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Sue Hamilton

Early Buddhism: A New Approach

The I of the Beholder

Sue Hamilton:
Early Buddhism:
A New Approach.
The I of the Beholder
Richmond: Curzon, 2000.
xi, 223 pages
ISBN 0-7007-1357-3

Curzon Press:
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Early Buddhism: A new Approach. The I of the Beholder is, for the time being, Sue Hamilton's last study. The title of the work does not promise too much: proceeding from a completely new vision of the »Four Noble Truths«, Hamilton succeeds in presenting the relationship between suffering (dukkha) and experience in such a manner that an explanation different from the customary ontological prejudices and therefore an alternative interpretation of the »not-self« doctrine (annatá) of early Buddhism becomes visible.

Only with this, says Hamilton, a new field of research, in which could be investigated how mechanisms that allow us to discover identity and continuity work, is established. Hamilton writes that »[t]he central orientation of all the teachings of early Buddhism is the need to understand how personal continuity operates, … and it is not focused on what one is or is not« (30), adding that »the starting place for such an enterprise is one's own cognitive process« (ibid). Hamilton's study is an ideal starting point to commence – via perception, feeling, illusions, liberation and suchlike experiences found in her book – the intercultural discussion.

Wolfgang Tomaschitz

Translation from the German by Marlies Gabriele Prinzl.

polylog: Forum for Intercultural Philosophy 5 (2004).
Online: http://lit.polylog.org/5/shstw-en.htm
ISSN 1616-2943
Author: Wolfgang Tomaschitz, Vienna (Austria)
© 2004 Author & polylog e.V.
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