Reality in Buddhism  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Buddhism evolved a variety of doctrinal/philosophical traditions, each with its own ideas of reality. The following are still regularly studied in some branches of the Buddhist tradition: Theravada, Vaibhashika, Sautrantika, Jojitsu, Madhyamika, Yogacara, tiantai, Huayan. Some of these are divided into subschools, and all are subject to interpretation, both by Buddhist teachers and by academic scholars. In addition to these, some less doctrinal traditions and individual teachers have their own ideas on the subject.

Some views of reality in Buddhism are relevant to the issue of dependent origination and some to teachings beyond cause and effect. Examples are discussed below.

  • Some consider that the concept of the unreality of "reality" is confusing. They posit that, in Buddhism, the perceived reality is considered illusory not in the sense that reality is a fantasy or unreal, but that our perceptions and preconditions mislead us to believe that we are separate from the elements that we are made of. Reality, in Buddhist thought, would be described as the manifestation of karma.
  • Other schools of thought in Buddhism (e.g., Dzogchen), consider perceived reality literally unreal. In this context, the term 'visions' denotes not only visual perceptions, but appearances perceived through all senses, including sounds, smells, tastes and tactile sensations.

Different schools and traditions in Tibetan Buddhism give different explanations of the mechanism producing the illusion usually called "reality".

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Reality in Buddhism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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