Dharmakīrti (550-650)

Given dates (all in the Common Era) are approximate and represent the upper and lower possible extremes of the person's lifetime.

Disciple of Īśvarasena (Frauwallner 1961 p. 141); Teacher of Devendrabuddhi (Frauwallner 1961 p. 145); Life dates: ca. 600–660 (Frauwallner 1961 pp. 137–139). For the legend of his life cf. Obermiller 1931/1932 II pp. 152–155, Schiefner, ed. 1868 pp. 175–188.

(Note added by Birgit Kellner, February 2015:) Helmut Krasser recently proposed an earlier date around the mid-6th century, see Krasser 2012. This would also imply an earlier date for Dignāga, from whom Dharmakīrti is separated by (at least) one generation. As the debate generated by Krasser’s proposal is ongoing, a softer dating is offered here that places Dharmakīrti within a larger range and neither rules out Krasser’s suggestion nor prematurely affirms it, before its implications have been fully considered. (End of note.)

Works: The sequence of Dharmakīrti's work is clarified as far as his main works are concerned (Frauwallner 1954); the Sambandhaparīkṣā with its Vṛtti and the Santānāntarasiddhi cannot yet be placed, but may belong to Dharmakīrti's final creative period, together with the Vādanyāya. For a possible extension of his oeuvre, and a proposal of life dates of ca. 530–600 cf. Lindtner 1980; Lindtner 1992; and Steinkellner 1991. T. Kimura points to the Vāsavadattā, where Subandhu refers to Dharmakīrti, and proposes a dating of ca. 550–620 (Kimura 1993).

Works by Dharmakīrti