Prof. Matsumoto Shirō and his colleague, Prof. Hakamaya Noriaki, have together produced a number of lengthy essays on a theme called hihan bukkyō (批判仏教), in English, "Critical Buddhism."1 At the core of their project is the conviction that the concepts of tathāgatagarbha and innate enlightenment (本覺思想) are alien to Buddhism, due to the fact that those concepts imply a belief in a hypostasized self--a type of atman, which Buddhism originally and distinctively sought to refute through the conceptual framework of pratītya-samutpāda (...) (dependent origination). (shrink)
This is a review of the book Cultivating Original Enlightenment: Wŏnhyo's Exposition of the Vajrasamādhi-Sūtra , by Robert E. Buswell, Jr., published by the Univeristy of Hawaii Press (2008). This volume, the first to be published in the Collected Works of Wŏnhyo series, contains the translation of a single text by Wŏnhyo, the Kŭmgang Sammaegyŏng Non.
In the aftermath of the Aum case, various suggestions as to the causes of dangerous cult mentality, and possible measures for its prevention have been offered in the Japanese media, but it seems that a much more penetrating diagnosis is necessary than that thus far proffered. To merely lay blame to the person of Shoko Asahara, or the phenomenon of mind control, or an insensitivity, ineptitude, or lack of resources on the part of the Japanese police, is to grossly oversimplify (...) and objectify a problem which has complex roots within the structure of the very institutions and values which Japanese society regards as its greatest assets. (shrink)
This is the second in a series of articles on the role of the concepts of essence-function t'i-yung 體用) and interpenetration t'ung-ta 通達) in traditional East Asian religious and philosophical thought. The first installment of this series, entitled "The Composition of Self-Transformation Thought in Classical East Asian Philosophy and Religion." Bulletin of Toyo Gakuen University, vol. 4, March, 1996), was a general introduction to the two concepts. The present article treats their appearance in the earliest Confucian classics, including the I (...) Ching , Great Learning and Doctrine of the Mean , with a special emphasis on the elaboration of the role of the concept of sincerity 誠. これ は伝統的の東アジアの哲学的・宗教学的思想における「體用」(essence-function) と「通達」(interpenetration)という概念の役割について、のシリーズ二番目の論文である。このシリーズの一番目の論文「東アジアにおけ.. (shrink)
We have arrived, in recent times, to a phase of heightened self-reflection concerning the nature and content of American modes of interpretive scholarship in relation to their object, the East Asian religious tradition. Such intensified reflection within the field has helped bringing about a degree of overcoming of the limitations of certain prior methodologies, allowing us to identify and eliminate patterns of inquiry which lead to exaggeration, naivete and or ignorance regarding the object, which occur as the result of the (...) unconscious bias created by perception limited by the confines of our culturally defined interpretive paradigms. (shrink)
We few Westerners who have had the luck to be led into the study of Korean Buddhism continue to be faced with the task of trying to make our Buddhist studies colleagues aware of the mountain of unexplored treasures contained in the Korean Buddhist textual corpus — works that shed light not only on the richness of the Korean tradition itself, but which provide much clarification and scholarly insight into the broader field of East Asian Buddhism, and indeed the entire (...) Buddhist tradition as whole. One fascinating Korean text that I have wanted to work with for some time, and which this conference has finally provided me the opportunity to explore, is the very short, but very difficult analysis of the two hindrances that is contained within a larger text called the Jegyeong hoeyo 諸經會要 by the Joseon monk Choenul 最訥 (1717-1790). (shrink)
Among the numerous distinctive aspects of the work of the noted Korean scholar-monk Wonhyo is the broad range of traditions and texts that he accorded treatment — along with the unusual level of fairness and seriousness he brought to such works — an indication of his lack of sectarian bias. Another distinctive aspect of his work as an exegete is the extent to which his "religious" attitude — his concern for the nurturance of the faith in the minds of his (...) readers inevitably rises to the forefront of his works. Thus, what he has to say about the idea of "faith" 信 in the context of a Pure Land work is a matter of considerable interest. (shrink)
Koreans originally received Buddhism from their Chinese predecessors in a scripturally oriented context, and the Buddhism of the latter part of the Three Kingdoms period up through the Unified Silla 1 was wholly contained within scholarly sects. Not only were the scholarly schools the sole articulators of Buddhist soterics and philosophy—they administered all of the monasteries, and became deeply involved on an institutional level with the Silla government. These doctrinal schools functioned in this capacity for several centuries, without so much (...) as a hint of a question of their religious or political authority. (shrink)
Patterns of Religion is an introduction to the religions of the world with an emphasis on seven of the most influential traditions: Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Taoism. The book also includes chapters on ancient patterns of spirituality and tribal religions in historical times; an epilogue on millennial religions; and appendixes on Jainism, Sikhism, Shinto, and the Web sites of the religions that are the subjects of the text. Other, traditions such as Zoroastrianism and Chinese; folk religions are (...) discussed at the points at which they intersect with the traditions that are the focus of the text. The book is comprehensive (it covers all of the major living traditions and touches on many lesser-known traditions) and includes readings from the scripture of each of the major traditions. With the exception of Chapters 1 and 2, each chapter has the same four-part internal organization (beliefs, practice, history, and contemporary context). (shrink)
Based on my prior exposure in Korean Buddhism, when I first picked up Polishing the Diamond I expected to see something of the more typical Korean Jogye fare-- gongan explanations, advice on meditation, maybe some lectures containing citations from classical Seon or scriptural literature, or something like the Zen-style sermons of Seung Sahn. What I found instead was a refreshingly new and unusually eclectic blend of teachings, and at least in the extent to which the focus is on the actions (...) of karma in daily life, perhaps more on the order of what one might expect to find in a text from a modern Theravada tradition. (shrink)
I will speak here of three notions which are crucial for a thoroughgoing understanding of the three East Asian philosophical/religious teachings of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. The first I name integrated practice ; the other two are already known to modern scholarship as essence-function and interpenetration. Despite the readily observable reliance on these fundamental and unifying elements by the major masters of the three traditions, through the past century of modern scholarly investigation in the West they have been paid almost (...) no sustained attention. While they have occasionally been identified in a fragmentary and cursory way, they have not been examined from the perspective of their role as fundamental constituents of a holistic cultural worldview, or as a set of pan-East Asian metaphysical categories which are radically distinct from basic Western paradigms, and which have retained remarkable consistency throughout the long histories and wide range of schools of thought contained in the three traditions. (shrink)
While there are a wide range of important differences in interpretation of doctrine to be seen even within any single school of East Asian philosophy, whether it be Confucian, Daoist, or Buddhist, it is on the other hand possible to identify broad patterns within East Asian philosophy in a cultural comparative context, especially when, for example, the East Asian philosophical tradition is viewed in contrast with Abrahamic theistic traditions, Platonic-influenced Western philosophy, Brahmanistic philosophy, or the worldviews of modern natural science.
Korean Buddhism is distinctive within the broader field of East Asian Buddhism for the pronounced degree of its syncretic discourse. Korean Buddhist monks throughout history have demonstrated a marked tendency in their essays and commentaries to focus on the solution of disagreements between various sects within Buddhism, or on conflicts between Buddhism and other religions. While a strong ecumenical tendency is noticeable in the writings of dozens of Korean monks, among the most prominent in regard to their exposition of syncretic (...) philosophy are Wŏnhyo 元曉 617-686), Pojo Chinul 普照知訥 1158-1210) and Hamheo Kihwa 涵虚己和 1376-1433). (shrink)
Our current age offers us dramatic new possibilities in terms of the exchange and development of textual research resources, as we can now gather and transmit information with an ease and rapidity which was inconceivable through earlier media. Although most people will no doubt always prefer to have a hard copy of a book or lengthy article to sit down and read, lexicographical and encyclopedic style reference materials, which have relatively brief and compartmentalized data formats, are extremely well-suited for the (...) digital domain, as they can be furnished with search and retrieval capabilities which are impossible in paper form. The twin CJK lexicographical models presented here stand as an early model of the possibilities such digital reference materials. They have special relevance in the fact that they are not created by a professional software company, or as the fruit of a large, endowed research team. Rather, they have been developed to their current state almost exclusively by a lone humanities scholar possessed of only the most minimal of programming skills with simple HTML techniques. (shrink)
These, and many other related questions have continued to rise in the minds of meditation practitioners of Chan, Sôn and Zen Buddhism since the earliest stages in the development of these traditions, and it is in response to such questions that the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment (Chinese: Yuanjue jing ) was composed. In addition to detailed guidance on the undertaking of Chan contemplation, the sutra offers concise discussions of the fundamental philosophical grounds which underlie such practices, in the form (...) of question and answer sessions between the Buddha and twelve prominent bodhisattvas. While long a popular text throughout the East Asian meditative tradition, the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment attained to a special canonical status in the Korean Chogye school where it was favored by such luminaries as Chinul, T'aego and Hyujông, and where it is used down to the present day as a basic text for monastic instruction. The.. (shrink)
Thirty spokes join together in the hub. It is because of what is not there that the cart is useful. Clay is formed into a vessel. It is because of its openness that the vessel is useful. Cut doors and windows to make a room. It is because of its openness that the room is useful. Therefore, what is present is used for profit. But it is in absence that there is usefulness.
In a recent article, the writer has broached the topic of indentifying distinctions in the modes of commentarial discourse within the exegetical works of the the Korean scholiast Wonhyo (617-686), taking note of (1) a rational/logical form of discourse that attempts to elucidate the point of a passage — and especially to resolve any doctrinal problems contained therein — using clear rational argumentation, and (2) an intuitive, poetic, form of discourse that tends to emphasize the fact that the ultimate Buddhist (...) truth is inapprehensible through discriminatory thought. In that paper, attention was paid primarily to the second mode, which tends to be seen itself in the opening and closing portions of his commentaries — or in works, or portions of works — that deal primarily with issues of faith. In that paper, examples were drawn primarily from his commentaries on the Awakening of Mahāyāna Faith and the Sutra of Immeasurable Life . This paper advances that discussion by paying attention to the rational/logical strain of his work, which is clearly of equal, and possibly even greater importance. Here we look at passages from two of his works that both make use of logic, yet which also subject logic itself to a critique in terms of testing the limitations of its applicability in resolving the most fundamental of religious truths. (shrink)
as a major force in the establishment of Hua-yen studies in Korea. A major component of Wŏnhyo's career that is sometimes overlooked in these characterizations, however, is the fact that he easily stands as one of the greatest Yogācāra scholars in the entire history of East Asian Buddhism, having demonstrated a mastery of the Yogācāra doctrine equaled by probably no more than three or four individuals in the entire East Asian tradition. 1 Indeed, after (...) K'uei-chi 窺基 and Hsüan-tsang 玄奘 , there does not seem to be an East Asian scholar who produced the volume of Consciousness-only related materials comparable to Wŏnhyo. (shrink)
To start with, I would like to briefly say that as a result of my work in translating one of Wonhyo's major extant texts, I have come away with a greatly deepened appreciation of two aspects of his work: (1) the remarkable level of impartiality of the treatment that he gave to the wide range of Buddhist doctrine, and (2) the incredible degree of thoroughness with which he pursued his inquiries. But since these are points already well known to all (...) of our colleagues here today, I will not spend any further time elaborating on them. Instead, I would like to focus more specifically on the special contributions that Wonhyo made toward apprehending the intertwined discourses of the incoming Indian Buddhological currents that attempted to offer systematic accounts of the nature and function of human consciousness. (shrink)
If we reflect on the history of Buddhism, we should be able to acknowledge as an anomaly the present yawning chasm to be seen between North American / Japanese academic scholarship that deals with Zen/Chan and the corresponding practice community. We have on one hand a religious tradition that has, due to a combination of its own rhetorical choices and various historical turns, become largely bereft of the ongoing production of significant scholarship concerning its own history and doctrine (leaving (...) aside for the moment the case of Korea). This is juxtaposed with an academic scholarly tradition, generated from its own radically different historical roots that has a historical-philological orientation that ends up being almost completely disconnected from the concerns of the practitioner within the tradition, be she/he a monastic or lay adherent. What is further interesting about this situation is the extent to which it has, despite its peculiarity, come to be taken for granted as normative—at least within Western and Japanese scholarship. (shrink)