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Śaṅkaranandana (fl. c. 9th or 10th century), (Tibetan: Bde byed dga’ ba) was a Mahayana Buddhist philosopher,[1][2] and a Brahmin lay devotee active in Kashmir in the pramana tradition of Dignaga and Dharmakīrti. He was quite influential in both Kashmir and Tibet, and became known as "the second Dharmakīrti," and “the Great Brahmin.”[3]

Śaṅkaranandana is cited by both Kashmiri Shaiva authors like Abhinavagupta[4] and by Tibetan Buddhist authors and translators.[3] Vincent Eltschinger states that he was "the main interlocutor of the Saiva Pratyabhijña school and as one of the most influential thinkers among the early generations of Tibetan philosophers."[2]

Like other thinkers in his tradition, Śaṅkaranandana defended the idealistic Yogacara theory of "consciousness only" or Vijñānavāda through the logical refutation of any external objects of cognition.[2]


Śaṅkaranandana wrote at least 17 works on logic and epistemology.[3] Four of his works have survived in Tibetan translation, and others have survived in Sanskrit manuscripts, most incomplete or fragmentary.[5]

According to Eltschinger his magnum opus was most likely the Prajñālaṅkāra (“Ornament of Wisdom”), which was "a systematic exposition of the Yogācāra Buddhist doctrine of mind-only (vijñaptimātratā)."[3]

Among his other writings are four commentaries on Dharmakīrti's texts, including the Pramāṇavārttikaṭīkā, which comments on Dharmakīrti's Pramāṇavārttikasvavṛtti.[3]

One of his surviving texts, the Īśvarāpākaraṇa-saṅkṣepa (Summary of a refutation of Īśvarā), a refutation of the Hindu concept of a creator deity, has been translated by into German in Helmut Krasser's habilitation study.[6][7]

Other works include:[3]

  • Sambandhaparīkṣānusāra (translated by Parahita-bhadra and Dga’ ba’i rdo rje into Tibetan)
  • Apohasiddhi translated by Manoratha and Rngog Blo ldan shes rab
  • Vādanyāya (a commentary on a work by Dharmakīrti)
  • Pratibandhasiddhi translated by Bhavyarāja and Rngog Blo ldan shes rab
  • Laghu-pratibandhasiddhi (“Short Proof of the Connection”)
  • Sūkṣmaprāmāṇya, Madhyaprāmāṇya, and Bṛhatprāmāṇya (“Short/Middle/Extensive versions of "Examination of Valid Cognition")
  • Anyāpohasiddhi (“Proof of Other-Exclusion”)
  • Dharmālaṅkāra (“Ornament of the Dharma”)
  • Sarvajñasiddhi (“Proof of all-knowledge”)
  • Svalpasarvajñasiddhi (also known as Sarvajñasiddhisaṅkṣepa, “Summary of the Proof of all-knowledge”),
  • Saṅkṣipteśvarāpākaraṇa (also known as Īśvarāpākaraṇasaṅkṣepa, “Summary of the Refutation of [a Creator] God”)
  • Āgamasiddhi (“Proof of [the Human Origin of Authoritative] Scripture”)


  1. EAST | Epistemology and Argumentation in South Asia and Tibet, University of Heidelberg. https://east.ikga.oeaw.ac.at/buddh/ind/persons/
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Eltschinger, Latest News from a Kashmirian “Second Dharmakīrti” In Patrick McAllister, Cristina Scherrer-Schaub, Helmut Krasser, ed., Cultural Flows across the Western Himalaya. (BKGA 83.) Wien: VÖAW, 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 "Śaṅkaranandana" in Silk, Jonathan A (editor in chief). Brill’s Encyclopedia of Buddhism Volume II: Lives.
  4. Franco, Elo; Ratié, Isabelle (2016). Around Abhinavagupta: Aspects of the Intellectual History of Kashmir from the Ninth to the Eleventh Century, p. 282. LIT Verlag Münster
  5. Eltschinger, V. 2008. “Śaṅkaranandana's Sarvajñasiddhi. A preliminary report”, in Sferra, F. (ed.), Manuscripta Buddhica I: Sanskrit Texts from Giuseppe Tucci's Collection, part 1. (Serie Orientale Roma 104.) Rome: Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente, 115–56.
  6. Krasser, Helmut (2002) Sankaranandanas Isvarapakaranasanksepa: Texte. Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
  7. Krasser (2002). Śaṅkaranandanas Īśvarāpākaraṇasaṅkṣepa mit einem anonymen Kommentar und weiteren Materialien zur buddhistischen Gottespolemik
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