Language and Meaning: Buddhist Interpretations of the “Buddha’s Word” in Indian and East Asian Perspectives

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Hardback: $55.00
ISBN-13: 9781886439818
Published: December 2020

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206 pages
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  • About the Book
  • The nature of the Buddha’s speech, buddhavacana, has been discussed by Buddhist thinkers from soon after the Buddha’s lifetime. In modern Buddhist scholarship it seems natural to focus on the textual record of the Buddha’s teachings, but overemphasizing that aspect risks losing sight of the potency of the Buddha’s speech to effect liberation. Comparing Abhidharma and Chinese Buddhist conceptions of the Buddha’s word, Eun-su Cho’s study addresses the transmission and reinterpretation of theories of language and opens a doorway to Buddhist philosophical thought in East Asia. This is particularly important because technical Buddhist philosophical thought in East Asia has long been neglected, and has become overshadowed by academic and popular attention to Tibetan Buddhist philosophical thought. In contrast to the perception of greater legitimacy accorded to Tibetan thought through its association with Indian Buddhism, the doctrinally dense works of East Asian Buddhism have not been the object of equally intense study, yet such works exist and continue to deserve greater attention. Cho’s Language and Meaning offers an important pathway into these discourses.

  • About the Author(s)
    • Eun-su Cho, Author

      Eun-su Cho (Ph.D., Buddhist Studies, University of California, Berkeley) has been professor of Buddhist Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at Seoul National University in Korea since 2004. She previously served as assistant professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan. Cho has published on a wide range of topics, from Indian Abhidharma Buddhism to Korean Buddhist thought and history, including “The Uses and Abuses of Wŏnhyo and the ‘T’ong Pulgyo’ Narrative,” “Wŏnhyo’s Theory of ‘One Mind’: A Korean Way of Interpreting Mind,” and “Repentance as a Bodhisattva Practice—Wŏnhyo on Guilt and Moral Responsibility.” She also co-translated Jikji: The Essential Passages Directly Pointing at the Essence of the Mind and edited an anthology on Korean Buddhist nuns, Korean Buddhist Nuns and Laywomen: Hidden Histories, Enduring Vitality (SUNY Press, 2011).