This book is the first to engage Zen Buddhism philosophically on crucial issues from a perspective that is informed by the traditions of western philosophy and religion. It focuses on one renowned Zen master, Huang Po, whose recorded sayings exemplify the spirit of the 'golden age' of Zen in medieval China, and on the transmission of these writings to the West. The author makes a bold attempt to articulate a post-romantic understanding of Zen applicable to contemporary world culture. While (...) deeply sympathetic to the Zen tradition, he raises serious questions about the kinds of claims that can be made on its behalf. (shrink)
In Taking the Path of Zen , Robert Aitken provided a concise guide to zazen (Zen meditation) and other aspects of the practice of Zen. In The Mind of Clover he addresses the world beyond the zazen cushions, illuminating issues of appropriate personal and social action through an exploration of the philosophical complexities of Zen ethics. Aitken's approach is clear and sure as he shows how our minds can be as nurturing as clover, which enriches the soil and benefits the (...) environment as it grows. The opening chapters discuss the Ten Grave Precepts of Zen, which, Aitken points out, are "not commandments etched in stone but expressions of inspiration written in something more fluid than water." Aitken approaches these precepts, the core of Zen ethics, from several perspectives, offering many layers of interpretation. Like ripples in a pond, the circles of his interpretation increasingly widen, and he expands his focus to confront corporate theft and oppression, the role of women in Zen and society, abortion, nuclear war, pollution of the environment, and other concerns. The Mind of Clover champions the cause of personal responsibility in modern society, encouraging nonviolent activism based on clear convictions. It is a guide that engages, that invites us to realize our own potential for confident and responsible action. (shrink)
Introduction: Experiential deconstructive inquiry -- Foundational philosophies and spiritual methods -- Non-duality in Advaita Vedanta and Zen Buddhism -- Ontological differences and non-duality -- Meditative inquiry, questioning, and dialoguing as a means to spiritual insight -- The undoing or deconstruction of dualistic conceptions -- Advaita Vedanta : philosophical foundations and deconstructive strategies -- Sources of the tradition -- Upaniads that art thou (Tat Tvam Asi) -- Gauapda (c.7th century) : no bondage, no liberation -- Aakara (c.7th-8th century) : there (...) is no apprehender different from this apprehension to apprehend it -- Modern and contemporary masters -- Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950) : who am I? -- H.W.L Poonja (1910-1997) : you have to do nothing to be who you are! -- Gangaji (b. 1942) : you are that! -- Advaita Vedanta summary : nothing ever happens -- Zen Buddhism : philosophical foundations and deconstructive strategies -- Sources of the tradition -- The Lakvatra Sutra and the Vajracchedik Prajñpramit Sutra all things ... are not independent of each other and not two -- Ngrjuna (c.113-213) : Sasra is Nirva -- Eihei Dgen (1200-1253) : if I am already enlightened, why must I practice -- Contemporary masters -- Ekai Korematsu (b. 1948) : return to the spine -- Hgen Yamahata (b. 1935) : why not now -- Zen Buddhism summary : neither being nor non-being is to be taken hold of -- Deconstructive techniques and dynamics of experiential undoing -- Deconstructive techniques common to both traditions -- The teacher-student dynamic -- Key deconstructive techniques -- Unfindability analysis -- Bringing everything back to the here and now -- Paradoxical problems -- Negation -- Dynamics of experiential undoing -- Non-dual experiential space -- Experiential mapping : practitioners in the space -- Experiential undoing in Advaita Vedanta -- Experiential undoing in Zen Buddhism -- Conclusion: Deconstruction of reified awareness. (shrink)
The true man without any rank.--Two dimensions of ego consciousness.--Sense and nonsense in Zen Buddhism.--The philosophical problem of articulation.--Thinking and a-thinking through kōan.--The interior and exterior in Zen.--The elimination of color in Far Eastern art and photography.
Zen Training is a comprehensive handbook for zazen , seated meditation practice, and an authoritative presentation of the Zen path. The book marked a turning point in Zen literature in its critical reevaluation of the enlightenment experience, which the author believes has often been emphasized at the expense of other important aspects of Zen training. In addition, Zen Training goes beyond the first flashes of enlightenment to explore how one lives as well as trains in Zen. The author also draws (...) many significant parallels between Zen and Western philosophy and psychology, comparing traditional Zen concepts with the theories of being and cognition of such thinkers as Heidegger and Husserl. (shrink)
1 Be Still Sitting is a natural slowing down of this rushing, self-centered, mind-body chattering that we often live. This is the practice of realization, which is what we are, and this practice allows us to be who we are.
Simon P. James' Zen Buddhism and Environmental Ethics offers an engaging, sophisticated, and well-argued defence of the notion that Zen Buddhism has something positive to offer the environmental movement. James' goal is two-fold: first, dispel criticism that Zen (by virtue of its anti-philosophical stance) lacks an ethical program (because it shuns conventional morality), has no concern for the environment at large (because it adopts a thoroughly anthropocentric stance), and deprives living entities of any intrinsic worth (because it operates (...) from the standpoint of the doctrine of emptiness); second, to argue that Zen's quietist stance in fact fosters the development of certain character traits (compassion, non-violence, selflessness, etc.) that in turn lead to having an enlightened attitude toward the environment. (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)
Review of Leesa S. Davis, Advaita Vedanta and Zen Buddhism: Deconstructive Modes of Spiritual Inquiry Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11841-012-0297-1 Authors David R. Loy, Boulder, CO, United States Journal Sophia Online ISSN 1873-930X Print ISSN 0038-1527.
In reviewing four works from the 1990s-monographs by Christopher Ives and Phillip Olson on Zen Buddhist ethics, Damien Keown's treatment of Indian Buddhist ethics, and an edited collection on Buddhism and human rights-this article examines recent scholarship on Zen Buddhist ethics in light of issues in Buddhist and comparative ethics. It highlights selected themes in the notional and real encounter of Zen Buddhism with Western thought and culture as presented in the reviewed works and identifies issues and problems (...) for further consideration, in particular, problems of comparative and cross-cultural understanding and the articulation and redefinition of Zen Buddhist tradition. (shrink)
In Buddhism the idea of a transcendental or eternal self is denied as non-substantial and impermanent: a non-verifiable metaphysical entity that leads to grasping, craving and suffering. Buddhism posits that things continually change, are continually reducible and recyclable, and that no inherent existence or metaphysical “self” exists but rather a series of aggregates give rise to the experience so that consciousness itself is causally conditioned. As applied to the notion of no- self the one who is reborn and (...) the one who dies and the one who follows the path and the one who realizes enlightenment are neither the same nor different selves. With the Buddhist doctrine of impermanence an analysis of the notion of the “self” breaks down into layers to discover that the self does not exist independently at all. Because of simultaneous arising and falling of each moment the self exists as essentially empty. (shrink)
While there has been a surge in scholarship on Imperial Way Buddhism (kōdō Bukkyō) in the past several decades, little attention has been paid, particularly in Western scholarship, to the life and work of Ichikawa Hakugen (1902–1986), the most prominent and sophisticated postwar critic of the role of Buddhism, and particularly Zen, in modern Japanese militarism. By way of a thorough and critical investigation of Ichikawa’s critique, Imperial-Way Zen: Ichikawa Hakugen’s Critique and Lingering Questions for Buddhist Ethics by (...) Christopher Ives seeks to provide answers to a number of important questions regarding Zen ethics in the context of modern Japan. Particularly fruitful is Ives’ discussion, in chapter 7, of the .. (shrink)
Part I It is a perennial theme in the literature on environmental ethics that the exploitation of the environment is the result of a blindness to (or perhaps a refusal to recognize) the intrinsic value of natural beings. The general story here is that Western traditions of thought have tended to accord natural beings value only to the extent that they prove useful to humans, that they have tended to see nature as only instrumentally valuable. By contrast, it is said (...) that a new, environmentally friendly understanding of the world would value nature ?for its own sake?, would conceive natural beings as having intrinsic value. In the light of such an understanding, the oak tree, for instance, would be seen not merely as a source of timber or shade or as a decoration for the front lawn, but as valuable ?in itself?, as having an intrinsic value that ought to be respected (see further, O'Neill 1993, chapter 2). (shrink)
Early Buddhist Metaphysics provides a philosophical account of the major doctrinal shift in the history of early Theravada tradition in India: the transition from the earliest stratum of Buddhist thought to the systematic and allegedly scholastic philosophy of the Pali Abhidhamma movement. Entwining comparative philosophy and Buddhology, the author probes the Abhidhamma's metaphysical transition in terms of the Aristotelian tradition and vis-à-vis modern philosophy, exploits Western philosophical literature from Plato to contemporary texts in the fields of philosophy of mind and (...) cultural criticism. (shrink)
David Webster explores the notion of desire as found in the Buddhist Pali Canon. Beginning by addressing the idea of a 'paradox of desire', whereby we must desire to end desire, the varieties of desire that are articulated in the Pali texts are examined. A range of views of desire, as found in Western thought are presented as well as Hindu and Jain approaches. An exploration of the concept of ditthi (view or opinion) is also provided, exploring the way in (...) which 'holding views' can be seen as analogous to the process of desiring. Other subjects investigated include the mind-body relationship, the range of Pali terms for desire, and desire's positive spiritual value. A comparative exploration of the various approaches completes the work. (shrink)
Morrison offers an illuminating study of two linked traditions that have figured prominently in twentieth-century thought: Buddhism and the philosophy of Nietzsche. Nietzsche admired Buddhism, but saw it as a dangerously nihilistic religion; he forged his own affirmative philosophy in reaction against the nihilism that he feared would overwhelm Europe. Morrison shows that Nietzsche's influential view of Buddhism was mistaken, and that far from being nihilistic, it has notable and perhaps surprising affinities with Nietzsche's own project of (...) the transvaluation of all values. (shrink)
To live life fully and die serenely--surely we all share these goals, so inextricably entwined. Yet a spiritual dimension is too often lacking in the attitudes, circumstances, and rites of death in modern society. Kapleau explores the subject of death and dying on a deeply personal level, interweaving the writings of Western religions with insights from his own Zen practice, and offers practical advice for the dying and their families.
This lucid overview of the Buddhist path takes the perspective of the three "vehicles" of Tibetan Buddhism: the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. While these vehicles are usually presented as a historical development, they are here equated with the attitudes that individuals bring to their Buddhist practice. Basic to them all, however, is the need to understand our own immediate condition. The primary tool for achieving this is meditation, and The Essence of Buddhism serves as a handbook for the (...) various meditative approaches of Buddhist practice. Beginning with the Four Noble Truths, Traleg Rinpoche incorporates the expansive vision of the bodhisattva path and the transformative vision of Tantra. The final chapters present the transcendent view of Mahamudra. This view dispenses with all dualistic fixations and directly realizes the natural freedom of the mind itself. Along the way, the author provides vivid definitions of fundamental concepts such as compassion, emptiness, and Buddha-nature, and answers common questions: Why does Buddhism teach that there is "no self"? Are Buddhist teachings pessimistic? Does Buddhism encourage social passivity? What is the role of sex in Buddhist Tantra? Why is it said that "samsara is nirvana"? Does it take countless lifetimes to attain enlightenment, or can it be achieved in a moment? (shrink)
This compelling study of the Ri-me movement and of the major Buddhist lineages of Tibet is comprehensive and accessible. It includes an introduction to the history and philosophy of the Ri-me movement; a biography of the movement's leader, the meditation master and philosopher known as Jamgon Kongtrul the Great; helpful summaries of the eight lineages' practice-and-study systems, which point out the different emphases of the schools; an explanation of the most hotly disputed concepts; and an overview of the old and (...) new tantras. Jamgon Kongtrul the Great (1813-1899) is a giant in Tibetan history, renowned for his scholarly and meditative achievements, but also for his energetic yet evenhanded work to unify and strengthen the different lineages of Buddhism. The Ri-me movement, led by Kongtrul and several other leading scholars of the time, was a unifying effort to cut through interscholastic divisions and disputes that were occurring between the different lineages. These leaders sought appreciation of the differences and acknowledgment of the importance of variety in benefiting practitioners with different needs. The Ri-me teachers also took great care that the teachings and practices of the different schools and lineages, and their unique styles, did not become confused with one another. This lucid survey of the Ri-me movement will be of interest to serious scholars and practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. (shrink)
The aim of this book is simple: to invite readers to consider what it means to lead a good life, and to offer practical advice, based on the Buddhist teachings, as to how this can be accomplished. In each of more than thirty brief essays, Master Hsing Yun treats a specific moral or ethical issue, using quotations from the rich treasury of the Buddhist scriptures as a point of departure for his discussion. Among the topics he considers are control of (...) the body and of speech, overcoming greed, ending anger, patience under insult, how to manage wealth, how to get along with others, what it means to practice Buddhism, and the blessings and joys of that practice. The Buddhist precepts are introduced as guideposts along this path of liberation, and friendship, gratitude, and service to others are presented as essential elements of a common quest to discover and to embody our innate goodness and humanity. (shrink)
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)
would probably have taken over the translating profession by now. At best, computer translations read awkwardly, and some of them are downright humorous. Precise, word-for-word, humanrendered translations fare no better.