Three concepts of Buddhist philosophy: «thought», «mind», «consciousness» (the problem of translation)




Buddhism, thought, mind, consciousness, citta, manas, vijñāna, emptiness, śūnyatā, ākāśa


The paper analyses the three main concepts of Buddhist philosophy of consciousness and considers the problem of their translation into Ukrainian. The author shows that it is necessary to compare the terms related to different Buddhist traditions’ (Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese and al.) in order to adequately translate them into modern languages. The analysis of a passage (II.34) from Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakośa in various translations points out the necessity to translate a whole system of Buddhist terminology, but not the separate terms taken individually, in order to avoid the incompatibility of translated terms with each other.


The study uses the author’s original approach to the Buddhist «philosophy of emptiness». The Author interprets it in a wider sense as a union of three constituents: «emptiness of things», «emptiness of concepts» and «emptiness of consciousness». The paper demonstrates that all three terms, in their primary meaning, refer to the «thought-mind-consciousness» as substance, whose ontological substratum is «emptiness»-ākāśa. At the same time every one of these terms has a range of its own meanings and nuances which either do not overlap or even are antonymous by sense.

Author Biography

Anastasia Strelkova, Hr. Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy, NAS of Ukraine

Doctor of sciences in Philosophy, Senior Research Fellow


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2021-08-15 — Updated on 2021-08-16


How to Cite

Strelkova, A. (2021). Three concepts of Buddhist philosophy: «thought», «mind», «consciousness» (the problem of translation). Sententiae, 40(2), 30–45. (Original work published August 15, 2021)






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