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A study of cetanā and the dynamics of volition in Theravāda Buddhism.


A study of cetanā and the dynamics of volition in Theravāda Buddhism.

Devdas, Nalini (2004) A study of cetanā and the dynamics of volition in Theravāda Buddhism. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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NQ94960.pdf - Accepted Version


This work is a detailed investigation of the nuances of meaning that the scriptural texts of the Theravada school of Buddhism assign to the Pali term cetana , which can be translated with such approximate equivalents as "volition," "intentional impetus," and "purposive impulse." More generally, this work discusses how Theravada interprets the processes of choosing among alternatives and deciding on goals, while adhering firmly to its causal theory that all physical and mental states are subject to causes and conditions. The argument made here is that Theravada does not posit a controlling will, but seeks to establish the possibility of changing attitudes of mind and corresponding goal-oriented impulses through holistic methods of training. The texts maintain that changes in attitude are made possible because consciousness has the capacity to become aware of its own processes of conditioning, and can diversify its responses to its environment. While comparisons with modern schools of psychology and philosophy are not attempted in this work, the analysis of the Theravada concept of cetana it provides can prove to be a valuable aid for future comparative studies.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Religions and Cultures
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Devdas, Nalini
Pagination:x, 486 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Thesis Supervisor(s):Orr, L
ID Code:7873
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:18 Aug 2011 18:09
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:31
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