The Ethical Foundations of Buddhist Cognitive Models: Presentations of Greed and Fear in the Theravāda Abhidhamma

Asian Studies

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Title The Ethical Foundations of Buddhist Cognitive Models: Presentations of Greed and Fear in the Theravāda Abhidhamma
Etični temelji budističnih kognitivnih modelov: Prezentacije pohlepa in strahu v theravādski Abhidhammi
 
Creator Ditrich, Tamara
 
Subject Buddhist ethics
Theravāda Abhidhamma
ethics in the Abhidhamma
fear and greed in Theravāda Buddhism
budistična etika
theravādska Abhidhamma
etična izhodišča Abhidhamme
strah in pohlep v theravādskem budizmu
 
Description While issues related to greed and fear are ubiquitous in everyday life, they become particularly evident in crises such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, when societal responses are frequently based on either fear of the disease or craving for the reestablishment of pre-pandemic “normal” life. In this context, a question can be posed whether it is possible to approach and understand these phenomena in other ways, and consequently respond in a different manner. In search for alternative approaches to the problem of human greed and fear, this article investigates their conceptualisations from the perspective of the Theravāda Abhidhamma, an important formulation of ancient Indian Buddhist philosophy. The Abhidhamma analyses and expounds the processes of cognition, using a multivalent and complex structure, comprised of interrelated and interdependent components (dhamma), which are involved in the ever-changing flow of mental and physical phenomena. This article proposes that the entirety of the structural cognitive model of the Abhidhamma is founded on, and permeated by ethics. The components involved in cognitive processes are classified in three ways, as ethical, unethical, or indeterminate; greed and fear are presented as components of unethical mental states, which in turn may lead to actions that are harmful to oneself and society. This Abhidhammic analysis of cognition provides a model, in which a different conceptualisation of greed and fear is presented; it identifies those components and conditions for cognition which allow for an ethical (kusala) stance and consequently ethical actions. The article thus propounds that the knowledge of cognitive models of ancient India can be relevant to the search for new approaches to contemporary ethical challenges, and may contribute to a different understanding of, and responses to, greed and fear.
V vsakdanjem življenju se nenehno soočamo s problemom strahu in pohlepa, a to postane še očitneje v kriznih obdobjih, kot na primer v času pandemije COVID-19, ko številni družbeni ukrepi in spremembe odražajo negotovost in strah pred boleznijo ter hlepenje po ponovni ekonomski rasti tržnega gospodarstva. Pri tem si lahko zastavimo vprašanje: ali lahko o strahu in pohlepu razmišljamo na povsem nov način in posledično delujemo drugače?
V iskanju drugačnih perspektiv pri gledanju na problem človeškega strahu in pohlepa ter njunih posledic v osebnem in družbenem življenju pričujoči prispevek raziskuje staroindijske kognitivne modele, ki se v svojih osnovah in pristopih bistveno razlikujejo od zahodnega diskurza. Pri tem se osredotoča na konceptualizacijo strahu in pohlepa v Abhidhammi, enem najpomembnejših besedil staroindijske filozofije, ki kognicijo opisuje kot kompleksno strukturo medsebojno povezanih in soodvisnih komponent (dhamma), udeleženih v toku mentalnih in fizičnih pojavov, ter jih predstavi kot hipne fenomene brez intrinzičnega bistva. Prispevek raziskuje, kako je strukturalni model kognicije v Abhidhammi, ki združuje analitični in sintetično-dinamični pristop, v celoti osnovan na etičnih izhodiščih. Posamezne komponente kognicije so predstavljene kot etične, neetične ali nevtralne; strah in pohlep sta uvrščena med neetične ter sta še posebej izpostavljena kot temeljni komponenti in gibali pri tvorbi večine neetičnih mentalnih stanj, iz katerih posledično izhaja sebi in drugim škodljivo delovanje. Zato Abhidhamma predlaga drugačen odziv na pohlep in strah ter identificira tiste kognicijske komponente in pogoje, ki omogočajo etičen odziv (kusala) ter posledično vodijo v etično delovanje. Prispevek tako pokaže, da je poznavanje kognitivnih modelov staroindijske filozofije zelo relevantno pri iskanju novih pristopov k etičnim izzivom današnjega sveta in da bi lahko pomembno pripomoglo k razmisleku o drugačnem razumevanju in odzivih na pohlep in strah.
 
Publisher Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakulte / Ljubljana University Press, Faculty of Arts
 
Date 2022-01-19
 
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion
 
Format application/pdf
 
Identifier https://revije.ff.uni-lj.si/as/article/view/10195
10.4312/as.2022.10.1.371-398
 
Source Asian Studies; Vol. 10 No. 1 (2022): Special Issue: Crisis as Danger and Hope—Covid-19 in Asia; 371-398
Azijske študije; Letn. 10 Št. 1 (2022): Special Issue: Crisis as Danger and Hope—Covid-19 in Asia; 371-398
2350-4226
2232-5131
10.4312/as.2022.10.1
 
Language eng
 
Relation https://revije.ff.uni-lj.si/as/article/view/10195/10046
 
Rights Copyright (c) 2022 Tamara DITRICH
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0
 

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