The title ‘Concept and Reality‘ might be a poser to those acquainted with Western philosophy. It must be emphasized that this work does not subscribe to the dichotomy between concept and reality as envisaged by modern philosophers.
The Buddha’s Middle Path steers clear of such extreme notions in its recognition of the Relative Validity and the Pragmatic Value of concepts. The world has yet to learn from the chimerical pursuit of ‘Reality’ by modern philosophers and nuclear physicists alike. In this respect, ‘Concept and Reality’ is more relevant to the times today, than when it was written forty years ago. In this hectic electronic age, very few care to ‘venture’ beyond ‘ads’ and key-words. I do not propose to ‘up-date’ this work to suit the tastes of this age of ‘haste and waste’. Let genuine interest be the ‘mouse’ and radical attention the ‘cursor’ for the readers of this volume. Let them traverse the dark corridors of ignorance with the lamp of Wisdom in their quest for ‘Reality’.
The analysis of the nature of concepts constitutes an important facet of the Buddhist doctrine of Anattâ (‘not-self’). Buddhism traces the idea of a soul to a fundamental error in understanding the facts of experience. This ignorance (avijjâ) is reflected to a great extent in the words and concepts in worldly parlance. Being unaware of their limitations, man is generally prone to cling to them dogmatically and this accounts for a good deal of complications in his intellectual and emotional life. Hence an understanding of the nature of concepts as such is a preliminary step in the spiritual endeavour in Buddhism. The Buddha’s teachings on this particular aspect of our phenomenal existence can best be appreciated with the aid of the two key-words, ‘ papañca‘ and ‘ papañca-saññâ-saïkhâ‘, an evaluation of which is the aim of this work…..