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Q1. Bring out the epistemological difference between Sautrantika and Vaibhasika school of Buddhism. (2104/10)

Please write the answer in comments section

  • Abhishek Prasad

    Both sautrantika and vaibhasika school belong to hinayana Buddhism. Both deal with one question- what is the true nature of reality?
    Sautrantika:- they accepts the existence of mind and matter because that are experienced. According to them the external is known through inference.

    Vaibhasika:- Vaibhasika school differ from sautrantika in epistemological ground that external world is known through perception as objects can be perceived. They say that reality cannot be known through inference because of lack of vyapti relation. Further if external cannot be perceived, then it cannot be inferred.

    Both perception and inference are types of Pramana. Perception is about getting sensations. Inference is a knowledge which pre supposes some other knowledge. Vyapti is invariable, unconditional and universal relation between Hetu(sign) and Sadhya(to be proved).

  • jaish

    The sautrantikas believe in the reality not only of the mind, but also the external objects. They pointed out that without supposition of external objects, it is not possible to explain even the illusionary appearance of the external objects. If anyone never perceived anywhere any objects then one could not say that through illusion consciousness appears like an external objects. In this way, Sauntrantika has given the “Bahyanumeyavada”- theory of inferability of objects. As per this school, objects are different outside the consciousness. External objects give form to the consciousness and through this form we can infer the objects.

    While agreeing with the sautrantikas regarding reality of both mental and non mental, vaibhasika has also admitted that external objects are perceived by us and their existence cannot be known in any other way. If external objects were never perceived then they could never be inferred, simply from their mental forms. As per vaibhasika, external objects are directly known and this theory is called-“bahyapratyaksha”.