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Buddhist Philosophy of Consciousness brings Buddhist voices to the study of consciousness. This book explores a variety of different Buddhist approaches to consciousness that developed out of the Buddhist theory of non-self. Topics taken up in these investigations include: how we are able to cognize our own cognitions; whether all conscious states involve conceptualization; whether distinct forms of cognition can operate simultaneously in a single mental stream; whether non-existent entities can serve as intentional objects; and does consciousness have an intrinsic nature, or can it only be characterized functionally? These questions have all featured in recent debates in consciousness studies. The answers that Buddhist philosophers developed to such questions are worth examining just because they may represent novel approaches to questions about consciousness.
Author: Eyal Aviv
In Differentiating the Pearl from the Fish-Eye, Eyal Aviv offers an account of Ouyang Jingwu (1871-1943), a leading intellectual who revived the Buddhist scholastic movement during the early Republican period in China.

Ouyang believed that authentic Indian Buddhism was an alternative to the prevalent Chinese Buddhist doctrines of his time. Aviv shows how Ouyang’s rhetoric of authenticity won the movement well-known admirers but also influential critics. This debate shaped modern intellectual history in China and has lost none of its relevancy today.
Essays in Honour of Alexis G.J.S. Sanderson
Academic study of the tantric traditions has blossomed in recent decades, in no small measure thanks to the magisterial contributions of Alexis G. J. S. Sanderson, until 2015 Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at Oxford University. This collection of essays honours him and touches several fields of Indology that he has helped to shape (or, in the case of the Śaiva religions, revolutionised): the history, ritual, and philosophies of tantric Buddhism, Śaivism and Vaiṣṇavism; religious art and architecture; and Sanskrit belles lettres. Grateful former students, joined by other experts influenced by his scholarship, here offer papers that make significant contributions to our understanding of the cultural, religious, political, and intellectual histories of premodern South and Southeast Asia.

Contributors are: Peter Bisschop, Judit Törzsök, Alex Watson, Isabelle Ratié, Christopher Wallis, Péter-Dániel Szántó, Srilata Raman, Csaba Dezső, Gergely Hidas, Nina Mirnig, John Nemec, Bihani Sarkar, Jürgen Hanneder, Diwakar Acharya, James Mallinson, Csaba Kiss, Jason Birch, Elizabeth Mills, Ryugen Tanemura, Anthony Tribe, and Parul Dave-Mukherji.
Author: Jane Mikkelson

Abstract

The phoenix (ʿanqā) appears in the philosophy of Avicenna (d.1037) as his example of a “vain intelligible,” a fictional being that exists in the soul, but not in the world. This remarkable bird is notable (along with the Earth, the moon, the sun, and God) for being a species of one. In this essay, I read the poetry Bedil of Delhi (d.1720) in conversation with the philosophical system of Avicenna, arguing that the phoenix in Bedil’s own philosophical system functions as a key figuration that allows him simultaneously to articulate rigorous impersonal systematic ideas and to document his individual first-personal experiences of those ideas. The phoenix also plays a metaliterary role, allowing Bedil to reflect on this way of doing philosophy in the first person—a method founded on the lyric enrichment of Avicennan rationalism. Paying attention to the adjacencies between poetry and philosophy in Bedil, this essay traces the phoenix’s transformations from a famous philosophical example into one of Bedil’s most striking figurations in his arguments about imagination, mind, and self.

In: Journal of South Asian Intellectual History
In: Journal of South Asian Intellectual History

Abstract

Can we read ʿAbd al-Qādir Bedil’s (1644–1720) oeuvre in ways that socialize it against his own pervasive Sufi posture of ascetic distance from everyday social exchanges? What kind of selfhood comes into view if we do so? Of all the genres Bedil wrote in, his correspondence best allows us such a socialization. This essay explores Bedil’s epistolary voice in terms of a tension between the trans-mundane ghazal metaphors he uses in his letters and the mundane specificities of each epistolary situation. It puts this voice into relation with prior models of Persian epistolography (inshā), with Arabic-Persian literary theories of wonder in Bedil’s milieu and with models of Sufi wit, reflecting on what his appropriations of these genres allowed him in each case. It concludes by reflecting on how Bedil’s voice might be understood in the wider contexts of non-European practices of civility and the order of mimesis it assumes.

In: Journal of South Asian Intellectual History
Author: Hajnalka Kovacs

Abstract

In his sāqīnāmah, Muḥīṭ-i aʿẓam (“The Greatest Ocean”), Bedil describes the cosmogonic unfolding of the universe from the One as the gradual overflowing of wine, and the spiritual return of the soul as transcending the boundaries of the self in intoxication. This paper examines Bedil’s adaptation of the story of King Lavaṇa, a tale originally from the Yogavāsiṣṭha, showing that within the conceptual framework of the Muḥīṭ-i aʿẓam the story of King Lavaṇa serves to underscore the necessity of transforming the heart from its imagined separateness into a state of awareness of its essential unity with the one Reality.

In: Journal of South Asian Intellectual History
In: Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions
In: Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions