The Selfless Mind: Personality, Consciousness and Nirvāṇa in Early Buddhism

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Psychology Press, 1995 - Philosophy - 293 pages
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This careful analysis of early Buddhist thought opens out a perspective in which no permanent Self is accepted, but a rich analysis of changing and potent mental processes is developed. It explores issues relating to the not-Self teaching: self-development, moral responsibility, the between-lives period, and the 'undetermined questions' on the world, on the 'life principle' and on the liberated one after death. It examines the 'person' as a flowing continuity centred on consciousness or discernment (vinnana) configured in changing minds-sets (cittas). The resting state of this is seen as 'brightly shining' - like the 'Buddha nature' of Mahayana thought - so as to represent the potential for Nirvana. Nirvana is then shown to be a state in which consciousness transcends all objects, and thus participates in a timeless, unconditioned realm.
 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
NotSelf and scholars
7
Exploring the Notion of Selflessness
15
THE MEANING OF NOTSELF
43
DEVELOPING A SELF WITHOUT BOUNDARIES
54
The Arahats boundaryless citta
60
Responsibility for actions
66
What conserves character traits and the unity of
72
The question of the intermediary existence antardbhava
98
spiritbeing of the intermediary
105
THE CENTRALITY OF DISCERNMENT
111
The vortical interplay of discernment and the sentient
119
DISCERNMENT AND THE PERCEPTUAL PROCESS
138
BHAVANGA AND THE BRIGHTLY SHINING MIND
155
NIBBANA AS THE TIMELESS STOPPING OF
180
NIBBANA AS A TRANSFORMED STATE OF DISCERNMENT
198

MY WORLD AND ITS END
78
The undetermined questions on the world
84
The lifeprinciple accepted by early Buddhism
91
SEEKING THE TATHAGATA
227
Conclusion
246
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About the author (1995)

Peter Harvey is Emeritus Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Sunderland. He is author of An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics: Foundations, Values and Issues (Cambridge University Press, 2000) and The Selfless Mind: Personality, Consciousness and Nirv na in Early Buddhism (1995). He is editor of the Buddhist Studies Review.

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