Essential Buddhism, the fundamental teachings of the historical Buddha and the core of all major branches of Buddhism, is psychology, not religion or philosophy. Essential Buddhism is described from a psychological perspective and interrelated with Western psychology in general, and cognitive science, behaviour modification, psychoanalysis, and transpersonal psychology, in specific. Integrating Buddhist psychology and Western psychology yields a more comprehensive psychology and more powerful therapies.
This paper interprets Buddhist meditation from perspectives of Western psychology and explores the common grounds shared by the two disciplines. Cognitive operations in Buddhist meditation are mainly characterized by mindfulness and concentration in relation to attention. Mindfulness in particular plays a pivotal role in regulating attention. My study based on Buddhist literature corroborates significant correspondence between mindfulness and metacognition as propounded by some psychologists. In vipassan? meditation, mindfulness regulates attention in such a way that attention is directed to monitor (...) the ever-changing experiences from moment to moment so that the practitioner attains the ?metacognitive insight? into the nature of things. In samatha meditation, mindfulness picks an object as the focus of ?selective attention' and monitors whether attention is concentrated on the chosen object so as to attain the state of ?concentration?. Nimitta that appears in a deep state of concentration resembles ?imagery? in psychology. Mindfulness consists in the wholesome functioning of saññ?. A finding by psychologists supports my view that saññ? can act as perception on the one hand and, on the other hand, it can produce nimitta ?imagery? in deep meditation where perception is suspended. (shrink)
The author of this paper aimed to understand the early Buddhism community in its entirety by examining the individual episodes in the "Mahavagga". There is a remarkable experience of the psychic power between the Buddha and the Brahmins. They are both aware of coming across of psychic forces that entered the way to the Buddhist Community. Using the brahmins mythology as a instrument for missionary work, the early Buddhism brings people close to Buddha's community. The (...) class='Hi'>Buddha visited Uruvela-Kassapa and took lodging for the night where the sacred fire was kept, in spite of Kassapa's warning that the spot was inhabited by a fierce Naga. The Buddha, by his magical powers, overcame, first this N ganad then another, both of whom vomited fire and smoke. Kassapabeing pleased with this exhibition of iddhi-power, undertook to provide the Buddha with his daily food. The Buddha spent the whole rainy season there, performing, in all, three thousand five hundred miracles of various kinds, reading the thoughts of kassapa, splitting firewood for the ascetic sacrifices, heating stoves for them to use after bathing in the cold weather, etc. Still Kassapa persisted in the thought, "The great ascetic is of great magic power, but he is not anarahant like me." Finally the Buddha decided to startle him by declaring that he was not an arahant, neither did the way he followed lead to arahantship. Thereon kassapa owned defeat and reverently asked for ordination. The Buddha asked him to consult with his pupils, and they cut off their hair and threw it with their sacrificial utensils into the river and were all ordained. Nadi Kassapa and Gaya Kassapa were ordained with their pupils. At Gay sisa the Buddha preached to them the Fire Sermon, and they all attained arahantship for the early Buddhist Community. The episode of Uruvela Kassaps in the Mahavagga text ultimately idealizes the power of psychic and the start of the community. It is probable, even at the time when the episode were written, that as a matter of fact every one, in ordinary daily life, spoke imply the vernaculars in a much more simple and natural state of society. It is the Mahavagga authors, when addressing a cultured public at a date when the vernaculars had become the paramount literary language. Another point is that though brahmins take part in the religious and philosophical conversations of those early tims, and in the accounts of them are always referred to with respect, and threaten with the same courtesythat they always themselves extended also to others, yet they hold no predominant position. The majority of the ascetic, and the most influential individuals among them, are not brahmins. That is only a matter of course will be the obvious subjection. The Mahavagga texts I quotes, if not the work of bitter opponents, were at least composed under India bramins influence, and are prejudiced against the brahmins. (shrink)
I argue that three recent studies (Imagining the Life Course, by Nancy Eberhardt; Sensory Biographies, by Robert Desjarlais; and How to Behave, by Anne Hansen) advance the field of Buddhist Ethics in the direction of the empirical study of morality. I situate their work within a larger context of moral anthropology, that is, the study of human nature in its limits and capacities for moral agency. Each of these books offers a finely grained account of particular and local Buddhist ways (...) of interpreting human life and morality, and each explores complex conceptions of moral agency. I suggest that these three studies share similar interests in moral psychology, the human being across time, the intersubjective dimensions of moral experience, and what life within a karmic framework looks like. I propose that their contributions offer some of the most refreshing and interesting work generated in Buddhist ethics in the last decade. (shrink)
This article attempts to define karma as both action and the effects of action. In terms of the effects or fruits of action, the effect of action upon the mind is the focus; thus, the idea of "effect" is primarily defined as psychic residue and is compared to Freud's notion of memory traces. In addition, action that produces karma is said to be accompanied by the "pulling" feeling of volition (cetanÄ). Some comparisons are then made between cetanÄ and the theories (...) of Karen Horney in Western psychology vis Ã vis her view of the neurotic's compulsive, driven feelings. The article also has a more ethically oriented side. Often, the karma doctrine is believed to be the only causal factor responsible for one's present condition, and thus, a person's unfortunate circumstances: sometimes this notion leads to blaming a person for his or her misfortune. This article seeks to discover whether or not this idea truly has scriptural backing. Lastly, the article explores the issue of whether or not one must always live out the entirety of the effects of one's actions or if it is possible to purify or eliminate actions' effects before they come to fruition. For this question in particular, the article examines both TheravÄda and MahÄyÄna thinking. (shrink)
Early Buddhist Metaphysics provides a philosophical account of the major doctrinal shift in the history of early Theravada tradition in India: the transition from the earliest stratum of Buddhist thought to the systematic and allegedly scholastic philosophy of the Pali Abhidhamma movement. Entwining comparative philosophy and Buddhology, the author probes the Abhidhamma's metaphysical transition in terms of the Aristotelian tradition and vis-à-vis modern philosophy, exploits Western philosophical literature from Plato to contemporary texts in the fields of philosophy of mind and (...) cultural criticism. (shrink)
An Essay in Comparative Neurophilosophy -- Preface -- Introduction: Buddhism Naturalized -- The Bodhisattva's Brain -- The Colour of Happiness -- Buddhist Epistemology and Science -- Buddhism as a Natural Philosophy. Buddhist Persons -- Being No-self & Being Nice -- Virtue & Happiness -- Postscript: Cosmopolitanism and Comparative Philosophy.
In the past decade or so there has been a surge of monographs on the nature of ‘Buddhist Ethics.’ For the most part, authors are concerned with developing and defending explications of Buddhism as a normative ethical theory with an apparent aim of putting Buddhist thought directly in dialogue with contemporary Western philosophical debates in ethics. Despite disagreement among Buddhist ethicists concerning which contemporary normative ethical theory a Buddhist ethic would most closely resemble (if any), 1 it is arguable (...) that all Buddhist ethicists (like all Buddhists) embrace and endorse the Four Noble Truths as a framing assumption. That is, a Buddhist ethic will (1) typically assume that we fallible .. (shrink)
A contribution to the sixth installment of the Common Knowledge symposium “Apology for Quietism,” this article proposes that, despite endless debates within Zen Buddhism between quietist tendencies (“sitting quietly, doing nothing”) and the instruction to act in the world (“go wash the dishes”), Zen has always held a nondualist approach that denies any contradiction between these seemingly distinct ways. Zen has never really seen them as distinct. The article does survey, however, several quietist sources for Zen in early Indian (...) and Daoist thought and practice, and it also surveys the debates between these and more activist tendencies. Raz goes on to show how these became unified in a nondualist approach in the writings and teachings of prominent Chinese and Japanese teachers from the beginning of Zen (Chan) in China down to the twentieth century. (shrink)
The rich and interconnected universe of Śākya Mchog Ldan’s views, including those on the buddha-essence, cannot be limited to or summarized in a few neat categories. Nevertheless, the following two interrelated ideas are crucial for understanding Śākya Mchog Ldan’s interpretation of the buddha-essence: 1) only Mahāyāna āryas (’phags pa) have the buddha-essence characterized by the purity from adventitious stains (glo bur rnam dag).