Not that anybody cognizes a perception to be a pillar, a wall, etc., rather all people cognize a pillar, a wall, etc. as objects of perception. And it is for this reason that all people understand those others (viz the Buddhists) as really assuming the existence of an external thing even while they deny it by saying, “That which is the content of an internal awareness appears as though external”. For they use the phrase “as though” in the clause “as though external” just because they too become aware of a cognition appearing externally in the same way as is well known ‘to all people, and yet ‘they want to deny any external’ object.   Else why should they say, “as though external”? For ‘nobody speaks thus: “Vistumitra appears like the son of a barren woman”. Accordingly, those who accept truth to be just what it is actually perceived to be, should accept a thing as it actually reveals itself externally, and not “as ‘though appearing outside”.

Buddhist. Since no object can possibly exist externally, I  come to ‘the conclusion that it appears as though it is outside.

Vedantin. This conclusion is not honest, since the possibility or impossibility of the existence of a thing is determined in accordance with ‘the applicability or non-applicability of the means of knowledge to it, but the applicability or non applicability of the means of knowledge is not ascertained in a accordance with the possibility or impossibility (of the thing) What is known through any one of the means of knowledge, direct perception etc., is possible, and what cannot be through any one of these means of knowledge is impossible.  In the case under discussion, the external things are known individually by the respective means of knowledge; so how can they be declared to be impossible by raising such alternatives as different, non-different, etc. For external things are perceived as a matter of fact. It is wrong to say that external things do not exist merely on the ground that cognition is seen to have the likeness of an object, because the very likeness of an object is not possible unless the object itself be there, and also because the object is cognized outside. So also it has to be admitted that  the regularity in the simultaneous appearance of the cognition and its object is owing to the relation of causality between them and not owing to their identity. Again, in (such forms of awareness as) “knowledge of a pot”, “knowledge of a cloth’ difference is seen in the two qualifying parts, pot and cloth, but not in the substantive part knowledge, even as in the case “a white cow” and “a black cow” we find that whitenness and blackness alone differ, but not so the cowhood. And the difference of the one (viz cowhood) from the two (whiteness, blackness) stands out clearly, as also the difference of the two from the one. Therefore an object and its knowledge differ. Similar should be our comprehension in the cases of the seeing of a and the remembrance of a pot. Here also the substantives. seeing and remembering differ, but not so the adjectival viz pot; this is just as in the cases of the cognitions, “the smell of milk”, and “the taste of milk”, where the substantives smell and taste alone differ, but not so the adjectival part milk.

Moreover, as regards two cognitions occurring successively, which vanish after self-revelation, there can be no logical appre­hension of the one by the other. And in that case will be nul­lified all the assertions made in the Buddhist scriptures them­selves about the difference among cognitions, momentariness and other attributes, individual characteristics, common charac­teristics, bequeathing of tendency by one cognition to the other, true, false, or mixed attributes arising from contact with nescience, as also about bondage, liberation, and so on.

Again, if one admits a distinction between knowledge and knowledge, why should not one admit external objects such as a pillar, a wall, and so on?

Buddhist:      A cognition is actually perceived.

Vedantin; External things too are perceived, and so they too should be admitted.

Buddhist:      Since cognition is a luminous thing it stands self-revealed like a lamp, but an external object is not like that.

Vedantin:    Then like assuming that fire burns itself, you assume that something can act on itself by itself, which is absolutely opposed to reason; yet you do not admit the well-known fact, bearing no contradiction, that an external object is known through a cognition which is different from the object. What a great display of erudition you make! It cannot be asserted that consciousness is known to itself as something apart from objects for the simple reason that there can be no action on oneself.

Buddhist. If a cognition has to be known by some entity other than itself, that second one will have to be known by another, and that one again by another. This will lead to an Infinite regress. Moreover, since cognition is an illuminator like a lamp, if you should imagine a second cognition (to know it), then since both the cognitions are similar there will be no revela­tion of the one by the other, so that this whole assumption will fall to the ground.

Vedantin: Both these arguments are wrong, for once an awareness of the cognition occurs, no further desire to appre­hend the witness of the cognition can arise; and so there is no possibility of infinite regress.  And since the witness and the cognition are different by nature, there can be a relationship of the perceiver and the perceived among them. Besides, the self-evident witness cannot be denied. There is another consideration. When you assert that cognition shines by itself like a lamp without requiring some other cognition, you virtually say that a cognition is not apprehended by. any other means of knowledge or by anything else, which would be like saying that a thousand lamps shine (unknown) within a massive boulder.

Buddhist:      Exactly so; for cognition being of the nature of an awareness (suggested by you), you have only approved the view that we hold.

Vedantin:      No, for it is seen that some other perceiver. having the eye etc. as his instrument, perceives a lamp etc. So it is understood that since cognition has equally to be revealed by some one else, it can be perceived like a lamp only when a distinct perceiver is present.

Buddhist:      By upholding the theory that the perceiving wit­ness is self-effulgent, you only accept under a different garb of words my own view that cognition shines by itself.

Vedantin:      Not so, for you admit many such distinctions for cognition as origin, destruction, multiplicity, and so on. And hence it is that we establish the apprehension of that cognition by some entity outside it, as in the case of a lamp.