That Which is Clear and Knowing: Buddhist Views of Consciousness

Donald Lopez – University of Michigan

Abstract: It is said that on the night of his enlightenment the Buddha extended his consciousness to all phenomena in the universe. It is said that when he passed into nirvana, his consciousness, which had no beginning, came to an end. More than two millennia ago, Buddhist monks developed a sophisticated theory of consciousness, one that has provided the foundation for all forms of Buddhist philosophy and practice. Several of the most important elements of that theory will be presented in this lecture.

Biography: Donald Lopez is the Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan, where he serves as chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and the chair of the Michigan Society of Fellows. His most recent book (with Robert Buswell) is The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism.