Philosophy East and West, vol. 59, no. 3 (2009)


Some Remarks on the Yogasūtra
Marcus Sacrini A. Ferraz, 249

In this article are discussed some problems raised by T. S. Rukmani regarding the Yogasūtra. According to Rukmani, yoga is not a coherent logical system. After stating the general goals of the yoga system, interpretations of some passages of the Yogasūtra are formulated, and the defense is given that one must at least acknowledge the necessity of more exegetical investigation before judging the logical incoherence of the text. Finally, the problematic doctrine of living liberation in Yogasūtra is exposed.

Zen, Emotion, and Social Engagement
Robert Feleppa, 263

Some common conceptions of Buddhist meditative practice emphasize the elimination of emotion and desire in the interest of attaining tranquility and spiritual perfection. But to place too strong an emphasis on this is to miss an important social element emphasized by major figures in the Mahāyāna and Chan/Zen Buddhist traditions who are critical of these quietistic elements and who stress instead an understanding of an enlightenment that emphasizes enriched sociality and flexible readiness to engage, and not avoid, life’s fluctuations in fortune and essential impermanence. It is argued here that these criticisms of quietism are bolstered by recent advances in the philosophy and psychology of the emotions that highlight the role of emotions in framing the context of decision making—that is, in sorting out the relevant from the irrelevant, identifying salience, and directing decisions when uncertainty prevents definitive judgment. This research makes clearer why self-liberation is fundamentally a matter of liberation from judgmental habit and inflexibility, and lends support to a view of enlightenment that emphasizes compassionate engagement with others. It also provides for a more plausible picture of the cognitive transformation involved in liberation and sheds light on the rationale for certain traditional Chan and Zen teaching tactics, such as those involving koan introspection.

Responding with Dao: Early Daoist Ethics and the Environment
Eric Sean Nelson, 294

Early Daoism, as articulated in the Daodejing and the Zhuangzi, indirectly addresses environmental issues by intimating a non-reductive naturalistic ethics calling on humans to be open and responsive to the specificities and interconnections of the world and environment to which they belong. “Dao” is not a substantial immanent or transcendent entity but the lived enactment of the intrinsic worth of the “myriad things” and the natural world occurring through how humans address and are addressed by them. Early Daoism potentially corrects both anthropocentrism and biocentrism in environmental ethics by disclosing the things themselves in the context of the self-cultivation of life. Given increasing environmental devastation and the dominance of views, practices, and institutions reducing nature to a background and/or raw material for human activity, this “ethics of encounter” discloses the life of things as inexhaustibly more than human projects and constructs, extending ethical recognition and responsibility beyond social relations and the social self.

The Way of Heart: Mencius’ Understanding of Justice
Huaiyu Wang, 317

Through a comparative study of the meanings and origins of justice symbolized in the Greek word dikē and the Chinese word yi 義, this essay explores an alternative understanding of justice exemplified in Mencius’ teaching and illuminates a possibility of social and political justice that originates in the human heart instead of reason. On the basis of a genealogical study of yi that identifies its root meanings as “the dignity of the self” and “amity and affinity,” this study recovers and revives a way of justice that may preserve and promote the dignity of the individual and the solidarity of political community at once without succumbing to the violence and rigidity of traditional Western metaphysics. In so doing, it highlights a long overlooked dimension of early Confucian moral practice and establishes its unique relevancy for the contemporary debates on justice.

“Embracing the One” in the Daodejing
James Behuniak, Jr., 364

“Embracing the One” (baoyi 抱一) and “holding to the One” (zhiyi 執一) are phrases that appear in different versions of the Daodejing. This essay argues that, in a specific philosophical context, these two phrases represent competing philosophical attitudes that stem from opposing cosmological visions. The recently unearthed “Great One Produces the Waters” (Taiyishengshui 太一生水) assists in the reconstruction of this philosophical context, as does a re-reading of the “One” in the famous generative sequence of chapter 42 of the Daodejing. Ultimately, it is argued, the phrase “embracing the One” represents an attitude that is quintessentially “Daoist” in nature, while “holding to the One” signifies the adoption of the Daodejing by competing philosophical interests.


Asura’s Harp: Engagement with Language as Buddhist Path, by Dennis Hirota
Reviewed by Michiko Yusa, 382

Mulla Sadra’s Transcendent Philosophy, by Muhammad Kamal
Reviewed by Alparslan Açıkgenç, 385

The Happening of Tradition: Vallabha on Anumāna in Nyāyalīlāvatī, by Anna-Pya Sjödin
Reviewed by Takanori Suzuki, 394

Death and Social Order in Tokugawa Japan: Buddhism, Anti-Christianity, and the Danka System, by Nam-lin Hur
Reviewed by Laura Nenzi, 398

The Self’s Awareness of Itself: Bhaṭṭa Rāmakaṇṭha’s Arguments against the Buddhist Doctrine of No-Self, by Alex Watson
Reviewed by Elisa Freschi, 400