Hinduism which signaled the beginning of credulity gave birth to a new revolution of irrational doctrines. Beginning in India, the period of aesthetics did not only start a deluge of polytheist dogmas but also gave birth to many atheistic doctrines such as Jainism, Buddhism and the Charvakas. Buddhism had its founding at 2600 years ago in India.
The Buddhists (see Chapter 12) believe that there is an "inseparable relation between cause and effect. The cause invariably suggests the effect and the effect they cause. In this mental process, Inference follows Direct cognition. Without the help of the Inferential model of reasoning, the affairs of the world cannot be satisfactorily carried on." Buddhism, therefore, attaches special importance to Inference and, therefore, constitutes a system of belief different from that of the Charvakas.Etymologically the word Bauddha means "one who acts in accordance with the dictates of reasoning," one who accepts reasoning as the supreme and final authority. Although the founder of the Buddhist religion was singular, intellectual differences among his followers resulted in four forms.(1) Madhyamik (2) Yogachar (3) Sautrantik (4) Vaibhashika
The Madhyamik sect teaches that all is naught and it is the sole entity. All things originally proceeded from nothing and will ultimately resolve into nothing. Whatever is perceived continues to exist only as long as the perceptive faculties are at work. When they cease to act, the objects of perception recede into nothing. Liken, to a vase that was not in existence before it was made and ceases to exist after it is broken.
It seems to exist when it is an object of perception on our part, but when our consciousness is concentrated on other objects it passes out of in its range and therefore ceases to exist. All perceptions then, are of a transient nature. That each individual state of consciousness being of momentary duration, the perception of a thing at one moment differs from what it was a moment before. All knowledge is, therefore, transient.
If all be naught, the knower of naught can never be naught, for if he also is naught he cannot (being himself naught) know naught. It is, therefore, clear that even from the Buddhist point of view there must be two entities. The knower, who perceives the naught and the thing known, as the naught.
Therefore if all perception is of a transient character, there should be no recollection of past events, but the fact is that we do recollect what has seen or heard in the past. Hence this belief on the momentary character of perception is erroneous.
Yogacharya teaches that nothing exists outside human consciousness. That is, all objects to exist in the mind. The knowledge of the existence of the vase resides in the soul or consciousness and that is why a vase is called by a particular name. This form teaches that all enjoyment results in pain because the gratification of desires does not bring one contentment. When one desire is satisfied, a new one takes its place which means peace of mind is never secured.
If the delusion had not previously existed in consciousness, how would one have described it in words? This form of belief according to which nothing exists outside consciousness, concludes that even big objects like a mountain must be believed to exist in the seat of consciousness. But this is absurd because it is incapable of holding a mountain. The mountain, therefore, exists outside consciousness and perception of this object is formed in consciousness, the soul.
It is not right to say that in this world there is nothing but sorrow and misery, and there is absolutely no happiness. For, sorrow cannot be conceived but in relation to happiness, even as one conceives of the night only in relation to the day, and the day in relation to the night.
Sautrantik teaches that the existence of objects in the universe is mainly inferred. There is nothing that can be wholly known by direct cognition. It only affords the data, but complete perception is arrived at by means of inference only. All things are known by whatever means an object is known. Just as a cow and a horse are known by its own distinctive characteristics. These distinctions lie in the objects of which they are the attributes.
The declaration of belief and the existence of the person making it must be held to be the result of inference. In inferential reasoning, the part proceeds from the whole, from particulars to generals and from examples to rules. Thus a part of the vase cannot be called a vase until it is complete. It is by direct cognition alone that the knowledge of an object as a whole is gained all at once.
The vase is a proposition that can only be made by one who has gained this knowledge by direct cognition and not by inference. The whole pervades its constituent parts, and, therefore, as soon as the whole is perceived by direct cognition, all its constituent parts may be said to have been individually perceived in the same manner.
The attributes by which an object is known do not always reside in the object itself. Light is always perceived by the eye and thus the light can only be recognized by the sight which makes the eye distinguishes the light. This proposition can also be demonstrated by taking the relation between the color of the vase and the eye as and illustration. The power to excite olfactory impulses is a recognized distinction of solid. It resides in solids and can never be separated from it.
Vaibhashik teaches that when a thing is known by direct cognition, no mental images of the outside objects are formed in consciousness. An example, if there is a blue vase it means that the blue substance in the form of a vase appears to exist outside his consciousness. Nought is the sole entity in which there is an agreement between the Madhayamik and the Vaibhashik forms. There are many antagonistic forms of belief among the Buddhists of which these four are the most popular.
The Vaibhashik is wrong in believing that when a thing is known by direct cognition, no mental images of the outside objects are formed in consciousness. Direct cognition is impossible unless there be the perception of an object and a knower. Although the object of perception is outside consciousness, yet the perception is impossible, unless a mental image of the outside object is formed in consciousness.
The beliefs of the Buddhists constitute the means towards the attainment of freedom from all worldly desires which lead to Nirvana.This is their salvation. Their followers are taught the Yogacharya path and whatever is taught by their preceptor is worthy of belief and that the infinite intellect, being clouded by passions and desires, appears to assume different forms. The five mundane forms of consciousness are:-
- Perception of objects, such as color by the senses such as eyes, constitutes Rupa Skandha.
- Knowledge of the activity of the thinking faculty constitutes Vijnana Skandha.
- Sensations of pleasure or pain, the result of Rupa and Vijnana Skandha, constitute Vedana Skandha.
- The belief in the relation of the words, such as cow, with the objects signified by them, constitutes Sanjna Skandha.
- Different kinds of affliction, the result of Vedana Skandha such as inordinate love and hatred, or minor kinds of affliction such as hunger and thirst, ardent passion, negligence, vanity, virtuous and sinful acts, constitute Sanskara Skandha.
The Buddhists believe that one should realize the whole world is full of sorrow and pain, it is a vale of tears. One should exert oneself to be freed from (the troubles of) this world. They believe in the inferential mode of reasoning and deny the existence of the soul.
One of their scripture says that it is the duty of the Buddhists to believe in one who understands all about the Lord of the worlds, otherwise known as the Buddha. He is possessed of perfect knowledge and has renounced the world and attained the blessed state of beatitude in this life. The preacher of all things separately and has described minutely and in different ways.
The worship of twelve places alone can lead to salvation. A Buddhist, therefore, collects all kinds of material for offering this kind of worship. He builds twelve places and worships them in a proper manner. Why should he worship anything else?
They also believe in the Buddhistic faith of worshiping twelve places consist of showing respect to the five organs of sensation; ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and the organ to touch. Five organs of action such as speech, locomotion, excretion and reproduction, the principle of attention and the principle of discernment by giving them an unlimited license.
Had their been nothing in this world but pain and sorrow, no living soul would have had an inclination for anything in this world. It is our daily experience that the souls do desire the objects of this world, hence it cannot be true that in the whole universe there is nothing but pain and sorrow. Both happiness and misery are to be found in this world.
It is unnecessary for the Buddhists to attend to their health, follow the laws of hygiene and in the case of sickness seek medical help if there is only pain and misery. The soul takes what is conducive for its happiness and shuns what entails misery and suffering. The practice of virtue, acquisition of knowledge, wisdom, and association with the good is undoubtedly conducive to man's happiness. No wise man can ever assert that these result in pain and sorrow.
The book called Vivekavilasa describes the religion of the Buddhists:-
There are four first principles recognized as articles of faith by the Buddhists:
1.Sugatadeva, otherwise known as Buddha, is the Lord worthy of homage.
Since mankind had to be taught, who was the teacher of Buddha? If he alone is the lord worthy of homage why were his ancestors denied such glory?
2.The universe is transient in nature.
True, all things finite are transient. 3.All men and women should endeavor to do good.
Certainly a very good principle but were not such principles in existence before Buddha?4.All should study the science of true principles.
What science of true principles was studied by those before Buddha?
"All impressions are of transient nature; cessation of desires is the path of the Buddhists and the resolution of the soul into nothing constitutes (their) salvation."
If the world is transient in nature, one on seeing an object again after a long time should not be able to recollect that it is the same as he had seen before. Nor should that object have been there, no one hence would have been able to remember it. If the Buddhists really believe in the doctrine that the world is transient, their salvation will also be of momentary duration.
"The Buddhists believe only in two kinds of evidence, Direct Cognition and Inference.
The rejection of the other two evidences, history and testimony, contradicts the doctrine itself, since it is through them that Buddhists know that the religion came into existence and Buddha to be the Lord of the worlds. It is the testimony that verifies the integrity of a person how else would they know that Buddha was an altruistic teacher?
"Vaibhashik holds that all objects, whose knowledge exists in our consciousness, have an objective existence, because a perfect man, which is a Buddhist, cannot believe in the existence of what is not present in his consciousness. While the Sauntratik holds that all objects have only a subjective existence, they do not exist in the outside world."
If all objects that are perceived be possessed of consciousness, even inert substances should possess a consciousness and conscious exertion. Now how could that which is perceptible to the senses be nothing?
"Yogacharya believes that the reasoning faculty has a form. Madhyamik believes in the existence of the ideas of objects in consciousness, but does not believe that the objects exist in the outside world."
If the intellect possesses form, it should be visible. If the outside world exists only on our consciousness and has no objective reality, it can never be true, since there can be no perception without the existence of objects whose percepts are formed in our consciousness.
"All the four kinds of Buddhists believe that salvation consists in the cessation of love and the like passions in (human) consciousness."
If the cessation of passions and desires constitutes salvation, dreamless sleep should also be regarded as salvation, but such a belief opposed to the dictates of knowledge is not worthy of acceptance.
Who really knows what exactly Buddha taught when he himself endorsed the Vedas. "He who attains true knowledge of Dharma or righteousness through the Vedas, attains a steady position. He does not waver." Sutta Nipata 292