This paper is an exposition on features of Woncheuk’s (圓測 613-696, Ch. Yuance) view on the apoha semantics of Bhā(va)viveka. It is based on the assumption that he might have considered the continuity or similarities in apoha theory between Dignāga(ca. 480-540)-Dhamapāla(ca. 530-561) and Bhā(va)viveka (ca. 500-570). In order to do this, I first investigated the outline of Woncheuk’s view on the relationship between language and the object of reference. Second, I illuminated the core idea of Dignāga’s apoha theory by forcusing on the paragraph in his Nyāyamukha cited by Woncheuk. Third, I scrutinized Bhā(va)viveka’s view on apoha by exposing the context of the paragraphs in his Zhang-Zhen Lun (掌珍論) cited by Woncheuk, and tried to identify the common ground held between him and Dignāga with regard to apoha theory. Finally, I depicted the framework of Woncheuk’s own view on the apoha semantics of Bhā(va)viveka, by exposing the meaning of the paragraph in his Guang-Bai Lun (廣百論) cited by Woncheuk, and connecting it with that of Dharmapāla on the theme, as well as Woncheuk’s own view on the place of Bhā(va)viveka in the Nonbeing vs Being Controversy between these two Indian Buddhist thinkers.
In conclusion, Woncheuk’s view is featured in the following points.
First, by emphasizing the function of vaidharmya-dṛṣṭānta, viz. “negation of the fictional substance”(止濫), he tried to find in them common ground for continuity or similarities in apoha theory held between Dignāga- Dharmapāla and Bhā(va)viveka according to the framework of Xuanzang (玄奘 600 or 602-664). Second, he regards both Bhā(va)viveka and Dharmapāla as members of the same school because they both appreciate the existence of an absolute abyss between ultimate reality and language, and the significance of negational function of the latter for expressing the former. Third, Bhā(va)viveka and Dharmapāla do however differ from each other in that the former emphasizes the function of “negation of the fictional substance”, whereas the latter emphasizes both the negational and affirmational aspects of language expressing the ultimate reality. Fourth, by depending on the authority of Dharmapāla, he indirectly ciriticizes Bhā(va) viveka’s overemphasis of transcendence of the ultimate truth over language because it might place us in danger of nihilism, which negates the existence of the phenomenal world, based on language.
In sum, this multifacted view of Woncheuk on the apoha semantics of Bhā(va)viveka corresponds to the way in which he understands the role of Bhā(va)viveka in the Non-being vs Being Controversy. In his view, Bhā(va) viveka is both a positive thinker, which destroys the bhāva-grāha of some Yogācāra thinkers, and a negative one who is criticized for having the śūnya-grāha by his Yogācāra opponent, Dharmapāla. Nevertheless, he is held in higher regard and recognized as a representative of Mādhyamika thinkers by Woncheuk, as his usual appellation “the School of Bhā(va) viveka” shows.