Dissenting Yogis: The Mīmāṁsaka-Buddhist Battle for Epistemological Authority

Authors

  • Jed Forman University of California Santa Barbara

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.33182/ijor.v1i1.1080

Keywords:

Buddhism, Mimāṃsā, Epistemology, Meditation, Yogic Perception

Abstract

While dissent connotes a type of split or departure, it can bind as much as it separates. This paper traces a millennium-long history of debate between Buddhists and other religionists who championed the Vedic authority rejected by the Buddha, a camp that came to be known as “Mīmāsā. My analysis illustrates dissent can have the paradoxical feature of forging strong relationships through its seeming antithesis: opposition. Specifically, I explore Mīmāsaka-Buddhist debate on meditation. Buddhists argued that meditation could yield authoritative spiritual insight once a meditator had honed their yogic perception (yogipratyaka). Mīmāsakas rejected yogic perception, arguing only the scriptural corpus of the Vedas had authority. By undermining yogic perception, Mīmāsakas aimed to defang religious movements, like the Buddhists, who appealed to meditative experience as legitimate grounds for dissent. Counterintuitively, such exchanges were essential for the construction of each faction’s identity and were continually mutually formative over the long history of their interaction.

Published

2020-11-22

How to Cite

Forman, J. (2020). Dissenting Yogis: The Mīmāṁsaka-Buddhist Battle for Epistemological Authority. International Journal of Religion, 1(1), 121-134. https://doi.org/10.33182/ijor.v1i1.1080