The Buddha's familiarity with upanisadic ideas

Peter M. Scharf scharf at BROWN.EDU
Wed Dec 13 15:43:23 UTC 2006

Dear Mathew,
Exactly what passage in Chandogya 8 contains a usage of the verb upa- 
labh?  I don't see it on a quick read nor do I find it in the TITUS  
word list.  I don't see any evidence Buddhist precursors to the ideas  
there either.  The asat of RV 10.129.1 as described by Alfred collins  
certainly implies the idea of anupalabdhi.

Peter M. Scharf                           (401) 863-2720 office
Department of Classics             (401) 863-2123 dept
Brown University
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Providence, RI 02912                Scharf at

On Dec 12, 2006, at 5:39 AM, mkapstei at UCHICAGO.EDU wrote:

> The passage from the Chaandogya that concerns me is
> book 8, not book 6. Here, the question
> is specifically the perception of the
> self (aatman). Now, the verb used here
> is upa-labh, and the problem that is raised
> concerns the non-apprehension, anupalabdhi, of the
> self. Though, as is well known, anupalabdhi becomes
> a widely ramified problem in later Indian philosophy,
> so far as I can determine, the use of upa-labh we
> find here is unknown throughout the Vedic corpus, including
> the Braahma.nas and Upani.sads, with the sole exception
> of this passage. The problem of whether the self
> can or cannot be the object of upa-labh is, however,
> found throughout early Buddhist literature. Given that
> Chaandogya 8 is at pains to refute a view that
> looks much like a simplified version of
> Buddhist anaatmavaada, my assumption is that this
> book of the Upani.sad is in fact a response to
> Buddhism. This, at least, seems a far more compelling
> explanation than it is to posit that early Buddhism,
> with its problematic of aatmaanupalabdhi, was inspired
> by an Upani.sadic passage that, if it is not responding
> to Buddhism, seems altogether anomalous.
> Matthew Kapstein
> Chicago and Paris
> Matthew T. Kapstein
> Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies
> The University of Chicago Divinity School
> Directeur d'études
> Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris

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