Kshanikavada – Buddha’s Philosophy – Philosophy Optional

Theory of Flux – Causal-Efficiency/Artha-Karya-Kartiva Doctrine

Logical outcome of Psp is Ksanikavada. It is also called a Santanvadaa or theory of flux. It is applicable to both mind and matter. According to this theory, as everything changes from moment to moment, everything further exists only for a moment (this moment is metaphysical moment), as it comes to exist for a moment, produces an effect and exhausts. Not just material objects, but body, consciousness, happiness, everything is momentary and sorrowful. He experiences a flow of change/flux.

  • Theory of momentariness is applicable to this phenomenal world only (matter and soul). Thus, there is no “being” or “non-being”, everything is always in the state of “becoming” alone. Thus, this doctrine is also complemented by Buddha’s causal efficiency (doctrine).
  • Everything is subject to birth and death, production and destruction and creation and decay.

Buddhist logicians support the theory of momentariness by a logical argument called Arthakarya Karitva or efficiency of production. (Causal Efficiency Doctrine). They maintain that the criterion of existence (satta) is its capacity to produce some effect. An existent thing must produce an effect. Example : Seed is efficient to produce a tree.

Only that is existent (SAT) which has a capacity to produce an effect. Even if it doesn’t become a plant, the seed undergoes change in itself. Eventually, if dormant, the seed disintegrates and is destroyed. Change is reality.

Buddha denies unity in the sense of identity, but recognizes continuity in its place.

Repeatable succession gives rise to the illusion of identity.

Two Propositions of Kshanikavada :

a) Everything is Momentary :

Only momentary atoms and ideas exist. This is explained on basis of

  • Santanavada (Theory of Streams) : Consciousness (soul) and matter are a result of continuous flow of ideas and unconsciousness atoms respectively.
  • Sanghatavada (Theory of aggregate) : Soul is only an aggregate of the five fleeting skandhas. Objects are aggregates of unconscious atoms subject to degradation. Even modern science supports that ultimate realities are quarks that are packets of energy having momentary existence.

b) Everything is Changing :

It is the logical outcome of the first proposition – If everything is momentary, then only change is real. Everything is thus in the state of flux, i.e becoming (There is no being, only becoming).

Example : A river is not the same river at any moment, it is continuously changing. The rapidity of succession of water only gives the illusion of permanence, which is unreal (Similar to Greek Philosopher Heraclitus)

Example of a flame : Every moment, flame is different. The mind is unable to perceive the difference as the change is subtle and minute. Rapidity of succession gives rise to illusion of identity (Similar to Hume, causal theory is not logical but psychological necessity.)

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