JOSEPH JOHN (Article in PDF)

Throughout his expository work on the history of Buddhism, David Kalupahana makes frequent comparisons to William James. He uses James to help us understand the development of early Buddhism, as a western analogue of both the Buddha and Nāgārjuna.   First, he suggests that the Buddha was a sort of radical empiricist and a pragmatist. After the Buddha came theorists, belonging to the Abhidharma schools, who introduced new ideas that violated this radical empiricism. Finally, Nāgārjuna came along and criticized the Abhidharmikas in an attempt to reconstruct the original Jamesian claims of the Buddha. This essay is an examination of these claims. I will argue that although Kalupahana is on to something, he overstates his case. That is, while he was correct to note elements of pragmatism and radical empiricism in Buddhist thought, the Buddha was not explicitly a radical empiricist or a pragmatist. Nevertheless, the comparison of William James to Buddhism is a valuable one, and when we work out more precisely what that relationship is, it helps us to understand both a little better. Finally, if we take the claim that these Buddhist thinkers were pragmatists of a sort, I think it opens up a possibility that Kalupahana did not seem to take seriously—the possibility of doing metaphysics.


Kalupahana is probably correct that the Buddha was an empiricist. As Richard Hayes pointed out to me at this conference, the Buddha did allow for the fact that we learn from enlightened teachers, as well as from personal experience. I think this is especially significant when considering things like the belief in reincarnation, which seem to have no correlation in experience for most people. Even then, though, I think that the wisdom of those credible teachers is ultimately traceable back to some kind of experience. Even reincarnation is, reportedly, based at least in part on the Buddha’s experience of all his past lives. The Buddha encouraged his followers to examine their own experience rather than trust doctrine; a healthy doubt can help speed up spiritual progress. He likened the Vedic tradition to a long line of blind men leading each other, each trusting the next as the source of knowledge about an eternal ātman (soul) without ever experiencing it himself. Thus one of the most important Buddhist doctrines, the denial of eternal self (ātman) is based in the idea that religious truth must be eventually corroborated in experience.

However, there are many forms of empiricism, and not all are radical. To explore the claim that the Buddha was a radical empiricist, we must first turn to James. James attacks rationalists like Descartes, who attempt to reach important philosophical conclusions without relying on experience. Instead, we learn everything from experience; James agrees on this principle with Locke and Hume. The problem, though, is that Hume proceeded to sneak in some metaphysical presumptions about the nature of experience before he sought to analyze it. Specifically, Hume described our experience as series of discrete sense impressions and ideas. James describes this sort of empiricism:

Starting with ‘simple ideas of sensation,’ and regarding these as so many atoms, they proceed to build up the higher states of mind out of the ‘association,’ integration,’ or ‘fusion,’ as houses are built by the agglutination of bricks…it commits one beforehand to the very questionable theory that our higher states of consciousness are compounds of units; and instead of starting with what the reader directly knows, namely his total concrete states of mind, it starts with a set of supposed ‘simple ideas’ with which he has no immediate acquaintance at all, and concerning whose alleged interactions he is very much at the mercy of any plausible phrase.[1]

This discreteness led Hume to acknowledge only a limited portion of our experience. He argued that when we experience one thing “causing” another, we really only experience one discrete sensation and then another in sequence. Because we never experience continuity of one moment moving into another, the continuity of the self is only an idea in the mind.

James, on the other hand, argues that these absolute distinctions between mind and sense experience, and between individual sensations, are metaphysical assumptions that are not immediately given. They are learned. Therefore, James argues that Hume’s empiricism is not radical enough. We have to embrace all of experience as the sources of learning, and when we do that, “The relations that connect experiences must themselves be experienced relations, and any kind of relations experienced must be accounted as ‘real’ as anything else in the system.”[2] Relations, just like sensations, are part of our experience; they are things we feel. James writes, “We ought to say a feeling of and, a feeling of if, a feeling of but, a feeling of by, quite as readily as we say a feeling of blue or a feeling of cold.”[3] So Hume is correct when he argues that that we never experience a completely unchanging, unified self, but incorrect because we do experience continuity. As James argues, we experience ourselves in a stream, and the continuity of that stream is a felt part of our immediate experience. We experience the fading away of the past; we can literally feel the past influencing the present. We can take this experience apart later, but we cannot deny the original experience.

Kalupahana argues that the Buddha’s description of the mental and physical aggregates that make up the self (the skandhas) amounts to a form of radical empiricism. Each part of consciousness gives rise to the next, sense impressions giving rise to ideas and so on. This makes each part thoroughly dependent on those that came before it. Thus, Kalupahana explains, even though the Buddha clearly denies a “metaphysical” self (here referring to the eternal ātman that exists beyond our experience) we should take the explanation of the aggregates as a description of what a continuous “empirical self” is.[4] This is further supported by the doctrine of dependent origination, which explains that each phase in a life gives rise to the next, in a repeating cycle. Kalupahana argues that the Buddha did not intend for these stages to be understood as absolutely discrete, and that the series should thus be understood as a process rather than a series of static moments.

However, it is not clear to me that the Buddha clearly took those feelings of relation—the feelings of “and” and “but” that that differentiate radical empiricism from Hume’s empiricism—into account. This is not to say that the Buddha denied them; I simply wish to point out that it is not clear. As a point of contrast, James describes our conscious life as consisting of “substantive” and “transitive parts.”[5] He compares these to the flights and perchings of a bird. The perching are those momentary pauses where our experience feels stable, and the flights, the transitive parts, consist of feelings of movement and continuity. James writes, “The attempt at introspective analysis in these cases is in fact like seizing a spinning top to catch its motion, or trying to turn up the gas quickly enough to see how the darkness looks.”[6] Although they are difficult to name, they are nonetheless real. In fact, the many elements of our experience are located in this “fringe” of consciousness, which has a character that can never really be pinned down. When we start with the parts of experience, we invariably lose something of that indefinite stream. James writes,

The definite images of traditional psychology form but the very smallest part of our minds as they actually live. The traditional psychology talks like one who should say a river consists of nothing but pailsful, spoonsful, quartspotsful, barrelsful, and other moulded forms of water. Even were the pails and the pots all actually standing in the stream still between them the free water would continue to flow.[7]

This is the aspect of radical empiricism that I do not see clearly articulated (or denied) in original Buddhist doctrine. The listing of aggregates and parts of the self seems to be the very mistake that James seeks to avoid—you cannot explain the self by starting with the parts and building it up. Kalupahana further defends his claim by appealing to the interrelatedness of dispositions, noting that for the Buddha, our sense perceptions are influenced by what we are expecting to see. Our likes and dislikes, preferences, and presuppositions all color our experience. Kalupahana writes, “each of our perceptions is a mixed bag of memories, concepts, and material elements,” and this interdependence results in something like James’s description of consciousness: a “big blooming buzzing confusion.”[8] But it seems to me that there is a leap between a list of aggregates and a doctrine of dependence, on the one hand, and a radical empiricism that says that we have a direct experience of relation. The Buddha says only that he knows dependent arising by the dependently arisen—this seems like an inductive kind of knowledge rather than the direct experience James argues for.[9]

Kalupahana also makes much of a term viññāṇasota, which he translates as “stream of consciousness,”[10] the title of one of James’s most famous essays. Others have translated the term as “unbroken flux of human consciousness.” [11] It is used in the context of listing the various aspects of the self that can be discerned, in order of the development of progress. The meditator starts with the sense organs and crude matter of the body, proceeds to the skeleton and internal organs, next to viññāṇasota, the “unbroken consciousness” that is “established both in this world and in another world,” and finally to the enlightened consciousness that is established in “neither this world or in another.”[12]

The term viññāṇasota could potentially be a reference to the felt continuity as described by James, but more work needs to be done in order to demonstrate this conclusively. One problem is that this term is so rarely used within the text itself. Further, this “unbroken consciousness” is described as a stage altogether different from the others listed; this categorization seems to place an un-Jamesian distinction between knowing lower things—the sense organs—and consciousness itself. While this unbroken consciousness is “discerned,” discernment is a large category that can include not only immediately felt experience but also deduction from that experience. The term viññāṇasota could also be interpreted as a sort of metaphysical continuity that the Buddha elsewhere denies, or as one of three lesser states of discernment that need to be overcome through meditative practice. I cannot conclude one way or the other here. I should just say here that further study seems needed before I take this as proof of radical empiricism.

There are other resources, though, for calling the Buddha a radical empiricist. In other well-known passages, the he discusses how we experience the “arising” and “falling away” of experience. This is some of the strongest evidence; the Buddha does seem to be describing “flights” rather than the “perchings” of mental life. But again, it is not clear that this involves radical empiricism. Even Hume noted that two events could be related in time, and that things happened and then ceased to happen. The question is whether or not those risings and fallings occur in metaphysically discrete units of time. Some later Buddhists thought they could be described in this way; they acknowledge the experience if arising and falling without committing themselves to radical empiricism.

The inference that Kalupana makes, to summarize, is that an understanding of dependent arising, in combination with list of aggregates that arise and fall away, as well as the infrequent description consciousness as “unbroken’, leads logically to radical empiricism. The Buddha, though, does not make explicitly make this inference, and so I think it is too much of a stretch to claim that the Buddha was a radical empiricist. This is not to say that the Buddha’s ideas are incompatible with radical empiricism. I do not think they are. I would even say that Kalupahana is right in arguing that the logical implication of dependent arising is radical empiricism. However, I cannot place it in the Buddha, who lived before the problematic discussion of whether or not sense impressions are discrete had even arisen. I do not think that a lack of radical empiricism is necessarily a fault; there was no need to articulate a response to an objection that did not yet exist. In the western context, James could not have been a radical empiricist if there had not been another empiricism that needed to be radicalized.

Kalupahana analysis is quite helpful, though, in pointing out showing that the often-made comparison of the Buddha to Hume, on the doctrine of non-self, is a mistaken one. The Buddha may not be analogous to James, but neither is he analogous to Hume. Hume is skeptical of causation, which is a central feature of the world according to Buddhist thought. So, the Buddha did not commit himself either to Hume’s empiricism or James’s radical empiricism. The Buddha only can be said to be a radical empiricist insofar as he did not commit himself to the empiricism of the Abhidharmikas; this is meaningful, but not enough to call him a radical empiricist.


 I do agree when Kalupahana notes the pragmatic character of the Buddha’s thought. Early Buddhists are adamant that concepts and language can never get one to nirvāna; no doctrine is absolute truth. Theory is worthwhile only when it points us in the direction of salvation. In a famous discourse, the Buddha compares theory and teachings to a dangerous water snake.[13] If it is grasped correctly, behind the head, one can extract medicine. If grasped incorrectly, you will be harmed or killed. Kalupahana mentions another famous metaphor in this same discourse: the comparison theory to a raft. If one needs to cross a river, a raft is a very useful tool. But once you cross the river, you no longer need the raft. Getting too attached to any particular theory is like carrying a raft around even after you have crossed the river.

Nevertheless, the Buddha used the term “truth.” If we take these stories in conjunction, it would seem that something is only true insofar as it helps us achieve our goals. The Buddha famously treated his disciples differently, telling them each what they needed to hear based on their limited understandings. A problem seems to arise, though, when we consider the possibility that these ideas are equally true. This clashes with our notion of truth. If truth is only what is expedient in getting them to enlightenment, though, which one of those teachings was the true one? If only one of those, what is so special about it? If all of them, why call them all truth?

Here a comparison with James is especially helpful. He was also criticized for using the word “truth” in this “crude” way, as “what works.” But he argued that there were no other options. James made a distinction between the “rationalist” and the pragmatist. While rationalists postulate truth in itself, the pragmatist realizes that only way we can get to such truth is through our own limited experience. Without appeal to experience, ideas are meaningless. James paraphrases C.S. Peirce’s principle of pragmatism:

To attain perfect clearness in our thoughts of an object, then, we need only consider what conceivable effect of a practical kind the object may involve—what sensations we are to expect from it, and what reactions we must prepare. Our conception of these effects, whether immediate or remote, is then for us the whole of our conception of the object, so far as the conception has positive significance at all.[14]

While we desire to think that some things are true regardless of whether or not anyone knows about them, there is no appealing beyond our own experience. Even if we argue for a sort of mystical experience in which such truths are revealed, that is still a kind of experience.

This pragmatic idea of meaning, when applied to the idea of truth, is unsettling and it prompts criticism. For James, truth is what works, or what is “expedient.” He writes,

Any idea that helps us to deal, whether practically or intellectually, with either the reality or its belongings, that doesn’t entangle our progress in frustrations, that fits, in fact, and adapts our life to the reality’s whole setting, will agree sufficiently to meet the requirement. It will hold true of that reality.[15]

Again, this seems to allow for two people to hold disparate beliefs that are somehow equally true. As James argues, we culturally saturated with the idea of truth that at first the lack of an objective framework leaves us dissatisfied. Buddhists frame this problem in terms of an unhealthy desire for certainty. In fact, throughout its history, a good portion of Buddhist thought is devoted to coming to terms with this very fact. At the end of the path we relinquish even the four noble truths. We think that objects of knowledge exist in a realistic universe not because this epistemology makes the most sense, as we tell ourselves, but because it gives us a false sense of security.

A problem arises, though, when we take all truths as equal. James argues that an individual will accept as true whatever helps to expediently achieve the outcome in which he or she is already invested. As we live and study, our goals change. In order for a belief to be accepted as true at first, though, it has to be compatible with are previously developed store of truths and habits. This may includes not only the monk who renounces worldly possessions, but also the businessman who sets out to earn as much money as possible. So, in this framework, it would seem that the four noble truths are no more or less true that the conviction that the sole goal in life is the pursuit of pleasure.

Nevertheless, the Buddhist or the pragmatist does not need to claim that all ideas held by everyone everywhere are equally true. While everyone has a working set of truths, some ideas are better than others because they work better. If the hedonist is perfectly happy with his or her own “truth,” there is nothing to which we can appeal. But we hope that, upon encountering better truths that lead to happier lives, one might be tempted to change. The Buddhist conviction is that the pursuit of pleasure will grow old, in this life or the next. Until then, there will be no converting the hedonist to Buddhism. There seems to exists some thing, some nature of the world, that makes some “truths” work better than others.

James clarifies this by differentiates the working truths we all live by from the “absolutely” true:

The ‘absolutely’ true, meaning what no farther experience will ever alter, is that ideal vanishing-point towards which we imagine that all our temporary truths will some day converge…Meanwhile we have to live to-day by what truth we can get to-day, and be ready to-morrow to call it falsehood.[16]

As knowledge develops, our ideas work better and better, although James never thought we would achieve the absolute truth. The idea of the absolute truth, though, provides us with a guiding light. It may be more appropriate then to compare the Buddhist ideal with Peirce, who argued that pragmatism was only a theory of meaning—not truth—and who saved the word “truth” for that ideal. Just exactly what this truth is, though, can only be meaningful to us insofar as it influences our experience.

Subsequently, one important difference is that Buddhists see the absolute as an achievable ideal. Pragmatists do not make room for this. While James is very charitable towards religious thinking, he never allows one person’s religious experience to trump someone else’s. Buddhists have a very specific goal—the cessation of desire in order to achieve nirvāna, release from the suffering caused by desire. Once that is achieved, some Buddhist schools argue that you gain a personal experience of an absolute truth. It is worth noting, though, that the explanation of what that truth is varies quite a bit. Some schools claim that the Buddha obtains God-like omniscience. Others simply regard enlightenment as a psychological transformation that frees one from suffering; the Buddha knows all that there is to be known. The commonality between these, though, is that each describes enlightenment in terms of experience. For that reason, I think it is fair to say that the Buddha was pragmatic in the sense that he thought teachings were true only insofar as they help one towards the reduction of suffering and the attaining of enlightenment, and absolute truth was outside the realm of ordinary experience.


Kalupahana uses this understanding of the Buddha as a radical empiricist to characterize Nāgārjuna. Many scholars have categorized Nāgārjuna as a radical innovator who not only corrected the mistakes of the Abhidharma thinkers, but also followed out the logical implications of the Buddha’s own teachings—implications that the Buddha either did not see or chose to hide because of the limitations of his disciples. In contrast, Kalupahana argues that Nāgārjuna was not trying to create brand new theories, but trying to restore the Buddha’s radical empiricism.[17]

Regardless of whether or not the Buddha was a radical empiricist, we must note that theorists like the Sautrāntikas added something to Buddhist thought that created quite a bit of problems. They divided sense experience into discrete finite units (dharmas) that did have independent existence (svabhāva), introducing a Hume-like assumption that our experience is composed of discrete building blocks. The self could be reduced to descriptions of those building blocks. However, the postulation of discrete dharmas caused a problem in the explanation of dependent origination. The Abhidharmikas described independent things that existed momentarily and then disappeared. If moments in time are discrete, then how is it that one could ever give rise to another? This problem propelled other Buddhist schools like the Sarvāstivādins to suggest increasingly un-Buddhist alternatives, arguing that past, present, and future all exist. The debates got further and further away from the original topic.

This is when Nāgārjuna appeared on the scene. Nāgārjuna realized that all these debates stemmed from the assumption of the discreteness of units with svabhāva (self-being). As Kalupahana argues, Nāgārjuna’s work is “an attempt to destroy the weeds that had grown around the Buddha’s teachings.”[18] The project of his major work, Mūlamadhyamikakārikā (hereafter abbreviated as the MMK) is to show that if we if we take dharmas to be radically distinct, we would be unable to describe experience. Nāgārjuna analyzes many types of phenomena, and argues that none can be explained by appealing to the interplay of discrete entities. Take for example his examination of fire and fuel: “If fire were to be fuel, then there would be identity of agent and action. If fire were to be different from fuel, then it would exist even without the fuel.”[19] To explain that fuel is a cause of fire, they can be two distinct things. The conclusion is that fire can be neither completely distinct from nor completely identical with fuel, as is the case with all dharmas.

Because Nāgārjuna explicitly attacked the idea of discrete ideas, though, I think it is reasonable for Kalupahana to call him a radical empiricist. Since this was not clear in the Buddha’s teachings, though, I think that Nāgārjuna ought to be seen as an innovator, and someone who made a massive contribution to Buddhist thought. He was defending the original doctrines, no doubt, but to do so he had to clarify new terms and engage in a novel form of argumentation.


Historically, though, Nāgārjuna’s work was taken not as expounding a thesis of how things exist as interrelated, but simply as the rejection of all views. He would not be a radical empiricist, then, because radical empiricism is also a view. This reading of Nāgārjuna was championed by Candrakīrti, who emphasized those aspects of Nāgārjuna that utilized the reductio ad absurdum method.[20] Nāgārjuna’s purpose, some have argued, was to show how assuming any view leads automatically to some contradiction. Thus the proper position, if you can call it that, is to hold no views. Kalupahana argues convincingly, though, that Candrakīrti was more interested in putting forth his own ideas than reading Nāgārjuna correctly. Kalupahana notes that in the first two-line verse of the MMK,alone, for example, Candrakīrti writes 65 pages of commentary.[21] Most scholarship on Nāgārjuna has failed to consider the text in itself.

When we examine that text, Kalupahana argues that we should see Nāgārjuna not as avoiding all views, but as putting forward a positive thesis about how emptiness and dependent origination works.[22] Where Candrakīrti argues that all views lead to contradiction, Nāgārjuna does not clearly do this. His criticism of views is not exhaustive; that leaves other alternatives open. Further, I think that Nāgārjuna is much more direct than a simple reductio ad absurdum—he appeals to experience. If objects were so completely discrete, he argues, you could not explain our experience. But we have experience, so this theory must be wrong. This is technically a reductio ad absurdum argument, but it is also just a simple appeal to experience. This would not make him a skeptic who denies all views, but an empiricist who thinks experience ought to trump theory.

This does not mean that all theory is worthless. Nāgārjuna refers to the parable of the snake as a warning to treat theory with respect—one in which, we must remember, the snake was dangerous but useful.[23] Nāgārjuna mentions two kinds of truth: Truth relating to worldly convention and truth in terms of ultimate fruit. The word fruit is telling here, hinting that ultimate truth is known only in terms of the successful cessation of suffering. That ultimate truth cannot be captured in words, but conventional truth is how we get around in the world. While they are different, they are not absolutely discrete. Conventional truth is necessary—not something to be thrown out altogether. He writes, “Without relying upon convention, the ultimate fruit is not taught.”[24] This does not mean that all conventional truths are equal. Conventional truth differs from conventional falsity—some theories are better than others. This understanding of conventional truth as useful but not ultimate runs parallel to James’s differentiation of working truth from absolute truth. Ultimate truth is that ideal ‘vanishing point’ towards which we strive, and only buddhas know.


Before I close, I want to consider another aspect of Kalupahana’s work: his use of the term metaphysics. He argues that in Buddhism, metaphysics is impossible. As he uses the term, metaphysical theories refer to things beyond the world of experience—things that can never be verified. Some western philosophers do use the term in this way, but for many others, it is simply the area of philosophy in which we ask questions and make claims about what kinds of things exist in the world, how they exist, and what it means to exist. That includes ordinary things that we do experience. So, in the interest of promoting cross-cultural dialogue of this type, I think it is appropriate to say that the Buddhist claims of anātman and dependent origination are just as “metaphysical” as Vedic claims of atman and Brahman, at least in the kinds of things they talk about. To his credit, Kalupahana does distinguish it from the way western philosophers use the term.[25] I think, however, that it can be misleading.

Kalupahana’s reluctance to call Buddhist theory metaphysical seems to stem from two main assumptions. The first is that metaphysics requires some kind of a priori certainty, but this not need be the case. Many who consider themselves metaphysicians are also perfectly happy to agree that all metaphysical claims are potentially subject to doubt. Second, metaphysics is sometimes taken to be dependent on a correspondence theory of truth. That is, we cannot do metaphysics without postulating the existence of some kind of real things, things that must have svabhāva or intrinsic essence, from which a term or expression can get its meaning. However, many metaphycians eschew this as well. In particular, process metaphysicians, such as Alfred North Whitehead, reject both of these claims. For that reason, I think we should use the term metaphysics in a wider sense, in order to promote cross-cultural philosophy 


While I am criticizing David Kalupahana here, I do not want to give the impression that I think the comparison is pointless. In fact, I have learned quite a lot from his work. The problem is not the comparison, but the over-identification of William James with the Buddha. During our panel discussion, Professor Holder, who studied Kalupahana, pointed out that part of Kalupahana’s project was to promote the legitimacy of Buddhist thought by grounding it in western thought. In other words, this would give western philosophers a point of entry. At the time many scholars did not (indeed, many still do not) take an Asian idea seriously until they locate a western analogue to that idea. Kalupahana’s comparative work introduced and legitimized Buddhism to many thinkers.

To restate what I have learned from Kalupahana: The Buddha was not a radical empiricist, but nor was he an empiricist. Nāgārjuna is much closer to being a radical empiricist, because, as James did, he explicitly attacked the idea that experience is composed of discrete units. Both the Buddha and Nāgārjuna seem to endorse forms of pragmatism, but one in which the ideal end, which pragmatists struggle to formulate, is explicitly attainable in the ideal of enlightenment.

Professor Hayes, commenting on this set of papers, asked each of us to explain why the comparison between William James and Buddhist thought was a useful one. Why not try to just explain each thinker in his own context? I think that, as western students of Buddhism, we cannot separate ourselves out from our western context and study Buddhism completely on its own terms. We will always bring our own assumptions to the table. As someone who studied James and Hume before Buddhism, I naturally try to see where they fit in. Thus when we consider them explicitly, we can describe Buddhist thought with a more precise hand. Noting where Nāgārjuna and the Buddha find similarity with William James, and where they do not, allows us to understand each side of the comparison more clearly. The process is a messy one, but at the end we are left with a more accurate understanding.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale


Dīgha-nikāya, edited by T.W. Rhys Davids and J.E. Carpenter., Vols. 1-3. London: Pali Text Society, 1890-1911.

“Discourse on the Parable of the Water Snake.” In Early Buddhist Discourses, translated by John J. Holder, 101-116. Indianapolis: Hacket Publishing, 2006.

James, William. Essays in Radical Empiricism . New York: Longsman, Green, and Co., 1912.

—. “Pragmatism (1907).” In Pragmatism and Other Writings, by William James, edited by Giles Gunn, 1-132. New York: Penguin Books, 2000.

—. “The Stream of Consciousness; from Pscyhology: Briefer Course (1892).” In Pragmatism Penguin, 2000.

Kalupahana, David. A History of Buddhist Philosophy: Continuities and Discontinuities. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1992.

—. Buddhist Philosophy: A Historical Analysis. Honolulu: The University Press of Hawaii,

—. Mūlamadhyamikakārikā of Nāgārjuna: The Philosophy of the Middle Way. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1986.

—. The Principles of Buddhist Psychology. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987


[1] William James, “The Stream of Consciousness; from Pscyhology: Briefer Course (1892),” in Pragmatism and Other Writings, ed. Giles Gunn, 169-190 (New York: Penguin, 2000), 171; hereafter cited as “Stream of Consciousness.”

[2] William James, Essays in Radical Empiricism (New York: Longsman, Green, and Co., 1912), 64.; hereafter cited as Radical Empiricism.

[3] “Stream of Consciousness,”180.

[4] David Kalupahana, A History of Buddhist Philosophy: Continuities and Discontinuities (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1992), 72; Kalupahana uses the term “metaphysics” in a way I think is problematic, but this much is correct.

[5] “Stream of Consciousness,” 178.

[6] “Stream of Consciousness,” 179

[7] “Stream of Consciousness,” 183.

[8] Kalupahana 1992, 72, citing William James, Some Problems of Philosophy, ed. F. Burkhardt (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1979, p. 32.

[9] Kalupahana 1992, 52-54

[10] David Kalupahana, The Principles of Buddhist Psychology (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987), 24.

[11] T.W. Rhys Davids and J.E. Carpenter, ed., Dīgha-nikāya trans. Pali Text Society, Vols. 1-3 (London: Pali Text Society, 1890-1911), 100; hereafter cited as Dīgha-nikāya

[12] Dīgha-nikāya,100.

[13] Holder, John J., trans. “Discourse on the Parable of the Water Snake,” in Early Buddhist Discourses,101-116 (Indianapolis: Hacket Publishing, 2006).

[14] William James, “Pragmatism (1907),” in Pragmatism and Other Writings, ed. Giles Gunn, 1-132 (New York: Penguin Books, 2000), 25; herafter cited as “Pragmatism.”

[15] “Pragmatism,” 94.

[16] “Pragmatism,” 98

[17] David Kalupahana, trans., Mūlamadhyamikakārikā of Nāgārjuna: The Philosophy of the Middle Way, trans. David Kalupahana (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1986);, 5; hereafter cited as MMK.

[18] MMK, 5.

[19] MMK,197.

[20] MMK,25.

[21] MMK, 105

[22] MMK,101

[23] MMK, 335

[24] MMK, 333

[25] David Kalupahana, Buddhist Philosophy: A Historical Analysis (Honolulu: The University Press of Hawaii, 1976), 153-163; (Appendix I: “Metaphysics and the Buddha.”)

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