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The Whole Body, Not Heart, as 'Seat of Consciousness': The Buddha's View

Suwanda H. J. Sugunasiri
Philosophy East and West
Vol. 45, No. 3 (Jul., 1995), pp. 409-430
DOI: 10.2307/1399396
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1399396
Page Count: 22
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The Whole Body, Not Heart, as 'Seat of Consciousness': The Buddha's View
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Abstract

The traditional view in Theravada Buddhism of the heart (hadaya) as the 'seat of consciousness' is explored. Evidence is sought in the Nikayas, the Abhidhamma and commentaries, Buddhaghosa's "Visuddhimagga" (5th century), and Kassapa's "Mohavicchedani" (12th century). Some possible sources of error are identified. The view is challenged on the basis of the early teachings of the Buddha and the alternative view, that it is the whole body that is the seat of consciousness, is reconstructed. Some possible future comparative research and applications are suggested.

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