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Cetana and the Dynamics of Volition in Theravada Buddhism
Cetana and the Dynamics of Volition in Theravada Buddhism
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From the Jacket

What do the scriptures of Theravada Buddhism have to say about the most basic psychological processes through which alternatives are assessed, purposes are developed, and goal-oriented acts are initiated? How can Theravada make volitional endeavour central to Buddhist practice, while denying the existence of a self who wills? How can the texts emphasize ethical striving, and yet uphold the principle that all physical and mental acts arise through causes and conditions? This book adds another perspective to Theravada scholarship by exploring various subtle Pali terms that seek to display the nuances of human motivation. Cetana is shown to be the purposive impetus that links ethically good and bad attitudes of mind with corresponding acts of body, speech, and mind. The argument is made that Theravada does not posit a controlling will, but seeks to establish the possibility of changing attitudes, purposes, and acts through holistic methods of training. Theravada maintains that changes in attitude are possible because the mind has the capacity to observe its own processes of conditioning, and is able to greatly diversify its responses to its own concepts and to factors in its environment.

Nalini Devdas was born in Bangalore, India. For over two decades she was an Associate Professor in the Department of Religion of Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. Her research continues to be focused on the relationship between psychology and ethics in the Pali texts of Theravada Buddhism.

Acknowledgements vii
A Note on Transliteration xv
Abbreviationsxv
Introduction: Cetana in Modern Theravada Scholarship1
Approaches to the Concept of Volition in Modern Theravada Scholarship10
Some Modern Interpretations of Cetana25
Cetana and the "Tthicization" of the Idea of Kamma
Working Definitions of Key Terms32
Chapter I: Concept of Volition in the Upanisads41
The Possibility of Volitional Endeavour in the Realm of Ignorance and Rebirth43
The Dynamic Unity of the Mind and Its Components44
Samkalpa (Conceptualization, Intention)51
"Ethicization" of the Idea of Karma55
Kama, Samkalpa, and Kratu in the Process of Rebirth57
Kratu and Sankhara61
Conclusion62
Chapter II: Buddhist Debates with Early Jainas70
Debate on the Efficacy of Ascetic Endeavour in Controlling the Mind71
Debate on the Moral Significance of Intention and Act78
Virya and Volition in Jainism 82
Debate on Whether the Processes of Kamma Negate Human Initiative83
Debates Regarding the Nature and Ultimate Basis of the Capacity to Initiate Action88
Comprehensive Definition of Action in Early Jainism and in the Suttas91
Primacy of Intention Upheld in the Vinaya-pitaka and the Kathavatthu93
Conclusion96
Chapter III: Conditioned Origination and Cetana102
Cetana in the Holistic View of Consciousness Represented by Citta104
Conflict and Control in the Citta110
The Mind’s Capacity to Know Itself114
Thought and Volition as Functions of Manas116
Conditioned Origination and Interpretation of Sankhara121
Sankharas as Processes of "Combining" and "Constructing"124
"Subliminal Impression" in the Yoga Tradition and "Mental Formation" in Theravada 128
Sankhara as Intentional Act 133
The Influence of Asavas and Anusayas on the Dynamics of Motivation 137
The Arising of Uncorrupted Mental States141
Anusayas as Factors of Motivation Within Conditioned Origination146
The Conditioned Arising of Anusayas150
Anusaya and Cetana 153
Anusayas and the Question of "Unconscious" Motivation156
Conclusion 162
Chapter IV: Cetana in the Sutta Literature 177
Cetana as Basic Sentience179
Cetana as Intention Imbued with Impetus to Act 183
The Formative Role of Sankharas in the Processes of Kamma192
Cetana Made Concrete in Kamma 197
Cetana Defined as Kamma in the Milindapanha212
Cetana and the Eightfold Path216
Conclusion224
Chapter V: Dynamics of Motivation in the Suttas236
Motivational Sequences in the Suttas237
Motivational Processes and the "Inclination of the Mind" 244
Motivation That Goes "Against the Current" 246
"Subduing the Mind by the Mind"250
Mindfulness and the Transformation of Mind253
Wisdom and Motivation256
Conclusion262
Chapter VI: Cetana and Attitudes of Mind: Abhidhamma Perspectives 267
Holistic Approach to Consciousness in the Abhidhamma270
Cetana Regarded as Common to All States of Consciousness274
Definition of "Wholesome"278
Wholesome and Unwholesome "Roots"285
The Composition of Wholesome States of Mind 289
Eight Types of Wholesome Cittas and Cetanas293
The Inner Dynamics of Unwholesome States of Mind295
Twelve Unwholesome Cittas and Cetanas 300
Relationship Between Feeling (Vedana) and Cetana 302
Planes of Consciousness306
The Concept of "Ethically Indeterminate" 309
Cetana and the Cognitive Process313
Fusion of Perception and Purposive Impetus in Cognitive Processes 317
Javana and "Freedom of Will"32
Conclusion 325
Chapter VII: Cetana and the Mind’s Dynamic Capacities339
Connotations of Ayuhana in the Definitions of Cetana and Sankhara343
Cetana in the Classification Sankharas 349
The Identification of Purposive Impulse (Cetana) with Morally Weighted Act (Kamma) 353
Cetana and the Process of Rebirth357
The Connecting Role of Cetanas361
Conclusion363
Chapter VIII: Defining Cetana369
Definitions of Cetana in Atthasalini and Visuddhimagga372
Cetana Defined as Motivating Impulse 377
Identifying Cetana with Kamma380
Cetana at the Beginning, Middle, and End of an Act385
Moral Responsibility for Mental Mamma 387
The Fallacy of Two Purposive Impulses in a Single Purposive Act391
Kamma Redefined as Cetana and Associated Mental States393
Classification of Factors Associated with Cetana in the Nettippakarana396
Purposive Impulse as the Dynamic Mode of an Attitude of Mind400
Confluence of Purpose and Conative Impetus in Cetana403
Cetana and Moral Responsibility for Action406
Conclusion409
Chapter IX: Cetana and Other Pali Terms Indicating Motivation 417
Adhimokkha418
Chanda420
Sankappa423
Cetana Compared with ‘Terms That Indicate Capacity to Initiate Goal-Directed Action426
Viriya427
Differentiating Craving (Tanha) from Cetana431
Conclusion 435
Conclusion420
Charts467
Glossary484
Bibliography492
General Index 514

Cetana and the Dynamics of Volition in Theravada Buddhism

Item Code:
IHE008
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2008
Publisher:
Motilal Banarsidass Publishers
ISBN:
9788120833630
Size:
9.0" X 6.0"
Pages:
540
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 760 gms
Price:
$45.00   Shipping Free
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From the Jacket

What do the scriptures of Theravada Buddhism have to say about the most basic psychological processes through which alternatives are assessed, purposes are developed, and goal-oriented acts are initiated? How can Theravada make volitional endeavour central to Buddhist practice, while denying the existence of a self who wills? How can the texts emphasize ethical striving, and yet uphold the principle that all physical and mental acts arise through causes and conditions? This book adds another perspective to Theravada scholarship by exploring various subtle Pali terms that seek to display the nuances of human motivation. Cetana is shown to be the purposive impetus that links ethically good and bad attitudes of mind with corresponding acts of body, speech, and mind. The argument is made that Theravada does not posit a controlling will, but seeks to establish the possibility of changing attitudes, purposes, and acts through holistic methods of training. Theravada maintains that changes in attitude are possible because the mind has the capacity to observe its own processes of conditioning, and is able to greatly diversify its responses to its own concepts and to factors in its environment.

Nalini Devdas was born in Bangalore, India. For over two decades she was an Associate Professor in the Department of Religion of Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. Her research continues to be focused on the relationship between psychology and ethics in the Pali texts of Theravada Buddhism.

Acknowledgements vii
A Note on Transliteration xv
Abbreviationsxv
Introduction: Cetana in Modern Theravada Scholarship1
Approaches to the Concept of Volition in Modern Theravada Scholarship10
Some Modern Interpretations of Cetana25
Cetana and the "Tthicization" of the Idea of Kamma
Working Definitions of Key Terms32
Chapter I: Concept of Volition in the Upanisads41
The Possibility of Volitional Endeavour in the Realm of Ignorance and Rebirth43
The Dynamic Unity of the Mind and Its Components44
Samkalpa (Conceptualization, Intention)51
"Ethicization" of the Idea of Karma55
Kama, Samkalpa, and Kratu in the Process of Rebirth57
Kratu and Sankhara61
Conclusion62
Chapter II: Buddhist Debates with Early Jainas70
Debate on the Efficacy of Ascetic Endeavour in Controlling the Mind71
Debate on the Moral Significance of Intention and Act78
Virya and Volition in Jainism 82
Debate on Whether the Processes of Kamma Negate Human Initiative83
Debates Regarding the Nature and Ultimate Basis of the Capacity to Initiate Action88
Comprehensive Definition of Action in Early Jainism and in the Suttas91
Primacy of Intention Upheld in the Vinaya-pitaka and the Kathavatthu93
Conclusion96
Chapter III: Conditioned Origination and Cetana102
Cetana in the Holistic View of Consciousness Represented by Citta104
Conflict and Control in the Citta110
The Mind’s Capacity to Know Itself114
Thought and Volition as Functions of Manas116
Conditioned Origination and Interpretation of Sankhara121
Sankharas as Processes of "Combining" and "Constructing"124
"Subliminal Impression" in the Yoga Tradition and "Mental Formation" in Theravada 128
Sankhara as Intentional Act 133
The Influence of Asavas and Anusayas on the Dynamics of Motivation 137
The Arising of Uncorrupted Mental States141
Anusayas as Factors of Motivation Within Conditioned Origination146
The Conditioned Arising of Anusayas150
Anusaya and Cetana 153
Anusayas and the Question of "Unconscious" Motivation156
Conclusion 162
Chapter IV: Cetana in the Sutta Literature 177
Cetana as Basic Sentience179
Cetana as Intention Imbued with Impetus to Act 183
The Formative Role of Sankharas in the Processes of Kamma192
Cetana Made Concrete in Kamma 197
Cetana Defined as Kamma in the Milindapanha212
Cetana and the Eightfold Path216
Conclusion224
Chapter V: Dynamics of Motivation in the Suttas236
Motivational Sequences in the Suttas237
Motivational Processes and the "Inclination of the Mind" 244
Motivation That Goes "Against the Current" 246
"Subduing the Mind by the Mind"250
Mindfulness and the Transformation of Mind253
Wisdom and Motivation256
Conclusion262
Chapter VI: Cetana and Attitudes of Mind: Abhidhamma Perspectives 267
Holistic Approach to Consciousness in the Abhidhamma270
Cetana Regarded as Common to All States of Consciousness274
Definition of "Wholesome"278
Wholesome and Unwholesome "Roots"285
The Composition of Wholesome States of Mind 289
Eight Types of Wholesome Cittas and Cetanas293
The Inner Dynamics of Unwholesome States of Mind295
Twelve Unwholesome Cittas and Cetanas 300
Relationship Between Feeling (Vedana) and Cetana 302
Planes of Consciousness306
The Concept of "Ethically Indeterminate" 309
Cetana and the Cognitive Process313
Fusion of Perception and Purposive Impetus in Cognitive Processes 317
Javana and "Freedom of Will"32
Conclusion 325
Chapter VII: Cetana and the Mind’s Dynamic Capacities339
Connotations of Ayuhana in the Definitions of Cetana and Sankhara343
Cetana in the Classification Sankharas 349
The Identification of Purposive Impulse (Cetana) with Morally Weighted Act (Kamma) 353
Cetana and the Process of Rebirth357
The Connecting Role of Cetanas361
Conclusion363
Chapter VIII: Defining Cetana369
Definitions of Cetana in Atthasalini and Visuddhimagga372
Cetana Defined as Motivating Impulse 377
Identifying Cetana with Kamma380
Cetana at the Beginning, Middle, and End of an Act385
Moral Responsibility for Mental Mamma 387
The Fallacy of Two Purposive Impulses in a Single Purposive Act391
Kamma Redefined as Cetana and Associated Mental States393
Classification of Factors Associated with Cetana in the Nettippakarana396
Purposive Impulse as the Dynamic Mode of an Attitude of Mind400
Confluence of Purpose and Conative Impetus in Cetana403
Cetana and Moral Responsibility for Action406
Conclusion409
Chapter IX: Cetana and Other Pali Terms Indicating Motivation 417
Adhimokkha418
Chanda420
Sankappa423
Cetana Compared with ‘Terms That Indicate Capacity to Initiate Goal-Directed Action426
Viriya427
Differentiating Craving (Tanha) from Cetana431
Conclusion 435
Conclusion420
Charts467
Glossary484
Bibliography492
General Index 514
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