The Buddha's familiarity with upanisadic ideas

Maheswaran Nair swantam at ASIANETINDIA.COM
Thu Dec 14 06:30:34 UTC 2006

It is true, the 8th chapter of Chandogya does not contain a usage of the verb
upa-labh. Upasampadya, sampanno bhavati, vindate etc are used in the chapter.
K.Maheswaran Nair
University of Kerala

Quoting "Peter M. Scharf" <scharf at BROWN.EDU>:

> 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
> *********************************************************
> Peter M. Scharf                           (401) 863-2720 office
> Department of Classics             (401) 863-2123 dept
> Brown University
> PO Box 1856                               (401) 863-7484 fax
> 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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