Anussava

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Anussava (Pāli), Anus̄rava (Skt., ‘that which has been heard or reported’). Tradition: according to early Buddhism, that which is passed on by word of mouth from one person to another and from one generation to another. In the Nikāyas it is chiefly used with reference to the brahmans who appealed to tradition as sacrosanct, believing their own Vedas to be divine revelation and the exclusive source of all knowledge and truth. However, Buddhism maintained that the claim for any doctrine or teaching to represent knowledge or truth cannot rest exclusively on the fact that it is part of or belongs to tradition. In order for a body of teaching to be regarded as valid knowledge three criteria need to be met: the teacher or transmitter of the doctrine must be observed as someone who is free of attachment (rāga), hate (dosa), and delusion (moha); the meaning of the teaching should be tested by the pupil independently of the teacher; and the teaching has to be tested in practice.