Buddhist Theory of Affections in the Context of Indian Classical Philosophy

 
PIIS023620070008748-9-1
DOI10.31857/S023620070008748-9
Publication type Article
Status Published
Authors
Occupation: leading researcher
Affiliation: Institute of Oriental Manuscripts RAS
Address: 18, Dvortsovaya emb., St. Petersburg 191186, Russian Federation
Journal nameChelovek
EditionVolume 31 Issue №1
Pages103-127
Abstract

Buddhism is unique among religious and philosophical systems of ancient and medieval India in that respect that it paid special attention to the analysis of emotional and volitive spheres of personality. The aim of this analysis was to reveal the structure of emotional sphere of mind and its associations with volition for overcoming afflictions (kleśa) causing suffering. Its final goal and the supreme religious aim of Buddhism is the attainment of enlightenment and nirvāṇa. Buddhist theory of afflictions includes the classification of volitions and emotions and the theory of complex of psychophysical phenomena forming the basis for emotions and volitions. Buddhist philosophy postulates seven basic afflictions viz. passion (rāga), disgust (pratigha), self-conceit (māna), doubt (vicikitsā), ignorance (avidyā), false views (dṛṣṭi), and yearning for being (bhāva). These are the causes of emotions characteristic for unenlightened mind and of volitional impulses engendered by emotions. Obvious enough that the extensional of the concept of kleśa in Buddhist philosophy is wider than that of affliction as it is treated in modern psychology. In Hīnāyana schools afflictions are considered the only obstacle on the way to nirvāṇa. Māhāyana systems introduced the idea of epistemological obstacles that, being themselves free from afflictive aspects, promote the evolution of afflictions in an unenlightened mind. The basic epistemological obstacle was reception of all concepts and theories as having real referents. Nāgārjuna (1 – 2nd centuries), the founder of Māhāyana school of Madhyamaka (Śūnyavāda), attempting to overcome this delusion, denied the reality even of such a fundamental difference as the difference between nirvāṇa and saṃsāra. Asaṅga (4th century), one of the leaders of the Yogācāra (Vijñānavāda) school treated the association of basic afflictions with emotional and volitive spheres of mind through the notion of cetanā – a psychic phenomenon that engenders the yearning to seize or to avoid something in an unenlightened mind. This yearning is the direct cause of suffering characteristic for every saṃsāric being.

Keywordsreligious and philosophical systems of ancient and medieval India, history of psychology, emotions, will, Buddhist philosophy, schools of Mahāyāna Buddhism, Yogācāra, Asanga, Vasubandhu
Received29.03.2020
Publication date30.03.2020
Number of characters51045
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