In this paper, I intend to make a case for Buddhist phenomenology. By Buddhist phenomenology, I mean a phenomenological interpretation of Yogācāra’s doctrine of consciousness. Yet, this interpretation will be vulnerable if I do not justify the way in which the anti-essentialistic Buddhist philosophy can countenance the Husserlian essence. I dub this problem of compatibility between Buddhist and phenomenology the ‘problem of essence’. Nevertheless, I argue that this problem will not jeopardize Buddhist phenomenology because: 1) Yogācārins, especially late Yogācārins represented by Xuanzang do not articulate emptiness as a negation but as an affirmation of the existent; 2) Husserl’s phenomenological essence is not a substance that Yogācārins reject but the ideal sense (Sinn) that Yogācārins also stress. After resolving the problem of essence, I formulate Buddhist phenomenology as follows: on the epistemological level, it describes intentional acts of consciousness; on the meta-epistemological level, it entails transcendental idealism.
"BUDDHIST PHENOMENOLOGY AND THE PROBLEM OF ESSENCE,"
Comparative Philosophy: Vol. 7
, Article 7.
Available at: https://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/comparativephilosophy/vol7/iss1/7