Current scholarship on the philosophy of early Indian YogAcAra Buddhism (4th-5th centuries CE) has come under criticism for its de-contextualized understanding of the school's worldview. My research addresses this shortcoming through an intellectual history of the Yogacara's philosophical, cosmological and literary understanding of 'sattva-bhAjana-loka' (the sentient and insentient 'external world'), a fundamental concept that has not received adequate treatment in Scholarship to date.
Understanding loka as a unique and pervasive social fact within the Yogacara worldview, this research will:
(1). supply a genealogy of the Yogacara's understanding of loka by historically contextualizing it in the school's texts (Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Pali) and in the works of its Indian intellectual milieu.
(2) Examine the ways in which the Yogacara's notion of loka - as an intersubjective, illusionary realm - is constructed by the imagery and metaphor of the school's shastric and sutra literature.
Contextualizing philosophical analysis with cosmology and imagery, this interdisciplinary research aims to supply a more complete and nuanced picture of the Yogacara's worldview, which will in turn (1) contribute to the clarification of current debates over the schools core doctrines, and (2) contribute to an ongoing and increasingly influential interdisciplinary analysis of intersubjectivity, engaging Buddhist Studies, Philosophy of Mind and Phenomenology.
Having recently returned from my doctoral studies at Columbia University in New York to assume a tenure-track position (starting in 2010) in Tel Aviv University’s East and South Asian Department, the IRG would enable me to conduct this research comprehensively (at two leading European research institutes, among other locations), leading to the delivery of a book manuscript and several peer review journal articles, as well as to the organizing of an international interdisciplinary conference
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