Philosophy East and West, vol. 57, no. 2 (2007)


Dharmamegha-samādhi in the Yogasūtras of Patañjali: A Critique
T. S. Rukmani, 131

The concept of dharmamegha-samādhi that occurs in Patañjali’s Yogasūtras, in the path to kaivalya, has not been easy to comprehend. Scholars working in the field of Yoga have explained the concept in many different ways. This essay tries to reach an understanding of dharmamegha-samādhi based on a careful reading of the Yogasūtras along with Vyāsa’s commentary on it and the later well-known commentaries on Vyāsa’s own commentary such as the Tattvavaiśāradī, the Yogavārttika, and so on. Whether dharmamegha-samādhi is in any way connected with the concept of jīvanmukti or liberation while embodied, and whether jīvanmukti can be reasonably understood as being part of Yoga philosophy also comes in for discussion toward the end of this essay.

Nous and Nirvāṇa: Conversations with Plotinus—An Essay in Buddhist Cosmology
W. Randolph Kloetzli, 140

In the Classical world, the language of cosmology was a means for framing philosophical concerns. Among these were issues of time, motion, and soul; concepts of the limited and the unlimited; and the nature and basis of number. This is no less true of Indian thought—Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and Ājivika—where the prestige of the cosmological idiom for organizing philosophical and theological thought cannot be overstated. This essay focuses on the structural similarities in the thought of Plotinus and Buddhist cosmological/philosophical speculation. It builds on research concerning the Buddha-field (buddhakṣetra), which identified two discrete numerologies central to this speculation: the thousands of worlds (sāhasralokadhātu) comprising the field of a single Buddha (buddhakṣetra), characteristic of the Hīnayāna, and the innumerable or incalculable (asaṃkhyeya) Buddha-fields filling the ten regions of space, characteristic of the Mahāyāna. The Enneads of Plotinus serve as a lens through which to view in a fresh way a broad range of difficult issues associated with Buddhist cosmology in three general areas. First, it asks whether Plotinus’ understanding of Intellect and his treatment of infinite and essential number afford an understanding of the innumerables and thousands central to the concept of the Buddha-field. This analysis involves a consideration of the Hindu creator god, Brahmā, as ‘demiurge.’ Second, it suggests analogies between the One, Intellect, and Soul of Plotinus and the three Buddhist Realms—the Formless Realm, the Realm of Form, and the Realm of Desire. Finally, it explores the possibility that an understanding of the Enneads can provide a model for relating the cosmologies of the Hīnayāna and the Mahāyāna.

Vidyā and Avidyā: Simultaneous and Coterminous?—A Holographic Model to Illuminate the Advaita Debate
Stephen Kaplan, 178

The Advaita Vedānta notion of ātman/Brahman presents a serious philosophical challenge to this school—namely, it demands that they explain how all (reality) can be undivided, unchanging, and pure consciousness, yet appear to be everything but nondual, unchanging, and pure consciousness. The Advaita answer is avidyā, ajñāna (ignorance). This answer tells us that Brahman does not really change; it is only ignorance that makes it appear to change. This answer has engendered as many questions as it has resolved, and it is possible that they can be boiled down to the following: how can vidyā and avidyā be simultaneous and coterminous? After reviewing the Advaita responses to the debates regarding avidyā, which arose within Advaita and between Advaitins and their opponents, a traditional Advaita path will be followed by offering an analogy to illuminate this quandary. The strength of this contemporary analogy, based on holography, lies in its ability to illuminate the nature of Brahman as being without parts, without duality, without change; yet holography presents us with images that appear to change and be with parts.

On Ge Wu: Recovering the Way of the Great Learning< /b>
Huaiyu Wang, 204

By rethinking the meaning of a central idiom in the Great Learning, this essay intends to open up a new horizon for the hermeneutics of early Confucian thinking, which has little to do with metaphysics. Through a careful etymological study of ge wu and a dialogue between the Great Learning and Heidegger’s phenomenology of human affection, I demonstrate the critical position of the human heart in early Chinese thinking. This new interpretation of early Confucian moral teachings also recovers an invigorating possibility for contemporary discourse on the question of ethics.

Perpetual Unease or Being at Ease?—Derrida, Daoism, and the ‘Metaphysics of Presence’
Robert J. Shepherd, 227

Interesting work has been done on the striking similarities between the key arguments of the late Jacques Derrida and Daoism. While named otherwise, such Derridean signposts as the metaphysics of presence, the duality of language, and logocentrism are found in Daoist views of the relationship between reality, speech, writing, and knowledge. However, where the limits of language lead Derrida is different from where they take the authors of the Zhuangzi and the Daodejing, in particular regarding the question of action for and responsibility toward others.


Dharmakīrti and Priest on an Inconsistent Theory of Change—A Comment to Mortensen
Koji Tanaka, 244

In Defense of Dharmakīrti—A Response to Tanaka
Chris Mortensen, 253

In Defense of Priest—A Reply to Mortensen
Koji Tanaka, 257


A Lucid Journey through Varieties of Asian Philosophy, a review of Eastern Philosophy, by Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad
Joseph Grange, 260

Indian and Cross-Cultural Philosophy in the Works of Ramakrishna Puligandla, a review of Breaking Barriers: Essays on Asian and Comparative Philosophy in Honor of Ramakrishna Puligandla, edited by Frank J. Hoffman and Godabarisha Mishra; That Thou Art: Wisdom of the Upanishads, by R. Puligandla; and Sprache und Wirklichkeit: Eine interkulturelle Perspektive, by Xianglong Zhang and Ramakrishna Puligandla and translated by Christian Dick
Douglas L. Berger, 263


Dōgen’s Extensive Record: A Translation of the Eihei Kōroku, translated by Taigen Dan Leighton and Shohaku Okumura, edited by Taigen Dan Leighton
Reviewed by Christopher Ives, 269

Islamic Aesthetics: An Introduction, by Oliver Leaman
Reviewed by Patrick S. O’Donnell, 271

Masterpieces of Kabuki: Eighteen Plays on Stage, edited by James R. Brandon and Samuel L. Leiter
Reviewed by Cheryl Crowley, 275

Approaching the Land of Bliss: Religious Praxis in the Cult of Amitābha, edited by Richard K. Payne and Kenneth K. Tanaka
Reviewed by James L. Ford, 277

Shingon Refractions: Myōe and the Mantra of Light, by Mark Unno
Reviewed by Richard K. Payne, 280