Asian Philosophy 25 (1):81-98 (2015)

James Giles
Roskilde University
One of the most significant figures in the history of Japanese philosophy is the Zen master Hakuin. Yet, in the West, little attempt has been made to present and evaluate his thought in a way that would make it accessible to Western philosophers. This article attempts to redress this neglect. Here, it is shown how Hakuin uses kōan meditation to create ‘the great doubt’ or scepticism concerning the self. Hakuin’s method shares elements in common with both ancient Greek scepticism and Descartes. Kōan-induced scepticism leads to ‘the great death’ or a rejection of the self as a delusion. Hume’s similar rejection of the self helps to explain the basis of this delusion. The rejection of this delusion carries with it the realization that one is not separate from the rest of reality. This is the instant of seeing into one’s own nature and, for Hakuin, is the experience of nirvana
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09552367.2015.1012801
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,916
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1958 - Philosophical Quarterly 8 (33):379-380.
Treatise of Human Nature.L. A. Selby-Bigge (ed.) - 1978 - Oxford University Press.
Outlines of Pyrrhonism.Sextus Empiricus - 1990 - Harvard University Press.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Moral Scepticism and Inductive Scepticism.Robert Black - 1990 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 90:65 - 82.
The Zen Master Hakuin: Selected Writings.Paul Wienpahl - 1972 - Philosophy East and West 22 (3):333-333.
Philosophical Scepticism and Ordinary Beliefs.Gloria H. Eres - 1984 - Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley
A Note on 'Scepticism and Absurdity'.Peter Zinkemagel - 1967 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 10 (1-4):317-320.
Scepticism and the Development of the Transcendental Dialectic.Brian A. Chance - 2012 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (2):311-331.
The Nature and Value of Scepticism.Miriam Mccormick - 1998 - Dissertation, Mcgill University (Canada)
The Life and Learning of Arne Naess: Scepticism as a Survival Strategy.Inga Bostad - 2011 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 54 (1):42-51.
Hume's Two Views of Modern Scepticism.Dario Castiglione - 2006 - History of European Ideas 32 (1):1-27.
Socratic Scepticism.Roger Wertheimer - 1993 - Metaphilosophy 24 (4):344-62.


Added to PP index

Total views
25 ( #426,080 of 2,433,188 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #463,180 of 2,433,188 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes