https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egocentric_presentism Are modern Chinese, Japanese and Korean schools of Buddhism viewed as egocentric presentism? Are there any teachings in modern Chinese and Japanese schools of Buddhism that support egocentric presentism? Are there any teachings in modern Chinese and Japanese schools of Buddhism that would say that all people can have consciousness, but they do not have thoughts, emotions, memories and sensations? Thank you.

  • Buddhism denies the existence of a "self" which is cleanly separated from the rest of reality (including other people), so I don't see how a metaphysical view saying that only one self's experiences are real could be compatible with that.
    – Hypnosifl
    Apr 22, 2021 at 21:06
  • thanks. That is, modern Chinese, Japanese and Korean Buddhists believe that all people in our world have their own mindstreams (consciousness, feelings, emotions, thoughts, memories, sensation and perception).
    – Johnny
    Apr 22, 2021 at 21:38
  • But would they see the boundaries between such streams as being totally clear and distinct, or as having sort of fuzzy boundaries, like ripples in water? few people would claim there are precise boundaries between ripples such that for every water molecule between two adjacent ripples there must be an absolute truth about which ripple it is part of. Egocentric presentism, if taken as a metaphysical view and not just an attitude people tend to have, would seem to require some absolute truth about what is and isn't part of a given stream of mind.
    – Hypnosifl
    Apr 22, 2021 at 21:44
  • Also, a more general question--can you elaborate on what made you think there could be a connection between Buddhism and egocentric presentism? What similarities, even if just analogical ones, do you see between egocentric presentism and Buddhist teachings?
    – Hypnosifl
    Apr 22, 2021 at 21:46
  • The Yogacara doctrine seems to me to be somewhat similar. Since Yogachara had a strong influence on the modern schools of Buddhism in China and Japan. That is why my question arose in what the modern Chinese, Japanese and Korean schools of Buddhism believe.
    – Johnny
    Apr 22, 2021 at 21:52

1 Answer 1


There are Buddhist meditation practices, aimed at realising something like Egocentric Presentism, I'd say, about ordinary samsaric experience:

"...reflect on your beginningless lives in this cycle of existence and that through many of your lives you have had to depend on your mothers. There is not a single living being that you can definitely point to as not having been your mother in the past." Dalai Lama

The longest unit of time in Buddhist thought is reckoned to be around 335 billion years, a significant fraction of our current estimate of the length of time over which stars will burn. Contemplating such vast timescales, along with the wheel of becoming, has the effect of recognising you have been in all situations and will be again. I've drawn comparison with Rawl's theory of justice, which is I'd guess a clearer example of egocentric presentism?

The metaphor for sunyata or interbeing Indra's Net is perhaps relevant.

There is an academic interpretation of the function of awakening, as intersubjective virtuosity. Which might relate.

Bit of a stretch, and egocentric intrinsically sounds like a bad fit except in describing samsara.

  • Thanks for the answer. But I'm wondering if modern Chinese, Japanese and Korean Buddhists believe that all people in our world have their own emotions, sensations, sensory sensations, perceptions, thoughts and memories. Or they believe that only they have experience, and all other people in our world have consciousness but do not have this experience(emotions, feelings, thoughts, perceptions)
    – Johnny
    Apr 22, 2021 at 23:14
  • Because Egocentric Presentism is a form of solipsism, if Buddhism is Egocentric Presentism then modern Buddhists are solipsists?
    – Johnny
    Apr 22, 2021 at 23:22
  • 'anatta' is one of the 'three marks of existence', at the core of Buddhist thinking, so no. We discussed 'Different between Buddhism and Solipsism' philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/78685/… As I said there, solipsism as usually presented, is not debatable. This egocentrism sounds like monism. I guess your agenda us just putting things in boxes. Solipsism is better understood as a tool: philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/48862/…
    – CriglCragl
    Apr 23, 2021 at 2:37
  • @Johnny: "For there is suffering, but none who suffers; Doing exists although there is no doer; Extinction is but no extinguished person; Although there is a path, there is no goer" -Visuddhimagga XVI-90
    – CriglCragl
    Apr 23, 2021 at 2:46

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