The Body

Toward an Eastern Mind-Body Theory

By Yasuo Yuasa
Edited and translated by Thomas P. Kasulis
Translated by Shigenori Nagatomo

Subjects: Buddhism
Series: SUNY series in Buddhist Studies
Paperback : 9780887064685, 264 pages, July 1987
Hardcover : 9780887064692, 264 pages, July 1987

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Table of contents

Editor's Introduction
Author's Preface and Acknowledgments
(from Japanese edition)
Author's Introduction to the English Edition
Editor's Summary
1: WATSUJI Tetsuro's View of the Body
Space and body in intersubjectivity
Differences between East and West in understanding spatial-temporal experience
Unity of body-mind
2: NISHIDA Kitaro's View of the Body
The body's amiguity in acting intuition
Time-consciousness and space-consciousness in relation to the body
The basho (place) vis-a-vis being and vis-a-vis nothing
Dual layered consciousness
Practical apodicticity in experience qua basho
The dual structure in acting intuition
Problematics in Nishida's method
3: Method and Attitude in Studying Eastern Thought
The need for methodological reflection
Depth psychology and Eastern metaphysics
Editor's Summary
4: What is Cultivation (shugyo)?
Kairitsu (precepts and canonical law) in Indian Buddhism
Kairitsu in Chin and Japan
Kairitsu and cultivation in Japanese Buddhism
The meaning of cultivation
5: Theories of Artistry (geido)
Cultivation and training in the waka theory of poetry
The waka-dharani
Performance and mind in Zeami
No-mind and body-mind oneness
6: Dogen
Zen's practical character
Cultivation's reversal of the ordinary understanding of being
The body-mind relation in seated meditation
Molting the ordinary dimension
7: Kukai
Chinese Buddhism and the Indian character of tantric Buddhism
Cultivation and the ten stages of mind
The body and sexuality
Sublimation of eros in the mandala
Comparison with mediation in Kundalini Yoga
The body-mind relation as sokushinjobutsu
Overcoming the body'd ambiguity through cultivation
Editor's Summary
8: Contemporary Philosophical Mind-Body Theories
Bergson's Motor Scheme: Beneath the permeation of perception and memory
Brain function and the body's motor-scheme
Merleau-Ponty's Somatic Scheme: The sensory-motor circuit and The somatic scheme
Internal perception
General assessment of Merleau-Ponty's theory of the body
Emotions: The base of the sensory-motor circuit
Two direction in emotion
9: Dual Structure of the Mind-Body Relationship
Surface and base structures: Dual psychophysiological structures of body and mind
Psychophysciological research and Eastern thought
Philosophical significance of body-mind research
Reversing our ordinary understanding of the mind-body relation: Reevaluation of Bergson
10: Eastern Meditation
Psychotherapy and cultivation: Disease and cure in psychosomatic medicine
Psychotherapy and meditative cultivation
The body-mind relation in Indian meditation
Metaphysics and the mind-body theory: Body-mind and Eastern metaphysics (metapsychics)
The body in Indian and Chinese medicine
Intuition and Humanness
Paranormal knowledge
Author's Conclusion to the English Edition

Explores mind-body philosophy from an Asian perspective.


This book explores mind-body philosophy from an Asian perspective. It sheds new light on a problem central in modern Western thought. Yuasa shows that Eastern philosophy has generally formulated its view of mind-body unity as an achievement a state to be acquired—rather than as essential or innate. Depending on the individual's own developmental state, the mind-body connection can vary from near dissociation to almost perfect integration. Whereas Western mind-body theories have typically asked what the mind-body is, Yuasa asks how the mind-body relation varies on a spectrum from the psychotic to the yogi, from the debilitated to the athletic, from the awkward novice to the master musician.

Yuasa first examines various Asian texts dealing with Buddhist meditation, kundalini yoga, acupuncture, ethics, and epistemology, developing a concept of the "dark consciousness" (not identical with the psychoanalytic unconscious) as a vehicle for explaining their basic view. He shows that the mind-body image found in those texts has a striking correlation to themes in contemporary French phenomenology, Jungian psychoanalysis, psychomatic medicine, and neurophysiology. The book clears the ground for a provocative meeting between East and West, establishing a philosophical region on which science and religion can be mutually illuminating.

Yuasa Yasuo is Professor of Comparative Thought and Director of the Japanology program at Tsukuba University in Japan. T. P. Kasulis is Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, and Secretary of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy. S. Nagatomo, Ph.D. in Philosophy, has written several articles on comparative philosophy.


"This is probably the first time I ranked a book outstanding for any publisher. I shall be the first professor to order it for my undergraduate course Buddhism, Psychoanalysis, and Existential Analysis. The whole work will inspire the reader's creative imagination and critical thinking regarding the philosophical, scientific, and medical problems of mind-body." — Charles Wei-hsun Fu, Temple University