Schopenhauer's Encounter with Indian Thought: Representation and Will and Their Indian Parallels

Schopenhauer's Encounter with Indian Thought: Representation and Will and Their Indian Parallels

by Stephen Cross

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Overview

Schopenhauer is widely recognized as the Western philosopher who has shown the greatest openness to Indian thought and whose own ideas approach most closely to it. This book examines his encounter with important schools of Hindu and Buddhist philosophy and subjects the principal apparent affinities to a careful analysis. Initial chapters describe Schopenhauer’s encounter with Indian thought in the context of the intellectual climate of early nineteenth-century Europe. For the first time, Indian texts and ideas were becoming available and the belief that they could bring about a second Renaissance—an “Oriental Renaissance”—was widespread. Schopenhauer shared in this enthusiasm and for the rest of his life assiduously kept abreast of the new knowledge of India.

Principal sections of the book consider the two main pillars of Schopenhauer’s system in relation to broadly comparable ideas found, in the case of Hindu thought, in Advaita Vedānta, and within Buddhism in the Mādhyamika and Yogācāra schools. Schopenhauer’s doctrine of the world as representation, or a flow of impressions appearing in the consciousness of living beings, is first considered. The convergence between this teaching and Indian idealism, especially the doctrine of illusory appearance (māyā), has long been recognized. Schopenhauer himself was aware of it, emphasizing that it was the result not of influence but of a remarkable convergence between Eastern and Western thought. This convergence is subjected to a much more detailed examination than has previously been carried out, undertaken in the light of twentieth-century Indology and recent studies of Schopenhauer.

The second main pillar of Schopenhauer’s system, the doctrine of the world as will, is then examined and its relationship to Indian thought explored. This section of the work breaks new ground in the study of Schopenhauer, for although the similarity of his ethical and soteriological teaching to that of Indian religions (particularly Buddhism) has long been noted the underlying reasons for this have not been grasped. It is demonstrated that they are to be found in hitherto unrecognized affinities, of which Schopenhauer himself was largely unaware, between the metaphysics of the will and Indian ideas relating to karmic impressions (vāsanās), the store-consciousness, the causal body, and śakti as the “force” or “energy” that maintains the existence of the world.

Final chapters discuss the controversial and difficult question of the relation of the will to final reality in Schopenhauer’s thought in the light of Indian conceptions, and suggest that the two central pillars of his philosophy may be seen, to a greater extent than previously supposed, as a bridge by which the Eastern and Western traditions of philosophical thought may be brought into a closer and more creative relationship.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780824837358
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press, The
Publication date: 06/30/2013
Series: Monographs of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy Series
Pages: 312
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments xiii

List of Abbreviations xv

1 Introduction 1

2 Schopenhauer in Context: The "Oriental Renaissance" 9

3 Schopenhauer's Indian Sources: Hinduism 20

Schopenhauer's Initial Contact with the "Oriental Renaissance": Das Asiatische Magazin 20

Schopenhauer's Encounter with the Bhagavad Gita 23

Schopenhauer and Upanisadic Thought: The Oupnek'hat 25

The Oupnek 'hat: How Reliable a Source? 32

4 Schopenhauer's Indian Sources: Buddhism 37

Schopenhauer's Earliest Contacts with Buddhism 37

Rémusat, Deshauterayes, and I.J. Schmidt: Schopenhauer and the Mahayana 40

Schopenhauer's Personal Attitude to Buddhism 45

5 "Representation": Schopenhauer and the Reality-Status of the World 49

The Starting Point for Philosophy: The World as Representation 50

Schopenhauer and Kant: The Separation of the Ideal from the Real 53

The Understanding (Verstand): Causality as the Root of Intuitive Perception 58

6 The Reality-Status of the Empirical World: The Madhyamika Teaching 66

Early Mahayana: Nagarjuna and the Doctrine of Dependent Origination (Pratitya-samutpada) 66

The Madhyamika Reinterpretation of Dependent Origination 68

Emptiness (Sunyata) and Inherent Being (Svabhava) 70

The "Two Truths" 72

The Truth of the Everyday World (Samvrti-satya) 74

7 Advaita Vedanta: The World as Illusory Appearance 78

The "Two Standpoints" in Advaita Vedanta 79

Ajata-vada: The Doctrine of Non-origination 82

Theories of Causality and the Reality-Status of the World 86

8 Conclusions: Schopenhauer's Representation and Its Indian Affinities 90

9 Schopenhauer's Conception of the World as Will 103

Schopenhauer's Critique of Kant's Conception of the Thing-in-Itself 103

The Will as the Thing-in-Itself 107

Will and Intellect: The Primacy of Will 111

The Will in Nature 113

10 Schopenhauer: The Will in Its General Forms (Ideas) 120

The Ideas in Relation to Phenomena 121

The Ideas in Relation to Will 125

The Ideas and the Natural World 127

11 Metaphysical Factors behind the Empirical World: Advaita Vedanta 132

The Subtle and Causal Bodies of the Individual 134

Karmic Impressions (Vasanas) and Formative Forces (Samskaras) 138

The Subtle and Causal Bodies of the Cosmos: Hiranyagarbha and Avyakta 142

12 The Arising of the Empirical World in Buddhism: The Yogacara Teaching 148

The Yogacara School 149

The Doctrine of "Mind-Only" (Cittamatra) 152

The Store-Consciousness (Alaya-vijnana) 154

The Two Aspects of Karman 159

The Store-Consciousness as the Source of Suffering 161

13 Conclusions: Schopenhauer's Will and Comparable Indian Ideas 165

Affinities between Schopenhauer's Will and Indian Doctrines 166

Sakti and Will 174

14 The Ontological Status of Will 181

Will and Its Self-Denial 181

Will and the Thing-in-Itself 184

Manifestation and Final Reality in Indian Thought 188

15 Beyond the Will: "Better Consciousness" and the "Pure Subject of Knowing" 193

The "Better Consciousness" in the Early Manuscript Remains 193

The "Better Consciousness" and the Empirical Consciousness 198

The "Pure Subject of Knowing" 201

Some Indian Affinities 204

16 The Hidden Compass: Schopenhauer and the Limits of Philosophy 207

"Rationalism" and "Illuminism" 208

The "Eye of the "World" 211

The "Better Will" 214

17 Schopenhauer and Indian Thought 217

Notes 131

Bibliography 265

Index 275

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