Existence and Choice

On Dharmic Existentialism

Existence and Choice

The intro serves as a gateway into the intricate world of existentialism, a philosophical domain that grapples with the profound questions of human existence. At its core, existentialism seeks to unravel human identity and purpose, often encapsulated in the quintessential questions :
'Who am I ?' and 'How to live ?'
The term 'existentialism' was coined by Gabriel Marcel in 1943, and since then, it has been a subject of extensive debate and diverse interpretations. The philosophy does not offer a monolithic doctrine but rather a spectrum of perspectives converging on human existence's subjective nature.
Central to existentialist thought is the idea that existence precedes essence. This means that human choice comes first, and through their decisions and actions, humans define their nature. This perspective contrasts sharply with traditional views that posit a predetermined essence.
Another pivotal existentialist theme is the tension between facticity and transcendence. Facticity refers to the unchangeable aspects of human existence, such as birth, death, and the socio-historical context one is born into. Transcendence, on the other hand, pertains to the human capacity to give meaning to life and to transcend the given circumstances.
Freedom and responsibility are intertwined in existentialist philosophy. Humans are seen as free agents, capable of making choices. However, this freedom is not without its weight, as it brings with it the responsibility for one's actions and their outcomes. It is often curtailed by oppression and scarcity. This realization is both liberating and burdensome, leading to existential angst.
The introduction underscores the importance of adopting a first-person perspective to genuinely understand human existence. This insider's view allows for a more profound exploration of life as it is lived, rather than as an abstract concept.
Authenticity emerges as a crucial existentialist ideal. To live authentically is to embrace one's true self, rejecting societal norms and expectations. It's about passionately affirming life, even in the face of its absurdities.
Moods, such as despair, anxiety, and the feeling of absurdity, are not merely transient emotional states in existentialism. Instead, they are profound existential conditions that can catalyze introspection and self-realization.
The introduction also touches upon the critique of objective, detached reasoning. While existentialists challenge this form of rationality, they do not discard reason. Instead, they advocate for a more holistic form of rationality that encompasses the entirety of human experience.
Finally, the stage is set for a comparative exploration, juxtaposing Western existentialist themes with the teachings of the Buddhadharma. 


1. The Thought 'Ego'
This chapter delves into the nature of the ego as a contraction of consciousness, exploring its transient existence and relationship with external objects.
2. What is Consciousness ?
An exploration into the nature and dynamics of consciousness, its various facets, and its role in human existence.
3. Integral Rationality
Discusses a holistic approach to rationality that encompasses human experience, contrasting it with detached, objective reasoning.
4. Perception and Sensation
A dive into how humans perceive the world and the sensations that arise from these perceptions.
5. The Death of God
Examines the philosophical implications of Nietzsche's proclamation of God's death and its impact on existential thought.
6. From Essence to Existence
Explores the shift from understanding humans based on a predetermined essence to defining them through their existence and choices.
7. Existence is Full-Empty
A philosophical exploration of the paradoxical nature of existence, simultaneously both full of interconnectedness and empty of substantial, separate existence.
8. Will, Freedom, and Choice
Delves into human will, the freedom of choice, and the responsibilities of such freedom.
9. Historicism and Embodiment
Discusses the influence of historical contexts on human existence and the significance of physical embodiment.
10. Existence and Creativity
Explores the relationship between human existence and creativity, emphasizing the role of creative thought in understanding human nature.
11. What is Nonduality ?
A dive into nonduality, exploring its implications for understanding the nature of reality.
12. Quantum Nonduality
Exploring the nondual nature of existence at the quantum level.
13. Authenticity
The importance of an authentic life, true to oneself, and the challenges of seeking authenticity.
14. Theist Existentialism
Explores existentialism from a theistic perspective, emphasizing the role of the Divine in understanding human existence.


15. Emotions Down and Up
Examines the role of emotions in human life, their impact on the ego, and the need to understand and manage them.
16. The Worldly Concerns
Discusses the challenges posed by worldly concerns and the tension they create in the quest for a meaningful existence.
17. Layers of the Mind
Explores the layers of the mind and their role in shaping perceptions, thoughts, and actions.
18. Four Facts
Highlights four foundational facts of the Buddhadharma : the Four Noble Truths.
19. From Attention to Mindfulness
Discusses the transition from mere attention to a state of mindfulness, emphasizing its significance in understanding and experiencing life.
20. A Tool for Insight
Introduces tools that can provide deeper insights into the nature of existence and the self.
21. From Now to Timelessness
Explores the concept of time and the journey from the present moment to a state of timelessness.
22. Dharmic Existentialism
Merges the teachings of the Buddhadharma with existentialist thought, offering a unique perspective on understanding existence and choice.

The book concludes with reflections on the discussed themes, aiming to provide a comprehensive understanding of existentialism from both Western and Eastern perspectives.

Books and  PDF Ebooks

Existence and Choice can be purchased
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Mobirise Website Builder

Existence and Choice


© 2023 by Wim van den Dungen

591 pages
available in the LULU Bookstore
ISBN : 978-1-4478-4020-6

40 $

Mobirise Website Builder

Existence and Choice


© 2023 by Wim van den Dungen

4.27 MB
available in the LULU Bookstore

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