Absorption: Human Nature and Buddhist Liberation by Johannes Bronkhorst

By Johannes Bronkhorst

This e-book argues for the critical function performed via absorption within the functioning of the human brain. the significance of absorption makes itself felt in numerous methods; the 2 stories mixed during this ebook be aware of of them. the 1st research, The Symbolic brain, argues that, mostly due to language acquisition, people have degrees of cognition, which in common situations are concurrently lively. Absorption is a (or the) ability to bypass a few, might be all, of the institutions that symbolize the sort of degrees of cognition, leading to what's occasionally often called mystical adventure, yet which isn't restricted to mysticism and performs a task in a number of "religious" phenomena, and in other places. within the moment research, The Psychology of the Buddha, Prof. Bronkhorst offers a theoretical context for the remark that absorption is a resource of delight, grapples with Freud, and illustrates his observations via translations of historical Buddhist texts from the Pali and Sanskrit languages together with his mental statement. Johannes Bronkhorst is emeritus professor of Sanskrit and Indian stories on the college of Lausanne. He has released largely within the historical past of Indian non secular, philosophical and medical inspiration, and in spiritual experiences usually. between his contemporary books: larger Magadha (2007), Aux origines de los angeles philosophie indienne (2008), Buddhist educating in India (2009), Buddhism within the Shadow of Brahmanism (2011), Karma (2011).

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All of them "know", in some way, that their ordinary experience of the world is incomplete. There is another, "higher': reality, which has to be manipulated to se­ cure one's well-being. It cannot be manipulated with the help of symbolic reference. As a result, the manipulative tools pro­ vided by tradition - rituals and ritual formulas - are and have to be free from symbolic reference: they are, and have to be, holistic. However, the implicit knowledge that people appear to possess about the nature of ordinary experience and its relation 39 ABSORPTION, PART I: THE SYMBOLIC MIND to a "different", "higher", reality goes further than this.

Cf Benta U, 2003: 3 64 ff. 21 C£ Pyysiainen, 1993: 3 6 (cp. 200 1 : 1 1 4 £): "mystical experiences may count as an exception to the linguistic quality of man's being-in­ the-world"; Staal, 1990: 139: "mysticism is characterized by the absence of language. It points to a pre-linguistic state which can be induced by ritual, by recitation, by silent meditation on mantras, or by other means". On the link of epileptic seizures with "deeply moving spiritual experiences, including a feeling of divine presence and the sense [of be­ ing] in direct communion with God", see Ramachandran & Blakeslee, 1998: 179 f.

Like words, the Christmas tree is used to construct a system, a web of associations. 5 2 As in the case of language, the web of culture may affect cognition. " (cited in Sacks, 2007: 2 1 1 ) 5 2 For a recent discussion of culture, see Plotkin, 2007a. , 2003; Cole, 2006; for a review of some recent research critical of this conclusion, see "East meets West" by Ed Yong in New Scientist of7 March 2009, pp. 3 2-3 5 ) ; further Lloyd, 2007. , when the person con­ cerned enters into a state of absorption.

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