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Johannes Bronkhorst

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835705

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835705.001.0001

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Karma and Philosophy

Karma and Philosophy

(p.55) Chapter 4 Karma and Philosophy

Johannes Bronkhorst

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines how the Indian philosophical tradition, in its various manifestations, dealt with questions relating to rebirth and karmic retribution. The philosophical systems of classical India often present themselves as being expressions of the insight required to attain liberation. They paid at least lip-service to the idea that a thorough understanding of the respective philosophies was a precondition for liberation. This chapter begins with an overview of Buddhist scholasticism and the beginning of Indian philosophy and goes on to discuss the ways in which the main philosophical schools developed a picture of reality that allowed for the possibility of liberation. It then explores the question of karmic teleology, which affected most schools of Indian philosophy, and what Buddhist philosophy and the Brahmanical philosophies have to say about karma. It also looks at Vaisheshika ontology in relation to Sarvastivada ontology and concludes by highlighting problems that all Indian philosophies shared.

Keywords:   rebirth, karmic retribution, liberation, Buddhist scholasticism, Indian philosophy, karmic teleology, Buddhist philosophy, karma, Vaisheshika, Sarvastivada

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