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Religions 2014, 5(2), 422-434; doi:10.3390/rel5020422
Buddhist Mind and Matter
Received: 3 March 2014; in revised form: 2 April 2014 / Accepted: 10 April 2014 / Published: 16 April 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Science and Religion: Buddhist and Hindu Perspectives)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Classic Buddhist thought understands the mind as arising in dependence on the body. This causal dependence may be fashioned as a kind of “Buddhist materialism”. However, this should not be confused with any variety of scientific materialism, in which ontological and/or causal reductions of mind to brain affirm matter as the fundamental entity or property. Buddhist materialism, in contrast, is a purely phenomenological description that rejects both “mind” and “matter” as entities possessing substance or essential natures. This view questions the presumption that matter is external, real, and scientifically accessible, whereas mind is internal, subjective, and harder to empirically observe. Instead, perceptions of mind and matter are understood to be different kinds of experiences of equal phenomenological reality.
Keywords: Buddhism; science; materialism; mind; body; phenomenology