Those beings or objects that have no emotions or consciousness , such as trees and stones. The term is contrasted with sentient beings , those forms of life that possess senses , emotions , or consciousness . Buddhism classifies all existences into two categories: sentient and insentient. A dispute arose in Chinese Buddhism with regard to whether insentient beings possess a Buddha nature , but the view that Buddhahood exists as a potential in all things and phenomena prevailed in China . This idea also became widespread in Japan . See also enlightenment of plants.