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  • 1 Ghent University Chinese Language and Culture Blandijnberg 2 9000 Gent Belgium
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This article focusses on discussing the reason of existence of factors ( dharma ) in the three time periods ( trikāla ) as it is recorded in the Vaibhāṣika * Abhidharmamahāvibhāṣāśāstra and in the Sarvāstivāda works that postdate this text. The origin of this discussion is traced back in the earliest Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma works. Also the Chinese Sanlun philosopher Jizang (549–623), in his “ Shi’er men lun shu ”, a commentary on Nāgārjuna’s * DvādaśadvārakaShi’er men lun ”, raises this discussion. Here, references are made to the vibhāṣā literature. The treatment of the subject in the “ Shi’er men lun shu ” reveals (1) that the Chinese Sanlun (and Madhyamaka) philosophers were familiar with this discussion in Sarvāstivāda philosophy; (2) that they criticised the Sarvāstivāda viewpoint; and (3) gives evidence for a rise of Indian Madhyamaka philosophy and a place of origin of Nāgārjuna in the North of the Indian subcontinent.