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Anutpada is a Buddhist term meaning "unborn".[web 1]


  • "An" also means "not", or "non"
  • "Utpāda" means "genesis", "coming forth", "birth"[web 2]

Taken together "anutpāda" means "having no origin", "not coming into existence", "not taking effect", "non-production".[web 3]

Usage in Buddhism[edit]

The Buddhist tradition uses the term "anutpāda" for the absence of an origin[1][2] or sunyata (voidness).[3]

According to Nakamura, in Mahayana Buddhism paramārtha, "highest truth", is identified with anutpāda [4] The term paramārtha is a synonym for tattva, tathata, sunyata, animitta, bhutakoti and dharmadhatu.[4]

In Nagarjuna's analysis, at the absolute level of truth no dharmas arise, hence sunyata is anutpada.[5]

The term is used in the Lankavatara Sutra.[6] According to D.T Suzuki, "anutpada" is not the opposite of "utpada", but transcends opposites. It is the seeing into the true nature of existence,[7] the seeing that "all objects are without self-substance".[8]

Another well-known use is in Bankei's "Unborn".[9]

Influence on Advaita Vedanta[edit]

Main articles: Advaita Vedanta and Ajativada

"Ajātivāda" is the fundamental philosophical doctrine of Gaudapada.[10] According to Gaudapada, the Absolute is not subject to birth, change and death. The Absolute is aja, the unborn eternal.[10] The empirical world of appearances is considered unreal, and not absolutely existent.[10]

Gaudapada, who was strongly influenced by Buddhism, borrowed the concept of "ajāta" from Nagajurna's Madhyamaka philosophy of Buddhism.[1][11] But Gaudapada's perspective is quite different from Nagarjuna.[12] Gaudapada's perspective is based on the Mandukya Upanishad.[12] According to Gaudapada, Brahman cannot undergo alteration, so the phenomenal world cannot arise from Brahman. If the world cannot arise, yet is an empirical fact, than the world has to be an unreal[note 1] appearance of Brahman. And if the phenomenal world is an unreal appearance, then there is no real origination or destruction, only apparent origination or destruction. From the level of ultimate truth (paramārthatā) the phenomenal world is Maya.[12]

As stated in Gaudapada’s Karika Chapter II Verse 48:[web 4]

No jiva ever comes into existence. There exists no cause that can produce it. The supreme truth is that nothing ever is born.[web 5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ C.q. "transitory"


Published references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Renard 2010, p. 157.
  2. ^ Bhattacharya 1943, p. 49.
  3. ^ Renard 2010, p. 160.
  4. ^ a b Nakamura 2004, p. 255.
  5. ^ Odin 1982, p. 20.
  6. ^ Suzuki 1999.
  7. ^ Suzuki 1999, p. 123-124.
  8. ^ Suzuki 1999, p. 168.
  9. ^ Dumoulin 2005-B, p. 316.
  10. ^ a b c Sarma 1996, p. 127.
  11. ^ Comans 2000, p. 35-36.
  12. ^ a b c Comans 2000, p. 36.



  • Bhattacharya, Vidhushekhara (1943), Gauḍapādakārikā, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass 
  • Comans, Michael (2000), The Method of Early Advaita Vedānta: A Study of Gauḍapāda, Śaṅkara, Sureśvara, and Padmapāda, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass 
  • Dumoulin, Heinrich (2005-B), Zen Buddhism: A History. Volume 2: Japan, World Wisdom Books, ISBN 9780941532907  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • Nakamura, Hajime (2004), A History of Early Vedanta Philosophy. Part Two, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited 
  • Odin, Steve (1982), Process Metaphysics and Hua-Yen Buddhism: A Critical Study of Cumulative Penetration Vs. Interpretation, SUNY Press 
  • Renard, Philip (2010), Non-Dualisme. De directe bevrijdingsweg, Cothen: Uitgeverij Juwelenschip 
  • Sarma, Chandradhar (1996), The Advaita Tradition in Indian Philosophy, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass 
  • Suzuki, Daisetz Teitarō (1999), Studies in the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass