This article examines the issue of the paradoxicality of institution, de-institutionalization, or the counter-institutionalization in classical Chan thought by focusing on the texts of Hongzhou School. It first analyzes the problem of 20th century scholars in characterizing the Chan attitude toward institution as iconoclasts, and the problem of the recent tendency to return to images of the Chan masters as traditionalists, as opposed to iconoclasts. Both problems are examples of imposing an oppositional way of thinking on the Chan masters. The (...) essay then introduces a new paradigm for interpreting the Chan attitude toward institution, the model of de-institutionalization, which borrows certain insights from Derrida’s idea of the counter-institutional. However, the new model is supported by the Chan heritage of Mahayana Buddhist philosophy. This model can more consistently construe the Chan understanding of the paradoxicality of institution, the subtle Chan relationship of being “with and against” institution, and the Chan “middle way” to make institution remain open to its outside and to transformation. (shrink)
An approach that allows us to see more clearly what Chan Buddhists mean by the inadequacy of language is based on three principles of liminology of language: (1) the radical problematization of any absolute, immobilized limit of language; (2) insight into the mutual connection and transition between two sides of language--speaking and non-speaking; and (3) linguistic twisting as the strategy of play at the limit of language. It helps us to rediscover how Chan masters perceived a dynamic, mutually involving relation (...) between two sides of the limit of language, and how they demonstrated a marvelous interplay between speech and silence, a skillful performance of various novel linguistic strategies, et cetera, in order to negotiate the limit of language. (shrink)
This is a philosophical investigation of the linguistic strategy of Chinese Chan Buddhism. First, it examines the underlying structure of Chan communication, which determines the Chan pragmatics of 'never tell too plainly'. The examination of the structural features of Chan communication reveals what the Chan 'special transmission' means. The Chan definition of communication is very different from the Aristotelian conception of communication in the West. The Aristotelian hierarchy of speaker over listener, or the direct over indirect, is absent is Chan (...) communication. Communication in the Chan context is interactive, open-ended and determined by its existentio-practical concern. Second, this essay investigates the different types of the Chan strategies of indirect communication, such as the use of paradoxical, tautological and poetic language, which best demonstrate the principle of 'never tell too plainly'. The whole study indicates that Chan Buddhism provides the resources for our contemporary inquiry into the issue of indirect communication. (shrink)
Buddhisms and Deconstructions considers the connection between Buddhism and Derridean deconstruction, focusing on the work of Robert Magliola. Fourteen distinguished contributors discuss deconstruction and various Buddhisms—Indian, Tibetan, and Chinese —followed by an afterword in which Magliola responds directly to his critics.
The striking parallels between Derrida’s deconstruction and certain strategies eschewing oppositional hierarchies in Asian thought, especially in Buddhism and Daoism, have attracted much attention from scholars of both Western and Asian philosophy. This book contributes to this discussion by focusing on the ethical dimension and function of deconstruction in Asian thought. Examining different traditions and schools of Asian thought, including Indian Buddhism, Zen, other schools of East Asian Buddhism, the Kyoto School, and Daoism, the contributors explore the central theme from (...) different contexts and different angles. Insights and notions from the contemporary discussion of Derridean deconstruction and its ethic or Derridean-Levinasian ethic as a paradigm for comparison or interpretation are used as a framework. Furthering our understanding of the relationship between deconstruction and the ethical in Asian traditions, this book also enriches the contemporary ethical discourse from a global perspective by bridging Asia and the West. (shrink)
This dissertation investigates three related issues---deconstructive strategy, liminology of language, and pragmatics of indirect communication---in two great traditions of Chinese philosophy and religious thought. These three issues have drawn contemporary Western thinkers' close attentions and have entailed a variety of discussions. The dissertation attempts to bring the traditions of the Zhuangzi and Chan Buddhism into a postmodern focus concerning these three areas. It borrows insights, ideas and terms from contemporary and/or postmodern discourse to rediscover or reinterpret these two traditions. In (...) doing so, it carefully redefines and analyzes those ideas and terms, and places them strictly in the Daoist and Chan Buddhist contexts. It bases its philosophical investigation, its rediscovery or reinterpretation of two traditions, on the solid study and critical examination of ancient texts and history of thought. One thread running through the investigation of these three areas in the Zhuangzi and Chan Buddhism is the study and exploration of different linguistic strategies, the otherness of language uses. Although there is no "linguistic turn" in the thought of the Zhuangzi and in the mainstream of Chan, linguistic strategies play an indispensable role and serve the purpose of soteriological practice. The result of this investigation shows that these two traditions are great resources for the study of these three related issues. The treatise not only allows us to understand the central teachings of the Zhuangzi and Chan anew, but also lets these two traditions speak for themselves, addressing postmodern issues from their own perspectives. The conclusion is two-fold. On the one hand, the novel interpretation of the Zhuangzi and Chan challenges many conventional understandings of these two traditions concerning three areas. It highlights certain aspects of these two traditions that we have largely neglected before. On the other hand, the articulation of Daoist and Chan Buddhist views contributes to, enriches, and throws light on contemporary Western discussions of these issues, and even invites certain criticisms of postmodern discourse. (shrink)
Di er ci Qimeng (The second Enlightenment), by Wang Zhihe and Fan Meijun, is a timely book in Chinese about constructing a philosophical and practical way to contend with China's postmodernization. It combines Whitehead's process philosophy with a focus on Chinese modernity in order to map out a desirable postmodern society. It addresses the problem on several dimensions from policy making to basic value systems. The range of themes can be seen from the topics of the book's twelve chapters: (...) (1) Reverence for Land—Toward a Constructive Postmodern Agriculture; (2) Becoming Fully Human—Toward a Postmodern Organic Education; (3) Survival of the Harmonious-Toward a Constructive Postmodern Harmonious Culture; (4) Beauty .. (shrink)
A fundamental way in which human thought has developed has been constantly to explain the earliest "classics" that are the source of that thought. All in all, the number of such classics is not very high, their explanations are past counting. Moreover, they are constantly increasing, giving rise to an explanatory chain deriving from the classics. In the development of Chinese philosophy, this aspect is particularly noticeable, so that one can describe Chinese philosophy as a continual explanation of the classics. (...) This holds for both Confucianism and Daoism. The main classics of Daoism are the Laozi and the Zhuangzi. These two works have been constantly reread and reinterpreted throughout history. From the late nineteenth century onward, Chinese philosophy came into closer contact with Western philosophy. Foreign concepts were brought in to provide philosophers with new "insight." Some thinkers applied this new insight or these foreign concepts to the Daoist classics. In this way, they brought a new explanation of the Daoist classics and enriched the ways of interpreting the texts.1 Paving the way in this direction were Yan Fu. Zhang Taiyan, Liang Qichao, Wang Guowei, and Hu Shi. (shrink)