The doctrine of ‘not-self’ (anātman) has been considered to be one of the central Buddhist philosophies. This concept of anātman, however, raised the following complex problem: in Buddhism, who can be the doer of good and bad kinds of deeds, and who can be the enjoyer of the results? Vātsīputrīya and Sāṃmitīya, which were representative branches of Pudgalavādin in Indian Buddhism, asserted that ‘inexpressible Pudgala’ cannot be explained in the same manner as the aggregates, nor does it exist apart from the aggregates. The Pudgalavādin seemed to try to solve the problem of the doctrine of ‘not-self’. This ‘inexpressible Pudgala’, therefore, became generally known as the Pudgalavādin’s distinctive theory of personal agency. However, according to Madhyamakāvatāra chp. 6, we see evidence that Sāṃmitīya demonstrated the viewpoint that aggregates are the Pudgala or that consciousness is the Pudgala. On the other hand, Prajñāpradīpa and Prasannapadā both regard ‘Preceding existence’ (differentiating existence from aggregates) found in Mūlamadhyamakakārikā chap. 9, to be the very Pudgala of Pudgalavādin. Moreover, Prajñāpradīpa-ṭīkā chap. 12., documents the existence of a few schools in Pudgalavādin, some of which insisted that Pudgala was the same as the aggregates, while others insisted that Pudgala was different from the aggregates. Despite the revelations contained in these few records, ‘inexpressible Pudgala’- being neither the same as the aggregates, nor existing apart from the aggregates- has been considered to be the only unique doctrine of Pudgala. A minority of scholars (or people), however, believe that these kinds of records simply reveal a misunderstanding or distortion of the truth by opponents who criticised the Pudgalavādin.
In that respect, this thesis focused on the possibility that various kinds of Pudgala theory, with relevance to aggregates, exist. The focus of the research was on postmid-Mādhyamika texts.