Buddhist Texts · Cārvāka/Lokāyata

♦ Lokākṣa on previous and futur lives: a passage from Avalokitavrata’s Prajñāpradīpa-Ṭīkā

Recently I was checking some passages of Avalokitavratas Ṭīkā on Bhāvivekas Prajñāpradīpa on Nāgārjuna‘s Mūlamadhyamakakārikā 1. There, I have found several references to a master of Lokāyata called ‘Jig rten mig, which could be the Tibetan rendering of Lokākṣa or Lokacakṣu. In every occurrence, Lokākṣa is said to be a mahārṣi,and it appears that Avalokitavrata considered him as a great leader of Lokāyata movement. The following one is the translation of a still unpublished fragment among those that Avalokitavrata attributed to Lokākṣa, in which several argumentations of the Lokāyatikas agains the belief in a pravious and future life are listed. As I have not provided a critical edition of the Tibetan version, and as an edition of the text does not exist, I refer the reader here to the on-line available sDe-dge edition (sDe-dge, dBu-ma,  WA 112a2-7):

Here, [as] the moltitude of the very numbers depends on the [number] one, the mahārṣi called Lokākṣa composed one-hundred-thousand argumentations of the Lokāyata, in this way:

«Neither there is birth of living beings (sattva) [who] come into existence here [in this world] occasioned by the accumulation of good and bad actions [performed] elsewhere [in another world]; nor there is a previous world (atīta-loka); then, neither there is anybody who has returned here [after death]; nor, hence, there is another world where to go. Thus, also, the cause [of the present life] is without [relation to past] actions and afflictions (karma-kleśa-vinā): having condensed and pressed together drugs such as sugar-cane, lotus [flowers], [fruits of the] myrobalan tree, Grislea Tormentosa, ferments, gritted rice, barks and so on, different kinds of liquors come forth, distinct in taste, [inhebriating] power and maturation, but those [distinct liquors] do not originate here, after having come from another world, whereas such liquors will arise from the power of having condensed and pressed together those very substances, i.e., drugs such as sugar-cane, lotus [flowers], [fruits of the] myrobalan tree, Grislea Tormentosa, ferments, gritted rice, barks and so on. Similarly, also the internal bases (ādhyātmikāyatana), being without [relation to past] actions and afflictions, arise [exclusively] from the assemblage of semen, blood (śukra-śoṇita-samūha) and so on. Moreover, if a mass of meat were heaped like the mount Sumeru [in height] and there it rained for seven days [on it], having come there into existence a mass of worms of exactly the same extension than the mass of meat, [say,] how many of those living beings come from another world?».

By means of these questionable examples and so on, [Lokākṣa and the Lokāyatikas] consider the origin without cause [of entities].

The most interesting among the examples, here, is I think the one concerning the mass of worms coming forth from the mass of meat. Indeed, this does not occur in none of the other sources, dealing with or quoting Lokāyata theories, known to me (see Bhattacharya 2009, pp. 78-93). Although further examination is of course needed for establishing wether these Lokāyatikas were Cārvākas (or, better, pre-Cārvākas) or not, nonetheless, at a first glance, it seems to me that the examples referred to here, and the typology/nature of the argumentation, are actually very similar to those employed by Cārvākas.

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