Reality in Buddhism

Reality in Buddhism is called dharma (Sanskrit) or dhamma (Pali). This word, which is foundational to the conceptual frameworks of the Indian religions, refers in Buddhism to the system of natural laws which constitute the natural order of things. Dharma is therefore reality as-it-is (yatha-bhuta). The teaching of Gautama Buddha constituting as it does a method by which people can come out of their condition of suffering (dukkha) involves developing an awareness of reality (see mindfulness). Buddhism thus seeks to address any disparity between a person's view of reality and the actual state of things. This is called developing Right or Correct View (Pali: samma ditthi). Seeing reality as-it-is is thus an essential prerequisite to mental health and well-being according to Buddha's teaching.

Buddhism addresses deeply philosophical questions regarding the nature of reality. One of the fundamental teachings is that all the constituent forms (sankharas) that make up the universe are transient (Pali: anicca), arising and passing away, and therefore without concrete identity or ownership (atta). This lack of enduring ownership or identity (anatta) of phenomena has important consequences for the possibility of liberation from the conditions which give rise to suffering. This is explained in the doctrine of interdependent origination.

One of the most discussed themes in Buddhism is that of the emptiness (sunyata) of form (Pali: rūpa), an important corollary of the transient and conditioned nature of phenomena. Reality is seen, ultimately, in Buddhism as a form of 'projection', resulting from the fruition (vipaka) of karmic seeds (sankharas). The precise nature of this 'illusion' that is the phenomenal universe is debated among different schools. For example;

  • Some consider that the concept of the unreality of "reality" is confusing. They posit that, in Buddhism, the perceived reality is considered illusory not in the sense that reality is a fantasy or unreal, but that our perceptions and preconditions mislead us to believe that we are separate from the elements that we are made of. Reality, in Buddhist thought, would be described as the manifestation of karma.
  • Other schools of thought in Buddhism (e.g., Dzogchen), consider perceived reality literally unreal. As a prominent contemporary teacher puts it: "In a real sense, all the visions that we see in our lifetime are like a big dream [...]".[1] In this context, the term 'visions' denotes not only visual perceptions, but appearances perceived through all senses, including sounds, smells, tastes and tactile sensations, and operations on received mental objects.

Reality in Buddhist sutras

Buddhist sutras devote considerable space to the concept of reality, with each of two major doctrines—the Doctrine of Dependent Origination (pratitya-samutpada) and the Doctrine of Cause and Effect (karma and vipaka)—attempting to incorporate both the natural and the spiritual into its overall world view. Buddhist teachings continue to explore the nature of the world and our place in it.

The Buddha promoted experience over theorizing. According to Karel Werner,

Experience is ... the path most elaborated in early Buddhism. The doctrine on the other hand was kept low. The Buddha avoided doctrinal formulations concerning the final reality as much as possible in order to prevent his followers from resting content with minor achievements on the path in which the absence of the final experience could be substituted by conceptual understanding of the doctrine or by religious faith, a situation which sometimes occurs, in both varieties, in the context of Hindu systems of doctrine.[2]

The Mahayana developed those statements he did make into an extensive, diverse set of sometimes contrasting descriptions of reality "as it really is."[3] For example, in Tibetan Buddhism the Gelugpa draw a distinction between Svatantrika-Prasaṅgika in Madhyamika philosophy.[4] This distinction was most prominently promulgated by Je Tsongkhapa (1357–1419 CE), when he argued that this distinction can be found explicitly and implicitly within in the works of Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti, and Buddhapalita.[5]

The Theravada school teaches that there is no universal personal god. The world as we know it does not have its origin in a primordial being such as Brahman or the Abrahamic God. What we see is only a product of transitory factors of existence, which depend functionally upon each other. The Buddha is said to have said: "The world exists because of causal actions, all things are produced by causal actions and all beings are governed and bound by causal actions. They are fixed like the rolling wheel of a cart, fixed by the pin of its axle shaft." (Sutta-Nipata 654)[6]

The word 'illusion' is frequently associated with Buddhism and the nature of reality. Some interpretations of Buddhism teach that reality is a coin with two sides: the not-permanent characteristic or anicca and the "not-self characteristic" or anatta, referred to as "emptiness" in some Mahayana schools. Dzogchen, as the non-dual culmination of the Ancient School (a school with a few million followers out of a few hundred million Buddhists) of Mantrayana, resolves atman and anatman into the Mindstream Doctrine of Tapihritsa. The Buddha Shakyamuni is said to have taught the variously understood and interpreted concept of "not-self" in the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta. In this sutta, he lists the characteristics that we often associate with who we are, and found that these characteristics, ultimately, are not who we are because they are subject to change without control. He further illustrates the changing nature of our feelings, perceptions, and consciousness.

We can look at the concepts of not-permanent and not-self in objective terms, for example by deconstructing the concept of an aggregated object such as a lotus and seeing that the flower is made up entirely of non-flower elements like soil, nutrients, photosynthetic energy, rain water and the effort of the entities that nourished and grew the flower. All of these factors, according to the Diamond Sutra, co-exist with each other to manifest what we call a 'flower'. In other words, there is no essence arisen from nothingness that is unique and personal to any being. In particular, there is neither a human soul that lives on beyond the death of the physical body nor one that is extinguished at death since, strictly speaking, there is nothing to extinguish. The relative reality (i.e., the illusory perceived reality) comes from our belief that we are separate from the rest of the things in the universe and, at times, at odds with the processes of nature and other beings. The ultimate or absolute reality, in some schools of Buddhist thought, shows that we are inter-connected with all things. The concept of non-discrimination expands on this by saying that, while a chair is different from a flower, they 'inter-are' because they are each made of non-flower and non-chair elements. Ultimately those elements are the same, so the distinction between chair and flower is one of quantity not of quality.

The Diamond Sutra, a Mahayana scripture, has many passages that use the formula: A is not A, therefore A is called A.

Reality and dreams in Dzogchen

In Dzogchen, perceived reality is considered to be relatively unreal.

The real sky is (knowing) that samsara and nirvana are merely an illusory display.[7]

— Mipham Rinpoche, Quintessential Instructions of Mind, p. 117

According to contemporary teacher Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, all appearances perceived during the whole life of an individual, through all senses, including sounds, smells, tastes and tactile sensations in their totality, are like a big dream. It is claimed that, on careful examination, the dream of life and regular nightly dreams are not very different, and that in their essential nature there is no difference between them.

The non-essential difference between the dreaming state and ordinary waking experience is that the latter is more concrete and linked to attachment; the dreaming experience while sleeping is slightly detached.

Also according to this teaching, there is a correspondence between the states of sleep and dream and our experiences when we die. After experiencing the intermediate state of bardo, an individual comes out of it, a new karmic illusion is created and another existence begins. This is how transmigration happens.

According to Dzogchen teachings, the energy of an individual is essentially without form and free from duality. However, karmic traces contained in the individual's mindstream give rise to two kinds of forms:

  • forms that the individual experiences as his or her body, voice and mind
  • forms that the individual experiences as an external environment.

What appears as a world of permanent external phenomena, is the energy of the individual him or herself. There is nothing completely external or separate from the individual. Everything that manifests in the individual's field of experience is a continuum. This is the 'Great Perfection' that is discovered in Dzogchen practice.[8]

It is possible to do yogic practice such as Dream Yoga and Yoga Nidra whilst dreaming, sleeping and in other bardo states of trance. In this way the yogi can have a very strong experience and with this comes understanding of the dream-like nature of daily life. This is also very relevant to diminishing attachments, because they are based on strong beliefs that life's perceptions such as objects are real and as a consequence: important. If one really understands what Buddha Shakyamuni meant when he said that everything is (relatively) unreal, then one can diminish attachments and tensions.

The teacher advises that the realization that life is only a big dream can help us finally liberate ourselves from the chains of various emotions, different kinds of attachment and the chains of ego. Then we have the possibility of ultimately becoming enlightened.[1]

Different schools and traditions in Tibetan Buddhism give different explanations of what is called "reality".[9][10]

Reality in the Tathagatagarbha Sutras

Prior to the period of the Tathagatagarbha Sutras, Mahayana metaphysics had been dominated by teachings on emptiness in the form of Madhyamaka philosophy. The language used by this approach is primarily negative, and the Tathagatagarbha genre of sutras can be seen as an attempt to state orthodox Buddhist teachings of dependent origination using positive language instead, to prevent people from being turned away from Buddhism by a false impression of nihilism. In these sutras the perfection of the wisdom of not-self is stated to be the true self; the ultimate goal of the path is then characterized using a range of positive language that had been used in Indian philosophy previously by essentialist philosophers, but which was now transmuted into a new Buddhist vocabulary to describe a being who has successfully completed the Buddhist path.[11]

Contrasting with some forms of Buddhism, the Buddha's teaching on 'reality' in the Tathagatagarbha Mahayana scriptures - which the Buddha states constitute the ultimate manifestation of the Mahayana Dharma (other Mahayana sutras make similar claims about their own teachings) - insists that there truly is a sphere or realm of ultimate truth - not just a repetitious cycle of interconnected elements, each dependent on the others. That suffering-filled cycle of x-generating-y-and-y-generating-z-and-z-generating-a, etc., is Samsara, the prison-house of the reincarnating non-self; whereas liberation from dependency, enforced rebirth and bondage is nirvana or reality / spiritual essence (tattva / dharmata). This sphere also bears the name Tathagatagarbha (Buddha matrix). It is the deathless realm where dependent origination holds no sway, where non-self is supplanted by the everlasting, sovereign (aishvarya) self (atman) (as a trans-historical, unconditioned, ultimate, liberating, supra-worldly yet boundless and immanent awakened mind). Of this real truth, called nirvana - which, while salvationally infused into samsara, is not bound or imprisoned in it - the Buddha states in the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra:[12]

"What is the Real (tattva)? Knowledge of the true attributes of Nirvana; the Tathagata, the Dharma, the Sangha, and the attributes of space ... is the Real. What is knowledge of the attributes of Nirvana? The attributes of Nirvana are eightfold. What are these eight? Cessation [of ignorance and suffering]; loveliness/ wholesomeness; Truth; Reality; Eternity, Bliss, the Self [atman], and complete Purity: that is Nirvana."

He further comments: " ... that which is endowed with the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and Purity is stated to be the meaning of 'Real Truth' ... Moreover, the Real is the Tathagata [i.e., the Buddha]; the Tathagata is the Real ... The Tathagata is not conditioned and not tainted, but utterly blissful: this is the Real ...".

Thus, in such doctrines, a very positive goal is envisioned, which is said to lie beyond the grasp of the five senses and the ordinary, restless mind, and only attainable through direct meditative perception and when all inner pollutants (twisted modes of view, and all moral contaminants) are purged, and the inherently deathless, spotless, radiantly shining mind of Buddha stands revealed. This is the realm of the Buddha-dhatu (popularly known as buddha nature) - inconceivable, beginning-less, endless, omniscient truth, the Dharmakaya (quintessential body-and-mind) of the Buddha. This reality is empty of all falsehood, impermanence, ignorance, afflictions, and pain, but filled with enduring happiness, purity, knowingness (jnana), and omni-radiant loving-kindness (maitri).

Vipassana

Vipassanā (Pāli) or vipaśyanā (Sanskrit: विपश्यन) in the Buddhist tradition means insight into the true nature of reality. It is a practice of realizing our reality in order to see life as it is, in turn liberating ourselves like Buddha.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Sarvabuddhavishayavatarajñanalokalamkarasutra as cited by Elías Capriles: Clear Discrimination of Views Pointing at the Definitive Meaning. The Four Philosophical Schools of the Sutrayana Traditionally Taught in Tibet with Reference to the Dzogchen Teachings. Published on the Web.

References

  1. ^ a b Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Dream Yoga And The Practice Of Natural Light Edited and introduced by Michael Katz, Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca, NY, ISBN 1-55939-007-7, pp. 42, 46, 48, 96, 105.
  2. ^ Karel Werner, Mysticism and Indian Spirituality. In Karel Werner, ed., The Yogi and the Mystic. Curzon Press, 1989, page 27.
  3. ^ See Henshall, Ron (2007), The Unborn and Emancipation from the Born[1], a master's thesis by a student of Peter Harvey.
  4. ^ Lama Tsongkhapa, Lamrim Chenmo V3 Pp 224-267
  5. ^ Lama Tsongkhapa, Lamrim Chenmo V3 Pp 224-267
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ In: Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light. Edited and introduced by Michael Katz, Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca, NY, ISBN 1-55939-007-7, pp. 117.
  8. ^ The Crystal and The Way of Light. Sutra, Tantra and Dzogchen by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. Compiled and Edited by John Shane, Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca, NY, USA, 2000, ISBN 1-55939-135-9, pp. 99, 101.
  9. ^ Dr. A. Berzin. Alaya and Impure Appearance-Making
  10. ^ Elías Capriles. the Doctrine of the Buddha and the Supreme Vehicle of Tibetan Buddhism. Part - Buddhism: a Dzogchen Outlook. Published on the Web.
  11. ^ Sallie B. King (1997),The Doctrine of Buddha Nature is Impeccably Buddhist. In: Jamie Hubbard (ed.), Pruning the Bodhi Tree: The Storm Over Critical Buddhism, Univ of Hawaii Press 1997, pp. 174-192. ISBN 0824819497
  12. ^ Yamamoto, Kosho (tr.), Page, Tony (ed.) (1999–2000).The Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra in 12 volumes. London: Nirvana Publications
Absolute (philosophy)

In idealist philosophy, the Absolute is "the sum of all being, actual and potential". In monistic idealism, it serves as a concept for the "unconditioned reality which is either the spiritual ground of all being or the whole of things considered as a spiritual unity.

Bardo Thodol

The Bardo Thodol (Tibetan: བར་དོ་ཐོས་གྲོལ, Wylie: bar do thos grol, "Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State") is a text from a larger corpus of teachings, the Profound Dharma of Self-Liberation through the Intention of the Peaceful and Wrathful Ones, revealed by Karma Lingpa (1326–1386). It is the best-known work of Nyingma literature, and is known in the West as the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

The Tibetan text describes, and is intended to guide one through, the experiences that the consciousness has after death, in the bardo, the interval between death and the next rebirth. The text also includes chapters on the signs of death and rituals to undertake when death is closing in or has taken place.

Buddhist philosophy

Buddhist philosophy refers to the philosophical investigations and systems of inquiry that developed among various Buddhist schools in India following the parinirvana (i.e. death) of the Buddha and later spread throughout Asia. The Buddhist path combines both philosophical reasoning and meditation. The Buddhist traditions present a multitude of Buddhist paths to liberation, and Buddhist thinkers in India and subsequently in East Asia have covered topics as varied as phenomenology, ethics, ontology, epistemology, logic and philosophy of time in their analysis of these paths.

Early Buddhism was based on empirical evidence gained by the sense organs (ayatana) and the Buddha seems to have retained a skeptical distance from certain metaphysical questions, refusing to answer them because they were not conducive to liberation but led instead to further speculation. A recurrent theme in Buddhist philosophy has been the reification of concepts, and the subsequent return to the Buddhist Middle Way.Particular points of Buddhist philosophy have often been the subject of disputes between different schools of Buddhism. These elaborations and disputes gave rise to various schools in early Buddhism of Abhidharma, and to the Mahayana traditions such as Prajñāpāramitā, Madhyamaka, Buddha-nature and Yogācāra.

Cataphatic theology

Cataphatic theology or kataphatic theology is theology that uses "positive" terminology to describe or refer to the divine – specifically, God – i.e. terminology that describes or refers to what the divine is believed to be, in contrast to the "negative" terminology used in apophatic theology to indicate what it is believed the divine is not.

Dream argument

The dream argument is the postulation that the act of dreaming provides preliminary evidence that the senses we trust to distinguish reality from illusion should not be fully trusted, and therefore, any state that is dependent on our senses should at the very least be carefully examined and rigorously tested to determine whether it is in fact reality.

Dream yoga

Dream Yoga or Milam (Standard Tibetan: rmi-lam or nyilam; Sanskrit: स्वप्नदर्शन, svapnadarśana)—the Yoga of the Dream State—is a suite of advanced tantric sadhana of the entwined Mantrayana lineages of Dzogchen (Nyingmapa, Ngagpa, Mahasiddha, Kagyu and Bönpo). Dream Yoga are tantric processes and techniques within the trance Bardos of Dream and Sleep (Standard Tibetan: mi-lam bardo) Six Yogas of Naropa.

In the tradition of the tantra, Dream Yoga method is usually passed on by a qualified teacher to his/her students after necessary initiation. Various Tibetan lamas are unanimous that it is more of a passing of an enlightened experience rather than any textual information.In a footnote on 'Zhitro' (Tibetan: zhi khro) Namdak & Dixey, et al. (2002: p. 124) identify that the 'dream body' and the 'bardo body' is the 'vision body' (Tibetan: yid lus):

In the bardo one has...the yilu (yid lus), the vision body (yid, consciousness; lus, body). It is the same as the body of dreams, the mind body."

Faith in Buddhism

In Buddhism, faith (Pali: saddhā, Sanskrit: śraddhā) refers to a serene commitment to the practice of the Buddha's teaching and trust in enlightened or highly developed beings, such as Buddhas or bodhisattvas (those aiming to become a Buddha). Buddhists usually recognize multiple objects of faith, but many are especially devoted to one in particular, such as one particular Buddha. Faith may not only be devotion to a person, but exists in relation to Buddhist concepts like the efficacy of karma and the possibility of enlightenment.

Faith in early Buddhism focused on the Triple Gem, that is, the Buddha; his teaching (the dharma); and finally, the community of spiritually developed followers or the monastic community seeking enlightenment (the saṅgha). A faithful devotee was called an upāsaka or upāsika, a status for which no formal initiation was required. Early Buddhism valued personal verification of spiritual truth highest in attaining such truth, and considered sacred scriptures, reason or faith in a teacher less valuable sources of authority. As important as faith was, it was merely a first step on the path to wisdom and enlightenment, and was made obsolete or redefined at the final stage of that path. Early Buddhism did not morally condemn peaceful offerings to deities. Throughout the history of Buddhism, the worship of deities, often from pre-Buddhist and animist origins, was appropriated or transformed into Buddhist practices and beliefs. As part of this process, such deities were explained as subordinate to the Triple Gem, which still kept a central role.

In the later stratum of Buddhist history, especially in Mahāyāna Buddhism, faith was given a much more important role. Mahāyāna introduced devotion to Buddhas and bodhisattvas residing in Pure Lands and with the rise of devotion to the Amithaba Buddha in Pure Land Buddhism faith gained a central role in Buddhist practice. The Japanese form of Pure Land Buddhism, under the teachers Hōnen and Shinran, believed that only entrusting faith toward the Amitābha Buddha was a fruitful form of practice, as it dismissed celibacy, meditation and other Buddhist practices as no longer effective, or as contradicting the virtue of faith. Pure Land Buddhists defined faith as a state similar to enlightenment, with a sense of self-negation and humility. Mahayana sutras, such as the Lotus Sutra, became objects of worship, and the recitation and copying of these sutras were believed to create great merit. The impact of faith in Buddhist religiosity became pivotal in millenarian movements in several Buddhist countries, which sometimes resulted in the destruction of royal dynasties and other important political changes.

Thus, the role of faith increased throughout Buddhist history. However, from the nineteenth century onward, in countries like Sri Lanka and Japan, and also in the West, Buddhist modernism has downplayed and criticized the role of faith in Buddhism. Faith in Buddhism still has a role in modern Asia and the West, but is understood and defined differently from traditional interpretations, with modern values and eclecticism becoming more important. The Dalit Buddhist community, specifically the Navayāna movement, has interpreted Buddhist concepts in the light of the political situation of the Dalits, in which there is tension between modernist rationalism and local devotion.

Impermanence

Impermanence, also known as the philosophical problem of change, is a philosophical concept that is addressed in a variety of religions and philosophies.

Index of Eastern philosophy articles

This is a list of articles in Eastern philosophy.

Index of philosophy of religion articles

This is a list of articles in philosophy of religion.

A Grief Observed

A History of God

A Letter Concerning Toleration

A New Model of the Universe

A Secular Humanist Declaration

A. H. Almaas

Abandonment (existentialism)

Abd al-Karīm ibn Hawāzin al-Qushayri

Abhidharma

Abraham Joshua Heschel

Absolute (philosophy)

Absolute atheism

Absolute Infinite

Abstinence

Abu'l Hasan Muhammad Ibn Yusuf al-'Amiri

Abu Sulayman al-Sijistani

Accidentalism

Acosmism

Actus purus

Adevism

Adi Shankara

Adriaan Koerbagh

Afshin Ellian

Afterlife

Age of Enlightenment

Agnostic atheism

Agnostic theism

Agnosticism

Ahimsa

Ahmad Sirhindi

Al-Farabi

Al-Ghazali

Al-Kindi

Al-Shahrastani

Al-Tabarani

Al-Zamakhshari

Albrecht Ritschl

Alice von Hildebrand

All Truth Is God's Truth

Aloysius Martinich

Alvin Plantinga

Alvin Plantinga's free-will defense

American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Amsterdam Declaration

An Intelligent Person's Guide to Atheism

Anāgāmi

Analects

Analytical Thomism

Ananda Coomaraswamy

Anantarika-karma

Anarchism and Islam

Anatta

Anava

Anders Nygren

Anekantavada

Animals in Buddhism

Anselm of Canterbury

Answer to Job

Anthony Kenny

Anthony Thiselton

Anthropopath

Anti-clericalism

Anti-communism

Anti-Supernaturalism

Antihumanism

Antireligion

Antitheism

Anton Kržan

Anton LaVey

Apatheism

Apocalypticism

Apologetics

Argument from a proper basis

Argument from beauty

Argument from consciousness

Argument from degree

Argument from desire

Argument from free will

Argument from inconsistent revelations

Argument from love

Argument from miracles

Argument from morality

Argument from nonbelief

Argument from poor design

Argument from religious experience

Arhat

Aristotelian view of a god

Arya

Ashtamangala

Atheism

Atheist's Wager

Atheist existentialism

Ātman (Buddhism)

Augustine of Hippo

Avadhuta Gita

Averroes

Avidyā (Buddhism)

Avraham son of Rambam

Ayatana

Ayyavazhi phenomenology

Baptists in the history of separation of church and state

Bardo

Basic Points Unifying the Theravāda and the Mahāyāna

Beatific vision

Best of all possible worlds

Beyond Belief: Science, Religion, Reason and Survival

Bhagavad Gita

Bhava

Bhumi (Buddhism)

Biblical literalism

Bilocation

Biosophy

Bodhi

Bodhimandala

Bodhisattva Precepts

Brahmacharya

Brahman

Brahmavihara

Brian Davies (philosopher)

Brights movement

British Humanist Association

Bruno Bauer

Buddha-nature

Buddhism and evolution

Buddhist philosophy

C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis bibliography

C. Stephen Evans

Cappadocian Fathers

Catholic guilt

Celsus

Charles Blount (deist)

Chöd

Chovot ha-Levavot

Christian de Quincey

Christian existentialism

Christian humanism

Christian materialism

Christian philosophy

Christian Realism

Christianity and environmentalism

Christological argument

City of God (book)

Classical theism

Clemens Timpler

Clement of Alexandria

Clerical philosophers

Clericalism

Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion

Confucius

Consciousness-only

Contemporary Islamic philosophy

Continuum of Humanist Education

Contra Celsum

Cosmological argument

Cosmology (metaphysics)

Counter-Enlightenment

Creationism

Credo ut intelligam

Criticism of Christianity

Criticism of Hinduism

Criticism of Islam

Criticism of Jesus

Criticism of Judaism

Criticism of monotheism

Criticism of religion

Criticism of the Bible

Criticism of the Catholic Church

Criticism of the Latter Day Saint movement

Criticism of the Qur'an

Cultural materialism (anthropology)

Cultural materialism (cultural studies)

Curt John Ducasse

Daniel Rynhold

Dariush Shayegan

Darwiniana

David ben Merwan al-Mukkamas

David Braine (philosopher)

David Ray Griffin

David Strauss

De Coelesti Hierarchia

De divisione naturae

De Mysteriis Aegyptiorum

Dean Zimmerman

Death

Decline of Greco-Roman polytheism

Deism

Demiurge

Derech Hashem

Desire realm

Deus

Dharani

Dharma

Dharma transmission

Dharmakāya

Dharmarāja Adhvarin

Diamond Realm

Dietrich von Hildebrand

Dimitrije Mitrinović

Dipolar theism

Direct revelation

Distributism

Divine apathy

Divine command theory

Divine simplicity

Divinity

Dōgen

Dogma

Doomsday argument

Doomsday cult

Doomsday event

Double-mindedness

Dukkha

Dwight H. Terry Lectureship

Dzogchen

E. David Cook

Early Islamic philosophy

Eliminative materialism

Elizabeth Burns

Emergent materialism

Epistemic theory of miracles

Epistle to Yemen

Eranos

Ernesto Buonaiuti

Ernst Ehrlich

Ernst Troeltsch

Eschatology

Essentially contested concept

Eternal Buddha

Eternal return

Eternal return (Eliade)

Ethica thomistica

Ethical will

Ethics in religion

Étienne Tempier

Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy

Euthyphro dilemma

Evolutionary argument against naturalism

Evolutionary Humanism

Exegesis

Existence of God

Extrinsic finality

Faith

Faith and rationality

Faith, Science and Understanding

Faraday Institute for Science and Religion

Fate of the unlearned

Fazang

Fazlur Rahman Malik

Ferdinand Ebner

Fetter (Buddhism)

Fi Zilal al-Qur'an

Fideism

Fiqh

Five hindrances

Four stages of enlightenment

Fourteen unanswerable questions

Francis Schaeffer

Franciszek Krupiński

Françoise Meltzer

Franz Rosenzweig

Frederick Ferré

Freethought

French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools

Friedrich Nietzsche and free will

Friedrich von Hügel

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling

Fujiwara Seika

Fundamentalism

Gary Habermas

Gaudapada

George H. Smith

Gifford Lectures

Giles Fraser

God

God-Building

God in Buddhism

God Is Not Great

God of the gaps

God, A Guide for the Perplexed

Gödel's ontological proof

Good and necessary consequence

Graham Oppy

Great chain of being

Greek hero cult

Gregory of Nyssa

Guru Nanak Dev

Gustav Glogau

Hajime Tanabe

Han Yong-un

Hans Rookmaaker

Haribhadra

Hasidic philosophy

Hayashi Razan

Hayom Yom

Henosis

Henry Corbin

Herbert McCabe

Hermetica

Hermeticism

Hierophany

Hinayana

Hirata Atsutane

Hisbah

Historical materialism

Holy History of Mankind

Homoiousian

Homoousian

Hōnen

Hossein Nasr

Hossein Ziai

Huayan school

Huineng

Human beings in Buddhism

Human extinction

Humanism

Humanism and Its Aspirations

Humanism in France

Humanism in Germany

Humanist Manifesto

Humanist Manifesto I

Humanist Manifesto II

Humanist Movement

Humanist Society Scotland

Humanistic naturalism

Huston Smith

Ian Ramsey

Ibn al-Nafis

Ibn Arabi

Ietsism

Ignosticism

Illtyd Trethowan

Illuminationism

Illuminationist philosophy

Immanence

Immortality

Impermanence

Incarnational humanism

Incompatible-properties argument

Indefinite monism

Indriya

Ineffability

Infinite qualitative distinction

Inka

Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society

Integral humanism (India)

Intellectualism

International League of Humanists

Intrinsic finality

Intuition (knowledge)

Invincible error

Invincible ignorance fallacy

Inviolability

Invisible Pink Unicorn

Ippen

Irenaean theodicy

Irreligion

Is God Dead?

Islam and democracy

Islamic fundamentalism in Iran

Islamic philosophy

Ivan Aguéli

Ivan Vyshenskyi

J. J. C. Smart

J. P. Moreland

Jainism

Jakob Guttmann (rabbi)

Jakub of Gostynin

James Gustafson

Jay Newman

Jayarāśi Bhaṭṭa

Jayatirtha

Jean Meslier

Jewish ethics

Jinul

Jiva Goswami

Jizang

Johann Friedrich Flatt

Johann Joachim Lange

Johann Nepomuk Oischinger

Johannes Scotus Eriugena

John Calvin

John E. Hare

John Hick

John of Głogów

Joseph de Torre

Joseph Priestley and Dissent

Joseph Runzo

Kalam cosmological argument

Kalpa (aeon)

Kammaṭṭhāna

Kancha Ilaiah

Kang Youwei

Karl Heinrich Heydenreich

Karl Jaspers

Karma

Karma in Buddhism

Karuṇā

Keith Ward

Kensho

Kersey Graves

Kitaro Nishida

Klaus Klostermaier

Knight of faith

Kol HaTor

Kūkai

Kumārila Bhaṭṭa

Kurt Almqvist

Kuzari

Lazarus Geiger

Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion

Letter to a Christian Nation

Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever

Lewis's trilemma

Life of Jesus (Hegel)

Likkutei Sichos

Lineage (Buddhism)

Linji school

List of female mystics

List of new religious movements

Logic in Islamic philosophy

Lutheran scholasticism

Macrocosm and microcosm

Madhusūdana Sarasvatī

Madhvacharya

Mahābhūta

Mahamudra

Mahavira

Mahayana

Manas-vijnana

Mandala

Mappō

Martin Luther

Materialism

Maximus the Confessor

Maya (illusion)

Meera Nanda

Meister Eckhart

Melville Y. Stewart

Merit (Buddhism)

Mesillat Yesharim

Metaphysical naturalism

Metempsychosis

Methodios Anthrakites

Michael Gottlieb Birckner

Michael Martin (philosopher)

Michael Oakeshott

Michael Ruse

Middle way

Mind's eye

Mindstream

Miracle of the roses

Mircea Eliade

Mircea Eliade bibliography

Misotheism

Monad (Greek philosophy)

Monism

Monistic idealism

Morality without religion

Muhammad Husayn Tabatabaei

Muhammad ibn Muhammad Tabrizi

Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi

Muhammad Iqbal

Mulla Sadra

Mumbo Jumbo (phrase)

Mystical philosophy of antiquity

Mystical realism

Mystical theology

Mysticism

Myth of Er

Nagarjuna

Namarupa

National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies

National Secular Society

Natural theology

Naturalism (philosophy)

Naturalistic pantheism

Nemesius

Neo-Scholasticism

Neo-theocracy

Neoplatonism and Christianity

Neutral monism

New Age

New religious movement

New Thought

Nichiren

Nicholas of Kues

Nick Trakakis

Nikolai Lossky

Nimbarka

Nirvana

Noble Eightfold Path

Nondualism

Nontheism

Nontheist Friend

Norman Geisler

Numenius of Apamea

Nyaya

Obscurantism

Occasion of sin

Occasionalism

Odium theologicum

Of Miracles

Olavo de Carvalho

Omega Point

Omnibenevolence

Omnipotence

Omnipotence paradox

Omnipresence

Omniscience

Omphalos hypothesis

Ontological argument

Ontotheology

Opium of the people

Or Adonai

Orchot Tzaddikim

Orlando J. Smith

Osvaldo Lira

Outline of humanism

Outline of theology

Over-soul

Pandeism

Pantheism

Pantheism controversy

Parallelism (philosophy)

Paramartha

Pāramitā

Pascal's Wager

Patañjali

Paul Draper (philosopher)

Paul Häberlin

Paul J. Griffiths

Perennial philosophy

Personalism

Peter Abelard

Peter Geach

Peter Kreeft

Peter Millican

Peter van Inwagen

Phenomenological definition of God

Phenomenology of religion

Phillip H. Wiebe

Philo's view of God

Philodemus

Philosophical Foundations of Marxist-Leninist Atheism

Philosophical theism

Philosophical theology

Philosophy of religion

Philotheus Boehner

Pierre Cally

Political theology

Politics Drawn from the Very Words of Holy Scripture

Postmodern Christianity

Praepositinus

Pragmatism

Pratītyasamutpāda

Pratyekabuddha

Precept

Preformation theory

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Primum movens

Prince Shōtoku

Problem of evil

Problem of evil in Hinduism

Problem of Hell

Problem of why there is anything at all

Process theology

Proof of the Truthful

Proslogion

Protestant work ethic

Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite

Pseudo-secularism

Pseudo atheism

Pseudoreligion

Psychoanalysis and Religion

Quantum mysticism

Quietism (Christian philosophy)

Quinque viae

R. De Staningtona

Rabia al-Adawiyya

Rabindranath Tagore

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Ramanuja

Rational fideism

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Religion

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Rule of Three (Wiccan)

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Womb Realm

Wonhyo

Works by Thomas Aquinas

Works of Madhvacharya

Yamazaki Ansai

Yi Hwang

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Zhentong

Zhu Xi

Zofia Zdybicka

Materialism

Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all things, including mental states and consciousness, are results of material interactions. According to philosophical materialism, mind and consciousness are by-products or epiphenomena of material processes (e.g. the biochemistry of the human brain and nervous system) without which they cannot exist. This concept directly contrasts with idealism, where mind and consciousness are first-order realities to which matter is subject and material interactions are secondary.

Materialist theories are mainly divided into three groups. Naive materialism identifies the material world with specific elements (e.g. the scheme of the four elements—fire, air, water and earth—devised by the pre-Socratic philosopher Empedocles). Metaphysical materialism examines separated parts of the world in a static, isolated environment. Dialectical materialism adapts the Hegelian dialectic for materialism, examining parts of the world in relation to each other within a dynamic environment.

Materialism is closely related to physicalism—the view that all that exists is ultimately physical. Philosophical physicalism has evolved from materialism with the theories of the physical sciences to incorporate more sophisticated notions of physicality than mere ordinary matter (e.g. spacetime, physical energies and forces, and dark matter). Thus the term physicalism is preferred over materialism by some, while others use the terms as if they are synonymous.

Philosophies contradictory to materialism or physicalism include idealism, pluralism, dualism, and other forms of monism.

Maya (religion)

Maya (; Devanagari: माया, IAST: māyā), literally "illusion" or "magic", has multiple meanings in Indian philosophies depending on the context. In ancient Vedic literature, Māyā literally implies extraordinary power and wisdom. In later Vedic texts and modern literature dedicated to Indian traditions, Māyā connotes a "magic show, an illusion where things appear to be present but are not what they seem". Māyā is also a spiritual concept connoting "that which exists, but is constantly changing and thus is spiritually unreal", and the "power or the principle that conceals the true character of spiritual reality".In Buddhism, Maya is the name of Gautama Buddha's mother. In Hinduism, Maya is also an epithet for goddess, and the name of a manifestation of Lakshmi, the goddess of "wealth, prosperity and love". Maya is also a name for girls.

Outline of Buddhism

Buddhism (Pali/Sanskrit: बौद्ध धर्म Buddha Dharma) is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha, "the awakened one".

The following outline is provided as an overview of, and topical guide to, Buddhism.

Pratītyasamutpāda

Pratītyasamutpāda (Sanskrit: प्रतीत्यसमुत्पाद pratītyasamutpāda; Pali: पटिच्चसमुप्पाद paṭiccasamuppāda), commonly translated as dependent origination, or dependent arising, is a key principle in Buddhist teachings, which states that all dharmas ("phenomena") arise in dependence upon other dharmas: "if this exists, that exists; if this ceases to exist, that also ceases to exist".

The principle is expressed in the links of dependent origination (Pali: dvādasanidānāni, Sanskrit: dvādaśanidānāni) in Buddhism, a linear list of twelve elements from the Buddhist teachings which arise depending on the preceding link. Traditionally the list is interpreted as describing the conditional arising of rebirth in saṃsāra, and the resultant duḥkha (suffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness). An alternate Theravada interpretation regards the list as describing the arising of mental formations and the resultant notion of "I" and "mine," which are the source of suffering. Traditionally, the reversal of the causal chain is explained as leading to the annihilation of mental formations and rebirth.Scholars have noted inconsistencies in the list, and regard it to be a later synthesis of several older lists. The first four links may be a mockery of the Vedic-Brahmanic cosmogony, as described in the Hymn of Creation of Veda X, 129 and the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. These were integrated with a branched list which describe the conditioning of mental processes, akin to the five skandhas. Eventually, this branched list developed into the standard twelvefold chain as a linear list. While this list may be interpreted as describing the processes which give rise to rebirth, in essence it describes the arising of dukkha as a psychological process, without the involvement of an atman.

Saṃsāra (Buddhism)

Saṃsāra (Sanskrit, Pali; also samsara) in Buddhism is the beginningless cycle of repeated birth, mundane existence and dying again. Samsara is considered to be dukkha, unsatisfactory and painful, perpetuated by desire and avidya (ignorance), and the resulting karma.Rebirths occur in six realms of existence, namely three good realms (heavenly, demi-god, human) and three evil realms (animal, ghosts, hellish). Samsara ends if a person attains nirvana, the "blowing out" of the desires and the gaining of true insight into impermanence and non-self reality.

Seven Factors of Awakening

In Buddhism, the Seven Factors of Awakening (Pali: satta bojjhaṅgā or satta sambojjhaṅgā; Skt.: sapta bodhyanga) are:

Mindfulness (sati). To maintain awareness of reality (dharma).

Investigation of the nature of reality (dhamma vicaya).

Energy (viriya) also determination, effort

Joy or rapture (pīti)

Relaxation or tranquility (passaddhi) of both body and mind

Concentration, (samādhi) a calm, one-pointed state of mind, or clear awareness

Equanimity (upekkha). To accept reality as-it-is (yatha-bhuta) without craving or aversion.This evaluation of seven awakening factors is one of the "Seven Sets" of "Awakening-related states" (bodhipakkhiyadhamma).

The Pali word bojjhanga is a compound of bodhi ("awakening," "enlightenment") and anga ("factor").

Steven Tainer

Steven A. Tainer (born July 26, 1947) is a respected scholar and instructor of contemplative traditions. He is a logician, philosopher, teacher and writer with an extensive background in philosophy of science, mathematical logic and Asian contemplative traditions. One of the central themes of his work involves how different ways of knowing can be compared, contrasted, and/or integrated.

Ten suchnesses

The Ten suchnesses (Chinese: 十如是 shí rúshì; Japanese: 十如是 jū nyoze) are a Mahayana doctrine which is important, as well as unique, to that of the Tiantai (Tendai) and Nichiren Buddhist schools of thought. The doctrine is derived from a passage found within the second chapter of Kumarajiva's Chinese translation of the Lotus Sutra, that "characterizes the ultimate reality (literally, “real mark”) of all dharmas in terms of ten suchnesses." This concept is also known as the ten reality aspects, ten factors of life, or the Reality of all Existence.

Topics in Buddhism
Foundations
The Buddha
Bodhisattvas
Disciples
Key concepts
Cosmology
Branches
Practices
Nirvana
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