Happiness in Ancient Indian Philosophy

O'Neil Lecture

Speaker: Maria Heim, Amherst College

When: Mar 22, 2019 - 05:00pm - 07:00pm

Where: Bobo Room, Hodgin Hall



In ancient India philosophers debated many things, but perhaps their liveliest contests concerned the nature of pleasure, happiness, and bliss. In this talk I engage the Upanishads and the Pali Suttas to show how they conceptualized and defined a range of terms for these positive states. I argue that ancient thinkers in these two traditions were preoccupied with achieving happiness and highest bliss and, while their conceptions differed considerably, both posit ultimate bliss as an experience beyond the contingencies of emotion as usually conceived.