Kumārila and Dharmakīrti on the potential problem of pramāṇa and phala having different objects
According to the Sautrāntika view put forward by Dignāga in PS I 9cd, viṣayābhāsatā is the pramāṇa and bāhyārthajñāna (not svasaṃvitti) is the phala (Kataoka ). Althogh the Sautrāntika sākāravāda essentially has an internal structure, Dignāga presupposes that an external object can be regarded as the object of cognition because it is similar to the (essentially internal) image of object, as is indicated in PSV 4,8 (yadā tu bāhya evārthaḥ prameyaḥ) and PSV 4,13--14 (yathā yathā hy arthākāro jñāne sanniviśate śubhāśubhāditvena, tattadrūpaḥ sa viṣayaḥ pramīyate). He assumes that the objects of pramāṇa and phala, both being an external object, are identical. Criticizing Dignāga’s claim that bāhyārthajñāna (not svasaṃvitti) is the phala, Kumārila (ŚV pratyakṣa 79cd) points out that there is a serious gap between the objects of pramāṇa and phala. Consequently Dharmakīrti has to admit that even in the Sautrāntika view an external object is not directly cognized (PV III 348b: arthātmā na dṛśyate) and instead proposes as the second view of Sautrāntikas that svasaṃvitti (and not bāhyārthajñāna) is the phala. At the same time he reinterprets Dignāga and defends from Kumārila’s criticism by introducing the two different levels. When investigating the real nature (PV III 350c: svabhāvacintāyām), i.e. in the so-called paramārtha level, svasaṃvitti is the phala, whereas in the upacāra level, bāhyārthajñāna or bāhyārthaniścaya is the phala. Thus Dharmakīrti avoids Kumārila’s criticism of Dignāga. Kumārila triggers Dharmakīrti’s new introduction of the second view of Santrāntikas that svasaṃvitti is the phala.
An abstrac published in Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies, Vol. 59, No. 3, 2011. The original Japanese version is published in the same journal, Vol. 59, No. 1, 2010, pp. 418(115)-412(121). See here for PDF of Kataoka 2010d, the Japanese version.