This course explores the criteria of a valid cognition and its various classifications, based on the teachings of the Pramāna tradition, or Buddhist epistemology. We will analyze our consciousness and determine to what degree it is in agreement with its observed object or not; when our mind is direct or not; what the difference is between non-mistaken, non-deceiving, conceptual and non-conceptual types of awareness.

This course has two-fold purpose: It presents a detailed treatment of knowable objects in the form of definitions, examples, equivalents and classifications drawn from Collected Topics, the introductory textbook of Buddhist phenomenology or Abhidharma; secondly this material is used to teach methods for thinking clearly about the teachings using the debate typology of the four types of relationships there can be between any two phenomena. We will train in elementary debate skills in a relaxed environment, such as asking for definitions, equivalents and classifications.

This course begins with the analysis of mind and its functions, or mental events, followed by a detailed phenomenological account of causes and results from Abhidharma and the presentation of the twelve links of dependent origination which is Buddha's response to the perennial questions of where we come from, where we are now and where we are heading. 

This course is an extensive exposition of the ground of Vaibhashika philosophical tradition, based on the expanded version of The Gateway that Reveals the Philosophical Traditions to Fresh Minds root text. This school is valued for their presentation of a contemplative world-view of radical impermanence, without needing to postulate either a personal identity or any principle of divine creation. (The path and result of the Vaibhashika tradition is generally shared with the Sautrāntika tradition and is presented in BUD 530 Mind and Its World IV: Sautrāntika Philosophical Tradition.)

This course is an extensive exposition of the Sautrāntika philosophical tradition, based on the expanded version of The Gateway that Reveals the Philosophical Traditions to Fresh Minds root text. This school is renowned for classifying all knowable objects into specifically and generally characterized phenomena, based on our experience. The path and result presentation here is generally shared with the Vaibhāśika tradition.

Prerequisites: BUD 501, BUD 502