Contingency and the “Time of the Dream”: Kuki Shūzō and French Prewar Philosophy
Thorsten Botz-Bornstein, 481
There are many links between Kuki Shūzō and the French philosophy of the 1920s that treated the phenomenon of contingency. Examined are (1) the problem of time as it presented itself to French philosophers at the beginning of the twentieth century and its reception by Kuki as an Oriental philosopher and a Buddhist; (2) the problem of liberty and of existence in these French philosophers and in Buddhism; and (3) the phenomenon of the dream as a psychic and aesthetic phenomenon for Kuki and for the French philosophers in question.
It is argued that shu involves one’s identification with another person while one criticizes the latter’s perspective based on one’s own. A mechanism is proposed for developing this sort of critique, based on some significant Confucian values. Finally, shu is applied to the context of caring actions, and it is shown how it can help to solve some of the problems arising in caring for others.
Dialogues with Death: The Last Days of Socrates and the Buddha
Matthew Dillon, 525
A comparison of Plato’s Phaedo and the Mahāparanibbāna Sutta of the Pāli Canon juxtaposes the character and teachings of Socrates and the Buddha as revealed by both texts, set just before their deaths. Discussed at length are similarities in technique (dialogue), personality (open-mindedness and compassion), and doctrine (especially regarding the purification of the soul over numerous lifetimes), as well as the subsequent development of Platonism and Buddhism after the deaths of the masters.
Nāgārjuna and the Doctrine of “Skillful Means”
John Schroeder, 559
The role of “skillful means” is examined in relation to the important Mahāyāna philosopher Nāgārjuna, and it is argued that the doctrine of “emptiness” is best understood as a critical reflection on the nature of Buddhist praxis. Whereas traditional Western scholarship sees Nāgārjuna as struggling with certain metaphysical problems, a “skillful means” reading situates his philosophy within a debate about the nature and efficacy of Buddhist practice. Thus, a “skillful means” reading of Nāgārjuna does not ask what it means for causality, the self, or consciousness to be “empty” in a very general sense, but how “emptiness” relates to the soteriological practices of Buddhism and what it means for these practices to be “empty” of inherent nature. It is argued that this situates Nāgārjuna’s philosophy within a highly critical, self-reflective movement in the Buddhist tradition.
Setup, Punch Line, and the Mind-Body Problem: A Neo-Tiantai Approach
Brook Ziporyn, 584
Ideas adapted from the tradition of Chinese Tiantai Buddhism, in particular the notions of the “Three Truths” and “opening the provisional to reveal the real,” are applied to the traditional mind-body problem as framed in Western philosophical discourse. An attempt is made to offer an account of the mind-body relation that explicates both the identity and the opposition between these two terms, thereby avoiding the traditional positions of dualism, monism, and parallelism while also accounting for the features of the relation that have made these positions attractive in the past.
Authorial Authority in Ancient China, a review of Writing and Authority in Early China, by Mark Edward Lewis
Martin Svensson, 614
Bones, Stones, and Buddhist Monks: Collected Papers on the Archaeology, Epigraphy, and Texts of Monastic Buddhism in India, by Gregory Schopen
Reviewed by Dan Arnold, 620
Of Body and Brush: The Grand Sacrifice as Text/Performance in Eighteenth Century China, by Angela Zito
Reviewed by R. Kent Guy, 623
Lao-tzu and the Tao-te-ching, edited by Livia Kohn and Michael LaFargue
Reviewed by Jonathan R. Herman, 625
In Search of Personal Welfare: A View of Ancient Chinese Religion, by Mu-chou Poo
Reviewed by Anne Behnke Kinney 627
Ethics in Early Buddhism, by David J. Kalupahana
Reviewed by John M. Koller, 628
Philosophical Meditations on Zen Buddhism, by Dale S. Wright
Reviewed by Whalen Lai, 631
Abhidhamma Studies: Buddhist Explorations of Consciousness and Time, by Venerable Nyanaponika Thera, fourth edition, edited with an introduction by Bhikkhu Bodhi
Reviewed by Douglas W. Shrader, 637