Triune Mind in Buddhism: A Textual Exploration

Suwanda H J Sugunasiri


There are three terms for ‘mind’ in the Buddhist Canon – Mano, Citta and Viññāna. But there does not seem to be much clarity on them in their Canonical usage. In translating the concepts, contemporary scholars, East and West, do not seem to be much clearer either. Exploring what we eventually come to call the ‘Triune mind’ – i.e., three-in-one mind, this limited research delineates the three minds functionally – Mano as R-Mind (Receiving- Mind), Citta as J-Mind (Judging-Mind) and Viññāna as E-Mind (Executive-Mind). Characterizing this view of mind as a M(ind)-Simplex, each of them, as well as all three taken together, however, come to be seen as a M(ind)-Complex, too, given their multifunctionality and interrelationality. By way of coming out of the confusion relating to the word trio, a general criterion is proposed to be used in seeking clarity – to consider the context. Is it localized or generic? The paper benefits from Western Science and Linguistics, as well as from some creative and unconventional thought on the part of the author. Along these lines are a few new terms and concepts introduced (see end of paper).

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