Premodern Buddhists are sometimes characterized as veritable Òmind scientistsÓ whose insights anticipate modern research on the brain and mind. Aiming to complicate this story, Dan Arnold confronts a significant obstacle to popular attempts at harmonizing classical Buddhist and modern scientific thought: since most Indian Buddhists held that the mental continuum is uninterrupted by death (its continuity is what Buddhists mean by ÒrebirthÓ), they would have no truck with the idea that everything about the mental can be explained in terms of brain events. Nevertheless, a predominant stream of Indian Buddhist thought, associated with the seventh-century thinker Dharmakirti, turns out to be vulnerable to arguments modern philosophers have leveled against physicalism. By characterizing the philosophical problems commonly faced by Dharmakirti and contemporary philosophers such as Jerry Fodor and Daniel Dennett, Arnold seeks to advance an understanding of both first-millennium Indian arguments and contemporary debates on the philosophy of mind. The issues center on what modern philosophers have called intentionalityÑthe fact that the mind can be about (or represent or mean) other things. Tracing an account of intentionality through Kant, Wilfrid Sellars, and John McDowell, Arnold argues that intentionality cannot, in principle, be explained in causal terms. Elaborating some of DharmakirtiÕs central commitments (chiefly his apoha theory of meaning and his account of self-awareness), Arnold shows that despite his concern to refute physicalism, DharmakirtiÕs causal explanations of the mental mean that modern arguments from intentionality cut as much against his project as they do against physicalist philosophies of mind. This is evident in the arguments of some of DharmakirtiÕs contemporaneous Indian critics (proponents of the orthodox Brahmanical Mimasa school as well as fellow Buddhists from the Madhyamaka school of thought), whose critiques exemplify the same logic as modern arguments from intentionality. Elaborating these various strands of thought, Arnold shows that seemingly arcane arguments among first-millennium Indian thinkers can illuminate matters still very much at the heart of contemporary philosophy.
The Indian Buddhist philosopher Vasubandhu (fourth–fifth century C.E.) is known for his critical contribution to Buddhist Abhidharma thought, his turn to the Mahayana tradition, and his concise, influential Yogacara–Vijñanavada texts. Paving the Great Way reveals another dimension of his legacy: his integration of several seemingly incompatible intellectual and scriptural traditions, with far-ranging consequences for the development of Buddhist epistemology and the theorization of tantra. Most scholars read Vasubandhu's texts in isolation and separate his intellectual development into distinct phases. Featuring close studies of Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakosabhasya, Vyakhyayukti, Vimsatika, and Trisvabhavanirdesa, among other works, this book identifies recurrent treatments of causality and scriptural interpretation that unify distinct strands of thought under a single, coherent Buddhist philosophy. In Vasubandhu's hands, the Buddha's rejection of the self as a false construction provides a framework through which to clarify problematic philosophical issues, such as the nature of moral agency and subjectivity under a broadly causal worldview. Recognizing this continuity of purpose across Vasubandhu's diverse corpus recasts the interests of the philosopher and his truly innovative vision, which influenced Buddhist thought for a millennium and continues to resonate with today's philosophical issues. An appendix includes extensive English-language translations of the major texts discussed.
Applied philosophy has been a growing area of research for the last 40 years. Until now, however, almost all of this research has been centered around the field of ethics. A Companion to Applied Philosophy breaks new ground, demonstrating that all areasof philosophy, including epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of science, and philosophy of mind, can be applied, and are relevant to questions of everyday life. This perennial topic in philosophy provides an overview of these various applied philosophy developments, highlighting similarities and differences between various areas of applied philosophy, and examining the very nature of this topic. It is an area to which many of the towering figures in the history of philosophy have contributed, and this timely Companion demonstrates how various historical contributions are actually contributions within applied philosophy, even if they are not traditionally seen as such. The Companion contains 42 essays covering major areas of philosophy; the articles themselves are all original contributions to the literature and represent the state of the art on this topic, as well as offering a map to the current debates.
The celebrated career of a venerated scholar inspires incisive new contributions to the field of Indian and Tibetan Buddhism. Particularly known for his groundbreaking and influential work in Tibetan studies, Matthew Kapstein is a true polymath in Buddhist and Asian studies more generally; possessing unsurpassed knowledge of Tibetan culture and civilization, he is also deeply grounded in Sanskrit and Indology, and his highly accomplished work in these cultural and civilizational areas has exemplified a whole range of disciplinary perspectives. Reflecting something of the astonishing range of Matthew Kapstein’s work and interests, this collection of essays pays tribute to a luminary in the field by exemplifying some of the diverse work in Buddhist and Asian studies that has been impacted by his scholarship and teaching. Engaging matters as diverse as the legal foundations of Tibetan religious thought, the teaching careers of modern Chinese Buddhists, the history of Bhutan, and the hermeneutical insights of Vasubandhu, these essays by students and colleagues of Matthew Kapstein are offered as testament to a singular scholar and teacher whose wide-ranging work is unified by a rare intellectual selflessness.
The Buddha said that "everything we need to know about life can be found inside this fathom-long body." Then why is most people's spirituality--whether Buddhist, Christian, or Jewish--completely cut off from their body? In this provocative and groundbreaking book, you'll discover that enlightenment comes not from "out there," but from a deep understanding of our own personal biology. Using the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, a traditional Buddhist meditation, Nisker shows how cutting-edge science is proving the tenets first offered by the Buddha. And he provides a practical program, complete with meditations and exercises, that enables readers to become mindful of the origins of emotions, desires, and thoughts. One of the great synthesizers of East and West, Nisker shows how to incorporate the traditional understanding of the Buddha with the latest scientific discoveries while on our spiritual journey. He shows that we are not separate from nature and the evolving universe. The way to enlightenment lies within our very biology. Most important, Nisker offers a practical program--complete with meditations and exercises--so readers can take their own evolutionary journey into their bodies to find the origins of emotions, desires, and thoughts. Nisker provides a liberating way for each of us to incorporate into our lives the understanding, proven by the latest scientific evidence and foretold in the great traditional teachings of the Buddha, that we are not separate from nature and the evolving universe. Our biology is not our destiny, but our way to enlightenment.
Whether you are an atheist or a fundamentalist Christian, this book offers an entirely novel approach to the science-versus-religion divide. At times provocative but understanding, with seriousness interwoven with touches of humour, the author shows how opinions and inflexible presuppositions can develop into becoming absolute 'truths'. Not only of sober relevance for the teaching of comparative religion, there is food for thought at a time when the positive contribution of religious belief to individuals and society is being undermined.
I hypothesize that the brain has purposely given us reigns to make "us" aware only about the functionality of this "limited sector" of the thinking process. Because of this unreasonable victimization of "us", by our own brains, I believe we can't perceive what else is happening in the brain when a thinking process is happening.My take on this hypothesis expressed in another way is, that "you" are the ego process in the brain. But without your ego process's awareness, your main brain knows everything what you are thinking of. In computer terms you are just a sub-program (ego) of a big comprehensive master program (brain). You have been programmed to assume you are the master program (hidden system + ego program). But you are not the master program. You don't have any control over the master program or even have the slightest awareness of its existence. You are limited to the boundaries of the ego based sub program. You assume and feel that you run the master program. But you don't.
The Buddha clearly stated, to subject his teaching to observation and analysis before accepting and living up to it. This is an astonishing invitation in his teachings that is not found in any other religions. Religions provide answers to the questions of mystic nature. How the mystic ideas came into the minds of primitive man and how the religions evolved into present forms, is briefly elaborated in this book. Almost all people stick to the belief systems induced by the parents. Irrespective of ones religion, this is a strange phenomenon of our psyche, which we do not perceive. Some people can be driven to commit suicide in the name of their belief system. This explains how external ideas implanted in us after birth, play a dominant role in our life journey. As to how our brain cells are programmed to accommodate this unique feature of I ness in us is the mystery of all mysteries. The core Buddha teachings address the I ness in a comprehensive manner. The Buddha is reputed as a supreme person of enormous knowledge, specifically in the thinking about thinking. This book explores the core elements of Buddha teachings in a broader manner with a different dimension of logical insight, analysis and rationale. The status of mindfulness, the logic of ending unhappiness, the purpose of meditation, etc., have been extensively exposed from conventional Buddhist realms by correlating these to mind programs. The author has explained, why he postulates self as a mere sub-program in an innate brain program. In his words We have been programmed to presume as we are the program but we are not; the main brain program runs us . This book will be interested to readers, to explore the common Buddhist concepts expressed in a different manner, correlating them to facts of nature, brain functions and common sense. Read this book for details!
This wide-ranging and powerful book argues that Theravāda Buddhism provides ways of thinking about the self that can reinvigorate the humanities and offer broader insights into how to learn and how to act. Steven Collins argues that Buddhist philosophy should be approached in the spirit of its historical teachers and visionaries, who saw themselves not as preservers of an archaic body of rules but as part of a timeless effort to understand what it means to lead a worthy life. He contends that Buddhism should be studied philosophically, literarily, and ethically using its own vocabulary and rhetorical tools. Approached in this manner, Buddhist notions of the self help us rethink contemporary ideas of self-care and the promotion of human flourishing. Collins details the insights of Buddhist texts and practices that promote the ideal of active and engaged learning, offering an expansive and lyrical reflection on Theravāda approaches to meditation, asceticism, and physical training. He explores views of monastic life and contemplative practices as complementing and reinforcing textual learning, and argues that the Buddhist tenet that the study of philosophy and ethics involves both rigorous reading and an ascetic lifestyle has striking resonance with modern and postmodern ideas. A bold reappraisal of the history of Buddhist literature and practice, Wisdom as a Way of Life offers students and scholars across the disciplines a nuanced understanding of the significance of Buddhist ways of knowing for the world today.
Draws parallels between different religious faiths by presenting side-by-side comparisons of four leaders' teachings on topics such as knowledge, suffering, death, and liberation, along with commentaries for each topic.
Can there be a Buddhism without karma, nirvana, and reincarnation that is compatible with the rest of knowledge? If we are material beings living in a material world—and all the scientific evidence suggests that we are—then we must find existential meaning, if there is such a thing, in this physical world. We must cast our lot with the natural rather than the supernatural. Many Westerners with spiritual (but not religious) inclinations are attracted to Buddhism—almost as a kind of moral-mental hygiene. But, as Owen Flanagan points out in The Bodhisattva's Brain, Buddhism is hardly naturalistic. In The Bodhisattva's Brain, Flanagan argues that it is possible to discover in Buddhism a rich, empirically responsible philosophy that could point us to one path of human flourishing. Some claim that neuroscience is in the process of validating Buddhism empirically, but Flanagan's naturalized Buddhism does not reduce itself to a brain scan showing happiness patterns. "Buddhism naturalized," as Flanagan constructs it, offers instead a fully naturalistic and comprehensive philosophy, compatible with the rest of knowledge—a way of conceiving of the human predicament, of thinking about meaning for finite material beings living in a material world.
This is the extended and annotated edition including * an extensive annotation of more than 10.000 words about the history and basics of Buddhism, written by Thomas William Rhys Davids Gleanings in Buddha-Fields is the third book of Hearn's Japanese period, and was written at Kobe. In this volume of essays, intermingled with sketches in lighter vein, Hearn continues his philosophical studies. There are the unmistakable signs that even this ardor is losing zest. The charm of Japan is going fast; and after this volume, until his final interpretation, which is a summary of all that has gone before, is reached, we find him seeking material in fairy-tales, legends, and even returning to old thoughts about the West Indian life.
The critical narrative of this interdisciplinary book offers a first-time look at the interrelationship between biology, mythology and philosophy in human development. Its daring premise follows the trajectory of human thought, starting with the biological roots of fear and the original need for religion, truth-seeking, and myth-making. The narrative then innovatively links a number of maverick philosophical teachings over the centuries, from pre-Buddhist times to the Buddha, from Epicurus and Pyrrho to Lucretius, and eventually to the seminal poetry of Omar Khayyam. These emergent philosophies exemplified liberation from the grasp of mythical and religious thinking and instead espoused an empirical and joyful mind. The narrative concludes with a look at the emancipating philosophical movement that resulted in the European Enlightenment, and it suggests that the philosophical teachings explored in the book may offer the potential for a second, broader Enlightenment.
An invaluable guide and companion for anyone seeking greater meaning and purpose in life. A nominee for the Books for a Better Life award! As a pioneer in the field of life coaching, Laura Berman Fortgang has spent decades helping people figure out what they want to do with their lives. And so it was a bit of a surprise when a theme she heard repeatedly from clients emerged in her own thinking and would not be dismissed: work didn't feel as "meaningful" to her as it once had. It was one of those big realizations one has from time to time. The funny thing was that it turned out the "solution(s)" to her problem were quite small... In The Little Book on Meaning Laura Berman Fortgang reveals that while our hunger for a meaningful life can be enormous, our desire for meaning is usually satiated by small, bite-size morsels of meaning-the small, almost incidental events or "achievements" that comprise the fabric of our lives. According to Fortgang, meaning is where you look for it, and through tenderly drawn stories from her own life and the lives of those around her, she shows readers how they too can peek around corners to discover the small elements of their lives that truly matter.
Millions of people meditate daily but can meditative practices really make us ‘better’ people? In The Buddha Pill, pioneering psychologists Dr Miguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm put meditation and mindfulness under the microscope. Separating fact from fiction, they reveal what scientific research – including their groundbreaking study on yoga and meditation with prisoners – tells us about the benefits and limitations of these techniques for improving our lives. As well as illuminating the potential, the authors argue that these practices may have unexpected consequences, and that peace and happiness may not always be the end result. Offering a compelling examination of research on transcendental meditation to recent brain-imaging studies on the effects of mindfulness and yoga, and with fascinating contributions from spiritual teachers and therapists, Farias and Wikholm weave together a unique story about the science and the delusions of personal change.
Dr. Mori explores Buddhism through his perspective as a robot engineer. He even postulates that robots have the buddha-nature. He confronts Buddhist themes such as the notion of ego as if they were engineering problems and comes to surprisingly clear resolutions. Along the way, he poses many interesting questions that perhaps only a robot engineer would think of. Why do we have two nostrils -- not just one? Why don't we have "earlids" similar to eyelids? His inquiries are highly engaging.
An engaging, clear-sighted book that covers all aspects of this rich, peaceful, and insightful tradition. • A brief survey of the impact of Buddhism around the world today • Numerous stories and examples illuminate Buddhism's history and practice • A glossary • A bibliography for those interested in learning more
Why do religious people believe what they shouldn't -- not what others think they shouldn't believe, but things that don't accord with their own avowed religious beliefs? D. Jason Slone terms this phenomenon "theological incorrectness." He argues that it exists because the mind is built in such a way that it's natural for us to think divergent thoughts simultaneously. Human minds are great at coming up with innovative ideas that help them make sense of the world, he says, but those ideas do not always jibe with official religious beliefs. From this fact we derive the important lesson that what we learn from our environment -- religious ideas, for example -- does not necessarily cause us to behave in ways consistent with that knowledge. Slone presents the latest discoveries from the cognitive science of religion and shows how they help us to understand exactly why it is that religious people do and think things that they shouldn't.