Pramana

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Dharmakīrti

Pramana (Skt. pramāṇa; Tib. ཚད་མ་, tsema; Wyl. tshad ma) is a Sanskrit term, the primary meaning and most common translation of which is 'valid cognition', meaning the correct knowledge of a particular object. A valid cognition can either be

As a consequence, the term is also used to refer to the corpus of Buddhist teachings on epistemology (the science of cognition, i.e. how do we know things) and ontology (which investigates the nature of existence), as these two are inextricably linked in Buddhism. The pioneers of these teachings are the Indian masters Dignaga and Dharmakirti. Pramana is taught in all shedras since it is the basis for debate, an important learning tool in traditional monastic universities. In this context the term is sometimes translated as 'Buddhist logic'.

Major Texts

  • Dignaga,
    • Examining What is Observed (Skt. Ālambana-parīkṣā; Tib. དམིགས་པ་བརྟག་པ་, Wyl. dmigs pa brtag pa),
TBRC-tag.png དམིགས་པ་བརྟག་པ་, dmigs pa brtag pa
    • Compendium of Logic (Skt. Pramāṇa-samuccaya; Tib. ཚད་མ་ཀུན་ལས་བཏུས་པ་, Wyl. tshad ma kun las btus pa)
TBRC-tag.png ཚད་མ་ཀུན་ལས་བཏུས་པ་, tshad ma kun las btus pa

Alternative Translations

  • Logic & epistemology
  • Prime cognition
  • Verifying cognition

Further Reading

  • Marcus Perman, Tshad Ma Literature: Towards a History of Tibetan Buddhist Epistemology, unpublished M.A. thesis, 2006.
  • Ringu Tulku, The Ri-me Philosophy of Jamgön Kongtrul the Great (Boston & London: Shambhala Publications, 2006), pages 60-64.

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