Mind in Dispute: The Section on Mind in Harivarman’s *Tattvasiddhi

Lin, Qian. (2015). Mind in Dispute: The Section on Mind in Harivarman’s *Tattvasiddhi (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Washington, Seattle.

This dissertation is an in-depth study of the dispute on the doctrines regarding the structure of mind as recorded in the fourth century CE Abhidharma work, the *Tattvasiddhi (成實論, TatSid hereafter) by Harivarman. Despite the specific differences among the various Buddhist Abhidharma analyses of mind, in general they can be divided into two major positions. Some propose that mind is composed of consciousness (citta or vijñāna) and various numbers of mental factors (caitasika or caitta), which are mental phenomena that are different from but associated (saṃprayukta) with consciousness. Others oppose the existence of caitasikas as entities separate from consciousness; instead they suggest that caitasikas are not different from citta by nature but are only citta in different modes. In chapters 60-67, the TatSid records about fifty arguments representing both sides of the dispute. The present study consists of an annotated English translation (chapter 5) of chapters 60-67 of the TatSid as well as detailed analyses of and comments on each of the arguments for or against the notions of “mental factor” (caitasika) (chapter 2) and “association” (saṃprayoga) (chapter 3). The study also includes a general introduction (chapter 1), and in the introductory sections in chapters 2 and 3 extensive surveys of the origins and development of the two interconnected doctrines regarding caitasika and saṃprayoga in the sūtras, Abhidharma, and Yogācāra texts.

            Unlike previous scholarship on the TatSid, which views the work primarily from the perspective of doctrinal history and investigates the sectarian or school affiliations of its arguments, the present study is based firstly on the textual and philological examination of the work itself as well as the texts quoted in it. This textual investigation reveals that Harivarman and the TatSid have a close relationship with the Sarvāstivāda lineage, and the doctrinal positions of Harivarman regarding the structure of mind bear great affinities with those of the so-called Dārṣṭāntikas as recorded in other Abhidharma texts. In addition, by comparing extensively the cited texts and the doctrinal positions in the arguments of the TatSid with the sūtras and extant Abhidharma and Yogācāra texts, this study also demonstrates how Buddhist teachers differed in their understanding of fundamental Buddhist doctrines and also how doctrines changed throughout history. 

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