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Absorption: Human Nature and Buddhist Liberation by Johannes Bronkhorst

By Johannes Bronkhorst

This e-book argues for the imperative position performed by way of absorption within the functioning of the human brain. the significance of absorption makes itself felt in numerous methods; the 2 reports mixed during this publication be aware of of them. the 1st learn, The Symbolic brain, argues that, principally due to language acquisition, people have degrees of cognition, which in basic conditions are at the same time lively. Absorption is a (or the) capability to avoid a few, probably all, of the institutions that represent the sort of degrees of cognition, leading to what's occasionally known as mystical adventure, yet which isn't limited to mysticism and performs a job in quite a few "religious" phenomena, and somewhere else. within the moment examine, The Psychology of the Buddha, Prof. Bronkhorst presents a theoretical context for the statement that absorption is a resource of enjoyment, grapples with Freud, and illustrates his observations via translations of historical Buddhist texts from the Pali and Sanskrit languages with his mental observation. Johannes Bronkhorst is emeritus professor of Sanskrit and Indian experiences on the collage of Lausanne. He has released commonly within the heritage of Indian non secular, philosophical and medical proposal, and in spiritual reports usually. between his fresh books: larger Magadha (2007), Aux origines de los angeles philosophie indienne (2008), Buddhist educating in India (2009), Buddhism within the Shadow of Brahmanism (2011), Karma (2011).

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3, 2007, pp. 503-604) dedi­ cated to language evolution. One of the contributors, Derek Bickerton, points out that this is "an interdisciplinary game, played by biologists, neurologists, anthropologists, archaeolo­ gists, computer scientists, philosophers, and more - as well as [ . J by linguists" (2007: 5 1 0) . On the following page he emphasizes the distinction between language evolution and changes in languages. Whereas the former is part of the bio­ logical evolution of humans, the latter belongs to the realm of cultural change.

Sym­ bolic representation is grounded in non-symbolic experience. Symbolic representation allows for deception and dishonesty, because it can create and communicate imaginary worlds and situations. Escape from symbolic representation through ritual is, in a number of cases, an attempt to re-establish reference by grounding it in the real world. Deacon ( 1 997: 403 £) gives in this context the example of the Yanomamo Indians from Venezuela, notorious for their almost constant warfare among themselves.

Symbolic representation is, in an important sense, that which makes us human, that which distinguishes us even from our nearest cousins in the animal realm. It does not just allow us to learn and use language but instills in us the implicit or explicit conviction that there is a "deeper" or "higher" reality behind the "ordinary" reality experienced in our everyday lives. This in its turn impels us to carry out certain forms of activity ("ritu­ als") and induces us to think certain kinds of thoughts.

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