Revitalized interest in "the virtues" has affected the study of Buddhism in recent years, and in this regard we may benefit by focusing on the Zen MasterDōgen (1200-1253). Seeking to describe Dōgen's moral virtues, we might begin by a study of his primer, the "Shōbōgenzō" Zuimonki; a particularly efficacious template for this project would appear to be one provided by Edmund L. Pincoffs in his book "Quandaries and Virtues: Against Reductivism in Ethics". This "modus operandi" reveals (...)Dōgen's exhortation of a broad array of mandatory and nonmandatory virtues, partially depend- ing on whether or not the intended recipient is a layperson or one leading the religious life. If valid, this description may benefit Dōgen Studies as well as contribute to, and encourage, other "Western" efforts to articulate Buddhist ethics. (shrink)
So striking were the replies of Joshu to students' questions, that it was said that his "lips emitted light." His saysing were extremely influential throughout the Zen tradition and are included in many koan anthologies. Now here is the first full English translation of his sayings, lectures, dialogues, poems, and records from his pilgimages. The translation aims for readability rather than literalness; helpful notes illustrate features from the Chinese that might not be evident in English. A historical introudction by the (...) translator a short biography of Joshu, and a useful glossary make The Recorded Sayings of Zen Master Joshu an invaluable text for any student of Zen Buddhism. (shrink)
This paper strengthens the theoretical ground of feminist analyses of anger by explaining how the angers of the oppressed are ways of knowing. Relying on insights created through the juxtaposition of Latina feminism and Zen Buddhism, I argue that these angers are special kinds of embodied perceptions that surface when there is a profound lack of fit between a particular bodily orientation and its framing world of sense. As openings to alternative sensibilities, these angers are transformative, liberatory, and deeply epistemohgical.
Erwin Schrödinger holds a prominent place in the history of science primarily due to his crucial role in the development of quantum physics. What is perhaps lesser known are his insights into subject-object duality, consciousness and mind. He documented himself that these were influenced by the Upanishads, a collection of ancient Hindu spiritual texts. Central to his thoughts in this area is that Mind is only One and there is no separation between subject and object. This chapter aims to bridge (...) Schrödinger’s view on One Mind with the teachings of Dōgen, a twelfth century Zen master. This bridge is formed by addressing the question of how time relates to One Mind, and subject-object duality. Schrödinger describes the experience of One Mind to be like a timeless now, whereas subject-object duality involves a linear continuum of time. We show how these differing positions are unified in the notion of ‘absolute present’, which was put forward in the philosophy of Nishida Kitarō (1871–1945). In addition, we argue that it is in this notion of absolute present that the views of Schrödinger, Dōgen and Nishida meet. (shrink)
Thinkers like Slavoj Žižek and Tim Morton have heralded the end of our ideological constructions of nature, warning that popular “ecology” or the “natural” is just the latest opiate of the masses. Attempting to think what I call Nature after Nature, I turn to the Kamakura period Zen masterDōgen Eihei to explore the possibilities of thinking Nature in its non-ideological self-presentation or what Dōgen called “mountains and rivers.” I bring Dōgen into dialogue with his great (...) champion, the American poet Gary Snyder, as well as with thinkers as diverse as Schelling, Kundera, Žižek, Agamben, and Muir. Beyond Nature being any one thing, what Badiou derides as the “cosmological one,” I argue for the reawakening and sobering up to multiple Nature, beyond its appearance as an object to a discerning subject, as the bioregions which give us our interdependent and dynamic being. (shrink)
The consummate Soto Zen master, Dogen (1200?1253), expressed himself in creative ways that reflected fundamental insights of Chan/Zen Buddhism while responding to the needs of his time and place, i.e., Kamakura era Japan. His early training in Tendai and Rinzai Zen lent rigor and force to his Soto Zen experiences and expressions. This paper explores Dogen's new light on causality and morality purity, vis-à-vis Song dynasty Chan approaches by examining (1) his comments, early (1244) and late (ca. 1252), on (...) the Fox Koan, and (2) his discussions about Dream and ?veridical? experience. By showing the inexorability of causality, Dogen revealed the need for moral purity in achieving enlightenment qua freedom. Even in the vertigo of emptiness, the purified Soto Zen Buddhist adept discerns and effects equilibrium and, by extension, fairness, in experience, practice and affairs, as ongoing endeavors, as skilful means to impact and transform, not just Buddhist adepts, but one's world. (shrink)
In this paper, I analyse the image creation of Zen Buddhism as emerges from films produced in Europe and North America. In particular, I explore Marc Rosenbush's Zen Noir, Zen & Zero by Michael Ginthör, and Erleuchtung Garantiert by Doris Dörrie. Comparatively, I examine a recent Japanese production on the life and teachings of the Sōtō Zen masterDōgen titled Zen and directed by Takahashi Banmei. The aim of this analysis is to explore if and how depictions of (...) Zen in western movies mirror representations of this religious tradition made ad hoc for the ‘West’ and, conversely, what is the image of Zen Buddhism as appears in Japanese productions. This will be considered in a comparative perspective in order to identify differences, possible common patterns and mutual influences which may have shaped the cinematic perception of this form of Japanese Buddhism in Europe and North America. (shrink)
Dōgen: Textual and Historical Studies is an impressive volume that marks a significant leap forward in the study of Zen Master Eihei Dōgen, founder of the Japanese Sōtō School. Dōgen’s life and thought are closely examined in light of the wider historical and religious contexts of Song dynasty China and the Kamakura era in Japan. This collection offers a careful consideration of Dōgen’s rich literary legacy by examining his significance situated as he was at the (...) historical crossroads between the Chinese Chan tradition and the birth of Japanese Zen. In particular, the volume contemplates the manner in which Dōgen’s historical — perhaps mythological — figure has been endorsed and cultivated by the Sōtō.. (shrink)
In this essay I hope to make some new contributions to the philosophical opening occasioned by John Sallis’ articulation of an “elementology” more broadly and by his turn to Guo Xi’s exquisite Song Dynasty shan-shui scroll painting, Early Spring more particularly. I do so by bringing the remarkable writings by the American poet and thinker Gary Snyder, especially in relationship to his reading of the great Kamakura Zen Master Eihei Dōgen, directly into the fray of contemporary Continental discourses (...) on the elemental and the ecological. At the heart of this project is Snyder’s development of Dōgen’s elemental discourse of “mountains, rivers, and the great earth.” Like Sallis’ own efforts to recast language into a more elemental discourse, this essay will also focus on the manners of speaking specific to the philosophical and poetic self-presentation of the elements, including the relationship between the philosophical and the artistic as such. (shrink)
In this paper, I try to show how Japanese practices of self-cultivation found in the so-called “ways” can be interpreted as embodied forms of “caring for oneself ” and, therefore, as part of a philosophical Lebenskunst or art of living. To this end, I refer to phenomenological accounts of the body as well as to a unique notion of practice found in the writings of Dōgen Kigen, a thirteenth-century Japanese Zen master. Central to this essay is a concern (...) with embodying kata or pre-defined patterns of movement and posture used in nearly all practices of self-cultivation in Japan. To approach this question, I look at the etymological roots of the term kata and its use in the writings of Zeami, the foremost representative of classical Noh theater, both as author and as actor. This is followed by an analysis of certain aspects of the embodiment of kata and the way it is described in Japanese literature. (shrink)
The doctrine of emptiness presents a problem for Buddhist metaethics, in that it seems to restrict the range of admissible entities in a way that excludes moral facts. In the absence of such entities, what foundation can we give to moral practice? I suggest that Dōgen (1200-1253), the Japanese Zen philosopher/monk, solves the problem by going anti-realist, and that his solution can inform the broader discussion of Buddhist metaethics.
Does the Buddhist doctrine of no-self imply, simply put, no-other? Does this doctrine necessarily come into conflict with an ethics premised on the alterity of the other? This article explores these questions by situating Emmanuel Levinas’s ethics in the context of contemporary Japanese philosophy. The work of twentieth-century Japanese philosopher Watsuji Tetsurō provides a starting point from which to consider the ethics of the self-other relation in light of the Buddhist notion of emptiness. The philosophy of thirteenth-century Zen Master (...)Dōgen casts doubt on Watsuji’s commitment to reciprocal self-other relationality, showing that the idea of self-emptiness disrupts any conventional understanding of reciprocity and promotes instead other-oriented compassion. Despite interesting similarities between the ethics of alterity and Buddhist compassion, a Buddhist-influenced understanding of alterity differs from Levinas on important points, by making possible the claim that all others—human, animal, plant, and mineral—are ethical others. (shrink)
When, after all doubts and despair not only in others, but in oneself, philosophy remains as the only possibility, then this path to truth can be no other than through the I that I am. „Whoever philosophizes, speaks of selfhood; those who do not, do not philosophize.“ After all despair only selfhood remains for me. Being oneself is the reason of all despair and also the reason of all hope. All philosophy must begin here. The philosopher who has explored the (...) problem of selfhood in the intellectual tradion of the West most fundamentally is J.G. Fichte. In the East we find he deepest investigation of selfhood in Zen-Buddhisms, particularly in the teachings of Zen-master Dogen. Both refer selfhood essentially to action: Fichte on „ought“ and striving, and Dogen on meditation, and thus they try to conceive the essence of selfhood. Here the basic relationship of knowledge and life and their relationship is examined for selfhood, and thus the relationship between philosophy and life as well as the problem of what is philosophy.Wenn nach allem Zweifel und aller Verzweifelung, nicht nur am Anderen, sondern auch an einem selbst, nur noch die Moglichkeit des Philosophierens bleibt, kann dieser Weg zur Wahrheit kein anderer sein als der durch das Ich, das ich bin. „Wer philosophiert, redet von Selbstsein; wer das nicht tut, philosophiert auch nicht.“. Nach aller Verzweifelung bleibt fur mich nur das Ich selbst. Das Selbstsein ist der Grund aller Verzweiflung und zugleich der Grund aller Hoffnung. Alle Philosophie muss hier beginnen. Der Philosoph, der in der geistigen Tradition des Westens das Problem des Selbstseins am grundlegendsten erortert hat, ist J.G. Fichte. In der des Ostens findet man die tiefste Erorterung des Selbstseins im Zen-Buddhismus, insbesonders beim Zenmeister Dogen. Beide beziehen das Selbstsein wesentlich auf das Handeln: Fichte auf das Sollen oder Streben und Dogen auf das Uben; und sie versuchen dadurch das Wesen des Selbstseins zu erfassen. Hier soll die Grundbeziehung von Wissen und Leben und ihr Verhaltnis zum Selbstsein untersucht und damit die Beziehung von Philosophie und Leben geklart werden und das Problem, was Philosophie ist. (shrink)
The theme of our conference is “The Concept of a Person”. One of the most original attitudes of the Buddha towards this problem was to have dissuaded his followers from clinging to the concept of “person”. The word “person” in P li is puggala, which represents in early middle Indian dialect puthakala, a derivation of Sanskrit: prithak.  Puggala means person or man, an individual as opposed to a group. Its equivalent in Sanskrit is pudgala., which means a personal entity (...) or an individual. If there were any unique and permanent substance unifying this personal entity, it would be the self or the soul, attan in Pali and tman in Sanskrit. The self and the person are closely related to each other. I will trace the evolution of these two notions as treated in some Buddhist texts, firstly in the primitive basic Buddhist texts in verse or in short sentences, secondly in the prose part of some s tras and finally in later developed Mah y na Buddhist texts. Then I will confront these notions with the experience of their followers, by taking the example of Zen masterDōgen. (shrink)
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)
Resumen El presente artículo es un estudio de los grupos budistas zen argentinos desde la perspectiva de la antropología política. El objetivo es, en primer lugar, explorar las distintas posiciones sociales que los miembros pueden ocupar al interior de un grupo zen y los sistemas nativos de clasificación social, es decir, las categorías que nombran y crean distinciones rituales. En segundo lugar, analizar la estructura de autoridad y de poder al interior de una comunidad zen, indagando los vínculos entre el (...) sistema ritual de posiciones sociales y la distribución del poder y la autoridad. La investigación etnográfica se efectuó siguiendo una metodología cualitativa, que incluyó la observación participante en los encuentros que los centros zen organizan periódicamente y la realización de entrevistas semi-estructuradas e historias de vida a sus miembros. Las conclusiones giran en torno a la importancia del ritual para la vida política de la comunidad, y la centralización del poder en la figura del maestro zen mediante la particular dinámica que evidencia la estructura de autoridad. Palabras clave: Argentina; Budismo zen; Política; Poder.The present anthropological study takes a political approach to the Argentinean Zen Buddhism groups. The first objective is to explore the variety of native social classification systems, that is to say the categories naming and creating rituals. Secondly, we try to analyze the authority and power system within a Zen community, investigating the relation between the ritual system of social positions and the distribution of power and authority. This article is based on qualitative research, which included periodic participant observation in gatherings organized by the Zen Buddhism centres and semi structured interviews with and life histories of their members. The conclusions focus on the importance of ritual for the community’s political life, and the centralization of power in the character of the Zen master, through the particular dynamics that evidences the authority structure. Key words: Argentina; Zen Buddhism; Politics; Power. (shrink)
The comparative study of mysticism and inter-religious spirituality has gained more space in universities and research centers that radiate everywhere. They are also research involving Eastern religions, in its peculiar mystical trait. Also in the context of Buddhism one can talk on spirituality, understood as a search path of liberation. This article presents the theme of Zen Buddhist spirituality based on the reflection of Eihei Dogen Zenji (1200 – 1253), one of the most important and prominent teachers of the Soto (...) Zen Tradition. This text aims to show the richness of spirituality and its peculiarity concerning the everyday reality. To promote understanding of the central question presented, the theme of spirituality was situated within the historical context of the birth of Zen Buddhism and the insertion of the presence of Dogen in its field of action. The theme of Zen spirituality was becoming evident in the approach to the problem of search of the Dharma in Dogen and his attention to small signs of everyday life. Keywords: Spirituality. Buddhism. Zen. Daily life. Religions. Resumo Os estudos de mística comparada e de espiritualidade interreligiosa vão ganhando espaço cada vez mais singular nas universidades e núcleos de pesquisa que se irradiam por toda parte. São pesquisas que envolvem também as religiões orientais, em seu traço místico peculiar. Também no âmbito do budismo pode-se falar em espiritualidade, entendida como um caminho de busca da libertação. Esse artigo visa apresentar o tema da espiritualidade zen budista, com base na reflexão de Eihei Dôgen Zenji (1200-1253), um dos mais importantes e destacados mestres da tradição Soto Zen. O objetivo é mostrar a riqueza dessa espiritualidade e sua peculiaridade de adesão à realidade cotidiana. Para favorecer a compreensão da questão central apresentada, visou-se situar a temática no âmbito do contexto histórico do nascimento do zen budismo e da inserção da presença de Dôgen em seu campo de ação. A temática da espiritualidade zen foi se evidenciando na abordagem da problemática da busca do Dharma em Dôgen e de sua atenção aos pequenos sinais do cotidiano. Palavras-Chave : Espiritualidade. Budismo. Zen. Cotidiano. Religiões. (shrink)
Koan Zen is a philosophical practice that bears a strong family resemblance to Wittgenstein's approach to philosophy. In this paper I hope to show that this resemblance is especially evident when we compare the Zen method of koan with Wittgenstein's suggestion, towards the end of his Tractatus, about what would constitute the only correct method in philosophy. Both koan Zen and Wittgenstein's method set limits to the reach of philosophical discourse. Each rules metaphysical speculation out of bounds. Neither, however, represents (...) a rejection of the metaphysical. Where Wittgenstein enjoins silence in the face of the unsayable, a silence that allows the metaphysical to show itself, koan Zen calls for concrete demonstrations of that which cannot be captured in rational discourse. I attempt to illustrate this through discussion of a number of koans that serve as reminders that the philosopher (and Zen master) should say nothing except what can be said. (shrink)
This is not the usual kind of self-help book. Indeed, its major premise heeds a Zen master's advice to be _less_ self-centered. Yes, it is "one more book of words about Zen," as the author concedes, yet this book explains meditative practices from the perspective of a " _neural_ Zen." The latest findings in brain research inform its suggestions. In _Meditating Selflessly_, James Austin -- Zen practitioner, neurologist, and author of three acclaimed books on Zen and neuroscience -- guides (...) readers toward that open awareness already awaiting them on the cushion and in the natural world. Austin offers concrete advice -- often in a simplified question-and-answer format -- about different ways to meditate. He clarifies both the concentrative and receptive styles of meditation. Drawing widely from the exciting new field of contemplative neuroscience, Austin helps resolve an ancient paradox: why both insight wisdom _and_ selflessness arise simultaneously during enlightened states of consciousness. (shrink)
Extending their successful series of collections on Zen Buddhism, Heine and Wright present a fifth volume, on what may be the most important topic of all - Zen Masters. Zen masters in China, and later in Korea and Japan, were among the cultural leaders of their times. Stories about their comportment and powers circulated widely throughout East Asia. In this volume ten leading Zen scholars focus on the image of the Zen master as it has been projected over the (...) last millennium by the classic literature of this tradition. (shrink)
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