prayojana of treatises

Sara McClintock Sara.Mcclintock at ORIENT.UNIL.CH
Mon May 18 22:04:11 UTC 1998

Thanks to Birgit Kellner for the reference to the 1969 Amano article. I
should have mentioned that, in addition to the Amano article, there is also
an article in Japanese by ICHIGO Masamichi(1985) on "Saantarak.sita and
Kamala'siila's Views on the Purpose of the Composition in Chuukanshoogonron
no kenkyuu -- "Saantarak.sita no shisoo. Bun'eido, Kyoto: 1-11. Both these
articles are mentioned by Funayama. Unfortunately I have no access to them
as I cannot read Japanese (a major disadvantage at times).

Thanks also to Ashok Aklujkar for various good ideas for places to look for
discussions of the importance of stating the prayojana. The reminder to
check the discussion in Haribhadra's commentary on the Abhisamayaala.mkaara
was a good one. The quotation mentioned first by Devarakonda Sarma does not
appear to be found in the "Slokavaartika. 

There does not seem to be much question that a prayojanam is a necessary
condition for action (prav.rttya.ngam, prav.rttihetu.h). But it seems that
some authors disagreed about how the statement of the prayojanam serves to
induce one to engage (prav.rtti) with the text. For many Buddhist authors,
at any rate, the statement of the prayojana (along with the subject matter
and the relation between them) can at best serve only to engender a doubt
in the listener/reader. So the question becomes whether and how doubt can
motivate action. On Funayama's reading, Arca.ta does not accept that doubt
can motivate action, but rather thinks that action is based only on Thus for Arca.ta, the reason for stating the prayojanam at the
beginning of the treatise is merely to dispell the idea that the treatise
has no purpose at all (since it is a well known principle that speech
without a purpose is not worthy of being either expounded or listened to).


Sara McClintock
Section de langues et civilisations orientales
Université de Lausanne
email: Sara.McClintock at

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