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Profile: Zhihua Yao (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
  1. Zhihua Yao (2013). “I Have Lost Me”: Zhuangzi's Butterfly Dream. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 40 (3-4):511-526.
    The parable of the butterfly dream is one of the most interesting and influential passages among Zhuangzi's beautiful writings. This article interprets the butterfly dream from an interdisciplinary approach. The review of mythological and religious sources reveals that the image of the butterfly is widely understood to symbolize the human self or soul. The scientific study of dream experience touches upon the issue of self-consciousness and the sense of two-tiered self. The philosophical and psychological perspectives further highlight the tension between (...)
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  2. Zhihua Yao (2011). Non-Cognition and the Third Pramāṇa. In Helmut Krasser, Horst Lasic, Eli Franco & Birgit Kellner (eds.), Religion and Logic in Buddhist Philosophical Analysis. Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.
    The present paper discusses some concepts and materials that may be linked to Īśvarasena’s theory of non-cognition. These include the concept of feiliang 非量 as found in the writings of Dharmapāla, Asvabhāva, Jinaputra and their Chinese counterparts, and apramāṇatā (or apramāṇatva), as found in the works of Dharmakīrti and his commentators. I shall demonstrate that the two concepts in many ways mirror the theory of three pramāṇas, proposed by Īśvarasena. As most of these materials are from the sixth to eighth (...)
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  3. Zhihua Yao (2010). &Quot;suddenly Deluded Thoughts Arise&Quot;: Karmic Appearance in Huayan Buddhism. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 37 (2):198- 214.
    This study deals with the tensions between old and new Yogācāra, as seen in the Huayan sources, which, in turn, reflect discontinuity between Indian Yogācāra and its reception in China. Its particular focus is on the concept of karmic appearance (karmalakṣaṇa, yexiang 業相), as developed in the Awakening of Faith and further elaborated on by many Huayanmasters. This concept illustrates the sudden arising of deluded thoughts and provides us with a paradigm for the approach to the problem of delusion, a (...)
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  4. Zhihua Yao (2010). Typology of Nothing: Heidegger, Daoism and Buddhism. Comparative Philosophy 1 (1):78-89.
    Parmenides expelled nonbeing from the realm of knowledge and forbade us to think or talk about it. But still there has been a long tradition of nay-sayings throughout the history of Western and Eastern philosophy. Are those philosophers talking about the same nonbeing or nothing? If not, how do their concepts of nothing differ from each other? Could there be different types of nothing? Surveying the traditional classifications of nothing or nonbeing in the East and West have led me to (...)
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  5. Zhihua Yao (2010). Introduction. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 37 (2):151-155.
  6. Zhihua Yao (2009). Empty Subject Terms in Buddhist Logic: Dignāga and His Chinese Commentators. Journal of Indian Philosophy 37 (4):383-398.
    The problem of empty terms is one of the focal issues in analytic philosophy. Russell’s theory of descriptions, a proposal attempting to solve this problem, attracted much attention and is considered a hallmark of the analytic tradition. Scholars of Indian and Buddhist philosophy, e.g., McDermott, Matilal, Shaw and Perszyk, have studied discussions of empty terms in Indian and Buddhist philosophy. But most of these studies rely heavily on the Nyāya or Navya-Nyāya sources, in which Buddhists are portrayed as opponents to (...)
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  7. Zhihua Yao (2008). Some Mahāsāṃghika Arguments for the Cognition of Nonexistent Objects. Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 25 (3):79-96.
    The present paper explores some pre-Vibhāṣika sources including the Kathāvatthu, *Śāriputrābhidharma, and Vijñānakāya. These sources suggest an early origin of the concept of the cognition of nonexistent objects (asad-ālambana-jñāna) among the Mahāsāṃghikas and some of its sub-schools. These scattered sources also indicate some different aspects of this theory from that held by the Dārṣṭāntikas and the Sautrāntikas. In particular, some Mahāsāṃghika arguments for the cognition of nonexistent objects reveal how a soteriologically-oriented issue gradually develops into a sophisticated philosophical concept.
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  8. Zhihua Yao (2008). The Silence of the Buddha. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 6:289-298.
    The current paper reflects my own personal struggle between two different fields of my training and career: religious studies and philosophy. Scholars with training in religious studies are understandably less interested in philosophical issues and more interested in such issues as myth, ritual, practice, eschatology, and, in the case of Buddhism and other Indian religions, soteriology. I will mainly address the tension between soteriological and philosophical discourses. I do agree that philosophy, Eastern philosophy in particular, is a byproduct of religious (...)
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  9. Zhihua Yao (2007). Dharmakīrti and Husserl on Negative Judgments. In Chan-Fai Cheung & Chung-Chi Yu (eds.), Phenomenology 2005, Vol. I, Selected Essays from Asia,. Zeta Books.
    Among various opinions in the controversy over the the cognition of non-existent objects (asad-ālambana-vijñāna) among various Buddhist and Indian philosophical schools or in the debate on the objectless presentations (gegenstandslose Vorstellungen) happened in the early development of phenomenology and analytic philosophy, I find that Dharmakīrti and Husserl hold similar views. Both of them have less interest in redefining the ontological status of nonexistent objects than Russell and Meinong. Rather they engage themselves in analyzing the experiential structure of negative cognition and (...)
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  10. Zhihua Yao (2007). Four-Dimensional Time in Dzogchen and Heidegger. Philosophy East and West 57 (4):512-532.
    : Concerning time, we have many puzzles, such as what eternity is, how it is related to the passage of time, whether the passage of time is irreversible, whether things past are no longer, whether the future is non-predictable, whether or not the present exists, and so on. This article is an attempt to discuss such experiences of the passage of time. First, a Buddhist practice in the Dzogchen tradition that deals with the experience of the passage of time will (...)
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  11. Zhihua Yao (2005, 2009). The Buddhist Theory of Self-Cognition. Routledge.
    This highly original work explores the concept of self-awareness or self-consciousness in Buddhist thought. Its central thesis is that the Buddhist theory of self-cognition originated in a soteriological discussion of omniscience among the Mahasamghikas, and then evolved into a topic of epistemological inquiry among the Yogacarins. To illustrate this central theme, this book explores a large body of primary sources in Chinese, Pali, Sanskrit and Tibetan, most of which are presented to an English readership for the first time. It makes (...)
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  12. Zhihua Yao (2004). Dignāaga and Four Types of Perception. Journal of Indian Philosophy 32 (1):57-79.
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