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Absorption: Human Nature and Buddhist Liberation by Johannes Bronkhorst

By Johannes Bronkhorst

This ebook argues for the principal function performed by means of absorption within the functioning of the human brain. the significance of absorption makes itself felt in several methods; the 2 stories mixed during this e-book pay attention to of them. the 1st examine, The Symbolic brain, argues that, mostly due to language acquisition, people have degrees of cognition, which in common conditions are concurrently lively. Absorption is a (or the) capacity to bypass a few, possibly all, of the institutions that represent this sort of degrees of cognition, leading to what's occasionally known as mystical adventure, yet which isn't limited to mysticism and performs a task in a number of "religious" phenomena, and in other places. within the moment examine, The Psychology of the Buddha, Prof. Bronkhorst offers a theoretical context for the remark that absorption is a resource of enjoyment, grapples with Freud, and illustrates his observations via translations of historic Buddhist texts from the Pali and Sanskrit languages together with his mental statement. Johannes Bronkhorst is emeritus professor of Sanskrit and Indian stories on the collage of Lausanne. He has released commonly within the heritage of Indian spiritual, philosophical and clinical concept, and in spiritual reviews commonly. between his fresh books: better Magadha (2007), Aux origines de los angeles philosophie indienne (2008), Buddhist instructing in India (2009), Buddhism within the Shadow of Brahmanism (2011), Karma (2011).

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Similarly: "The endless knot [was] interpreted [ ... ] as symbolizing Buddha's intestines (ch'ang) . [ ... ] [S]ince its name, chang, made a pun on the word for long, the whole figure [ ... ] symbolized [to the later Chinese] a long life [ ... ] :'67 etc. An example closer to our time is found in the weekly jour­ nal Newsweek oOuly 6, 1 9 87, p. 1 8 : "Hong Kong's new Brit­ ish governor, Sir David Wilson, bowed to local tradition by changing his Cantonese name, Ngai Tak-ngai, shordy before assuming office last ApriL Its characters were homophones for the phrase 'so hypocritical it's dangerous'; his new moni6 1 ) : "As a matter of fact, one or two natives [ .

Let us turn to ritual action. 39 Recall that ritual utterances are holistic, unlike most utterances used in ordinary language. What is more, normal linguistic utterances exem­ plify symbolic reference, whereas holistic utterances don't. Is it possible to say the same, or approximately the same, about ritual and ordinary activity? Is it true that ritual activity is ho­ listic in some sense whereas ordinary activity is guided by sym­ bolic representation ? I suggest that this last question can be answered with a dou­ ble yes.

Nevertheless, for the people themselves it constitutes part of the 'explanation' of a ritual symbol" (Turner, 1 969: 1 1 ) . 41 Staal, 1 990; Humphrey & Laidlaw, 1 994. 42 Boyer & Lienard, 2006: 3; similarly Pyysiainen, 200 1 : 89. 43 What about ordinary activity ? Must we accept that it is guided by symbolic representation ? Yes, and the distinction between two levels of cognition introduced above explains why. Our dominant level of cognition is the one determined by symbolic representation. 44 It is the level of cognition that allows us to plan our lives and carry out projects of some com­ plexity.

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