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Meditation and Metaphysics: On Their Mutual Relationship in South Asian Buddhism

A Talk by Eli Franco, Univ. of Leipzig

Monday, April 09, 2007
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
243 Royce Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Eli Franco teaches in the Institute for Indology and Central Asian Studies at the University of Leipzig

It is well known that Buddhism developed a considerable number of original philosophical theories, such as the doctrine that there is no soul (anātmatā), that there is no substance, that all things are momentary (kṣaṇikatva), that all things are empty and unreal (śūnyatā), that nothing exists outside the mind (vij├▒aptimātratā), and so on. It is equally well known that Buddhism prescribes a large number of meditational practices, such as the dhyāna meditation, praj├▒āpāramitā meditation, and so on. It is less known, perhaps, that practically all metaphysical theories in Buddhism have corresponding meditational practices. Leading scholars such as Edward Conze and Lambert Schmithausen argued that all the important philosophical theories in Buddhism have arisen from reflection on meditational experience. In my talk I will examine this proposition and will argue that it is not tenable.


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