Cetanā and the Dynamics of Volition in Theravāda Buddhism
What do the scriptures of Thravada Buddhism have to say about the most basic psychological processes through which alternatives are assessed, purposes are developed, and goal-oriented acts are initiated? How can Theravada make volitional endeavour central to Buddhist practice, while denying the existence of a self who wills? How can the text emphasize ethical striving, and yet uphold the principle that all physical and mental acts arise through causes and conditions? This book adds another perspective to Theravada scholarship by exploring various subtle Pali terms that seek to display the nuances of human motivation. Cetana is shown to be the purposive impetus that links ethically good and bad attitudes of mind with corresponding acts of body, speech, and mind. The argument is made that Theravada does not posit a controlling will, but seek to establish the possibility of changing attitudes, purposes, and acts through holistic methods of training. Theravada maintains that changes in attitude are possible because the mind has the capacity to observe its own processes of conditioning, and is able to greatly diversify its responses to its own concepts and to factors in its environment.
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Concept of Volition in the Upanisads
Conditioned Origination and Cetana
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Abhidhamma Abhidhamma system According acts of body Ahguttara-nikaya anusayas arise asavas AtthasalinT attitude of mind ayuhana becomes behaviour Bhikkhu Bodhi Buddha Buddhaghosa C.A.F. Rhys Davids capacity to initiate causal conditions cause ceteti chanda cognitive processes commentary concept conditioned origination connotes constitute context continuum of consciousness cultivation deeds defined delusion dhamma Dhammasahgani dynamic Eightfold Path emotions energy explains goal goal-oriented greed impetus initiate action intentional acts interpretation Jaina javana karmic consequences Kathavatthu kratu kusala maintains manifest meditation mental factors mental kamma mind citta mind's motivating nibbana Niganthas object Pali passage patthana perception person phassa physical produce Psychology purposive acts purposive impulse cetana purposive thought rebirth regarded roots sahkappa sahkhara sahkharakkhandha sancetana sense sensory signifies sorrow specific speech stage Suttas tanha term texts Theragatha Theravadins unwholesome acts unwholesome mental unwholesome purposive Upanisads upekkha vedana vinnana vipaka viriya Visuddhimagga Visuddhimagga Vsm vitakka volition wholesome and unwholesome wholesome cittas wholesome or unwholesome