Author affiliation: Center for Evolving Humanities, University of Tokyo , Tokyo, Japan
The causes of disagreements between individuals, social groups, cultural groups, political parties, and nations can be traced down to the basic human tendency to give form to – and to reify views, beliefs, and opinions. With this being the case, I would like to ask the question: what, exactly are ‘views’ (including here such overlapping categories as ‘opinions’, ‘beliefs’ and ‘attitudes’,)? How, exactly, do we give form to them? Why is it so difficult to change, or get rid of them? The Buddhist tradition since the time of its inception, has been greatly concerned with the matter of identifying ‘false views’ and replacing them with ‘correct views’. But serious and insightful research into the formation and maintenance of views and beliefs is by no means limited to Buddhism. It has been a topic of great concern in the past century to a wide range of secular researchers: social and behavioural psychologists; literary theorists and epistemologists; scientists and marketing strategists. What the specialists in these various fields have to say about beliefs is diverse – and yet there is much overlap. The ways in which they overlap are thought-provoking, and their differences are revelatory. In this paper, I investigate a few prominent approaches to the study of views and beliefs, and show how these various approaches can do much to fill in each other’s discourse. Finally, I reframe the Mahayana Buddhist notion of ‘correct faith’ within the context of this exploration of views.
Views: The Real Boundaries 362 Characteristics of Belief and Views 365 1 . dṛṣṭi 365 2 . Behavior 365 3 . Truth 365 4 . Knowledge 366 5 . Resistance to Change 368 Belief/View Formation 370 Change, Removal, and Otherwise 372 Buddhism and the Non-Abiding in Views 373 The Root of Views: Reification 375 Views within the Levels of Consciousness: the Yogâcāra Contribution 376 East Asian Trends 378 Views in Zen and Their Disposal 379 Bibliography 380