How would you describe the Buddhist world view. Is it realism where everything we observe is really existing out there in a public world and we are observing it or some sort of idealism whereby everything is mind which seems to be from what I have heard in one dhammapada verse but then I also read about the great elements or matter which exists according to Buddhism, so which one is primary matter or mind or what is the right relation between them?? Or maybe Buddhism is something in the middle maybe??, well I have no clue that is why I am asking you this question. I would like to hear both the Theravada and Mahayana perspectives.

Thank you,

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    Pretty sure we have questions about this already, did you search?
    – Andriy Volkov
    Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 12:35
  • well I did but somehow I Didn't find the answer I was looking for. Thanks
    – Buddhism22
    Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 14:12
  • Okay, can you do me a favor? Can you examine those questions and answers I linked and edit your question to ask about specifically what you think those other answers are missing?
    – Andriy Volkov
    Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 19:05

2 Answers 2


what I have heard in one dhammapada verse

You heard this verse wrongly. This verse says all modes of behaviour are created by mind and, when the mode of behaviour is impure, suffering follows; and when the mode of behaviour is pure, happiness follows. This Dhammapada verse is about "kamma" rather than "solipsism".

Since Buddhism teaches suffering is caused by craving, attachment & self-centredness and suffering ends when craving, attachment & selfing are abandoned, whether things exist or not is not relevant to Buddhism.

If, while he is dwelling by means of this dwelling, his mind inclines to speaking, he resolves that 'I will not engage in talk that is base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unbeneficial, that does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calm, direct knowledge, self-awakening or Nibbana — i.e., talk about kings, robbers, & ministers of state; armies, alarms, & battles; food & drink; clothing, furniture, garlands, & scents; relatives; vehicles; villages, towns, cities, the countryside; women & heroes; the gossip of the street & the well; tales of the dead; tales of diversity, the creation of the world & of the sea; talk of whether things exist or not.' In this way he is alert there.

MN 122

  • Great answer!, Could you give me any advice of good teacher that knows the right path. Just to come back to your question is "nama rupa depends on vinjana and vinjana depends on nama rupa some metaphysical ground like mind depends on matter and matter depends on mind or is it just showing how our internal experience of a self arises or ??? I hope you understand what I mean
    – Buddhism22
    Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 13:29

The Mahayana view is easy. Nothing would really exist or ever really happen. Time and space would be conceptual. Mind would have no reality apart from its contents. The true nature of Reality would be beyond conceptual fabrication.

Mahayana is easier to summarise than other schools because it has a clear and formal metaphysics. All positive metaphysical positions are rejected and this allows us to be quite definite about its existential claims.

It is not Idealism but may sometimes appear as 'Absolute' or 'Transcendental' Idealism (for instance see F.H.Bradley's Appearance and Reality). Rather, it reduces both Mind and Matter. It is a neutral or non-dual metaphysical theory. Not a conjectural theory (a likely story) but a descriptive and explanatory theory.

This is the only known solution for metaphysical problems and this means it is the only doctrine that accords with human reason. More generally it is known as 'non-dualism'.

Your question about the priority of Mind and Matter illustrates how this solution works. Philosophers know that the idea either Mind or Matter is fundamental does not work, rendering this an undecidable question or antinomy. This problem has baffled the scholastics for millennia. Mahayana says neither idea works because they are both wrong, and wrong metaphysical ideas never make sense in logic. This is what Nagarjuna proves in his Fundamental Verses on the Middle way, where he presents the logical and metaphysical underpinning of the Mahayana view.

  • Thank you Peter for your answer.
    – Buddhism22
    Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 13:24

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