Li in east asian buddhism: One approach from Plato's parmenides

Asian Philosophy 19 (1):31 – 49 (2009)
Abstract
In Plato's Parmenides , Socrates proposes a 'Day' analogy to express one possible model of part/whole relations. His analogy is swiftly rejected and replaced with another analogy, that of the 'Sail'. In this paper, it is argued that there is a profound difference between these two analogies and that the 'Day' represents a distinct way to think about part/whole relations. This way of thinking, I argue, is the standard way of thinking in East Asian Buddhism. Plato's 'Day' analogy can then be used to illuminate the meaning of an opaque but very important concept in East Asian Buddhism: li , which in this paper is developed as a modal concept of 'Wholeness'.
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