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Schopenhauer's Encounter with Indian ThoughtRepresentation and Will and Their Indian Parallels$
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Stephen Cross

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824837358

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824837358.001.0001

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Metaphysical Factors behind the Empirical World: Advaita Vedānta

Metaphysical Factors behind the Empirical World: Advaita Vedānta

(p.132) Chapter Eleven Metaphysical Factors behind the Empirical World: Advaita Vedānta
Schopenhauer's Encounter with Indian Thought

Stephen Cross

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the metaphysics that underlies the empirical world by focusing on how Śamkara and other philosophers of Advaita Vedānta conceived the process by which the world comes into being and appears as external reality. It first considers the notion that objects, and the empirical world more generally, exist not as material realities but as metaphysical facts—that is, as mental conditioning superimposed upon consciousness or Brahman-ātman. It then discusses the three “bodies” or levels of existence that make up the human individual: the physical or gross body, the subtle body, and the causal body. It also explores the concepts of karmic impressions and formative forces in Indian thought, along with the subtle and causal bodies of the cosmos corresponding to Hiranyagarbha and Avyakta, respectively. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the inverted World Tree, a different image for the cosmic vital energy that underlies and supports the manifested world.

Keywords:   metaphysics, empirical world, Śamkara, Advaita Vedānta, individual, gross body, subtle body, causal body, karmic impressions, formative forces

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