What does Thravada Buddhism’s scriptures have to say about basic psychological processes that determine which options are evaluated, what purposes are created and how goal-oriented actions are initiated? How can Theravada make volitional endeavor central to Buddhist practice while simultaneously denying the existence a self that wills? How can Theravada emphasize ethical striving while still retaining the principle that all mental and physical acts are caused and conditioned? This book offers a new perspective on Theravada scholarship. It explores subtle Pali terms that try to show the nuances of human motivation. Cetana is the purposive impulse that links ethically good or bad thoughts with the corresponding actions of body, speech, and mind. Theravada doesn’t believe in a controlling will. Instead, it aims to create the possibility of changing actions, attitudes and purposes through holistic training methods. Theravada believes that attitudes can change because the mind is capable of observing its own conditioning processes and being able to respond to them.
Cetana and the Dynamics of Volition in Theravada Buddhism
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