Sakya Paṇḍita (Sa-paṇ) (1182–1251), one of Tibet’s most revered and influential philosophers, often complained about the inadequacies of his Tibetan rivals. This essay analyzes two passages from Sa-paṇ’s Treasury of Reasoning (Tshad ma rigs pa’i gter) to display his belief that his contemporaries had adopted non-Buddhist approaches to the philosophy of language, and to explicate his attempts to return Tibetans to positions more reminiscent of Vasubandhu and Dharmakīrti. The first passage treated is Sa-pan. ’s discussion of “appearance” (snang ba), in which he critiques the idea of granting “perceptual” status to what he deems conceptual constructions. The second passage contains Sa-paṇ’s own view of the linguistic “signified” (brjod bya) and his karmically grounded causal theory of linguistic signification. Sa-paṇ’s analyses help to illuminate the depths of a traditional Buddhist approach to language by refusing to cede its core assumptions in the face of more moderate, commonsense views.


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pp. 360-374
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