An introduction and translation of Vinitadeva's explanation of the first ten verses of (Vasubandhu's) commentary on his "Twenty Stanzas" with appended glossary of technical terms Gregory Alexander Hillis.

Hillis, Gregory Alexander, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Hopkins, Paul, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Lang, Karen, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

In this thesis I argue that Vasubandhu categorically rejects the position that objects exist external to the mind. To support this interpretation, I engage in a close reading of Vasubandhu's Twenty Stanzas (Vimśatikā , nyi shu pa), his autocommentary (vimśatikā-vrtti, nyi shu pa'i 'grel pa), and Vinītadeva's sub-commentary (prakarana- Vimśaka-tīkā-, rab tu byed pa nyi shu pa' i 'grel bshad). I endeavor to show how unambiguous statements in Vasubandhu's root text and autocommentary refuting the existence of external objects are further supported by Vinītadeva's explanantion.
I examine two major streams of recent non-traditional scholarship on this topic, one that interprets Vasubandhu to be a realist, and one that interprets him to be an idealist. I argue strenuously against the former position, citing what I consider to be the questionable methodology of reading the thought of later thinkers such as Dignāga and Dharmakīrti into the works of Vasubandhu, and argue in favor of the latter position with the stipulation that Vasubandhu does accept a plurality of separate minds, and he does not assert the existence of an Absolute Mind.

Next, I summarize the content of the first ten of the Twenty Stanzas and their commentaries. In so doing I demonstrate how each sub-argument within the overall argument of the work is concerned precisely with the refutation of external objects. Furthermore, my synopsis illustrates the fact that Vasubandhu chooses to employ a dialectical format in defense of his position, a fact that clearly mitigates the claim of certain scholars that "mind-only" is only to be understood in a meditative context.

In the second section of the thesis I enclose a translation of large portions of the relevant texts. The main body of the translation is comprised of Vinītadeva's sub-commentary, the appropriate passages of Vasubandhu' s root text and autocommentary embedded within that. I invite the reader to puruse the translations so that she may reach her own conclusions.

Finally, I include detailed glossaries of the technical terms and vocabulary used in Vasubandhu's Twenty Stanzas and his autocommentary. It is my hope that these may be of some small use to students of these texts in the future.

MA (Master of Arts)
criticism , external objects , Buddhist commentator
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