Non-Buddhist philosophies & their influences on Buddhism
fofoo said:Simple: We were discussing Frauwallners assesment of anatta in early Buddhism. Frauwallner insists Buddha started form samkyha position and did not break with it totally, as there the self is transcendent, the ontological status of self then would be not "non existent" but "not a phenomena".
That seems strange to me. The suttas don't seem to indicate that Samkhya philosophy was prevalent at the time, nor that the Buddha had his roots in such a thing. Beyond that, this source seems to indicate that Samkhya didn't even develop into a distinct school until at least 500 years after the Buddha's time. It does mention that the pre-cursors of Samkhya thought could be found right around or shortly after the Buddha's time. So, I'm uncertain as to what Samkhya tradition he could have been rooted in.
Although Samkhya ("enumeration") is one of the six classical systems of Indian philosophy, its history presents many problems and is the subject of scholarly disagreement. Was there a definite "school" at the earliest stages of its development? Is it possible to identify several separate schools within the tradition? From where were its ideas taken - from the Brahmanical tradition or from a quite separate source? Was it atheistic in its early stages, or has theism been there from the beginning? What is the relation between the explicitly Samkhya texts and those sections of the Great Epic (the Mahabharata) in which Samkhya ideas are expounded? The fact that much disagreement exists should be borne in mind when reading the following summary.
For convenience, four stages in the history of the samkhya tradition may be distinguished.
-The traditional founder is Kapila, the first in a line of some twenty-six teachers, but he - as most of them - is a legendary figure. Although this cannot count as "history" in the usual sense of the word, Samkhya teachings have their roots in certain speculations which are found in the Rig Veda and in the oldest prose Upanishads (e.g., the Brihadaranyaka and the Chandogya). These may be dated ca. tenth-sixth centuries B.C.E. and in them are found suggestive hints and speculations on the self and on the cosmos, as well as enumerations and lists of entities. The Jain conception of the nature of ultimate release, and the Buddhist notion of the "suffering" which runs through the universe (duhkha[Sanskrit] /dukkha [Pali]) are also to be counted as feeding into that which later becomes the Samkhya tradition. At this first stage there is no "school", not even any single predominant point of view.
-Datable between ca. fifth century B.C.E. and ca. first century C.E. are several texts in which proto-Samkhya speculations are found, and they mark a second stage. These are: the middle Upanishads (especially the Katha and Shvetashvatara); the Charakasamhita (a composite text with its earliest portions maybe from the second century C.E.; the section of the epic Mahabharata (12.219) associated with the name of one Pancashika; chapter 12 of Ashvagosha's Buddhacarita, which dates from the first century C.E.; the section of Book 12 of the Mahabharata known as the Mokshadharma ; and that portion of Book 6 which comprises the Bhagavad Gita (? first-fourth centuries C.E.). The first clear signs of a doctrine of twenty-five principles appear: there is a dualistic, evolutionary perspective, and salvation is by knowing the enumerated principles. Yet certain ideas which become part of the classical teaching do not yet appear. In the later Maitri Upanishad, Samkhya terminology is found, connected with Yoga practice: the exact relation between these two aspects is another matter of scholarly debate. Some writers go so far as to identify particular Samkhya teachers, Charaka and Panchashika in particular, but there is no agreement on this.
-(i). The period from the first century C.E. to ca. the tenth presents us with what has been called "classical" Samkhya, and the teaching now becomes differentiated from other yogic traditions. The major text is the Samkhya-karika of Ishvarakrishna (ca. fourth century C.E.); he was probably a contemporary of the Buddhist Vasubandhu (who wrote a refutation of Samkhya) and of the Samkhya teachers Varshaganya and Vindhyavasa, so that his articulation of the tradition took place during the cultural flowering associated with the Gupta dynasty (ca. 320-540 C.E.). Ishvarakrishna's work was translated into Chinese by Paramartha between 557 and 569 C.E. This important writer also produced a Life of Vasubandhu, and it is from this, as well as from references in the works of the great seventh century Chinese scholar Hsuan-tsang and his pupil Kuei-chi, that we have an idea of the strength of Samkhya at this time. Indeed, it is so influential that the Buddhist logician Dignaga (ca. 480-540 C.E.) vigorously opposes it. A little later the Buddhist Dharmakirti (ca. 610-670 C.E.) also refers to it, and as late as the ninth century Shankara continually argues against it (see under Shankara).There is a reference in the Samkhya-karika to "sixty topics" (shasti-tantra), and the enumeration into sixty is also found in both later Samkhya texts and in a Pancaratra work (see under "Pancharatra"). However the claim that there was a text of this name is arguable.
Several commentaries on the Samkhya-karika were composed. Paramartha wrote one to accompany his translation; Gaudapada's Bhashya, a simple and direct commentary, dates possibly from 600-800 C.E, ; in the ninth century C.E., Vachaspati Mishra - a significant figure in the history of Samkhya - wrote his Samkhyatattvakaumudi, and this was in turn glossed by Narayanatirtha (though according to Dasgupta, this gloss was on Gaudapada's commentary). There are also other commentaries of a most uncertain date - the Mathavritti, the Jayamangala, and the Yuktidipika.
(ii) After this heyday of Samkhya, which lasted for several centuries, the school lost its force and entered a period of decline. This may have been because in place of a vigorous tradition (articulated by several teachers, and creatively pitted against other schools of thought), there came to be an emphasis upon the Samkhya-karika as normative. The eleventh-century Muslim traveller Alberuni, who wrote a work in which he summarizes the teachings of Indian philosophy, bases his summary of Samkhya primarily upon the karika. Similarly, the fourteenth-century Madhava in his summary of sixteen systems of Indian thought (the Sarvadarshanasamgraha) relies solely on the karika.
A final stage is marked by a kind of renaissance. Aniruddha (late fifteenth century) wrote a commentary (bhashya) on the Samkhyapravachanasutra, as did Vijnanabhikshu (late sixteenth century). It is difficult to put a date on these sutras, but because not only Madhava, but also Gunaratna (also fourteenth century) make no reference to them they may well be later than this, a suggestion supported by the late date of the commentary upon them. On the other hand, it may well be that certain ideas or even passages in the sutras derive from the earlier, classical period. Vijnanabhihshu is credited by some scholars with having composed an elementary work on Samkhya, the Samkhyasara. Other late works on Samkhya are the Tattvasamhasutra, Simananda's Samkhyatattvavivecana, and Bhavaganesha's Samkhyatattvayatharthyadipana. Generally, according to some scholars, these late works are clearly influenced by Vedanta. Again, there are differences of scholarly emphasis, some using these late works directly as sources for the interpretation of Samkhya, others exercising a greater or lesser degree of caution in so doing.http://philtar.ucsm.ac.uk/encyclopedia/hindu/ascetic/samkhya.html
It is also interesting to note that Vasubandhu & other major Buddhist figures refuted/opposed the Samkhya school. I really think we should be careful not to conflate the two systems here.