Dharmakīrti (ca. 7th century), was an Indian scholar and one of the Buddhist founders of Indian philosophical logic. He was one of the primary theorists of Buddhist atomism, according to which the only items considered to exist are momentary Buddhist atoms and states of consciousness
Born around the turn of the 7th century, Dharmakirti was a South Indian Brahmin and became a teacher at the famed Nalanda University, as well as a poet. He built on and reinterpreted the work of Dignaga, the pioneer of Buddhist Logic, and was very influential among Brahman logicians as well as Buddhists. His theories became normative in Tibet and are studied to this day as a part of the basic monastic curriculum.
With colour, Collins (2000: p. 240) contextualized Dharmakirti and his experience of disaffection and collegiate misunderstanding at Nalanda thus:
Dharmakirti's synthesis is the apex of Buddhist philosophy, at the moment when it was institutionally fading. Nalanda was still bustling, buoyed by cosmopolitan incursions of Brahmans and lay students, but the weeds were growing around the deserted stupas not just in the south but in northern India as well. Dharmakirti is the last flaming of the torch before it blows out, the owl of Minerva taking wing at dusk: the creativity of synthesis as a fading institutional base goes on the defensive. Dharmakirti himself was a lay Buddhist, not a devout monk, and his personal tone sounds like secular ambition rather than a quest for salvation. The closing stanza of his great work laments the dearth of capable intellectuals to follow his philosophy: "My work will find no one in this world who would easily grasp its deep sayings. It will be absorbed and perish in my own person, just as a river in the ocean." A Tibetan historian says that when he finished the work, his pupils showed no appreciation, and his enemies "tied up the leaves [of the palm-leaf manuscript] to the tail of a dog and let him run through the streets where the leaves became scattered" (Stcherbatsky, 1962: 1:35-36). In fact, Dharmakirti did end up dominating the leading philosophers of the last generations of Indian Buddhism. But his pessimism was prescient. Leaving Nalanda, he retired to his home in the south, where he founded a monastery. The next successful Brahman student from the south was to be Shankara, and when he came north, it would be to plunder the carcass of a dying [Indian] Buddhism.