The Body: Toward an Eastern Mind-Body Theory

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SUNY Press, 1987 - Philosophy - 256 pages
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This book explores mind-body philosophy from an Asian perspective. It sheds new light on a problem central in modern Western thought. Yuasa shows that Eastern philosophy has generally formulated its view of mind-body unity as an achievement a state to be acquired--rather than as essential or innate. Depending on the individual's own developmental state, the mind-body connection can vary from near dissociation to almost perfect integration. Whereas Western mind-body theories have typically asked what the mind-body is, Yuasa asks how the mind-body relation varies on a spectrum from the psychotic to the yogi, from the debilitated to the athletic, from the awkward novice to the master musician.

Yuasa first examines various Asian texts dealing with Buddhist meditation, kundalini yoga, acupuncture, ethics, and epistemology, developing a concept of the "dark consciousness" (not identical with the psychoanalytic unconscious) as a vehicle for explaining their basic view. He shows that the mind-body image found in those texts has a striking correlation to themes in contemporary French phenomenology, Jungian psychoanalysis, psychomatic medicine, and neurophysiology. The book clears the ground for a provocative meeting between East and West, establishing a philosophical region on which science and religion can be mutually illuminating.

 

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Contents

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Page 18 - What is the relationship between the mind-body?" In other words, in the East one starts from the experiential assumption that the mind-body modality changes through the training of the mind and body by means of cultivation (shugyo) or training (keiko). Only after assuming this experiential ground does one ask what the mind-body relation is. That is, the mindbody issue is not simply a theoretical speculation but it is originally a practical, lived experience (taiken*), involving the mustering of one's...
Page 26 - ... Eastern theories. To put it simply, true knowledge cannot be obtained simply by means of theoretical thinking, but only through "bodily recognition or realization" (tainin or taitoku), that is, through the utilization of one's total mind and body. Simply stated, this is to "learn with the body
Page 4 - ... should be analyzed. For the modern Western tradition, a mind-body theory is primarily concerned with the empirically observable correlations between mental and somatic phenomena. In the Japanese tradition, however, the mindbody theories generally focus on how a disciplined practice allows one to attain body-mind unity.

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About the author (1987)

Yuasa Yasuo is Professor of Comparative Thought and Director of the Japanology program at Tsukuba University in Japan. T. P. Kasulis is Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, and Secretary of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy. S. Nagatomo, Ph.D. in Philosophy, has written several articles on comparative philosophy.

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