Monthly Archives: March 2015

Yogacara & the eight consciousnesses

In Mahayana Buddhism, the Mind-only school states that consciousness alone exists and that everything you see or feel is just an illusion of the mind. Therefore, everything’s true nature is emptiness, except the mind. However, if the appearance of our … Continue reading

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Where Does Independence/Inception Fit In? Questions on Nagarjuna’s Teachings

The chapters in both of Garfield’s books prompt me to think more about our class’ discussion on what constitutes a religion versus what constitutes a philosophy. The class came up with several characteristics that comprise a religion, one of them … Continue reading

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Can Uniqueness and Essencelessness Coexist?

For the past two weeks in class, we have read about and analyzed two of the Three Turnings of the Wheel of the Dharma: emptiness and consciousness (or mind-only). As we have discussed, followers of Mahayana Buddhism believe that the … Continue reading

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Conflict between the Yogacara and Madhyamaka

A key characteristic within buddhism is conflict. There are different opinions and beliefs that lead to disagreements. This is in part because the buddha did not write down his words. As a result within the Mahayana school of thought, his … Continue reading

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Getting Saved, Riding Bikes: Sort of the Same Thing

Embarrassingly enough for a religion major who studied ancient Greek once upon a time and who should perhaps have known or been able to parse it already, I have learned a new word in the course of our readings: soteriological, … Continue reading

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Theory about Mind-only Explanation for Dreams

Vasubandhu’s mind-only school explains that what one perceives to be true is only a projection of one’s mind.  Hence, external objects do not exist independent of the mind, which is what I believe Vasubandhu means by nonduality. If the mind … Continue reading

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The Truth, Mind (Brain), and Emptiness

In Garfield’s reading, Nagarjuna describes the Buddhist teaching of emptiness as everything being empty—“to exist is to be empty” and even emptiness is essenceless. Not too long ago, I had been dwelling on my confusion of this concept. My initial … Continue reading

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provisional and definitive meaning, objective form and consciousness, conventional and ultimate truth

I believe the actuality of provisional and definitive meaning is brilliant. Provisional meaning can be used by a master as an aid, helping to teach a student about the truth. An example of a provisional teaching given by the Buddha … Continue reading

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Need for Suffering

With each new reading, I find that I come up with a long list of questions that far exceeds the list of answers I discover. All I could think of while reading chapter 27 of Buddhist Philosophy, in which C.W. … Continue reading

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Wrestling with Understanding Essencelessness and Existence

“That which is dependent origination Is explained to be emptiness. . . …There does not exist anything That is not dependently arisen. Therefore there does not exist anything That is not empty.” (31) In his chapter, “Nagarjuna’s Mulamadhyamakakarika,” Jay Garfield … Continue reading

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