Tattvasangraha by Shanta Rakshita-(तत्त्वसङ्ग्रह-शान्तरक्षित) 750CE

Tattvasangraha translated by Ganganatha Jha (1937)

Commented by kamalasila (Tattvasaṃgrahapañjikā)

Introduction by Śāntarakṣita

Introduction by Kamalaśīla (verses 1-6)

Introduction to the second volume


Chapter 1 – Examination of the Doctrine of Primordial Matter (prakṛti)
Chapter 2 – Examination of the Doctrine of God (theism)
Chapter 3 – Dealing with the doctrine of both God and Primordial Matter (prakṛti)
Chapter 4 – The doctrine of the ‘Thing by Itself’
Chapter 5 – The Doctrine of Sound (‘Word-Sound’) being the Origin of the World
Chapter 6 – Doctrine of the Spirit (puruṣa) Personality as cause of the world
Chapter 7 – Doctrine of the Self (ātman, ‘soul’)
Chapter 8 – Examination of the Doctrine of the Permanence of Things
Chapter 9 – Examination of the Relation between Actions and their Results
Chapter 10 – The Examination of the First Category—‘Substance’
Chapter 11 – On ‘Quality’ as a Category
Chapter 12 – Examination of the Category of ‘Action’
Chapter 13 – Examination of Sāmānya (the ‘universal’)
Chapter 14 – Examination of the Viśeṣa (‘ultimate’)
Chapter 15 – Examination of Samavāya (‘subsistence’)
Chapter 16 – Examination of the Import of Words
Chapter 17 – Examination of the Definition of Sense-perception
Chapter 18 – Inference
Chapter 19a – Other forms and means of Knowledge (A): Verbal cognition
Chapter 19b – (B) On analogical cognition
Chapter 19c – (C) On presumption (arthāpatti)
Chapter 19d – (D) On negation (abhāva)
Chapter 19e – (E) On yukti (ratiocination) and anupalabdhi (non-apprehension)
Chapter 19f – (F) On sambhava (probability)
Chapter 19g – (G) On aitihya (tradition) and pratibhā (intuition)
Chapter 19h – (H) Summing up
Chapter 20 – Examination of Syādvāda (doctrine)
Chapter 21 – Examination of the doctrine of ‘Traikālya’
Chapter 22 – Lokāyata—Materialism
Chapter 23 – External World
Chapter 24a – The case for the reliability of the Veda (the Revealed Word)
Chapter 24b – Arguments against the reliability of the Veda (the Revealed Word)
Chapter 25 – Examination of the Doctrine of ‘Self-sufficient Validity’
Chapter 26 – Examination of the ‘Person of Super-normal Vision’


तत्त्वसङ्ग्रह Introduction by शान्तरक्षित

This Tattvasaṃgraha, ‘Compendium of True Doctrines is being composed after bowing to that Omniscient Person, the greatest of expounders, who, with a view to bringing about the welfare of the world,—propounded the Doctrine of the ‘Wheel of Intervolved Causation’,(see notes below)—independently of any self-sufficient revelation, supreme mercy having entered into His very soul through long innumerable cycles.—(5-6)—This ‘Wheel of Causation’ is free from all notions of the functioning of any such cause as ‘Primordial Matter’,—‘God—both of these (Primordial Matter and God),—Soul,—and such other entities (postulated by Philosophers);—it is mobile;—it is the basis of all such notions as ‘Karma’ (Actions, good and bad), the fruits of acts, the connection between these two.—(1)—It is devoid of all such concepts as ‘Quality’, ‘Substance’, ‘Movement’, ‘Universal’, ‘Inherence’, and so on;—it is amenable to ‘words’ and ‘cognitions’ only in an assumed (superimposed) form.—(2).—It is definitely cognised by means of two clearly defined Means of Cognition; it is not mixed up with the nature of anything else, even in the slightest degree.—(3).—It admits of no translocation; it is without beginning and without end; it is like a reflected image and other such things; it is absolutely free from the whole lot of fantasies; it has not been apprehended by others.—(4).

Notes on the “Wheel of Intervolved Causation”:

This term ‘Wheel of Intervolved Causation’ is a rendering of the technical term ‘pratītya-samutpāda’; this doctrine forms the very key-stone of that Idealistic Philosophy which is propounded in the present treatise. The term in brief represents the whole Buddhist theory of Causation. The following note based upon Dr. S. K, Belvalkar’s Book on the Śāṅkara-Brahmasutrabhāṣya will be found helpful. The Vijñanavādins make all causation an ideal phenomenon. The causes are divided into direct causes, or causes proper (Hetu), and contributory causes or conditions (Pratyaya)… The point of this theory of Pratītya-samutpāda may be thus brought out: It is enough, the Buddhist would say, that we are able to assign a specific number of causes and conditions, and for each of these specific number of causes and conditions, a specific number of other causes and conditions which brought each of them into operation at the time when, and in the manner in which, each of them operated to produce their joint result. Further, if in a given instance, a result other than the normal ensues, we can explain what other causes beyond the ordinary were functioning, or what ordinary causes had ceased to function.—

This ‘Wheel of Intervolved Causation’ is made up of the following ‘root-causes’, called ‘nidānas’:—

Avidyā, Ignorance;
Saṃskāra, Latent Dispositions;
Vijñāna, Individualistic Cognition;
Nāma-rūpa, Name and Form;
Ṣaḍāyatana, the six organs (of sensation);
Sparśa, Contact;
Vedanā, Feeling;
Tṛṣṇā, ‘Craving’,
Upādāna, Root-Cause, Attachment;
Bhāva, Character;
Jāti, Birth;
Jarāmaraṇa-śoka-parivedanā-duḥkha—durmanastatā, Decay—Death—Sorrow—Lament—Suffering—Despair;

Any one factor of this chain of twelve factors is inevitably caused by the factor preceding it, and itself becomes the cause of the factor that follows it. Thus number (12) gives rise to number (1); and thus the ‘Wheel of Causation’ goes round and round in endless succession. Thus (1) the Ignorance of man,—represented by such notions as ‘One’, ‘Whole’, ‘Eternal’, ‘Pleasure’, ‘Man’, ‘Body’, ‘Son’, ‘Daughter’, ‘I’, ‘Mine’, and so forth—produces certain Dispositions (2)—such as Love, Hate and the like;—this brings about the false Individualistic Cognitions (3) of things;—from these arise the four Names and Forms (4) in the shape of the Skandhas, Thought-phases;—related to these are the Six Organs (5);—the coming together of Name, Form and Organs constitutes the next item, Contact (6);—from this Contact follows Feeling (7), Pleasure and Pain;—thence follows Craving (8);—thence, activity (9), verbal and corporeal;—thence character, in the shape of Merit and Demerit (10), which leads to Birth (11);—consequent upon Birth are Sorrows and Sufferings and Decay and Death.—This is what is meant by ‘intervolved causation’,—Birth and the rest being the cause of Ignorance, and Ignorance being the cause of Birth and the rest. (Bhāmatī).

Similarly the destruction of Ignorance destroys the Dispositions, and so on and on, in the end comes the destruction of Birth and its attendant Sorrows and Sufferings, Decay and Death.


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