Prajna Vihara: Vol. 23, No. 2 (July - December 2022)

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    Analysis of freedom and thought in descartes' philosophy and its influence
    (Bangkok : Assumption University Press, 2022) Zhang, Zhiwu ; Malik, Mohammad Manzoor
    The search for truth and certainty is a major preoccupation with all Western philosophy. This has its most famous attempt in the philosophy of Descartes. This paper studies Descartes’ pure philosophy considered as a pure first philosophy. Descartes regards thinking as his core existence, and thinking is a freedom that I can truly grasp. Descartes is sometimes criticized for offering only a defense of the primacy of the freedom of thought in opposition to the freedom of action. This paper will show that Descartes does not oppose practical philosophy but intends to seek a metaphilosophy which supports practical philosophy, using the freedom of thinking as the foundation. In short, Descartes just wants to find a way of verifying truth prior to any political, cultural, traditional, moral, or religious factors. His influence is visible in the subsequent philosophies and philosophers who place the human beings at the center of philosophy.
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    The concept of non-self in theravada buddhism and its relation to human behavior
    (Bangkok : Assumption University Press, 2022) Obhasa ; Malik, Mohammad Manzoor
    Anatta or non-self is one of the most important concepts in Theravada Buddhism. Anatta’s main objective is to show that none of the five forms of self exists, and also none of the five aggregates be linked to the self. This realization concerning Anatta is devised to have a positive effect on how a follower of Buddhism experiences the world and alleviates suffering. This paper extends the concept of Anatta to contemporary society to understand how it can contribute to the improvement of human behavior and psychotherapy. This includes the fostering of mindfulness to develop empathy and create a therapeutic nexus between the patient and the therapist. It also provides techniques for coping with stress, and can act as a foundational basis for ethical and behavior and mollify the relentless pursuit of one’s desires. Furthermore, it offers insights into Western psychology constructs and how to correct its weaknesses which are often focused too closely on the idea of the self.
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    Compassion and attachment: a comparison of max scheler and theravada buddhism
    (Bangkok : Assumption University Press, 2022) Holger, Lammert ; Giordano, John T.
    This paper will explore how the concept of compassion is understood by the Western phenomenological tradition of Max Scheler, in contrast to how it is understood by Theravāda Buddhism. In the Western tradition the distinctions and connections between ‘empathy,’ ‘sympathy’ and ‘compassion’ involve considerations about morality and ethical theory. Max Scheler combines his phenomenology with psychological approaches to consider how one individual can relate to the mental states of another other individuals. Scheler, distinguishes between empathy and sympathy to avoid the need to experience another’s suffering directly. This distinction is made in Theravāda Buddhism, where emotional contagion is understood as a form of attachment. But Scheler unlike Buddhism, still emphasizes the autonomous subject of phenomenology which is central to ethical action. Central to Theravāda Buddhism is the recognition of suffering and dealing with the feelings that arise. The individual sheds their attachments and this leads to a wholesome kamma, as stated in the first of the Four Noble Truths. So the Theravada Buddhist tradition focuses on the alleviation of suffering not only in the mind of the individual but of humanity in general. Since Theravāda Buddhism stresses non-self, this moves it beyond Scheler’s approach. This approach to compassion is not one of ‘feeling with’ or ‘suffering with’ another specific individual, but one that actively addresses human suffering in general.
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    Compassion for the other in levinas and buddhism: the case of the bodhisattva
    (Bangkok : Assumption University Press, 2022) Kajornpat Tangyin
    The philosophy of Levinas, gives a primacy to ethics over ontology, and a primacy of the other over the self. This is something which is also found in the tradition of Mahayana Buddhism, especially with regard to compassion, and the idea of the role of the Bodhisattva. This paper compares Levinas’s philosophy of ethics with the teaching of Mahayana Buddhism and and demonstrates how they are connected by their emphasis on the virtue of compassion. Both advocate a departure from the ego-self to the compassion for the other. Levinas like Buddhism redefines subjectivity through its responsibility to the other. So reading Levinas through Buddhism allows us to understand the shift from the Western idea of the self to the responsibility towards the other, and it allows us to understand the responsibility the self has towards addressing the suffering of the other. Also reading Levinas through Buddhism allows us to understand a respect for non-human nature which remains within the framework of Levinas’ philosophy.