Buddhism in Five Minutes - Elizabeth J. Harris

Buddhism in Five Minutes - Elizabeth J. Harris

20. To what Extent does Buddhism "Deny the Self"? The Non-Self Teaching

Buddhism in Five Minutes - Elizabeth J. Harris

Christopher V. Jones [+-]
University of Cambridge
Christopher V. Jones is a Bye-Fellow of Selwyn College, and affiliated lecturer and research associate at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge. A primary focus of his research is the history of Mahayana Buddhist thought in the early centuries of the Common Era, preserved in Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan literature.

Description

Buddhism has long been associated with the claim that it “denies the self,” and that this distinguishes it from all other religious traditions. The applicability of non-self teaching to contemporary ideas about human identity in the West—informed, for example, by comparisons to the findings of cognitive science—is an evolving field. In early Buddhism, the notion that things are non-self is a subtle one, very much born out of Buddhism’s Indian heritage, and is easily misconstrued. To understand the original context of nonself teaching, we must locate it in Indian literature, where we first find it expressed, in which the context is the Buddha’s attempts to explain experience, suffering, and also rebirth in a setting quite different from any twenty-first-century culture, Buddhist or otherwise.

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Citation

Jones, Christopher. 20. To what Extent does Buddhism "Deny the Self"? The Non-Self Teaching. Buddhism in Five Minutes. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 99-103 Nov 2021. ISBN 9781800500907. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=40758. Date accessed: 23 Oct 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.40758. Nov 2021

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