This presentation will outline the Buddha’s basic approach to understanding our cognitive processes, focusing on dependent arising or radical interdependency. William Waldron will discuss the factors involved in the dependent arising of cognitive awareness and the co-arising of our “world” as first articulated in the early teachings. He will then present how these basic analyses were elaborated in Indian Abhidharma and Yogacara traditions. The Yogacaras argued that many of these cognitive processes occurred nonconsciously and were deeply influenced by language and concepts,
which are imminently social phenomena. These deeply inform the nonconscious, collective construction of our common “world.” The constructive processes that bring about this “world” are, however, deeply hidden, leading us to falsely imagine it is an accurate view of reality. We can, though, “wake up” from our collective slumber through proper analysis and insight, a process articulated in the Yogacara concept of the Three Natures.

William Waldron, PhD

Middlebury College

William Waldron teaches courses on the South Asian religious traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism, Tibetan religion and history, comparative psychologies and philosophies of mind, and theory and method in the … MORE