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Aucke D. Forsten
Between Certainty and Finitude
A Study of Lankavatarasutra Chapter Two
Reihe: Leipziger Studien zu Kultur und Geschichte Süd- und Zentralasiens
Bd. 2, 2006, 264 S., 24.90 EUR, 24.90 CHF, br., ISBN 3-8258-9813-X
The author aims to confront two ways of approaching an Indo-Buddhist text with one another. The first is the historico-philological method, which takes the Cartesian ideal of certainty as its starting point. The second approach follows the lead of the philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer. This approach assumes that all human understanding is finite. In this light, it raises questions such as: what are the preliminary assumptions with which a buddhologist addresses a buddhist text? In analogy with these two ways of looking at a text, the book is divided into two parts. Part One is a historico-philological study of the Sanskrit compound sva-citta-dr'sya-matra as it is represented in the second chapter of the Indo-Buddhist text Lankavatarasutra (fifth century). Part Two then examines the unquestioned acceptances of this buddhological research from a philosophical point of view. The book opens up an entirely new perspective on methodological problems concerning any study of an alien culture.
Aucke Forsten is a philosopher and buddhologist. He wrote his dissertation as a PhD student at the Research School CNWS, School of Asian, African, and Amerindian Studies at Leiden University.