Mahayana Buddhism and Whitehead

  • Masao Abe
  • William R. LaFleur
Part of the Library of Philosophy and Religion book series (LPR)


As many scholars have already pointed out, the modes of thought found in Whitehead’s philosophy and Mahayana Buddhism have striking affinities. Because of their great similarity, Whitehead’s philosophy and Mahayana Buddhism appear to be contiguous to one another, so much so that one could move from one to the other merely by taking a single step. Nevertheless, we must not overlook the important differences between the two. These differences, although subtle and often inconspicuous, are deeply rooted in the structure of their respective ways of thinking and of understanding reality. In other words, their differences are not of degree, or extent, but rather of quality and structure. This must be clarified and emphasized at the outset of our approach to the subject ‘Mahayana Buddhism and Whitehead.’


Actual Entity Ultimate Reality Existential Realization Double Structure Actual Occasion 
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  1. 7.
    D. W. Sherburne, A Key to Whiteheads Process and Reality (Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1971) p. 207.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    W. Christian, An Interpretation of Whiteheads Metaphysics (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1959) pp. 380–1.Google Scholar
  3. 11.
    Kenneth W. Morgan, ed., The Path of the Buddha (New York: The Ronald Press Company, 1956) p. 47.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Masao Abe and William R. LaFleur 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masao Abe
    • 1
  • William R. LaFleur
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of HawaiiUSA
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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