4 Schools of Buddhism | Conclusion

4 Schools of Buddhism | Conclusion

Now what is it that inspired the teachers to think in the above ways? The reply may at once be given that it is the māra-vijaya by the Buddha.

Symbolically, māra-vijaya is the conquest of the tempter, but actually it means the cessation of desire (kāma)

which, when not controlled, goes on increasing and becomes the root cause of all sorts of miseries in one's life. As such it is a formidable enemy that must be conquered by all means.

This idea of the cessation of desire, which is well known even in Vedic times, is the centre not only of Buddhism, but also of all the religious systems of India. It is to be noted that only by the conquest of the tempter the Buddha became a Buddha.

The problem for the Buddha who was much influenced by the Upaniṣadic thoughts was as to how we can control desires which are so natural in human minds.

He found the solution in his three fundamental principles of Impermanence (anitya), Sorrow (duhkha), and Non-self (anātman).

If one deeply meditates upon them with regard to the worldly things, one's desire for their enjoyment is sure to vanish. The teachers of the Buddhist philosophy accept these views.

With regard to the Vaibhāṣikas we know not if they have added any­thing on this question, but the contributions of the other three Schools, the Sautrāntikas, the Yogācāras, and the Mādhyamikas are remarkable. It appears that they aimed at the elucidation only of the two principles, first and last, i.e. Impermanence and Non-self.

With the theories of Continuum (santati) and Instantaneousness (kṣaṇa- bhaṅga), as shown before, the Sautrāntikas have unmistakably pushed the theory of impermanence farther, infusing a new spirit into it.

In respect of the Yogācāras and Mādhyamikas their contributions are very striking. For desire there must be two things, the subject and the object, and both of them are attacked vigorously by them.

By their vijñāna-vāda they ably demonstrate that there is neither a separate sub­ject nor an object, there being only consciousness.

They show the non-­substantiality of both the self and the elements of existence (pudgala- nairātmya and dharma-nairātmya)—a theory shared commonly by the Mādhyamikas. There is no room for desire; for who is to desire and what is to be desired?

The Mādhyamikas have also explained by their Śūnya- vāda that everything is Śūnya, “void," i.e. void of its own state (niḥsva- bhāva), and as such what is to be desired and by whom?

“One who believes in the void is not attracted by worldly things, be­cause they are unsupported:

He is not delighted by gain, nor is he cast down by not gaining. He does not feel proud of his glory, nor does he shrink from lack of glory. Scorn does not make him hide, nor does praise win him; he feels attached neither to pleasures, nor does he feel aversion to pain.

He who is not so attracted by worldly things knows what void means. Therefore one who believes in the void has neither likes nor dis­likes. He knows that to be only void which he might like, and regards it as only void.

He who likes or dislikes anything does not know the void, and he who makes quarrel or dispute or debate with anyone does not know this to be only void nor so regards it."