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The Yogācārabhūmi against Allodoxies (paravāda): 2 Ritual Violence

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The Yogācārabhūmi, a massive compilation of the early Yogācāra “school(s),” contains a comparatively short section dedicated to the critical examination of sixteen “allodoxies” (paravāda), mostly non-Buddhist doctrines, practices and institutions, some of which go back to the Brahmajāla- and Śrāmaṇyaphalasūtra of the Dīrghāgama. This section, which could be dated to the late 3rd century CE, is a remarkable milestone in the history of philosophy in the Buddhist environment, in that it summarizes and updates earlier, canonical arguments, adapting them to a new polemical context, and reveals Buddhist philosophy’s profound indebtedness to sūtra literature. The present paper analyzes allodoxy no. 8 (hiṃsādharmavāda), the brahmins’ claim that ritual violence is a religious duty and, as such, no violence at all. The Yogācārabhūmi’s arguments are among the most cogent and systematic Indian Buddhists ever directed against ritual violence.

Affiliations: 1: École Pratique des Hautes Études


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