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postgraduate thesis: Time and causality in Yogācāra Buddhism

TitleTime and causality in Yogācāra Buddhism
Authors
Issue Date2014
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Ng, S. [伍淑芬]. (2014). Time and causality in Yogācāra Buddhism. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5270544
AbstractThe research explores the interplay between causality and the notion of time in Yogācāra Buddhism. There has been a long debate over whether time is an objective reality with independent ontological status or, in contrast, a subjective experience that is dependent on mind. Until now, the two sides have failed to provide a clear and complete explanation of our temporal conception of things. A similar situation can be identified in the development of the notion of time in Indian philosophy. The concept of time (kāla) in the Indian tradition has evolved from cosmological speculations and the notion of divine power as developed in the Upanisads, where time is identified with Brahman (God), which is postulated as the ultimate ground of existence. On the other hand, in Buddhist philosophy our temporal conception of things is explained with our psychological experience. The limited investigation into the teachings of Yogācāra Buddhism has created a vacuum in our knowledge of the concept of time as understood by this particular Buddhist tradition. The thesis argues that concepts of time in Yogācāra are closely linked with its spiritual practice and its explanation for temporal experience as it occurs in the internal mind. It is the Vijñānavāda theory of causality that mediates between mind and spiritual practice. Here, time is defined as a nominal designation for an uninterrupted series of causal activities. When causality links with the flowing stream of time in the past, present and future, it creates the impression of a linear relation between the cause and the arising of the effect. In this thesis, primary sources in Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese are presented in order to show that there are doctrinal materials to support that it is around this central theme on which Yogācāra discussion on time hinger. The thesis demonstrates that the study of time in Yogācāra is divided into three strata: staring from the soteriological investigation by Maitreya and Asanga then developed into phenomenological inquiry in Vasubandhu’s idealistic position, and completed in the epistemological system of Dignāga and Dharmakīrti. This research is intended to fill a gap in the study of the Buddhist concept of time and to provide a possible resolution to the contemporary debate over the nature of temporal notions by examining it from the religious and philosophical perspectives found in Yogācāra Buddhism.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectTime - Religious aspects - Buddhism
Causation (Buddhism)
Yogācāra (Buddhism)
Dept/ProgramBuddhist Studies
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/206667

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorNg, Suk-fun-
dc.contributor.author伍淑芬-
dc.date.accessioned2014-11-25T03:53:14Z-
dc.date.available2014-11-25T03:53:14Z-
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.identifier.citationNg, S. [伍淑芬]. (2014). Time and causality in Yogācāra Buddhism. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5270544-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/206667-
dc.description.abstractThe research explores the interplay between causality and the notion of time in Yogācāra Buddhism. There has been a long debate over whether time is an objective reality with independent ontological status or, in contrast, a subjective experience that is dependent on mind. Until now, the two sides have failed to provide a clear and complete explanation of our temporal conception of things. A similar situation can be identified in the development of the notion of time in Indian philosophy. The concept of time (kāla) in the Indian tradition has evolved from cosmological speculations and the notion of divine power as developed in the Upanisads, where time is identified with Brahman (God), which is postulated as the ultimate ground of existence. On the other hand, in Buddhist philosophy our temporal conception of things is explained with our psychological experience. The limited investigation into the teachings of Yogācāra Buddhism has created a vacuum in our knowledge of the concept of time as understood by this particular Buddhist tradition. The thesis argues that concepts of time in Yogācāra are closely linked with its spiritual practice and its explanation for temporal experience as it occurs in the internal mind. It is the Vijñānavāda theory of causality that mediates between mind and spiritual practice. Here, time is defined as a nominal designation for an uninterrupted series of causal activities. When causality links with the flowing stream of time in the past, present and future, it creates the impression of a linear relation between the cause and the arising of the effect. In this thesis, primary sources in Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese are presented in order to show that there are doctrinal materials to support that it is around this central theme on which Yogācāra discussion on time hinger. The thesis demonstrates that the study of time in Yogācāra is divided into three strata: staring from the soteriological investigation by Maitreya and Asanga then developed into phenomenological inquiry in Vasubandhu’s idealistic position, and completed in the epistemological system of Dignāga and Dharmakīrti. This research is intended to fill a gap in the study of the Buddhist concept of time and to provide a possible resolution to the contemporary debate over the nature of temporal notions by examining it from the religious and philosophical perspectives found in Yogācāra Buddhism.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshTime - Religious aspects - Buddhism-
dc.subject.lcshCausation (Buddhism)-
dc.subject.lcshYogācāra (Buddhism)-
dc.titleTime and causality in Yogācāra Buddhism-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5270544-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineBuddhist Studies-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5270544-

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