Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Buddhism’s Mahāyāna: Philosophy

  • John ThompsonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_9344

Viewing Buddhism through the lens of “psychology” seems natural for many Westerners. While such psychologizing can be misleading, it remains the case that Buddhist thinkers do focus on a transformative liberation (“enlightenment”) through a regimen of study, contemplative exercises, as well as ascetic and moral training. This transformative intention is, broadly speaking, “psychological” in that it entails cognitive and emotional shifts that may radically alter a person’s demeanor and understanding of the world. Such an endeavor goes far beyond the parameters of mainstream Western psychology, but the primacy of “mind” in Buddhism invariably lends it a “psychological” flavor. Moreover, Buddhist thinkers have elaborated intriguing doctrines about the nature of the world and humanity that do qualify as “philosophies of mind.” This entry will examine the major philosophical currents in Mahāyāna (“Great Vehicle”), the second major branch of Buddhism. Much mystery surrounds Mahāyāna...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Christopher Newport UniversityNewport NewsUSA