Concept & Reality

An Essay on Papañca and Papañca-Saññā-Saṅkhā
by Bhikkhu Kaṭukurunde Ñāṇananda

Originally published by the Buddhist Publication Society, 1971
Click here to download the 2012 Digital Edition [3.3-MB PDF].
Specially edited for The Dharmasar Solution, 2015

Introduction → Click to start reading


In this book, the Venerable Author Bhikkhu Kaṭukurunde Ñāṇananda, formerly an Assistant Lecturer in Pali at the University of Sri Lanka, Peradeniya, drawing from his broad knowledge of the Buddha’s teachings, sheds new light on a deep problem of perennial philosophy, indicated by the title Concept and Reality. This work begins from a deep analysis of two important, but controversial terms found in the Pali Canon—papañca and papañca-saññā-saṅkhā. The characteristic Buddhist doctrine of ‘not-self’ (anattā) is shown in new dimensions of significance, having far-reaching implications not only in the context of Buddhism but also for the student of philosophy, psychology and ethics. The observations on concept and conceptualizing find special import in the context of modern semantic philosophy. Copious quotations from rare Sutta texts provide increased knowledge and new interpretations of obscure passages, and also render the work a substantial source book for Buddhist Philosophy. But most of all, this book speaks to the practitioner who wants to push his meditation beyond the concept of enlightenment to realization of Nibbāna itself.




Prologue: From Views to Vision

Part I—Papañca and Papañca-saṭṭā-saṅkhā

Papañca: a Keyword in Sutta Terminology

Papañca and Sense Perception

Triple Proliferation in Thought

Bondage of Concepts

Path to Non-proliferation

Relative Validity and Pragmatic Value of Concepts

Papañca and Paṭicca-samuppāda

Abiding in the Void

Limitations of the Dialectical Approach

The Lotus and the Fire

Part II—Commentarial Interpretations

Part III—Prapaṭca in Mahāyāna Buddhism

Part IV—Prapaṭca in the Vedānta

Modern Scholars on Papañca and Papañca-saṭṭā-saṅkhā

Introduction →