We find the claim that time is not real in both western and eastern philosophical traditions. In what follows I will call the view that time does not exist temporal error theory. Temporal error theory was made famous in western analytic philosophy in the early 1900s by John McTaggart (1908) and, in much the same tradition, temporal error theory was subsequently defended by Gödel (1949). The idea that time is not real, however, stretches back much further than (...) that. It is common to hear it said that according to Buddhist philosophy (as though that were a monolithic view) time is illusory. While it is not true that, in general, either contemporary or ancient Buddhist scholars have thought time to be illusory, there are certainly some schools of Buddhist thought, such as that of traditional Dzogchen practitioners, according to which there is no time. This paper is an attempt to set out a taxonomy of different views about what it takes for there to be time and, alongside that, a taxonomy of views about whether there is time or not, and if there is time what it is like. (shrink)
This paper first reviews key Buddhist concepts of time anicca , khanavada and uji and then describes the way in which a particular form of Bhuddist meditation, vipassana, may be thought to actualize them in human experience. The chief aim of the paper is to present a heuristic model of how vipassana meditation, by eroding dispositional tendencies rooted in the body-unconscious alters psychological time, transforming our felt-experience of time from a binding to a liberating force.
This article looks at what is genuinely new in the Buddhist transnationalism of the modern period. It examines the history of Buddhist councils and synods from the early gatherings after the demise of the Buddha to the Buddhist World Council in the twentieth century. These often international events followed a role-model, defined by the first three councils, of creating and handing down an authoritative version of the Buddha's teachings (dhamma) while they could also lead to a ?purification? of the monks' (...) order (sangha) if monks sticking to divergent textual traditions were expelled from the sangha. Despite their importance, however, councils have received rather little attention in scholarly literature. This article takes a fresh look at Buddhist synods with a focus on those convened since the mid-nineteenth century. It explores how the latter sought to comply with inherited forms and functions, while at the same time becoming innovative in order to adapt Buddhism to its modern environment. (shrink)
According to the Buddhist concept of ?dependent origination? (prat?tyasamutp?da), discrete factors come into existence because of a combination of causes (hetu) and conditions (pratyaya). Such discrete factors, further, are combinations of five aggregates (pañ caskandha) that, themselves, are subject to constant change. Discrete factors, therefore, lack a self-nature (?tman). The passing through time of discrete factors is characterized by the ?characteristic marks of the conditioned?: birth (utp?da), change in continuance (sthityanyath?tva), and passing away (vyaya); or, alternatively: birth (j?ti), duration (...) (sthiti), decay (jar?), and impermanence (anityat?). In the interpretation of the precise nature of these characteristic marks of the conditioned, and their relation to the discrete factor they characterize, different opinions were prevalent within the Sarv?stiv?da School of Buddhist philosophy, with, judging from later scholastic literature, the views of the D?r???ntika/Sautr?ntika and the Vaibh??ika sub-schools as most prominent ones. The Indian and Chinese Madhyamaka philosophers pointed to the fallacies in the Sarv?stiv?da interpretations of the nature of the characteristic marks of the conditioned and their relation to the discrete factors they characterize, and, hence, to the fallacies in the Sarv?stiv?da interpretations of the concepts ?time? and ?temporality? (shrink)
The buddhist approach to the concepts of time and temporality is necessarily based on the correct understanding of the ordinary but dynamically oriented experiential process. in such a process, the concept of time takes on conventional, arbitrary and abstract natures, and subsequently gives way to the concept of temporality which is part and parcel of the experiential process and directly opens up other buddhist doctrines such as relational origination and voidness of being. temporality is non-conventional 'lived time'.
In the absence of continuing selves or persons, Buddhist philosophers are under pressure to provide a systematic account of phenomenological and other features of conscious experience. Any such Buddhist account of experience, however, faces further problems because of another cardinal tenet of Buddhist revisionary metaphysics: the doctrine of impermanence, which during the Abhidharma period is transformed into the doctrine of momentariness. Setting aside the problems that plague the Buddhist Abhidharma theory of experience because of lack of persons, I shall focus (...) on problems that arise because of its allegiance to momentariness and explore some responses on behalf of the Abhidharma Buddhist philosophers. I address two challenges to the Buddhist view in this paper. The first, which I will call the “Phenomenological Challenge”, primarily concerns the temporal properties of what is represented in conscious experience. The second, which I will call the “Metaphysical Challenge”, concerns the temporal properties of conscious representation itself. (shrink)
Pure Land Buddhism ascribes to Amida some of the roles ascribed to God by Whitehead. The failure of Whiteheadians to clarify how God can play these roles also leaves doubtful the claim of Pure Land Buddhism. On the other hand, Whitehead’s emphasis on perpetual perishing reinforces the original Buddhist teaching of impermanence and together they provide the basic insight for authentic life.
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)
We're all given the same twenty-four hours a day. We can spend our time feeling hurried and harried, overwhelmed by chores and demands, distracted and burned out . . . or we can awaken to Buddha Standard Time, the realm of timelessness where every choice, every action, and every breath can be one of renewal and infinite possibilities. Buddha Standard Time shares one of the great realizations of Buddhism, an insight that anyone can learn to apply. (...) The minutes and hours of our days do not simply march from future to present to past. Rather, each moment is intersected by a fourth dimension. By learning to live in this dimension-Buddha Standard Time-we reduce the amount of stress in our lives and find greater focus, fulfillment, creativity, and even wisdom. Drawing on Tibetan Buddhism and other great wisdom traditions, as well as on neuroscience and holistic traditions, renowned teacher and national bestselling author Lama Surya Das shares real world examples, practical exercises, and essential techniques. The pace and pressure of today's world feels relentless. That is why, now more than ever, we need the ancient wisdom contained in Buddha Standard Time. Far from being at the mercy of time's demands, we will finally realize that we have, in fact, all the time in the world. (shrink)
For Vajrayana Buddhism, the now is an interval, a boundary, a point of tension and suspension with an atmosphere of uncertainty. It is a bifurcation point of variable length; its name is “bardo.” The bardo is immersed in the conventional, or “seeming” reality. It emerges from what is called the “unstained” ultimate or primordial emptiness or “basal clear light.” Further, the ultimate is not the sphere of cognition. Cognition, including cognition of time, belongs to conventional reality. Buddhahood, in (...) contrast, is a condition of uncompounded knowledge where basic mind blossoms without temporal or other cognitive distinctions, unmade, unfabricated, luminous and pristine. Cyclical existence involves both the ultimate and the conventional as it moves through six bardos—all of which are the effulgent of the basal clear light—until Buddhahood. The six are: the bardo of this life ; the bardo of dream; the bardo of meditation; the bardo of dying; the bardo of dharmata ; and the bardo of existence. Each realm is both ultimate and conventional, and has specific initiation-based yogas to investigate these differences. The process of transition from one to the next involves at least three bodies, one mind, and aspects of speech. In each bardo, the character of the now as embodiment and temporal knowing varies yet a complete and consistent cross-bardo yogic wisdom leads to its total cessation in the basal clear light; the now is extinguished. The author presents, from the viewpoint of a knowledgeable practitioner of over 30 years, an essay on Vajrayana Buddhist time, drawing implications for Fraser’s time typology. The essay will draw from English translations of significant older, tantric texts on dream yoga, deity yoga, the Chod, tantric time, the bardo of death, and empowerment. Useful practices that can be applied by the audience to test the tradition and author’s assertions will be suggested. (shrink)
The problem of personal identity is often said to be one of accounting for what it is that gives persons their identity over time. However, once the problem has been construed in these terms, it is plain that too much has already been assumed. For what has been assumed is just that persons do have an identity. A new interpretation of Hume's no-self theory is put forward by arguing for an eliminative rather than a reductive view of personal identity, (...) and by approaching the problem in terms of phenomenology, Buddhist psychology, and the idea of a constructed self-image. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to raise two questions. The first question is: How is pessimism related to Buddhism (and vice versa)? The second question is: What relation does an immanent philosophy have to pessimism and Buddhism, if any? Using True Detective, an American television crime drama, as my point of departure, first I will outline some of the likenesses between Buddhism and pessimism. At the same time, I will show how the conduct of one (...) of the main characters in True Detective resembles the paths of Buddhism and pessimism, even though he is ethical in a strictly non-pessimistic and non-Buddhist fashion. Last, I will try to place these findings in perspective through the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s thoughts. Hereby, I hope to illustrate that joy, not suffering, is basic to human existence, and how human beings may overcome a spiritual pessimism. (shrink)
This systematic introduction to Buddhist ethics is aimed at anyone interested in Buddhism, including students, scholars and general readers. Peter Harvey is the author of the acclaimed Introduction to Buddhism, and his new book is written in a clear style, assuming no prior knowledge. At the same time it develops a careful, probing analysis of the nature and practical dynamics of Buddhist ethics in both its unifying themes and in the particularities of different Buddhist traditions. The book (...) applies Buddhist ethics to a range of issues of contemporary concern: humanity's relationship with the rest of nature; economics; war and peace; euthanasia; abortion; the status of women; and homosexuality. Professor Harvey draws on texts of the main Buddhist traditions, and on historical and contemporary accounts of the behaviour of Buddhists, to describe existing Buddhist ethics, to assess different views within it, and to extend its application into new areas. (shrink)
The Buddhist philosophical tradition is vast, internally diverse, and comprises texts written in a variety of canonical languages. It is hence often difficult for those with training in Western philosophy who wish to approach this tradition for the first time to know where to start, and difficult for those who wish to introduce and teach courses in Buddhist philosophy to find suitable textbooks that adequately represent the diversity of the tradition, expose students to important primary texts in reliable translations, (...) that contextualize those texts, and that foreground specifically philosophical issues. Buddhist Philosophy fills that lacuna. It collects important philosophical texts from each major Buddhist tradition. Each text is translated and introduced by a recognized authority in Buddhist studies. Each introduction sets the text in context and introduces the philosophical issues it addresses and arguments it presents, providing a useful and authoritative guide to reading and to teaching the text. The volume is organized into topical sections that reflect the way that Western philosophers think about the structure of the discipline, and each section is introduced by an essay explaining Buddhist approaches to that subject matter, and the place of the texts collected in that section in the enterprise. This volume is an ideal single text for an intermediate or advanced course in Buddhist philosophy, and makes this tradition immediately accessible to the philosopher or student versed in Western philosophy coming to Buddhism for the first time. It is also ideal for the scholar or student of Buddhist studies who is interested specifically in the philosophical dimensions of the Buddhist tradition. (shrink)
In South Asia, the period between 1100 and 1300 CE was a particularly prolific time for theorists from India's three main indigenous religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism - to articulate their views on the face-to-face gift encounter. Their gift theories shaped a cosmopolitan sensibility that shared ethical and aesthetic values that reached across regional, sectarian, and religious boundaries. This book explores the ethical and social implications of unilateral gifts of esteem, offering a perceptive guide to the uniquely (...) South Asian contributors to theoretical work on the gift. (shrink)
The Fang Bian Xin Lun is a text on Buddhist logic which is thought to be the earliest one still to be extant. It appears in Chinese only (T1632). The great Italian indologist Giuseppe Tucci, believing that the text was originally a Sanskrit text, translated it into Sanskrit and gave it the title Upāyahṛdaya. The paper provides the historical background of the development of logic in Classical India up to the time of this text, summarizes its content and translates (...) its first section. (shrink)
Visit the author's Web site at www.11PicsOfTime.com Time is a mystery that has perplexed humankind since time immemorial. Resolving this mystery is of significance not only to philosophers and physicists but is also a very practical concern. Our perception of time shapes our values and way of life; it also mediates the interaction between science and religion both of which rest fundamentally on assumptions about the nature of time. C K Raju begins with a critical exposition (...) of various time-beliefs, ranging from the earliest times through Augustine, Newton and Einstein to Stephen Hawking and current notions of chaos and time travel. He traces the role of organised religion in subverting time beliefs for its political ends. The book points out how this resulted in a facile dichotomy between 'linear' and 'cyclic' time, thereby inaugurating a confusion which, according to the author, has handicapped Western thought ever since, eventually influencing the content of science itself. Thus, this book daringly asserts that physical theory, traditionally regarded as amoral and objective, has depended on cultural beliefs about time. The author points out that time beliefs are again being manipulated today as the credibility of science is being exploited to promote a picture of time and, hence, a pattern of human behaviour which is convenient to the agenda of globalisation of culture. The linkages between modern theology and this 'brave new physics' are traced against the wider context of the so-called 'clash of civilisations', and the attempts to remake the world order. The conclusions point to the need to de-theologise time. The author challenges Einstein's understanding of relativity theory and suggests that a 'tilt in the arrow of time', or a small tendency towards cyclicity, will help repair the prevalent confusion about time. A 'tilt' also enables a physics that permits both memory and creativity, so that purpose and spontaneous growth of order are returned to human life. The book ends with a vision of Man as Creator, surprising God. Extensive research in physics, the history of science, comparative religions, and sociology lend weight to the important and challenging conclusions reached by the author. Written as a rejoinder to Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, this book goes much further and, unlike any previous book, it gives a critical exposition of various world religions-Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Jainism-while exploring their intricate links, through time beliefs, to current physics on the one hand, and to global political and economic trends, on the other. This book will appeal to scholars and laypersons equally. It will fascinate anyone who reads it and will teach its readers to question the unquestionable. (shrink)
The phyi dar or ‛later dissemination’ of Buddhism in Tibet is known to be a crucial formative period of Tibetan Buddhism; yet, many questions still wait to be answered: How did Tibetan Buddhist teachers of this time approach the Buddhist scriptures? Did they quote from books or from memory? Did they study Buddhism through original Sūtras or exegetical literature? To what degree was the text of the scriptures fixed and standardised before the Bka’ ’gyur and the (...) Bstan ’gyur were compiled? In search for some answers to questions such as these, the present article focuses on the gzhung pa or ‛scriptural tradition” of the Bka’-gdams-pa school of Tibetan Buddhism. Their works contain quotations from the Indian Buddhist scriptures that sometimes differ markedly from the mainstream editions of the Bka’ ’gyur and Bstan ’gyur. There are several possible explanations for such discrepancies: The Tibetan authors might be quoting a different Tibetan translation that was later discarded by the redactors of the Tibetan canon; they might be quoting from a secondary source such as a commentary or Buddhist anthology; or they might be quoting from memory, changing the text either deliberately or by accident. Giving examples from works of the early Bka’-gdams-pa masters this article discusses how textual deviations from the canonical versions can be explained. It will thereby provide insights into the way the Indian Buddhist scriptures were studied and transmitted in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition around the 11th–13th centuries. (shrink)
A well-known feature of great works of art is their power to “live on” long after the moment of their creation – to remain vital and alive long after the culture in which they were born has passed into history. This power to transcend time is common to works as various as the plays of Shakespeare, the Victory of Samothrace, and many works from early cultures such as Egypt and Buddhist India which we often encounter today in major art (...) museums. -/- What is the nature of this power and how does it operate? The Renaissance decided that works of art are timeless, “immortal” – immune from historical change – and this idea has exerted a profound influence on Western thought. But do we still believe it? Does it match our experience of art today which includes so many works from the past that spent long periods in oblivion and have clearly not been immune from historical change? -/- This book examines the seemingly miraculous power of art to transcend time – an issue widely neglected in contemporary aesthetics. Tracing the history of the question from the Renaissance onwards, and discussing thinkers as various as David Hume, Hegel, Marx, Walter Benjamin, Sartre, and Theodor Adorno, the book argues that art transcends time through a process of metamorphosis – a thesis first developed by the French art theorist, André Malraux. The implications of this idea pose major challenges for traditional thinking about the nature of art. (shrink)
The topic of this dissertation is one that has been in the forefront of contemporary metaphysics in the Anglo-American philosophical tradition, namely, the problem of personal identity through time. Although we generally believe that we remain the same persons throughout our lives, the answers to questions concerning just what it is that remains the same about us prove to be elusive. Contemporary debate on the subject has its roots in the challenges posed by Locke and Hume to theories which (...) assert that persisting and substantial selves, or souls, constitute the ground for personal identity, and their efforts to suggest alternative theories based on such concepts as memory and causality. It is remarkable that a similar debate, aroused by the "non-self" doctrine of the Buddha, occupied a central position in Indian philosophical discourse during the last centuries B.C.E. and the first millennium C.E. While much historical and philological research has been devoted to Buddhist approaches to this problem, the task of interpreting these materials in the light of recent refinements of philosophical method has not yet been undertaken. It is this task to which the present thesis is devoted, drawing on the works of such Buddhist philosophers as Vasubandhu and Santaraksita , and their Brahmanical opponents such as Uddyotakara , as well as recent contributions to the debate on personal identity by Chisholm, Parfit and others. The dissertation is divided into three main sections: Part One, in six chapters, traces out the history of the problem of personal identity in Indian philosophy, and is especially concerned with the role played by refinements of Indian philosophical method in the developments discussed; Part Two presents a selection of the most important Buddhist and Brahmanical contributions to the problem, newly translated from the Sanskrit for the present dissertation; and Part Three includes three supplementary essays on personal identity in the work of Derek Parfit and Steven Colline, Buddhist idealism, and Buddhist hermeneutics. (shrink)
This compelling study of the Ri-me movement and of the major Buddhist lineages of Tibet is comprehensive and accessible. It includes an introduction to the history and philosophy of the Ri-me movement; a biography of the movement's leader, the meditation master and philosopher known as Jamgon Kongtrul the Great; helpful summaries of the eight lineages' practice-and-study systems, which point out the different emphases of the schools; an explanation of the most hotly disputed concepts; and an overview of the old and (...) new tantras. Jamgon Kongtrul the Great (1813-1899) is a giant in Tibetan history, renowned for his scholarly and meditative achievements, but also for his energetic yet evenhanded work to unify and strengthen the different lineages of Buddhism. The Ri-me movement, led by Kongtrul and several other leading scholars of the time, was a unifying effort to cut through interscholastic divisions and disputes that were occurring between the different lineages. These leaders sought appreciation of the differences and acknowledgment of the importance of variety in benefiting practitioners with different needs. The Ri-me teachers also took great care that the teachings and practices of the different schools and lineages, and their unique styles, did not become confused with one another. This lucid survey of the Ri-me movement will be of interest to serious scholars and practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. (shrink)
The modern hospice movement is generally understood to have begun with the founding in 1967 by Cicely Saunders of the St. Christopher's Hospice in the United Kingdom. As the movement has grown, it has inspired Buddhists in Asia to rediscover and revive their own traditions around death and caring for the terminally ill and the bereaved that date back to the time of the Buddha. In Asia and the West as well, we are witnessing the work of several groups (...) attempting to apply Buddhist teachings and practices in modern medical settings or develop new institutions for holistic care based in Buddhist values. This paper draws on research conducted by the Ojo and Death Project established in 2006 by the Jodo Shu Research Institute (JSRI) in Tokyo, that is to be published in a volume by Wisdom Publications under the title, Buddhist Care for the Dying and Bereaved: Global Perspectives edited by Watts and Tomatsu (2012).1 It shows some of the innovative work that Buddhists in Asia and the West are doing in the area of caring for the terminally ill and, also, the bereaved, explores issues that can be seen especially well in the Japanese context, and reviews shared fundamental issues that emerged across the whole range of organizations studied over the first five years of this research programme. (shrink)
Early Buddhism was not interested in questions about existence and the nature of God, considering these unimportant in relation to the question of the release from earthly suffering which is at the heart of Buddhist soteriology. Later Buddhist thought considered theism incompatible with Buddhist doctrine, but at the same timeBuddhism developed a dimension of devotion that resembled theistic faith. Conscious of their different religious heritage, Buddhist thinkers in more recent times have nevertheless embraced dialogue with monotheistic (...) religions, emphasizing their common ethical preoccupations, while retaining the non-theistic viewpoint of traditional Buddhism. (shrink)
Both Buddhism and Marxism have strengths and weaknesses in helping us to understand human experiences and social problems. Rather than trying to create a synthesis of the two perspectives, I attempt to discern the elements in each which can help us experience better lives and be more effective political activists. Buddhism identifies those understandings and practices which lead to greater happiness and less suffering in response to existential challenges that we all must face as mortal human beings, irrespective (...) of the particular family, society, or historical era that we live in. But while Buddhism captures certain basic aspects of universal human experience, it does not take account of the interaction or dialectic between humans qua social beings and the relatively permanent social structures that humans both reinforce and challenge in the course of history. The latter is the province of a radical social theory, such as Marxism. At the same time, however, Marxism does not address the ways in which, at an experiential level, life causes suffering and anguish irrespective of the social context. (shrink)
In Thai Buddhism, a high number of examples show that during the last 20 years or so the triangular interrelationship between hermeneutics, canonical authenticity and authority has been?more or less consciously?the subject of numerous, often very fervent debates. This has made clear the importance of the P?li canon as a centre of reference for normative and formative authority in Thai society. Also, during these debates the conservatism of Thai Therav?da, and thereby its identity, has been challenged in various ways, (...) e.g. by Western influenced text-critical or intertextual approaches, by reference to superior religious insight and by requests for feminist interpretations of the P?li canon. At the same time, however, and in response to these challenges, the rationale for Thai Therav?da's conservatism and identity have become very clearly articulated, to an extent that has arguably never happened before in Thai history. By looking at some of the debates in which the foremost Thai Buddhist thinker and scholar monk P. A. Payutto (1939? ) has been involved, I seek to gain a deeper understanding of what these debates can teach us about the specific context and state of Thai Buddhist studies. (shrink)
A contribution to the sixth installment of the Common Knowledge symposium “Apology for Quietism,” this article addresses a) the extent to which the familiar term “Buddhist quietism” is legitimate, b) the use of the term by Jesuit missionaries in Asia at the time that Catholic quietism was briefly flourishing in Europe, and c) the use of the term in the European philosophical controversy over Spinozism. Faure argues that, in most cases, the European critique of Buddhism was aimed at (...) European enemies. Chan Buddhism in China and Zen in Japan came to be associated with nihilism as well as quietism, and the association proved resilient down into the twentieth century, but the Jesuit critique has a peculiar provenance. The Jesuits in China borrowed arguments against Buddhism from neo-Confucianist allies, yet the Confucian critique of Buddhism was itself indebted to arguments that had been directed by Buddhist schools against one another. Certain Chan schools had accused other Chan schools of quietism and nihilism, and Western scholars even in the later twentieth century have taken sides in these disputes as well. However, Faure argues, the “no-thought” of Chan is not the “blank slate” of Christian quietism, on which God engraves his will and blessings. Nor does Buddhist quietism lead to the extasis of mystical union. Moreover, Buddhism was perceived by East Asian rulers mainly as an ideological weapon and only secondarily as a soteriological doctrine. Indeed “warrior monks” in Japan formed bands that attacked all who threatened their interests, and the country could not be unified under Tokugawa rule until this activist Buddhism was quelled. The article concludes with an expression of admiration for quietism and a wish that there might be more of it in Buddhism now. (shrink)
This highly original work explores the concept of self-awareness or self-consciousness in Buddhist thought. Its central thesis is that the Buddhist theory of self-cognition originated in a soteriological discussion of omniscience among the Mahasamghikas, and then evolved into a topic of epistemological inquiry among the Yogacarins. To illustrate this central theme, this book explores a large body of primary sources in Chinese, Pali, Sanskrit and Tibetan, most of which are presented to an English readership for the first time. It (...) makes available important resources for the study of the Buddhist philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Comparisons, and by that I mean the hunt for essential similarities or at least serious family resemblances, between the ethical views of Western and non-Western thinkers have been a staple of comparative philosophy for quite some time now. Some of these comparisons, such as between the views of Aristotle and Confucius, seem especially apt and revealing. However, I’ve often wondered whether Western “ethical theory”—virtue ethics, deontology, or consequentialism—is always the best lens through which to approach non-Western ethical thought. Particularly (...) when the discussion has turned to Buddhism and Buddhist ethics, theories of this sort at best seem to have an uncertain application. This is not to say that .. (shrink)
Why would a country strongly influenced by Buddhism's reverence for life allow legalized, widely used abortion? Equally puzzling to many Westerners is the Japanese practice of mizuko rites, in which the parents of aborted fetuses pray for the well-being of these rejected "lives." In this provocative investigation, William LaFleur examines abortion as a window on the culture and ethics of Japan. At the same time he contributes to the Western debate on abortion, exploring how the Japanese resolve their (...) conflicting emotions privately and avoid the pro-life/pro-choice politics that sharply divide Americans on the issue. (shrink)
This essay will not attempt to provide an analysis or a study of the entire history of Indian Buddhism's introduction into China. Instead, we will simply explore the relationship that existed between Buddhism after it was introduced into China in the Wei-Jin-Northern and Southern dynasties period and the intellectual or ideological culture that already existed in China at the time, and from this demonstrate the significance of studying comparative philosophy and comparative religions.
Certain philosophers and scientists have noticed that there are data that do not seem to fit with the traditional view known as the Mind/Brain Identity theory. This has inspired a new theory about the mind known as the Hypothesis of Extended Cognition. Now there is a growing controversy over whether these data actually require extending the mind out beyond the brain. Such arguments, despite their empirical diversity, have an underlying form. They all are disputes over where to draw the line (...) between intrinsic and relational causal powers. The second-century Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna deals with similar issues when he argues for a middle way between the two positions that were known in his time by the terms eternalism and nihilism. Eternalism, like MBI, asserts that the mind is a permanent enduring substance. Nihilism argued that the mind had no intrinsic existence, and today some argue that HEC could lead us to a similar conclusion. Nagarjuna's argument for a middle way between these two extremes is similar to an argument that can be made for HEC. We can accept that neither the brain nor any other single physical item is identical to the mind without falling down the slippery slope that leads to "The mind does not really exist, and therefore we are one with everything." Nagarjuna was correct to say that the mind has conventional reality—that the mind exists even though there is no sharp border between the mind and the world. (shrink)