Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Process and Emptiness: Whitehead and Buddhism.

Process and Emptiness: A Comparison of Whitehead’s Process Philosophy and Mahayana Buddhist Philosophy  by Thomas J. McFarlane

"It is my hope that this paper will foster deeper understanding of both Whitehead’s process philosophy and Buddhist teachings, and help all sentient beings in their creative advance toward Buddhahood."

ABSTRACT: Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy is compared with Mahayana Buddhist philosophy. After briefly introducing the philosophies of Whitehead and Buddhism, some similarities between them are examined. The primary areas of convergence are

(1) Impermanence and process as fundamental aspects of reality

(2) The emptiness and lack of substance of things

(3) The relational and dependent nature of things

(4) The notion of ignorance and mistaken perception

(5) The possibility of freedom from ignorance and mistaken perception

(6) The emphasis on subjective and experiential aspects of reality

(7) The fundamental limitations of language and philosophical systems in characterizing reality. The paper concludes with a discussion of an important distinguishing feature of Buddhist philosophy, namely, its dialectical method of criticism.

Read it all here

For general background see Buddhist Philosophy

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