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Author: Ching Keng

Abstract

In his writing, Kuiji, (632–682), the foremost disciple of Xuanzang (602–664) interprets the notion of mental perception (mānasa-pratyakṣa) of Dignāga (ca. 480–540) as a function of the mental consciousness that arises simultaneously with a sensory consciousness. For this reason, it is named as “the mental consciousness arising simultaneously together with the five [sensory consciousnesses] (MSF).” To define this as a kind of perception would raise a few issues: Why do we need such a notion? Would it lead to the absurd consequence that even a person born blind can still see? If not, then what is the relation between such consciousness and a simultaneous sensory consciousness? If this qualifies as a kind of perception, then it must be without conceptualization. But what kind of role does it play in cognition as a non-conceptualizing mental perception? Why is it necessary? What is its conscious content? How does the content of a sensory consciousness get transmitted or shared with a MSF? And how do its conscious content and function differ from sensory consciousnesses on the one hand and from conceptualizing mental consciousness on the other? Does it function like a sensus communis so as to accommodate all kinds of sensory content such as visual, auditory and olfactory? This paper seeks to answer the above questions and depict a picture of such cognition based on the works of Kuiji. With this as a clue, we may have a better understanding of Dignāga’s notion of “mental perception.”

In: Buddhist Philosophy of Consciousness
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.
In: Buddhist Philosophy of Consciousness
In: Buddhist Philosophy of Consciousness
In: Buddhist Philosophy of Consciousness
In: Buddhist Philosophy of Consciousness