Dharmakirti - Help

Hello All

I would be grateful for clarification and my apologies if this has already been discussed but I searched Dharmakirti and there were 0 results.

I have been listening to the Mind and Life Conference held in India December 2015 where the Dalai Lama and other educated monks along with eminent scientists from around the world gathered to discuss Buddhist epistemology and science with a view to enhancing understanding of Buddhist teachings and assist with what the Dalai Lama calls Compassionate Science. The Dalai Lama’s long time translator, Thupten Jinpa, himself a well educated man, gave his talk in relation to the Dharmakirti’s from the first century. In the back of my mind I can remember one of our Venerables discussing something which sounded similar to this but was not found to be from the teachings of the Buddha. Was it Dharmakirti ? I have heard others at our temple in Nollamara ask about a teaching - was it Dharmakirti ? There is so much to learn and I really like how Venerables Brahmali and Venerable Sujato keep to the four Nikhiyas and … Which have been found to be the authentic sutta’s. Thank you for any suggestions as I don’t want to get sidetracked with other teachings other than the Buddha’s. This Conference is very interesting but I understand the Buddhist teachings are from a Tibetan Buddhist tradition. If it’s not too arduous, could anyone briefly highlight the main differences between our tradition and Tibetan? Thank you very much if anyone can ‘enlighten me’ :smile:

Much meta to all


1 Like

Hi Robyn, welcome!

I don’t know too much about Dharmakirti, but for what it’s worth.


He was a Buddhist philosopher in India around 6th-7th century. He developed what is regarded as the most sophisticated philosophy in late Buddhism, chiefly focusing on epistemology, the study of how things are known.

He worked, it seems, within the Yogacāra school, one of the philosophical schools of Mahāyāna. However almost all of his philosophical work is independent of the primary divisions between the schools. Indeed he has been regarded as merely continuing and refining the original epistemology of the Buddha. He rejected the extreme idealist position, that everything happens in mind only, and developed a theory that would be generally acceptable to Buddhists.

While he and his work are largely unknown in Theravada, they are studied widely in Tibetan Buddhism, and to a lesser degree in east Asian Buddhism.

I believe that he or his views may have been known to some of the composers of the Pali Sub-commentaries (ṭīkā), and some of his ideas may have been adopted by them. (Note the use of the words “believe” and “may”!)

If you’re interested, there’s a nice article at the Stanford philosophy site.


Dear Bhante
Thank you for your quick and very helpful response.
With meta