Buddhist Confrontation with the Veda: A Historical Analysis of Bhaviveka’s Mimamsa Chapter of the Madhyamakahrdayakarika and Tarkajvala


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships in Buddhist Studies


the Department of Philosophy, Kyushu University, Japan


This project will reconstruct Indian Buddhists’ conflicts with Vedic Brahmins until the sixth century. It will focus on the contents of Bhaviveka’s (500-570 CE) chapter on Mimamsa in his Madhyamakahrdayakarika and, its auto-commentary, Tarkajvala. The main topic of this text is the theory and practice of karma, or human action and its consequence. Debates on the principle of karma and karmic efficacy of religious practices such as bathing, fasting, and vegetarianism will be historically reconstructed. It will illuminate not only the essential nature of Buddhist-Brahmin contestation, but also examine the finer details of the Buddhist notion of karma based on extant textual evidence.