Buddhism is founded on two fundamental beliefs, from which the rest of the philosophy is derived. The underlying nature of the truth is change, and process, rather than stable entities. Processes can be divided into two categories – mental processes (‘nama’) and physical/mechanistic processes (‘rupa’). Although mental procedures and physical procedures interact, mental processes are not reducible to physical procedures.
1.1 The procedure nature of truth. According to Buddhism, the basis of reality includes ever-changing processes rather than static ‘things’. If any ‘thing’ is analyzed in enough depth and observed over a long enough timescale, it can be seen to be a stage of a dynamic process, than a static rather, stable thing-in-itself.
This becomes obvious when we remember that the universe is itself an activity (an ongoing expansion from the best Bang), and so that it includes are subprocesses of the whole all. There are two kinds of processes in the world, mental and mechanistic. Mechanistic processes explain the working of most machines including computers, and the classical laws of science including biology all, chemistry, and physics. This launch to Buddhist school of thought will start by looking at how process philosophies, such as Buddhism, have always been neglected in the West, but have undergone a recent revival because of the process perspectives of modern research.
I will show how the key Buddhist principles of impermanence and emptiness are reasonable consequences of a process view of the world. I will then discuss why mechanistic processes cannot take into account such mental phenomena as qualitative experience, and ‘aboutness’ (intentionality). This inadequacy of a solely mechanistic worldview is known as ‘The Explanatory Gap’, or ‘The Hard Problem’.
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Finally, I’ll examine just how many of our delusions occur from the shortcoming of mechanistic procedures to give a genuine picture of fact, accompanied by some techniques for liberating the mind and transcending these delusional constraints. For anybody new to Buddhist Philosophy, the primary thing to note is that Buddhism is a process philosophy, as opposed to most familiar types of Western philosophy which are substantialist philosophies. Process philosophies hold that the fundamental nature of reality is one of constant dynamism and change, and phenomena that we think of as long-lasting substances or things, are snapshots of procedures at different levels just.
If we observe any seemingly long-term entity in enough fine detail over a long enough timescale, then we will indeed discover it is a stage of a process or processes. Substantialist philosophies, on the other hand, hold that things and substances, or their ‘essential natures’, will be the primary fundamental basis of reality, with processes being secondary phenomena.
Substantialism is strongly linked to the idea of essentialism – that things and substances come with an ‘essential nature’ which makes them what they are. Process Philosophy keeps that the fundamental basis of reality is change, process, and impermanence. Becoming is more basic than being, and existence is just impermanence in slow-motion really.
The converse view – Substantialism, holds that true the truth is ‘timeless’ and predicated on long-lasting ideal forms. Change is accidental, whereas the compound is essential. Traditional European philosophy has denied any full reality to always improve, which is conceived as only accidental and not essential. Substantialism has dominated Western philosophy from the time of Plato before the early twentieth century and is still deeply played within our culture. There have been Process Philosophers among the early Greeks indeed.
For example Heraclitus pointed out that no-one can step into the same river twice. It isn’t the same river nor is it the same person. Nevertheless, the early process philosophers were neglected or disregarded, and the theory of ideal forms propounded by Plato was used by the later Greeks and dominated Western thought before early twentieth century.