Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

Awakened Perception: Perception as Participation

Bonnitta Roy

Abstract: Perception has been called into questions by eastern traditions and western scholars for millennia. In a few “secret” places in Zen, Chan and r-Dzogchen Buddhism, the ultimate valid truth is said to be directly perceived. I propose a modern methodology called integral phenomenology that integrates deep phenomenal examination with contemporary research on perception (from both eastern contemplative science and western empirical science), to reclaim the notion of direct perception as adequate participation. In doing so, I develop an ecological model of perception, which includes “hybrid zones” where different perceptual states overlay each other, leading to non-ordinary experience, state transitions, and eventually, self-liberating insight and non-dual wisdom. This modern methodology must pass the critical examination of the highest Buddhist authority on direct perception—the Gelukba Sautrantika school. This is a critical challenge, and yet, if successful, shares the Sautrantika’s schools optimism that liberating wisdom can be gained by starting with everyday ordinary experience—which is a key principle of the integral phenomenological method.

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