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Positivism, Self-interest, and Physicalism – A Study of Master Tai Xu’s Critique and Assimilation of Modernity
Author Tan, Wei-wu
Source 2018 第七屆漢傳佛教與聖嚴思想國際學術研討會
Publisher Url
Location臺北, 臺灣 [Taipei, Taiwan]
Content type會議論文=Proceeding Article
KeywordMaster Tai Xu; modernity; Humanistic Buddhism
AbstractAmong the eminent Chinese monks in the modern era, Master Tai Xu was perhaps the
one most well-versed in secular thoughts. Engaging with a broad range of contemporary topics, he was known for his critique and assimilation of secular thoughts using Chinese Buddhist doctrines. The present work investigates the issues of modernity in Master Tai Xu works, primarily from the perspectives laid out in the article Mahayana and Two Types of Human Cultures. It is shown that the three characteristics of what he called “the second type of culture” of which science is a typical example – the pursuit of knowledge through phenomena, the rampage of self-interest, and the abandonment of the transcendence – correspond to three main characteristics of modernity. This perspective forms the fundamental framework in his critique and assimilation of secular thoughts and modernity. In particular, the rampage of self-interest – whether of an individual, a group, a society, or a nation – is a critical theme he repeatedly used in his writings. The present work analyzes the typical methodology in his attempts to assimilation secular thoughts and discusses its shortcomings. It concludes with a brief discussion on the lessons that practitioners of humanistic Buddhism may learn from his approach in order to engage more profoundly in the dialogues on the crisis of modernity.
Created date2021.03.16
Modified date2021.03.23

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