Conferences, Fourth International Conference "SCIENCE AND SCIENTIST – 2016"

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Concept of Mind and Consciousness in Theravada Buddhist Tradition
Rana Purushottam Kumar Singh, Ph.D.

Date: 2016-08-27 04:00 PM – 04:30 PM
Last modified: 2016-08-17

Abstract


Tireless quest for bringing to light myriad contours of human mind as well as its consciousness has been integral to the indomitable spirit of enquiry and investigation since time immemorial. It has led to the emergence of a host of theoretical formulations from different perspectives straddling across various disciplines of knowledge, which attempt to address the multiple facets of consciousness. Though the neuroscientists, while dwelling upon the biological bases of consciousness, ascribe it to the brain, there exists a concurrence among them on the consciousness being a great mystery notwithstanding considerable advances in the knowledge of perceptual mechanisms. It is in this context that the rich repository of Buddhist philosophy appears as a guiding light for delineating the trajectories of mind and consciousness.

 

The mainstream neuroscience and neuropsychiatry tend to favor a cybernetic view of human personality where sensation awareness and experience are tool for humans to interact with the environment, and improve based on the feedback received from sensations. The standard view about human brain emerges from the position that brain areas and functions can be chartered and that brain behaves in a hierarchical order with the cortex in lead. Sense organs perceive and produce sensations. Mind builds concepts. Brain puts them together through formal computational configurations, linguistic rules and labeling. Much of the works in cognitive sciences take this as standard view.

 

In the recent times there is greater interest to bring such a position to scrutiny. This interest has been favored by the Buddhist narratives and case studies, neusopsychiatrists share with the world. Documentation of medical cases, though is a practice that exists since a very longtime, there are books and works produced in the current and last decades.

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