Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

The dilemma of mind in contemporary Buddhism : some British testimony

By Andrew William Kennedy


Progress in neuroscience over the last half-century casts doubt on the religious intuition that the mind is a non-material entity. Without some dialogue between religion and science in order to resolve differences of fact and value, the dilemma of the competing plausibility of scientific and religious mind-theories may diminish the social acceptance\ud of science and the social relevance of religion.\ud \ud In order to identify whether meaningful discussion about neuroscience is taking place in the 'convert' British Buddhist community, I conducted qualitative interviews\ud with ten people who have leadership responsibilities. Little formal discussion was reported within organisations, but there was some response to neuroscience at the\ud level of personal attitude. Briefly, that response is of resistance to the neuroscientific view, and a corresponding prioritisation of subjective experience, which is felt to be\ud more reliable than theoretical explanations that can only be believed, or findings that can only be empirically known. The existential certainty of experience is preferred to the uncertainty of explanation.\ud \ud Interpreting the interview findings, I argue that explanation forms an unavoidable part of experience, providing guidance from the past for the creation of\ud anticipated futures, but that incautious spatial modelling in linguistic explanation reinforces the notion an internal objective self by treating the mind as a containing entity. From the standpoint of the Buddhist attitude of 'right view', the scientific assertion of the materiality of mind is immaterial in two senses. Firstly, there can be no right motivation for schism over views as opposed to acts. Secondly, minds depend upon both physical and abstract property-relations across the brain-world barrier. The mind is constituted as a relationally holistic process, and is preoccupied by approximation to real and ideal homeostasis. Realisation of the relationally holistic origination of mind depends on the adoption of a meditative attitude of\ud attention to the world, and is likely to motivate a contemporary Buddhist attitude of social engagement with the world

Publisher: School of Theology & Religious Studies (Leeds)
Year: 2006
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1858). (1847), Novum Organum Renovatum: Being the Second Part of theb7ductive Sciences,
  2. (The Dalai Lama), 2003a, 'On the Luminosity of Being', doi
  3. (The Dalai Lama), 2003b, 'Understanding and Transforming the Mind', Buddhism and Science,
  4. 1, The New Buddhism: A Rough Guide to a Nell, Wal, o Life,
  5. (1994). 1), Introduction to Philosophical Hermeneutics, (trans. doi
  6. 1970b, Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and its Implications, doi
  7. 1998b, Know Your Mind: the Psychological Dimension ofEthics in Buddhism,
  8. (1948). 5), The Minor Anthologies of the Pdli Canon. Part 2, Udana: verses of uplift, and Ittivuttaka: as it was said,
  9. (1980). A Buddhist Dictionary,
  10. (1982). A Buddhist Doctrine ofExperience: A New Translation
  11. (1996). A Defense of Yogdcdra Buddhism', doi
  12. (1988). A Look at the Kdldma Sutta',
  13. (2003). A Model-Theoretic Account of Representation (Or, I Don't Know Much about Art ... but I Know It Involves Representation', doi
  14. (1969). A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary,
  15. (1977). A Room of One's Own, doi
  16. (2002). A Science of Consciousness: Buddhism (1), the Modem West (0),
  17. (1954). A Study ofHistory,
  18. (1972). A Theory of Objective Seýf-Awureness,
  19. (1988). A Theory ofDeterminism: The Mind, Neuroscience, and LifeHopes,
  20. (1982). Abhidhamma Papers,
  21. (1998). Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations ofHuman and Animal Emotions,
  22. (1999). Afterword: Buddhist Reflections', Consciousness at the Crossroads: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Brain Science
  23. (2006). American Buddhism on the rise', Christian Science Monitor,
  24. (2003). Appendix: A History of the Mind and Life Institute', Buddhism and Science
  25. (1997). Are Qualia Just Representations? A Critical Notice of Michael Tye's 'Ten Problems of Consciousness ", doi
  26. (2004). Are There Neural Correlates of Consciousness? ',
  27. (2001). Are we explaining consciousness yet? ', The Cognitive Neuroscience of Consciousness, doi
  28. (1979). Attitudes De Dicto and De Se', doi
  29. (2000). Augustine'S Invention of the Inner Seýf, doi
  30. (1995). Authority and Orality in the Mahdydna',
  31. (2000). Being Human: the Problem ofAgency, doi
  32. (2003). Being No One: The Seýf-Model Theory of Subjectivity,
  33. (1999). Brain and the Composition of Conscious Experience', doi
  34. (1996). British Buddhism in the New Age', doi
  35. (2006). British Buddhism: teachings, practice and development, doi
  36. (1989). Buddha-nature, Mind and the problem of Gradualism in a Comparative Perspective: on the transmission and reception ofBuddhism in India and Tibet, doi
  37. (2001). Buddhism and Brain Science',
  38. (2000). Buddhism and Ecology', Contemporary Buddhist Ethics, doi
  39. (1997). Buddhism and Ecology': a Zen Practitioner's Perspective', doi
  40. (2004). Buddhism and Ethnicity in Britain: the 2001 Census Data',
  41. (2004). Buddhism and Freedom of the Will: Pdli and Mdhdyanist Responses',
  42. (2001). Buddhism and Psychology: a perspective at the millennium',
  43. (2003). Buddhism and Science: On the Nature of Dialogue', Buddhism
  44. (1979). Buddhism in doi
  45. (1997). Buddhism in Bath: Adaptation and Authority,
  46. (1991). Buddhism in Britain: Development and Adaptation, doi
  47. (2002). Buddhism of Bdmiydn, Pacific World:
  48. (1988). Buddhism Transformed: Religious Change in Sri doi
  49. (1997). Buddhism Without Beliefs,
  50. (1998). Buddhism Without BeliefsT,
  51. (2004). Buddhism: a Science of the MindT,
  52. (1986). Buddhist attitudes to Hellenism: a review of the issue',
  53. (1985). Buddhist Belief 'In", doi
  54. (1990). Buddhist Ethics and the Problem of Ethnic Minorities',
  55. (1987). Buddhist Hermeneutics: a conference report', doi
  56. (1903). Buddhist India, (London, Fisher Unwin). doi
  57. (2002). Buddhist Phenomenology: A Philosophical Investigation of Yogdcdra Buddhism and the Ch'eng- Wei-shih lun, doi
  58. (2005). Bursting the Limits of Time: the Reconstruction of Geohistory in the Age ofRevolution (Chicago, doi
  59. (2005). Choosing Buddhism in Australia: towards a traditional style of reflexive spiritual engagement', doi
  60. (1996). Choosing Reality: A Buddhist View ofPhysics and the Brain
  61. (2002). Christians as Believers'
  62. (1980). Comparative Hermeneutics: A Brief Statement',
  63. (2004). Conscious experience, reduction and identity: many explanatory gaps, one solution', doi
  64. (2003). Consciousness and perceptual binding', The unity of consciousness: binding, integration and dissociation, doi
  65. (1987). Consciousness and the Computational Mind,
  66. (2003). Consciousness: A Guide to the Debates,
  67. (1965). Cortical activation in conscious and unconscious experience', doi
  68. (2003). Dappled Theories in a Uniform World', doi
  69. (1959). Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution (London, Chatto and Windus).
  70. (1980). Day of Shining Red: An essay in Understanding Ritual, doi
  71. (1994). DescartesError: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain, doi
  72. (1991). Desire, Death, and Goodness: The Conflict of Ultimate Values in Theravada Buddhism, doi
  73. (1997). Dialectic ofEnlightenment, (trans.
  74. (1999). Do We Have Free Will', doi
  75. (2000). Early Buddhism, a New Approach: the I of the Beholder, doi
  76. (2002). East-West Psychology: Towards a Meeting of Minds', Space in Mind: East- West Psychology and Contemporary Buddhism, doi
  77. (2005). Eating the heart of the Brahmin: representations of alterity and the formation of Tantric Buddhist discourse', doi
  78. (2001). Editor's Introduction', Between Ourselves: second-person issues in the study of consciousness,
  79. (1996). Elaborations ofEmptiness. - Uses of the Heart S17tra,
  80. (2002). Empty Words: Buddhist Philosophy and Cross-Cultural Interpretation, doi
  81. (1999). Ethical Know-How, doi
  82. (1976). Evaluating Micro-explanation',
  83. (1998). Experience', Critical Termsfor Religious Studies,
  84. (1976). Explanation, Conjunction, and Unification', doi
  85. (1987). Faith, devotion and Ritual', Pi7jd and the Tranýformation of the Heart,
  86. (1989). Forms ofDialogic Understanding,
  87. (2007). Forthcoming
  88. (1998). Fundamentals ofAnatomy and Physiology,
  89. (1996). heidegger's Hidden Sources: East Asian influences on his work, doi
  90. (1998). Heidegger'S Philosophy ofBeing: a Critical Interpretation, doi
  91. (1990). Heuristic Research: Design, Methodology and Applications, doi
  92. (1996). Higher Realities and the inner Self: One Quest? Transcendence and the significance of the Body in the New Age Circuit', doi
  93. (1993). How Free Are You? The Determinism Problem, doi
  94. (2002). How Molecules Matter to Mental Computation', doi
  95. (2001). How Religion Works: Towards a New Cognitive Science of Religion, doi
  96. (2002). How the Brain Creates the Mind', doi
  97. (1997). How to Avoid Speaking', The Postmodern God,
  98. (2004). How We Dapple the World', doi
  99. (2001). Hsin Hsin Ming: Verses on the Faith Mind,
  100. (2003). Hume's Argument for the Temporal Priority of Causes', doi
  101. (2003). In Defense of Some 'Cartesian' Assumptions Concerning the Brain and its Operation',
  102. (1979). Individualism and the Mental', doi
  103. (1993). Inductive Inference and Its Natural Ground, doi
  104. (1984). Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation, doi
  105. (1971). Intentional Systems', doi
  106. (1994). Interview with Jane Clark',
  107. (1995). Is "Buddha-Nature" Buddhist? Doctrinal Tensions in the Sffmdla F SU-tra - an Early Tathdgatagharbha Text',
  108. (1994). Is Causality Circular? Event Structure in Folk Psychology, Cognitive Science and Buddhist Logic',
  109. (1999). Is Wisdom in the BrainT,
  110. (1986). Jung's Psychology and Tibetan Buddhism: Western and Eastern Paths to the Heart,
  111. (2000). Magician as Environmentalist: Fertility Elements in South and Southeast Asian Buddhism',
  112. (2005). Meditation Alters Binocular Rivalry in Tibetan Buddhist Monks', doi
  113. (2005). Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness', doi
  114. (1980). Metaphors We Live B. i,, doi
  115. (1990). Methodological Individualism and Explanation', doi
  116. (1984). Micro-detenninism and Concepts of Emergence', doi
  117. (2006). Microstimulation of inferotemporal cortex influences face categorisation', doi
  118. (2002). Mind in Westem Zen', Space in Mind: East-West Psychology and Contemporary Buddhism, doi
  119. (1975). Mind, Language and Reality, doi
  120. (1988). Moon in a Dewdrop: the Writings ofZen Master D5gen, (trans. ) K. Tanahashi et al,
  121. (1994). Moore and Wittgenstein on Certainty, doi
  122. (1979). More A, bout Metaphor', Metaphor and Thought, doi
  123. (1997). Mutual Enlightenment: Recent Phenomenology in Cognitive Science',
  124. (2005). Natural selection on protein-coding genes in the human genome', doi
  125. (2001). Ndgdýuna's Theory of Causality: implications sacred and profane',
  126. (2003). Neural synchrony and the unity of m1nd', The unity of consciousness: binding, integration and dissociation, doi
  127. (1987). Neuronal dynamics as revealed in the cortical pathway as revealed by binocular rivalry', doi
  128. (1996). Neurophenomenology: A Methodological Remedy for the Hard Problem',
  129. (2005). Neuroscientists see red over Dalai Lama', doi
  130. (1989). Nobel Prize Lecture', //nobelprize.
  131. (2001). Non-dual awareness and Logic', doi
  132. (1986). Objects ofA 11 Sorts: a philosophical grammar, (trans. )
  133. (1983). On Attributing Consciousness to Animals', doi
  134. (2003). On Becoming Aware: a pragmatics of experiencing, doi
  135. (1999). On Being Mindless: Buddhist Meditation and the MindBody Problem, doi
  136. (1979). On Quine's Contretemps of Translation', doi
  137. (1973). On the internal structure of perceptual and semantic categones',
  138. (1970). On the Reasons for Indeterminacy of Translation', doi
  139. (1978). On the Tradition of Pdli Texts
  140. (2002). On the Trinity, doi
  141. (1999). Orientalism and Religion: Postcolonial Theory, India and 'The Mystic East', doi
  142. (2004). Orientalism, representation and religion: the reality behind the myth', doi
  143. (1989). Oscillatory responses in cat visual cortex exhibit intercolumnar synchronization, which reflects global stimulus properties', doi
  144. (1973). Perfect Wisdom: The Short Prajfiaparamitd Texts,
  145. (2001). Philosophical Investigations, (trans. ) doi
  146. (1997). Postmodern Fables, (trans. ) G. Van Den Abbeele(Minneapolis,
  147. (1997). Practice Makes Perfect: Symbolic Behaviour and Experience in Western Buddhism',
  148. (1991). Protestant Buddhism? The Cultural Translation of Buddhism in England', doi
  149. (2006). Quantum mechanics in the brain', doi
  150. (1992). Rational Zen: The Mind ofD5gen Zenji,
  151. (1984). Rebirth and the
  152. (2001). Reduction and Emergence: a Philosophical Overview,
  153. (1986). Reduction, Explanation, and Individualism', doi
  154. (1992). Reduction, Explanatory Extension, and the Mind/Brain Sciences', doi
  155. (1995). Reductionism and the Theory of Explanation', doi
  156. (2004). Reflections on Buddhism in Leeds: Practice, Identity and Experience', doi
  157. (1965). Religion and Politics in Burma, doi
  158. (2000). Religion as a Chain ofMemory,
  159. (2005). Religion Out of Mind: The Ideology of Cognitive Science and Religion', Soul, Psyche and Brain: new directions in the study of religion and
  160. (1970). Religion, Politics and History in India: Collected Papers on Indian Sociology, doi
  161. (1997). Religious Experience in Early Buddhism? (British Association for the Study of Religion Occasional Papers).
  162. (1980). Remarks on the Philosophy ofPsychology Vol.
  163. (2004). Ritual Syntax and Cognitive Theory', Pacific World:
  164. (1938). Saint Augustine and French Classical Thought, doi
  165. (1976). Sathirakoses-Nagapradipa Foundation). 345 Gadamer,
  166. (2003). Scandals in Emerging Western Buddhism', Westward Dharma: Buddhism Beyond Asia, doi
  167. (2000). Science, Order and Creativity, doi
  168. (1982). SeNess Persons: Imagery and Thought in Theravada Buddhism, doi
  169. (1984). Seven Works of Vasubandhu, doi
  170. (1978). Skiýful Means: A Concept in Mahdydna Buddhism,
  171. (2004). Sociological Implications for Contemporary Buddhism in the United Kingdom: Socially Engaged Buddhism, a Case Study',
  172. (1985). Some problems underlyIng the theory of socIal representations', doi
  173. (1980). Special Sciences, or the Disunity of Science as a Working Hypothesis', doi
  174. (1979). Subjective referral of the timing for a conscious sensory experience: a functional role for the somatosensory specific projection system in man', doi
  175. (1993). Supervenience and Mind (Cambridge, doi
  176. (2003). Temporal binding and the neural correlates of consciousness', The unity of consciousness: binding, integration doi
  177. (1990). Thai Society and Buddhadasa', Radical Conservatism, Buddhism in the Contemporary World: Articles
  178. (1999). The 'External World': Its Status and Relevance in the Pali Nikayas', doi
  179. (1983). The "Three Knowledges" of Buddhism: implications of Buddhadasa's interpretation of rebirth', doi
  180. (1994). The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Searchfor the Soul, doi
  181. (1996). The Authority of Believers in the Study of Religions',
  182. (1994). The Awakening of the West: The Encounter ofBuddhism and Western Culture,
  183. (1987). The Body in the Mind: the Bodily Basis ofMeaning, Imagination and Reason, doi
  184. (1979). The Book of Sand,
  185. (1988). The British Discovery ofBuddhism, doi
  186. (1968). The Buddhist Nirva? ia and its Western Interpreters,
  187. (1969). The Buddhist Philosophy ofAssimilation: the Historical Development ofHonji-Suijaku Theory,
  188. (1985). The Buddhist Vision: Introduction to the Theory and Practice,
  189. (2004). The Causal and Unification Approaches to Explanation Unified - doi
  190. (1950). The Cerebral Cortex ofMan: a Clinical Study ofLocalization of Function,
  191. (1996). The Character ofMind,
  192. (1993). The Chinese Madhyamaka Practice of P'an-Chiao: the case of Chi-Tsang', doi
  193. (1968). The City of God Against doi
  194. (1979). The Conduit Metaphor -A Case of Frame Conflict in Our Language about Language', Metaphor doi
  195. (2000). The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: a translation of the Samyutta-Nikaya,
  196. (1991). The Continuity ofMadhyamaka and Yogacara in Indian Mahdyana Buddhism,
  197. (1989). The Cultural Translation ofBuddhism: problems of theory and method in the study ofBuddhism in England, (University of Manchester, unpublished
  198. (1988). The Dialectic of Enlightenment read as Allegory', Theory Culture and Society, doi
  199. (1967). The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategiesfor Qualitative Research, doi
  200. (1997). The Doctrine of Buddha-Nature is Impeccably Buddhist', Pruning the Bodhi Tree: The Storm over Critical Buddhism
  201. (1997). The Doctrine of Tathagatagarbha is not Buddhist', Pruning the Bodhi Tree: The Storm over Critical Buddhism
  202. (1979). The Dynamic Psychology ofEarly Buddhism,
  203. (1990). The Emperor'S doi
  204. (1980). The Evolution ofHuman Consciousness,
  205. (2003). The Evolving Mind: Buddhism, Biology and Consciousness,
  206. (1992). The experiential control of intellect', in Machiavellian Intelligence: social expertise and the evolution of the intellect in monkeys, apes and humans, doi
  207. (1999). The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the making of Consciousness, doi
  208. (1992). The FWBO and 'Protestant Buddhism': An Affirmation and a Protest,
  209. (1999). The Hidden Structure: a Scientific Biography of Camillo Golgi, doi
  210. (1979). The Human Mystery: The Gifford Lectures 1977-1978, doi
  211. (2004). The Impossibility of Conscious Desire',
  212. (1991). The Inhuman: Reflections on Time,
  213. (1987). The Intentional Stance, doi
  214. (2005). The Location ofReligion: A Spatial Analysis,
  215. (1994). The Metaphysics of a Disunified World',
  216. (1995). The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: a translation of the Majjhima-Nikd a, doi
  217. (1980). The Netti-Pakararla: a Theravdda Method of Interpretation',
  218. (1969). The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation,
  219. (2005). The New Social Face ofBuddhism,
  220. (2005). The Notion ofDitthi in Theravdda Buddhism,
  221. (1949). The Organization ofBehaviour: A Neurophysiological Theory,
  222. (1999). The Paradox ofSubjectivity: The Seýf in the Transcendental Tradition,
  223. (1982). The Phenomenology ofReligion as a Philosophical Problem,
  224. (1969). The Psychological Attitude ofEarly Buddhist Philosophy
  225. (2005). The R-Theory of time, or Replacement Presentism: The Buddhist Philosophy of Time',
  226. (1978). The Role of Pdli in Early Sinhalese Buddhism',
  227. (1999). The Search for Ontological Emergence', doi
  228. (1995). The Seffless Mind: Personality, Consciousness and NirvaVa in Early Buddhism,
  229. (1965). The Sociology ofReligion, (trans.
  230. (1995). The somatic marker hypothesis and the possible functions of the pre-frontal cortex', doi
  231. (1969). The Transplantation of Religions', doi
  232. (1998). The Tree ofKnowledge: The Biological Roots ofHuman Understanding,
  233. (1989). The Triune Brain in Evolution: Role in Paleocerebral Functions, doi
  234. (1984). The Vindication of Tradition doi
  235. (1995). The Whole Body, Not Heart, as "Seat of Consciousness": The Buddha's View', doi
  236. (1997). The Yogins ofLadakh: a pilgrimage among the hermits of the Buddhist Himalayas, doi
  237. (1996). Theorizing the Interview', doi
  238. (2001). Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapyftom a Buddhist Perspective,
  239. (1994). Tibet Handbook: a pilgrimage guide,
  240. (1979). To Have or to Be,
  241. (2001). Towards a cognitive neuroscience of consciousness: the basic evidence and a workspace framework', The Cognitive Neuroscience of Consciousness, doi
  242. (1961). Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, (trans. ) doi
  243. (1993). Translator's Introduction', The Collection of Middle Length Savings:
  244. (2006). Two Concepts of Meditation and Three Kinds of Wisdom in Kamala§7ila's Bhdvandkrarnas: A Problem of Translation', doi
  245. (1998). Two Views ofMind: Abhidharma and Brain Science,
  246. University of Southern California Templeton Fellow Lecture 3: Sciencefor Monks, http: //www. usc. edulschoolslcollegelcrcclprivatelflanaganl-lectureslscience_for_Mon ks. pdf,
  247. (1975). Victorian Buddhism and the Origins of Comparative Religion', doi
  248. (1997). Vvrhy They Say Zen is Not Buddhism', Pruning the Bodhi Tree: The Storm over Critical Buddhism
  249. (1996). Western Buddhism: Tradition and Modernity', doi
  250. (1993). What is Consciousness? doi
  251. (1974). What is it like to be a batT, doi
  252. (1998). What is Structural RealismT,
  253. (2005). What is the function of the Claustrum? ', doi
  254. (1998). What Kind of Buddha, What Kind of God? The language of Western Mystical Theology as an aid to understanding the Shin Buddhist experience',
  255. (1992). Whence Perceptual meaning', Understanding Origins: contemporary views on the origin of life, doi
  256. (2002). Who is Buddhist? Night Stand Buddhists and Other Creatures', Westward Dharma: Buddhism Beyond Asia,
  257. (1999). Wittgenstein and Augustine De Magistro', The Augustinian Tradition, doi
  258. (1990). Wittgenstein, Meaning and Mind, doi
  259. (1993). Wittgenstein: Rethinking the Inner, doi
  260. (1960). Word and Object, doi
  261. (1998). Zen and the Brain: Toward an Understanding ofMeditation and Consciousness,
  262. (1995). Zen Therapy: A Buddhist Approach to Psychotherapy,

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.