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What am I?

An unknown Buddhist on the self: King Milinda’s chariotlocked

  • Edward Craig

Abstract

We don't know much about the origins of Indian philosophy. ‘What am I?’ considers the case of the Milindapañha, the Questions of King Milinda, about which we know very little. In this, a Buddhist monk, Nagasena, debates with a regional king and answers his questions. Milanda's questioning ponders a number of issues: Are we our feelings? Are we our perceptions? Are we our dispositions, character? Or is the body the thing that has the dispositions, perceptions, and feelings? Milanda's questioning is structured by the Buddhist doctrine of the ‘five aggregates’, according to which a human being is a complex of five elements, called by Milanda feeling, material form, perception, mental formations, and consciousness.

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