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Teaching BuddhismNew Insights on Understanding and Presenting the Traditions$
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Todd Lewis and Gary deAngelis

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199373093

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199373093.001.0001

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Teaching Yogācāra Buddhism Using Cognitive Science

Teaching Yogācāra Buddhism Using Cognitive Science

(p.52) 3 Teaching Yogācāra Buddhism Using Cognitive Science
Teaching Buddhism

William S. Waldron

Oxford University Press

William Waldron creatively conveys how recent ground-breaking studies in the cognitive sciences can be related to analyses in the Yogācāra (or Cittamatra) school of Mahāyāna philosophy. This new field in Western science provides ready entrée into the main ideas of the second major school of Indian Mahāyāna Buddhism, Yogācāra (“Practitioners of Yoga”). Yogācāra was classically formulated in third to fifth century C.E. India, but ultimately influenced all later schools of Mahāyāna Buddhism in India, Tibet, China, Korea, and Japan. Yogācāra’s comprehensive and complex sets of doctrines have until quite recently made it the most impenetrable and misunderstood of Indian Buddhist schools. But it is possible to use ideas from modern cognitive science to make Yogācāra more accessible and comprehensible. Yogācāra displays a level of conceptual sophistication regarding consciousness and a historically self-reflective awareness. Its method of analysis—searching for impersonal patterns of interaction—has parallels in the basic scientific concern with causality.

Keywords:   Yogācāra, consciousness, cognitive, Mahāyāna, Cittamatra, Buddhism, science

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