Contemporary Buddhist philosophy: A biographical essay

by Frank J. Hoffman

Asian Philosophy

Vol. 2 No. 1 1992


Copyright by Asian Philosophy

I. Definition of Scope This article focuses upon major works produced by Buddhists and/or scholars of Buddhism in the twentieth century. Some works mentioned are not on philosophy proper but on related fields, where reading is deemed essential background for philosophical understanding. There is thus an unavoidable interdisciplinary flavour to the article. Some caveats are in order. There is a certain oddness involved in attempting to introduce Buddhist thought to Western philosophers at all, since the categories of Western philosophy do not closely mesh with those of Eastern philosophy. It should be recognised at the outset that from Asian perspectives it is somewhat artificial to pigeon-hole Buddhist philosophy in Western categories (such as branches of philosophy and schools of philosophy). It is, however, in the nature of reference works to use categories. My justification of the major rubrics employed is in terms of ease of use for reference. Since the readership is, in this case, English-speaking philosophers and philosophy students, it is therefore appropriate to use categories convenient for them. This is a pragmatic strategy and carries no implication of cultural imperialism whatsoever. It would be entirely useless to use as rubrics categories unknown to the Western philosophers, no matter how internally faithful these are to Asian traditions from a contextual point of view. Consequently no apology is in order for the use of the categories which follow, just a word of caution that one must not confuse the finger pointing at the moon for the moon itself. The specific task here is to elucidate those elements of contemporary Buddhist philosophy emergent from cultural contexts which are amenable to philosophical categorisation. To the extent that there has been a contemporary Buddhist philosophy across geographical lines in the twentieth century, that is due to the interaction of traditional Buddhist modes of thought with Western ones. Issues such as the environment, animal rights and feminism compete for space in the publisher's market of learned books and journals with more traditional topics such as the mind-body problem in philosophy and Buddhist-Christian dialogue. Neither the traditional nor the trendy can be ignored if one aspires to a holistic vision of contemporary Buddhist philosophy. Accordingly, some categories will be traditional ones while others will be topical issues. In this article 'Contemporary' is construed as meaning 'twentieth-century', but for the most part in practice the focus is on materials published since 1945. Because of restrictions on length I could not include everything possible, and sometimes have had to make potentially controversial judgments as to what materials to include. My criterion for selection is whether the entry is likely to be historically significant in the field of Buddhist studies when viewed from a philosophical perspective. Since others applying the same criterion may make different judgments, there is inevitably an element of subjectivity in the process of selection. II. Buddhism and the Branches of Philosophy Before treating more specialised works, it is worth noticing a few works of general interest. Textual and cultural background for the study of contemporary Buddhist philosophy is provided in W. T. De Bary, Buddhist Tradition in India, China and Japan (1969), in De Bary's Sourcebooks, in Edward Conze (Ed.), Buddhist Thought in India (London: Allen and Unwin, 1962), and in Conze et al. (Eds), Buddhist Texts Through the Ages (Boston: Shambala, 1990). Karl Potter, Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophy is a monumental reference work in progress, which, along with G. P. Malalasekera's Encyclopedia of Buddhism, is of enduring significance. A useful philosophical survey text for Chinese and Indian Buddhist thought is John Koller, Oriental Philosophies (New York: Scribners', 1970/1985). This work, together with Koller's The Indian Way (New York: Macmillan, 1982) and his Sourcebook on Asian Philosophies with Patricia Koller (New York: Macmillan, 1991) do nicely for general reference or for undergraduate study. A concise work on Japanese Buddhism as a possible supplement to Koller is Junjiro Takakusu (Ed. by Wing-tsit Chan and Charles A. Moore), The Essentials of Buddhist Philosophy (Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 1947). For a less schematic approach, one might consult Hajime Nakamura, Ways of Thinking of Eastern Peoples (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1964). A valuable ten-volume series, Classics of Modern Japanese Thought and Culture includes Nakamura's Ways and Works by Yanagita, Tsuda, Watsuji, Hasegawa, Kato, Nakamura, Suzuki, Nishida, Muraoka and Hatano on Buddhism, Shinto, and Japanese thought (UNESCO and Greenwood Press, 1988). For basic Buddhism a good work is Walpola Rahula, What the Buddha Taught (New York: Grove Press, 1959/1974). An authoritative anthology with brief articles which can be easily combined with primary text readings is Charles S. Prebish, Buddhism: A Modern Perspective (University Park: Penn State, 1975). In Prebish is a piece by Roger Corless, 'Buddhism and the West', which includes a discussion of movements such as theosophy. Other useful general works, but recommended specifically for philosophically-oriented study and reference, are Arthur L. Herman, An Introduction to Buddhist Thought: A Philosophic History of Indian Buddhism (Lanham: University Press of America, 1983), Troy Wilson Organ, Western Approaches to Eastern Philosophy (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1975), Nolan Pliny Jacobson, Buddhism: the Religion of Analysis (London: Allen & Unwin, 1966; reprinted by SIU Press), David J. Kalupahana, Buddhist Philosophy (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1976) and Frank J. Hoffman, Rationality and Mind in Early Buddhism (Delhi: Motilal Banarsdass, 1987). A. Buddhism and Logic Logic is sometimes said to be the backbone of philosophy, but in Buddhist thought that backbone is particularly supple. Especially in East Asian Mahayana one finds a tendency to inclusive patterns of thinking (both/and) rather than exclusive ones (either/or). Hosaku Matsuo, The Logic of Unity (Albany: SUNY Press, 1987) brings this out well. In the South Asian context it is instructive to read B. K. Matilal, Perception (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986); "too often the term 'Indian Philosophy' is identified with a subject that is presented as mystical and non-argumentative, that is at best poetic and at worst dogmatic. A corrective to this view is long overdue" (pp. 4-5). Indeed, a corrective to an overly general and stereotypical view of Eastern thought is found in this and other of Matilal's detailed and philosophically perspicuous works. Another commonly found feature of logic in contemporary Buddhist thought is its close connection with ontology. Rather than understanding logic as only a matter of abstract problems connected with semantics and analytic truth, Buddhist logic is pragmatically grounded in a view of the way things are. Since there is a long tradition of debate in Buddhist monasteries it is not surprising that Buddhist logic is fundamentally applied logic which makes a difference to how debates should be conducted. Although parallels to formal logical principles may be found, Buddhist logic is basically concerned with rules for discussion in order to determine what is true. Sometimes mythological elements enter into discussions of Buddhist logic, as when it is said that a thunderbolt bearing yakka will shatter one's skull into a thousand pieces for a self-contradictory utterance --so greatly is logical consistency valued in Buddhist thought! For a concise overview of the historical development of Indian logic see J. F. Staal, 'Logic, Indian' in Paul Edwards (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Philosophy (New York: Macmillan, 1975). Among masterful works in the field, those of Bimal K. Matilal and Karl Potter are of enduring significance. B. K. Matilal, Logic, Language and Reality: An Introduction to Indian Philosophical Studies (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1985) brilliantly combines a philosophical approach with philological exactitude. It focuses on logical, epistemological, ontological and soteriological problems in India and shows how "the study of the history of ancient philosophy can be combined with the first-hand study of philosophical problems and questions, to the advantage of progress in both enquiries" (p. 8). Karl Potter, Presuppositions of India's Philosophies (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1963, reprinted by Greenwood 1972/75/77) is a solid, philosophically interesting work. Ninian Smart, Doctrine and Argument in Indian Philosophy (London: Allen & Unwin, 1964) is a little classic, accessible to readers of various levels, even those without a knowledge of technical terms. It explores the religious determinants of metaphysical systems in India, including Buddhist metaphysics. F. T. Stcherbatsky, Buddhist Logic Vols. I and II (New York: Dover, 1962 reprint of 1930 edition) is an important scholarly contribution to the field. Henry Nash Randle, Fragments from Dinnaga (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, reprint 1981) makes a concise statement on Dinnaga's thought. Hosaku Matsuo, The Logic of Unity (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987) argues in favour of a view of logic as a unified cognitive process, mind as intuitive and holistic, the interrelatedness of metaphysics and epistemology, and the primacy of synthetic over analytic reasoning in philosophy. Drawing upon Prajnaparamitra tradition and emphasising the sunyata ('emptiness') doctrine construed as the primordial source of creative potentiality rather than non-being, Matsuo challenges the familiar Western dichotomies of subject/object, mind/body, and internal world/external world. Although rooted in the Kyoto school, Matsuo also at once underscores the importance of Kant and a philosophy related to existence. B. Madhyamaka Buddhist Logic Important translations of Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika have occurred in this century by Kenneth Inada (1970), Frederick Streng (1967) and David Kalupahana (1986). In addition, Kamaleswar Bhattacharya, The Dialectical Method of Nagarjuna: Vigrahavyavartani (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1978/1976) should be mentioned. Malcolm David Eckel, Janagarbha's Commentary of the Distinction Between the Two Truths (Albany: SUNY Press, 1987) is a valuable contribution to Madhyamaka philosophy, not just for its translation of an 8th century text but for its contemporary affirmation of the value of both philosophy and Buddhism thus: "Philosophy is so closely related to Buddhahood that even the tightest arguments bring to mind the powers and attainments of crowds of Buddhas and bodhisattvas" (p. 3). Richard H. Robinson, Early Madhyamika in India and China (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1978), is the author's University of London doctoral dissertation and a reprint of the University of Wisconsin 1967 edition of the same. It is a classic work on the subject. The philosophy of Kumarajiva, Hui-yuan, Seng-jui, and Seng-chao is explained in detail with reference to specific texts, and there is a useful comparative chapter. T. R. V. Murti, The Central Philosophy of Buddhism (London: Allen and Unwin, 1960) and Mervyn Sprung, Lucid Exposition of the Middle Way (London: Routledge Kegan Paul, 1979) are richly textured studies which repay careful reading. C. Buddhism and Epistemology (Theory of Knowledge) The Buddhist contemporary poet, Gary Snyder, composes 'Pine Tree Tops' in his poetry collection, Turtle Island, thus: in the blue night frost haze, the sky glows with the moon pine tree tops bend snow-blue, fade into sky, frost, starlight. the creak of boots. rabbit tracks, deer tracks what do we know. For philosophers, however, epistemological implications of Buddhist thought are not far to seek, as the work of K. N. Jayatilleke admirably demonstrates. B. K. Matilal, D. J. Kalupahana, K. N. Upadhyaya and G. Dharmasiri have highlighted the importance of 'knowledge and vision' in Buddhist thought. Yet for all that Buddhist thought cannot be reduced to philosophy without religion, and a fortiori cannot be reduced to a single branch of philosophy such as epistemology. B. K. Matilal, Perception (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986) defends Nyaya-Vaisesika realism as against Buddhist phenomenological idealism while giving a historical account of the two schools. He shows that Western philosophy and Indian philosophy have much in common on topics of perception, external world and criteria of human knowledge. Matilal's Epistemology, Logic, Grammar in Indian Philosophical Analysis (The Hague: Mouton, 1971) is also a valuable work to consult. K. N. Jayatilleke, Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge (London: Allen and Unwin, 1963) has written the classic account of Buddhist epistemology from a Sri Lankan perspective. His opus is both finely detailed and philosophically interesting. Malcolm David Eckel, Jnanagarbha's Commentary on the Distinction Between the Two Truths (Albany: SUNY Press, 1987) has produced a study of Jnanagarbha, a thinker in the 8th Century Svatantrika branch of the Madhyamaka school, calling attention to experience and perception. Eckel emphasies the Indian rather than Tibetan material and attempts to capture Madhyamaka just as it was about to enter Tibetan culture. In so doing Eckel eniches the contemporary study of Buddhist thought through his mastery of the Sanskrit sources. For a Tibetan approach to Svatantrika, one might well consult Donald S. Lopez, A Study of Svatantrika (Ithaca: Snow Lion, 1987). D. Buddhism and Ethics It is sometimes said that not enough work has been done in Buddhist ethics. On the South Asian side Hammalawa Saddhatissa, Buddhist Ethics (Boston: Wisdom, 1987) and Winston L. King, In the Hope of Nibbana (La Salle, IL: Open Court, 1964) are noteworthy, as on the East Asian side are Masao Abe's translation of Nishida, The Study of Good (New York: Yale University Press, 1990) and the previous translation by Valdo Viglielmo. Phillip Kapleau, The Wheel of Life and Death: A Practical and Spiritual Guide (New York: Doubleday, 1989) is an accessible work with chapters on such ethical topics as suicide and euthanasia. The interface between practice and doctrine is an emphasis of the recent volume edited by David W. Chappell, Buddhist and Taoist Practice in Medieval Chinese Society (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1987) and in Stephen Teiser, The Ghost Festival in Medieval China (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988). The practice of meditation is the backbone of Buddhist ethics. Amadeo Sole-Leris, Tranquility and Insight (London: Rider, 1986) provides a contemporary, useful general introduction. For a scholarly treatment, see Michael Carrithers, The Forest Monks of Sri Lanka (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1983). Other general works of interest on the practice of Buddhist meditation is Bhikkhu Buddhadasa, Anapanasati (Mindfulness of Breathing) (Bangkok: Sublime Life Mission, 1971/1976) and Bhikku Nanamoli, Mindfulness of Breathing (Anapanasti) (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1964). On the Mahayana side there is Minoru Kiyota, Mahayana Buddhist Meditation: Theory and Practice (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1978). A Unitarian Christian critique which attempts to sort out the pros and cons of meditation practice is Douglas A. Fox, Meditation and Reality: A Critical View (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1986). 1. Non-violence. Thomas Merton, Gandhi on Non-Violence (New York: New Directions, 1964/1965) is edited with an introduction by Merton and containing excerpts from Gandhi's work. Glyn Richards, The Philosophy of Gandhi (London: Curzon Press, Barnes & Noble, 1982) is a fine book on Gandhi. Chris Chapple, Karma (Albany: SUNY Press, 1986) analyses Vedic, Epic, Hindu, and Buddhist sutra literature, and emphasises action in the present that conditions the future. Decision making instead of destiny, and freedom instead of fate, predominate on Chapple's interpretation of karma ('action') in Buddhism. A useful book on non-violence towards animals is Tom Regan (ed.) Animal Sacrifices: Religious Perspectives on the Use of Animals in Science (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986). A Vietnamese Buddhist monk of considerable popular influence is Thich Nat Hahn, author of several mainly aphoristic works such as The Sun, My Heart (Berkeley: Parallax Press, 1988). Although therein Hahn has a way of contrasting 'philosophy' with words which 'come from the depths of the soul' (p. 67) in a way somewhat similar to Miriam Levering, Rethinking Scripture (Albany: SUNY, 1990) with the emphasis on 'true words', his word does contain epistemological implications: "All is in the word 'known'. To know is to realize. Realization is mindfulness." (p. 133). Hahn is well-known for his activities as chairman of the Vietnamese Buddhist Peace delegation during the Vietnam war. After studies at Cambridge (England) and Hawaii, P. D. Premasiri is working on the topic of Buddhist ethics and continues to teach at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Formerly from Sri Lanka, Bhikkhu Mahinda Deegalle of Chicago is author of Nibbana and Morality (in Sinhalese). An important recent collection of papers is Charles Fu and Sandra Wawrytko (eds), Buddhist Ethics and Modern Society (New York: Greenwood Press, 1991). 2. Environment. SUNY Press continues to be one of the leaders in producing books on Buddhism which relate to a contemporary audience. A good example is J. Baird Callicott and Roger T. Ames (Eds), Nature in Asian Traditions of Thought: Essays in Environmental Philosophy (Albany: SUNY Press, 1989). Buddhist ecological ethics are explored therein with papers by David J. Kalupahana, William R. Lafleur, Frank Cook, Kenneth Inada et al. 3. Gender issues. Robert Aitken, The Mind of Clover (San Francisco: North Point Press, 1984) writes: "My feeling is that with the encouragement of teacher and sangha, the individual member has a chance for personal realization through Zen practice, whether he or she is heterosexual or homosexual. Buddha nature is not either one and it is both.' (p. 42). In 1977 judge King-Hamilton sentenced the poet, James Kirkup, for blasphemous libel in what became known as 'The Gay News Trial'. This provided the context for Bhikkhu Sangharakshita's pamphlet, Buddhism and Blasphemy (London: Windhorse Press, 1978). Subsequent philosophical discussion in journals has occurred in Frank J. Hoffman, 'Remarks on Blasphemy' (Scottish Journal of Religious Studies, 4 (2), 1983), Roy W. Perrett 'Blasphemy (Sophia, 26 (2), 1987) and Frank J. Hoffman, 'More on Blasphemy' (Sophia, 28 (2), 1989). I. B. Horner, Women Under Primitive Buddhism: Laywomen and Almswomen (Flushing: Asia Book Corp., 1975) is a classic study of women in Theravada. Diana Paul, Women in Buddhism: Images of the Feminine in the Mahayana Tradition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979/1985), is an important contribution on the Mahayana side. Wendy D. O'Flaherty, Women, Androgenes, and Other Mythical Beasts (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1980) is a "woman's view of a group of men's views about women" (p. x) focusing mainly on Hindu mythology but with some references toroughout. Also noteworthy is Ellen S. Sidor (Ed.), A Gathering of Spirit: Women Teaching in American Buddhism (Cumberland, RI: Primary Point Press, 1987). Deborah Hopkinson, Michele Hill, Eileen Kiera (Eds), Not Mixing Up Buddhism (Fredonia, NY: White Pine Press, 1986) offer a valuable collection of essays mainly by women writers (but including one by Roshi Robert Aitken). Important to those who, like Rita Gross, seek a synthesis of feminism and Buddhism is K. R. Norman's revised edition of C.A.F. Rhys David's Therigatha under the title of Poems of Early Buddhist Nuns (Oxford: Pali Text Society, 1989). 4. Abortion. In his book, Liquid Life, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992) and in Philosophy East & West XL, 4, October 1990, William Lafleur explores both the ethics and the sociology of abortion in Japan. He calls attention to the Buddhist mizu kuyo (funeral rites for aborted foetuses) and to the curious role Buddhism came to play in a Japan where ritual purification in Shinto shunned death and funerals as polluting. The Diamond Sangha, a Zen meditation group in Hawaii, have reproduced the text of their ceremony for the death of the unborn in Aitken's Mind of Glover mentioned above. 5. Equality. George P. Malalasekera (Ed.), Buddhism and the Race Question (Westport: Greenwood, 1978 reprint of 1958 edition) speaks to this important issue which divides Sinhalese from Tamils and blacks from whites. Sallie King, Buddha Nature (Albany: SUNY Press, 1991) emphasises an important strand of Mahayana Buddhist philosophy which leaves no room for racism of any kind. For if the 'Buddha nature' is inherent in all beings, then all beings are in one important sense equal. 6. Right livelihood. Uma Chakravarti, The Social Dimensions of Early Buddhism (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1987) is worth consulting on the social and political context of early Buddhism, especially on the gahapati (householder). Although not itself a philosophical work, this book will provide useful information in understanding Buddhist ethics in the socio-political context. Surely it is possible to be a householder and a Buddhist, but is it possible to be a Buddhist householder and a Christian at the same time? In Genuine Fake (London: Heinemann, 1986) Monica Furlong gently chides Alan Watts, saying of his episcopal ordination: "He did not, in fact, make any pretence of conversion, but such was the enthusiasm of the Christian clergy who encouraged him, or such was the unconscious arrogance in the church that all 'right-thinking' people are Christian at heart, that no difficulties at all were made about his proposal to take up paid employment in a religion no longer his own" (pp. 78-79). Furlong's biography thus raises the question of the meaning of 'right livelihood' for Buddhistically inclined twentieth century people. Extrapolating from the thought of Wilfred Cantwell-Smith an interesting answer to the problem of authenticity raised by Furlong is possible. Making a distinction between the adjectival and the noun use of religions (e.g. being a Christian person/being a Christian), it is possible for the same person to be both Christian and a Buddhist. Roger Taishi Corless also struggles with this issue in an interesting way, with the cakra-crucifix diagrams, towards a Buddhist-Christian synthesis. If moves such as Cantwell-Smith's and Corless' are apt, perhaps Furlong's criticism of Watts can be answered. 7. Ethics in Ritual Action. Richard Gombrich, Precept and Practice (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971) and his Theravada Buddhism (London: Routledge, 1988) are important sociological and doctrinal background materials for philosophical investigation of Buddhist ethics, especially in the Sri Lankan context. John Holt, Disciplines: the Canonical Buddhism of the Vinayapitaka (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1983) presents a careful study of Vinaya. Kenneth Wells, Thai Buddhism: Its Rites and Activities (Bangkok: Suriyabun Publishers, 1975) is an authoritative source for material on Thai Buddhist ceremonies. Although not on Buddhism per se, Peter Winch's article, 'Understanding a Primitive Society' (reprinted in Ethics in Action) can be a powerful stimulus in discussing the meaning of ritual actions in the Buddhist context. E. Buddhism, Metaphysics and Ontology A useful general introduction to metaphysical problems in Western philosophy is Brian Carr, Metaphysics: An Introduction (New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1987). It is arguable that metaphysical presuppositions are inherent in world view formation, such that a sharp wedge between Buddhism of even the earliest sort and metaphysics cannot be validly drawn. The terms of a particular language demarcate the real from the unreal for a user of that language. On this view a metaphysical system is a working out of the implications of linguistic structures (e.g. the subject/object and substance/attribute distinctions). One may not care to construct a metaphysical system, but metaphysical implications cannot be absent from one's thought insofar as one employs language. For Buddhists, suffering is a real feature of existence. But Nagarjuna and some deconstructionists opt for a provisional use of language such that one is not led into metaphysical commitments at all. Even the Buddha's own language used to convey the dharma is sometimes characterised as provisional. So there is controversy in interpreting whether, and if so how, metaphysics plays a role in Buddhism. Proponents of the thesis that Buddhism is a form of empiricism have often rejected the idea that metaphysics can be found in Buddhism. It may be more correct to say that it is speculation that is eschewed in Buddhism, rather than Buddhism holds no metaphysical implications, unless one is referring to a Buddhist thinker like Nagarjuna. There are two papers, 'The Buddhist Empiricism Thesis' and 'Buddhist Belief "In"', published in the 1980's by Frank J. Hoffman which relate to the above mentioned controversy and may be found in Religious Studies Vol. 18 no. 2, June 1982, and Vol. 21 no. 3, Sept. 1985. Florin G. Sutton, Existence and Gnosis in the Lankavatara Sutra: A Study in the Ontology and Epistemology of the Yogacara School of Mahayana Buddhism (Albany): SUNY, 1990) is a work of interest on ontology. Of related interest is Bruce C. Hall's explanation of the nature of Vasubandhu's 'idealism' in such a way as to render the label moot in his Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies article (Vol. 9 no. 1, 1986). F. Buddhism and Philosophy of Religion General works on philosophy and religion which include Buddhism are few and far between. Mention may be made of William H. Capitan, Philosophy of Religion: An Introduction (Indianapolis: Pegasus, 1972) as one of a very few philosophy of religion works with anything on Asia. John Hick, Philosophy of Religion (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1990 4th ed.) addresses some topics relevant to a study of Buddhism and Asian thought. Co-edited with Paul Knitter, Hicks's The Myth of Christian Uniqueness (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1988) is well worth reading. For an interesting contrastive study see Paul J. Griffiths, Christianity Through Non-Christian Eyes (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1990). 1. Concepts of Issara (Creator God), Devas (gods), and Buddhas (enlightened ones). Gunapala Dharmasiri, A Buddhist Critique of the Christian Concept of God (Colombo: Lake House, 1974) shows in detail how and why Christian concepts of a Creator God have no application in early Buddhism. B. M. Barua, Studies in Buddhism (Calcutta: Sarasvat Library, 1974) argued that "Buddhism is that form of Bhagavatism which derives its traits from the contemplation of the attributes of Buddha as Bhagavan --a form of devotional faith" (p. 136). Sallie King, Buddha Nature (Albany: SUNY Press, forthcoming) and Paul Griffiths, 'Buddha and God: A Contrastive Study in Maximal Greatness; in Journal of Religion (Vol. 69, October 1989) also speak to the problem of interpreting Buddhahood. Roger Corless and Paul Knitter (Eds), Buddhist Emptiness and Christian Trinity (New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1990) is a work of interest on an unusual juxtaposition of topics. Alice Getty, The Gods of Northern Buddhism (New York: Dover, 1988) explains the history and iconography of various sorts of Buddhas and deities, and may be useful background prior to consulting the former work. 2. Buddhist-Christian dialogue (East Asia). The Buddhist-Christian dialogue may be viewed as the greatest opportunity for Buddhists to discover more about their own positions since the days of the Silk Road trade. But since much of this dialogue is still emergent, it is difficult to map with any precision. Hajime Nakamura, Buddhism in Comparative Light (Motilal, 1975/1986) is a comparative study of Buddhism and Christianity written by an eminent Japanese authority. Likewise, Chai-Shin Yu, Early Buddhism and Christianity (Motilal, 1981/1986) writes a Buddhist-Christian comparative work but with a Chinese emphasis. As William Lafleur ably explains, the philosophy of Nishida Kitaro and that of the Kyoto School which he spawned came over the decades to be preoccupied with questions of the relationship between Buddhism and philosophical discourse. In the beginning, however, some of Nishida's students, such as (the Marxist) Tosaka Jun, had no interest in Buddhism. After Nishida's death in 1945 the Kyoto School was strongly influenced by existentialism, especially through the work of Nishitani and Hisamatsu Shin'ichi. For these thinkers one main problem was how to be religious without recourse to a deity, and Buddhist tradition was studied with a view to finding a solution within it. For example, Shin'ichi Hisamatsu's article, 'Characteristics of Oriental Nothingness; in Philosophical Studies of Japan (1960) is one such attempt. Another is represented by Watsuji Tetsuro, who followed his studies of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard with 'The Practical Philosophy of Early Buddhism' (Genshi Bukkyo on Jissen Tetsugaku (1927, as yet untranslated) briefly discussed by Yuasa in The Body (p. 86). The influence of analytic philosophy on contemporary Buddhist philosophy in Japan is minuscule compared to that of existentialism and German philosophy. Schopenhauer, for example, is much more important in Japanese philosophical circles than in Anglo-American ones. Their earlier and continuing affinity with German developments occupied the Japanese at a time when the analytic tradition was developing in the Anglo-American world. Also, the Kyoto school for the most part regards analytic philosophers as insufficiently attentive to the core problems of human existence, especially that of death. In addition, the massive amount of death and suffering at Hiroshima and Nagasaki could not be far from the minds of intellectuals in immediate post-World War II Japan. Instead of viewing analytic techniques as useful for clarifying problems in the philosophy of religion, Kyoto school thinkers tend to regard philosophical analysis as a distraction from more fundamental problems of human existence. Influenced by Martin Heidegger, Nishitani addresses himself to the problem of nihilism, arguing that the problem of modern nihilism is more easily dealt with by Buddhists than by Christians. Just as they are comparatively unmoved by the niceties of analytic philosophy, so too the 'God is dead' movement is irrelevant to the Kyoto school. Both Keiji Nishitani and Watsuji Tetsuro (1889-1960) held that since the problem of the existence of God does not arise in Buddhism, the philosophical-cultural 'reaction' of the 'God is dead' movement is irrelevant in the Kyoto School context. Zen and Western Thought (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1985) by Masao Abe is a prize-winning work of interest to philosophers and religionists alike. The work articulates what it means to be a Buddhist philosopher in our time and illuminates some of the hidden presuppositions of Western tradition. Overall the emphasis is on our common humanity. Winston L. King, Death Was His Koan: the Samurai Zen of Suzuki Shosan (Freemont: Asian Humanities Press, 1986) may be of some interest to Buddhist-Christian dialogians for its probing of the intellectual currents of Suzuki Shosan's attack on Christianity as an enemy of Buddhism and Japan. 3. Buddhist-Christian dialogue (South Asia). Donald Lopez and Steven Rockefeller (Eds) The Christ and the Bodhisattva (Albany: SUNY Press, 1987) have compiled an anthology concerning what it is to belong and what it is to be open to the religious experience of others in Buddhist and Christian contexts. Ninian Smart, Concept and Empathy: Essays in the Study of Religion, Ed. by Donald Wiebe (Albany: New York University Press, 1986). This collection of Ninian Smart's essays span two decades, and are set forth under three rubrics: philosophy and the study of religion, comparative study of religion, methodological issues in the study of religion. Also of interest under this rubric is Smart's A Dialogue of Religions (Westport: Greenwood, 1981). An interesting form that Buddhist-Christian cooperation can take is that of joint translation projects. A noteworthy example is John Ross Carter and Mahinda Palihawadana (Eds) The Dhammapada (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), a volume which makes use of the commentaries and is likely to be a standard translation for a long time. Arthur L. Herman, The Problem of Evil in Indian Thought (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1976/1990) is worth consulting as an example of philosophically stimulating work on parallel problems in East and West. A persistent inquirer who is inclined to probe in true Socratic fashion what many take as obvious, Herman is among the most daring and philosophical in his approach. His An Introduction to Buddhist Thought: A Philosophical History of Indian Buddhism (Lanham: University Press of America, 1983) is a useful textbook. Lynn A. De Silva, The Problem of the Self in Buddhism and Christianity (Colombo: Study Centre for Religion and Society, 1975 and later reprinted with foreword by John Hick) does not believe that mind/body dualism is biblical, but instead that Buddhism's anatta and Christianity are compatible. They are even working on the same problem of understanding authentic selfhood, a problem which is supposed to be solved by understanding person-in-relation. Overall, several thinkers who are philosophical theologians are also worth reading on Buddhist-Christian dialogue, such as Paul Knitter, David Tracy, Frank Reynolds, Roger Corless and John Hick. An important new work of interest in this vein is Frank Reynolds and David Tracy, Myth and Philosophy (Toward a Comparative Philosophy of Religions) (Albany: SUNY Press, 1990). 4. Religious parallels between Buddhism and Hinduism. K. N. Upadhyaya, Early Buddhism and the Bhagavadgita (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1971) is a splendid work: detailed, scholarly, and meticulous. G. Buddhism and Aesthetics One of the best ways to cultivate an appreciation of Buddhism is by understanding Buddhist art and its interplay with nature. If the etymological meaning, aesthetikos, as a type of perception is emphasised rather than problems in analytic aesthetics, then aesthetics can provide a fruitful introduction to Buddhism. Exposure to images and patterns is essential. For a South Asian perspective Anaada K. Coomaraswamy in The Dance of Shiva (New York: Dover, 1985) provides a valuable point of departure, as does Kakuzo Okakura, The Book of Tea (New York: Dover, 1964) on the East Asian side. Philosophers interested in Asian aesthetics and Buddhism would do well to read Arthur Waley (tr.) The No Plays of Japan (New York: Grove Press, 1957) and savour the Buddhistic undercurrents. Eliot Deutsch in Comparative Aesthetics (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1975) has produced a philosophically interesting monograph which makes the problems of aesthetics emerge from a consideration of particular works of art. Hisamatsu Shin'ichi, Zen and the Fine Arts (Tokyo: Kodansha, 1982) is also an important and accessible work on aesthetics. William R. Lafleur, The Karma of Words (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988) is a well-written work of special interest for its perspective on Japanese aesthetics. Heinrich Dumoulin, Zen Buddhism -- A History: Japan (New York: Macmillan, 1988-1990), translated by Gregory Alles and Paul Knitter, is a magnum opus likely to be a standard work for a long time. Zen and religious thought is a topic which might be included either under aesthetics or under that of philosophy of religion. The following incomplete sampling are some representative authors worth consulting on Zen: Robert Aitken, Chung-yuan Chang, Thomas Cleary, Phillip Kapleau, Thomas Kasulis, Sunim Kusan, Robert Linssen, Katsuki Sekida, D. T. Suzuki, Philip B. Yampolsky and Alan W. Watts. H. Buddhism and Philosophy of Mind Here the work of Paul J. Griffiths looms large. His On Being Mindless (LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 1986) is a major contribution to the field, having as it does the twin virtues of Sanskritic detail and serious attention to philosophical arguments. A prolific writer, Griffiths is one of the very best of the younger generation of Buddhologists. Steven Collins, Selfless Persons (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982) is an important study of Theravada Buddhism from a perspective that will especially interest those trained in humanities or classics. A noteworthy feature of this work is attention to various kinds of imagery in Buddhist thought, such as vegetation imagery. In collaboration with some philosophers Collins has also produced The Category of the Person (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985). Jan Ergardt, Man and His Destiny (Leiden: Brill, 1986) offers a detailed study of citta ('mind') in early Buddhism. Lati Rinbochay (tr. and intr. by Elizabeth Napper), Mind in Tibetan Buddhism (Ithaca: Snow Lion Press, 1980) presents a Tibetan perspective on the topic. Yasuo Yuasa, The Body: Toward an Eastern Mind-Body Theory (Albany: SUNY Press, 1987) is a detailed, philosophically interesting yet interdisciplinary study of mind/body. Continuing the tradition of Watsuji Tetsuro and in contradistinction to Western views such as that of Descartes, Yuasa emphasises that mind/body unity is an achievement rather than an essential given. In this he calls attention to the Japanese Buddhist concern with deepening integration between mind and body in contrast to the European concern with how this interaction takes place. Yuasa focuses upon variation in mind instead of on what the mind/body is essentially. The interface between science and religion is opened up in this comparative work, and attention is paid to Japanese thinkers such as Watsuii, Nishida, Dogen, and Kukai. Erudite and stimulating, Yuasa's work is worthy of careful consideration and the translators Thomas Kasulis and Shigenori Nagatomo are to be commended for introducing his work to the West. Frank J. Hoffman, Rationality and Mind in Early Buddhism (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1987) presents a synthesis of Pali Buddhism and contemporary philosophy. He argues against charges that early Buddhism is unintelligible and pessimistic. Mind plays a crucial role in early Buddhism, particularly in connection with the doctrine of rebirth, a view which fits snugly into the conception background of early Buddhism but which may be questioned by philosophically inclined outsiders. The thesis that Buddhism is a form of empiricism is rejected in favour of a view of meaning that does not require falsification. Eternal life is understood as 'not mortal' (amata), not limited by birth and death. Throughout, Hoffman advocates and exemplifies a philosophical approach to Pali Buddhist texts. David J. Kalupahana's The Principles of Buddhist Psychology (Albany: SUNY Press, 1987), although more an outline than a comprehensive study of the topic, has been well received by some of the thinkers working on the interface between Buddhism and Pragmatism. Nathan Katz (Ed.), Buddhist and Western Psychology (Boulder: Great Eastern Book Co., Prajna Press, 1983) is a work in which several of the contributors (e.g. Trungpa, Katz and Guenther) demonstrate awareness of the problem of reductionism, and some (Trungpa and Katz) point specifically to a problem of reducing Eastern thought to fit Western categories. But reductionism can take various forms, and although it is dubious whether Buddhism can be reduced to any Western psychological or philosophical school without distortion, it is equally dubious whether Buddhism can be reduced to Western therapeutic training without remainder. One important question which this anthology gives rise to is: to what extent is a psychological interpretation of Buddhism in terms of Western categories possible, so that Buddhism is 'explained' without being 'explained away'? A reflective answer to this question would take into account that Buddhism is not merely a matter of technique, but a matter of religious and philosophical commitment as well. I. Buddhism and Philosophy of Science Ramakrishna Puligandla and Fritjof Capra, in South and East Asian contexts respectively, have called attention to the experientialist orientation of Asian philosophies and their affinity with physics. Whether, and if so in what sense, Asian philosophies may be rightly called 'empirical', however, is a moot question. Puligandla's An Encounter With Awareness (Boston: Theosophical Publishing House, 1981) and Capra's The Tao of Physics: an exploration of the parallels between modern physics and Eastern mysticism (Boulder: Shambala, 1983) are worth reading in this connection. In the Japan of the early twentieth century, Inoue and Murakami (as mentioned above regarding Nakamura), worked reconciling karmic causality ideas with modern Western ones and comparing Buddhism (usually more closely with science) and Christianity. J. Buddhism and Socio-political Thought Buddhism has many faces, and sometimes presents an engaged philosophy of social action. Walpola Rahula, The Heritage of the Bhikkhu (New York: Grove Press, 1974) is a good example, as is Ken Jones, The Social Face of Buddhism: An Approach to Political and Social Activism (London: Wisdom, 1989). Richard Gombrich, Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1988) includes a chapter on 'Current trends, new problems'. For a less academic but more trendy approach, with ecological and Buddhist overtones, consult Fritjof Capra, Green Politics (New York: Dutton, 1984). III. Buddhism and the Schools of Philosophy A. Analytic Philosophy Comparisons between analytic philosophy and Buddhist thought often cut both ways. To be sure, Buddhist suspicion of substantialist sorts of metaphysics, God and soul, is in keeping with the tenor of mainstream twentieth century philosophy. Equally salient, however, is Buddhist commitment to a path of salvation, in contrast to mainstream twentieth century philosophy. Consequently it is sometimes erroneously thought that Western analytic philosophy and Asian philosophy are simply incommensurable, such that comparisons between them are jejune and unacceptable. The inadequacy of this view was shown by Chris Gudmunsen, who produced a fine study of Russell and Abhidharma thought, Wittgenstein and Buddhism (London: Macmillan, 1977). More recently Paul Griffiths, although working in theology departments, has called attention to the logic of the Buddhist tradition in such a way as to do a service to analytic philosophy in works such as On Being Mindless (Lasalle: Open Court, 1987). A prolific writer of detailed scholarly articles, he has recently produced (with John P. Keenan) The Realm of Awakening: Chapter Ten of Asanga's Mahayanasamgraha (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989). Stefan Anacker, Seven Works of Vasubandhu, The Buddhist Psychological Doctor (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1987) is a worthy addition to any Buddhist library. There is a section on logic, some criticisms of atomism, and many other points of interest to the analytically inclined philosopher. Together with T. A. Kochumuttom, A Buddhist Doctrine of Experience (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1989), which argues for similarity between Yogacara metaphysics and early Buddhism, Anacker's work fills out our understanding of Vasubandhu considerably. Nolan Pliny Jacobson, Buddhism: The Religion of Analysis (London: Allen & Unwin, 1966 reprinted by SIU Press 1970/1974) offers an introductory but useful perspective on basic Buddhism. B. Pragmatism As Kenneth K. Inada and Nolan P. Jacobson, Buddhism and American Thinkers (New York: SUNY Press, 1984.) show in their introduction, there is ample ground for discussion on the interface between Buddhology and philosophy by way of Alfred N. Whitehead and C. S. Pierce. Although the contributors to this anthology are virtually united in their rejection of substance/attribute metaphysics and subject/object epistemology, beyond this point each uses the occasion as a springboard for developing their own thoughts in diverse directions. The volume contains essays by Charles Hartshorne, David Hall, Nolan Jacobson, Jay McDaniel, Kenneth Inada, David Miller, Richard Chi, Robert Neville and Hajime Nakamura. Their work is introduced by prefatory remarks and is unified at one sweep by a perspicuous panoramic introduction written by Inada and Jacobson. The prefatory remarks and introduction ensure a degree of coherence in what otherwise would have been a disjointed series of essays. Also worth consulting is the somewhat more scholastic work by David J. Kalupahana Principles of Buddhist Psychology (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1987). C. Existentialism With its emphasis on the anxiety of the human condition (compare and contrast with dukkha or suffering), the importance of choice, thrownness, etc. existentialism is a fertile ground for comparisons with Buddhist thought. Padmasiri De Silva is one of those to emphasise this point in Tangles and Webs: Comparative Studies in Existentialism, Psychoanalysis and Buddhism with a foreword by Ninian Smart (Colombo: Lake House, 1974/1976); also see Padmasiri De Silva, Buddhist and Freudian Psychology (Colombo: Lake House, 1973/1978). Indeed, if Schopenhauer is an existentialist, then it is arguable that one of the school's leading representatives is sympathetic to Buddhism. In this connection Bryan Magee, The Philosophy of Schopenhauer (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983) and Bhikkhu Nanajivako's monograph, Schopenhauer and Buddhism (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1970) are noteworthy. Stephen Batchelor, Alone With Others: An Existential Approach to Buddhism (New York: Grove, 1983) is one of those rare works which attempt to bridge the gap between the emic or inside meaning of a tradition and its eric or external meaning to others. On this point it is an existential counterpart to the more analytic study of Buddhism by Frank J. Hoffman, Rationality and Mind in Early Buddhism (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1987). Batchelor writes within his own linguistic and cultural frame of reference to articulate his faith in Buddhism. Existential writers are referred to, but not as a matter of detached scholarly study. In Japan the Kyoto School has emphasised comparisons between Buddhism and Existentialism. (See Buddhist-Christian Dialogue (East Asia) above and Japan below.) D. Phenomenology Ramakrishna Puligandla has emphasised the use of the term 'phenomenology' in application to Buddhist and Hindu thought and experience. His work, Jnana-yoga (Lanham: University Press of America, 1985) shows the application of phenomenology to 'the way of knowledge' in Hinduism, but mutatis mutandis some of what he says there may be applied to Buddhism as well. Puligandla, An Encounter with Awareness (Boston: Theosophical Publishing House, 1981) is a blistering attack on what he regards as the sterility and inanity of contemporary Anglo-American analytic philosophy. Puligandla argues for a view of the self (not soul or ego) as awareness, opposes reductionism, and favours a view of philosophy as concerned with understanding the nature of man and world. Puligandla's philosophical approach throughout is admirable. A recent book of considerable interest to those who, like Puligandla, favour a phenomenological orientation to Buddhism is David Loy, Nonduality (New Haven: Yale, 1989). Loy advocates the thesis that there is a 'core theory' underlying Asian views. David Edward Shaner, The Bodymind Experience in Japanese Buddhism (Albany: SUNY Press, 1985) drives the thesis that Western phenomenological method is useful for explaining the structure of mind/body experience, and that mind/body experience is a central theme for understanding Kukai and Dogen. Anagarika Govinda, The Psychological Attitude of Early Buddhist Philosophy (Delhi: Nag, 1975 reprint) takes a phenomenological approach in saying: "The only world of which the Buddhist speaks is one conscious universe which can be experienced in the microcosms of the human mind and which is represented by the various stages of life and realized by innumerable kinds of living beings" (p. 245). J. F. Staal, Exploring Mysticism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975) is something of a 1970s classic with Staal as guru. The work is a lively, provocative one which defends meditative mysticism against charges of irrationality. E. Deconstruction and Hermeneutics The recent trend in Western philosophy called 'deconstruction' also appears to have some parallels in Asian philosophy. Nagarjuna, for example, may be regarded as offering a deconstruction of standard Buddhist doctrines while nevertheless saluting the Buddha. Through the efforts of Western scholars such as W. LaFleur one hears of Japanese works in a deconstructionist vein, such as Nakamura Yujiro, Nishida Tetsugaku no Datsukochiku ('Deconstructing Nishida's Philosophy'). Under this rubric one also finds Tanabe Hajime, Philosophy as Melanoetics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990). An interest in 'hermeneutics', variously interpreted, occurs in recent works such as Donald S. Lopez (Ed.), Buddhist Hermeneutics (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1988) and Jeffrey Timm (Ed.), Traditional Hermeneutics (Albany: SUNY Press, forthcoming). Branches of Buddhism may be more or less amenable to categorisation as deconstructionist, and one should be wary of overgeneralising and mindful of definitional issues in this regard. F. Comparative Philosophy 'Comparative Philosophy' is a label for a very loosely unified movement of philosophers who regard attention to Oriental thought as significant for their philosophical work. Many are members of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy, begun by Charles A. Moore, author of Philosophy: East and West (Salem: Ayer Co. Pubs., 1944); Philosophy and Culture, East & West: East-West Philosophy in Practical Perspective (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1962) and other works. At the University of Hawaii just after World War II Moore and others did a great deal to stimulate interest in comparative philosophy. Concentrating on East Asia, Moore's edited works, Chinese Mind (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1967) and Japanese Mind (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1967), show the sympathetic treatment of Oriental thought characteristic of the opening phase of comparative philosophy. Nowadays it is difficult to generalise accurately about comparative philosophy, and there are various kinds of cases including the following. Some of these philosophers believe that there are philosophical problems which are 'the same' or at least 'similar' when East and West meet and that the main job of philosophy is to focus on philosophical problems; others are interested in a 'descriptive science' of philosophy which would be incomplete without the inclusion of Asian material. Some have an agenda (hidden or not) of championing what they regard as the superiority of selected Asian thinkers or traditions; others have no such a priori agenda (although in practice it often turns out in their work that Asian thinkers or traditions are vindicated in the face of criticism). Some take an ontological approach and suffuse their philosophising with religious overtones; others take the logician's approach and let the chips fall where they may. With such plurality even within 'comparative philosophy', the term is probably more useful to library cataloguers than to philosophers themselves. In this article its importance is that Buddhism is often treated by philosophers who consider themselves comparativists. Paul Masson-Oursel, Comparative Philosophy (London: Kegan Paul, 1926) has numerous references to Buddhism throughout his work. His favoured approach is 'positivity in philosophy' with special emphasis on logic, metaphysics and psychology which works towards the goal of scientific progress and an appreciation of the history of ideas. P. T. Raju in several works champions the comparative approach. Introduction to Comparative Philosophy (Carbondale: SIU Press, 1970), Spirit, Being and Self: Studies in Indian and Western Philosophy (Columbia: South Asia Books, 1986 reprint of the 1982 Asia Book Corp. edition), The Philosophical Traditions of India (London: Allen & Unwin, 1971) and Structural Depths of Indian Thought (Albany: SUNY Press, 1985). Raju's Philosophical Traditions has a chapter on 'The Heterodox Tradition of Buddhism', which nomenclature (although traditional) reveals an ambivalent tendency of many contemporary Indian philosophers to at once accommodate Buddhism and yet to set it off to one side. Their influence even filters down to some non-Indian interpreters of Buddhism who indulge in all sorts of intellectual acrobatics to find 'divine revelation' and 'true self' in early Indian Buddhism. Raju's Structural Depths has a chapter on Buddhism emphasising the continuity of Buddhism within the Indian tradition such that "if the Ajivikas and Carvakas can be Hindus, there is every justification to call Jainism and Buddhism forms of Hinduism" (p. 147). Regardless of whether one thinks that this is the point of elasticity where the term 'Hinduism' snaps, Raju's text is a useful course textbook with many interesting details for specialist and student alike. Eliot Deutsch, Studies in Comparative Aesthetics (Honolulu: Hawaii, 1975) has tangential value for understanding contemporary Buddhist thought in his treatment of Zeami's views on Buddhist-suffused Noh drama. In three essays on three traditions (Indian, Chinese and Japanese) Deutsch exemplifies a problem-oriented approach which appeals to many contemporary philosophers. Charlene McDermott (Ed.) Comparative Philosophy (Lanham: University Press of America, 1983) presents a valuable collection of essays on epistemology and metaphysics. The work provides stimulating juxtapositions of Eastern and Western thinkers selected with an eye for contemporary philosophical issues. Nolan Pliny Jacobson, Buddhism: The Religion of Analysis (London: Allen & Unwin, 1966 reprinted by SIU Press) has much sensitive comparison and is replete with references to Western philosophers such as David Hume and Ludwig Wittgenstein. This accomplishment is arguably not surpassed by Jacobson's later publications, The Heart of Buddhist Philosophy (Carbondale: SIU Press, 1988), Understanding Buddhism (Carbondale: SIU Press, 1985) and Buddhism and the Contemporary World: Change and Self-correction (Carbondale: SIU Press, 1982). Jacobson's co-edited volume with Kenneth K. Inada, Buddhism and American Thinkers (Albany: SUNY Press, 1984) is a valuable contribution to comparative philosophy on the contemporary scene. It includes essays from leading comparativists, such as Hajime Nakamura. Archie Bahm, Comparative Philosophy (Albuquerque: World Books, 1978) and, in Korea, his associate, Min-hong Choi, Comparative Philosophy: Western and Korean Philosophies Compared (Seoul: Seong Moon Sa, 1980) may also be mentioned in this connection. In true East Asian fashion, Choi asserts: "The ultimate objective of comparative studies, not only in philosophy, but also in all other fields of scholarship, lies in harmony" (p. 98). The several works of Arthur Herman, John Koller and Ramakrishna Puligandla indicate that comparative philosophy is flourishing today. IV. Buddhist Philosophy in Culture: Works Written from a Cultural Perspective but with some Philosophical Interest A. Mainland China and Taiwan Chung-yuan Chang, Creativity and Taoism (New York: Harper 1971), Original Teachings of Ch'an Buddhism (New York: Grove Press, 1969) and Tao: A New Way of Thinking (New York: Harper, 1977) was one of the twentieth century's great masters of interpreting Taoism and Zen (within which matrices he found many affinities) for the West. He stimulated special interest in comparative philosophy by way of Heidegger and Taoism in his translation and commentary on the Tao Te Ching. Robert M. Gimello and Peter Gregory, Studies in Ch'an and Hua-yen (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press with Kuroda Institute, 1983) has papers by Jeffrey Broughton, Luis O. Gomez, John R. McRae, Peter N. Gregory and Robert M. Gimello. In the Preface Gimello observes that Buddhist scholars "are now less inclined than they once were to abstract their subject from its various, complex, and everchanging cultural contexts. They are as much interested in exploring the web of its relationships with other components of East Asian civilization as they are in tracing the intricacies of its philology and the internal patterns of its thought" (pp. ix-x). Thome Fang, The Chinese View of Life (Taiwan: Linking Publishing Co., 1980) and his Creativity in Man and Nature (Taiwan: Linking Publishing Co., 1980) are sparking renewed interest in the 1990s thanks to the efforts of George Sun, editor of the journal Comprehensive Harmony, an international and interdisciplinary journal encompassing many horizons but formed in honour of Thome Fang. Fung Yu-lan, A Short History of Chinese Philosophy (New York: Free Press, 1966) and History of Chinese Philosophy, two vols. tr. Derke Bodde (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1952-53) produced valuable material for those interested in the history of philosophy. Works of interest under this rubric are A. C. Graham, Disputers of the Tao (LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 1989), his Studies in Chinese Philosophy and Philosophical Literature (Albany: SUNY Press, 1990) and Arthur F. Wright, Studies in Chinese Buddhism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990). B. India and Tibet Karl Potter, Guide to Indian Philosophy (New York: G. K. Hall & Co., 1988) is an excellent annotated bibliography and research tool. It would be foolhardy to attempt to chop wood for the master woodchopper, and so the reader is referred to Potter. Under this rubric it is sufficient to emphasise a few works of special interest not included in the above discussion of branches and schools: Agehananda Bharati, The Tantric Tradition (new version to be issued as Tantric Traditions) Herbert V. Guenther, Buddhist Philosophy In Theory and Practice (Boulder and London: Shambala, 1976), Edward Conze, Buddhist Thought in India (London: Allen and Unwin, 1962 reprinted by University of Michigan, 1967) and Yoshinori Takeuchi, tr. and ed. by James W. Heisig, The Heart of Buddhism: In Search of the Timeless Spirit of Primitive Buddhism (New York: Crossroad, 1983). A work that has been awaited with interest is Hirakawa Akira, A History of Indian Buddhism: From Sakyamuni to Nagarjuna (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1990). C. Japan Almost by default, the Japanese have been much more enterprising in working in cross-cultural philosophy than either the Koreans or the Chinese. Even D. T. Suzuki, who is not usually thought of as a comparative philosopher but as a Zen man, has a comparative essay on Meister Eckhart in On Indian Mahayana Buddhism (New York: Harper, 1968). For basic reference on Japanese Buddhism, see Alicia and Daigan Matsunaga, Foundations of Japanese Buddhism, Vols. I and II. (Los Angeles and Tokyo: Buddhist Books International, 1976). Hajime Nakamura, in Kindai Nihon Tetsugaku Shisoka Jiten, has dictionary entries on both Enryo Inoue (1858-1919) and Sensho Murakami (1851-1929). These pioneering figures in early twentieth-century Japan attempt to defend Buddhism in view of the impact of Western philosophy. For instance, the topic of Karma was taken up by these thinkers in its relation to Western ideas of causality. (For additional details and translations see Kathleen Staggs' articles in Monumenta Nipponica.) Masao Abe, Zen and Western Thought (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1985), deals with Western thinkers such as Nietzsche and Tillich while relating his thought to the main trends in interpreting religion and science in culture. Throughout the Zen perspective is evident. William Lafleur (Ed.) Dogen Studies (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1985) includes interesting essays by Kasulis, Abe, Maraldo, Lafleur et al. The introductory essay by Lafleur is presented in dialogue form, and adroitly reveals the interplay of diverse disciplinary perspectives on the Buddhist hermeneutical front. T. P. Kasulis, Zen Action/Zen Person (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1981) is a philosophically worthwhile work which makes the philosophical problems emerge from considerations of Japanese language. In addition to works of direct philosophical interest, there are also contemporary translations with commentaries which serve as useful background material for philosophical reflection about Japan. Noteable among them are Phillip Yampolsky (Ed.) The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch (New York: Columbia University Press, 1967); Yampolsky's The Zen Master Hakuin: Selected Writings (New York: Columbia, 1971) and Yoshito Hakeda, Kukai: Major Works (New York: Columbia, 1972). Chikao Fujisawa, Zen and Shinto: the Story of Japanese Philosophy (Westport: Greenwood, 1971), a New York reprint of the Philosophical Library edition of 1959, is a philosophical work from a Neo-Shinto perspective. The author attempts a dialectical synthesis of capitalism and communism, which in view of perestroika makes it surprisingly up-to-date, and offers an interpretation of Zen emphasizing Shinto roots. D. Korea As with Japan and China, it is difficult to pinpoint major works produced by Korean Buddhists or scholars of Korean Buddhism that have direct connections to the branches or schools of Western philosophy (e.g. typically, a single East-Asian work spans several branches and represents a perspective not already contained within any Western school). Notice should be taken of Hee-sung Keel, Chinul (Seoul: Pojinjae, Berkeley Buddhist Studies Series, 1984), Robert E. Buswell, The Korean Approach to Zen: The Collected Works of Chinul (University of Hawaii Press, 1983) and Sung Bae Park, Buddhist Faith and Sudden Enlightenment (New York: State University of New York Press, 1983). Also noteworthy is Mu Soeng Sunim, Thousand Peaks: Korean Zen -- Tradition and Teachers (Berkeley: Parallax Press, 1987). In Korea, two publications of special note are International Cultural Foundation, Buddhist Culture in Korea, Korean Culture Series Vol. 3 (Seoul: Si-sa-yong-o-sa Publishers, 1982), a collection of essays by korean scholars on buddhist thought and art, and sun keun lee and ki yong rhi, buddhism and the modern world (seoul: dongguk university, 1976). in recent years the international cultural society of korea (seoul) deserves mention for stimulating the interest of foreign scholars in studying korean buddhism and culture. Works of interest to Korean Buddhist specialists are Robert E. Buswell (Ed.), Chinese Buddhist Apocrypha (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1990) and Lewis Lancaster, Assimilation of Buddhism in Korea (Berkeley: Asian Humanities Press, 1991). In contemporary Buddhist thought there are many currents which are not in mainstream academic philosophy but are nevertheless influential. One thinks, for example, of the Chinese businessman C. T. Shen's Mayflower II (Institute for the Advanced Study of World Religions, 1982), of the Japanese Gyomay M. Kubose's The Center Within (Heian International, 1986), of the Vietnamese Thich Nhat Hahn's The Sun, My Heart (Berkeley: Parallax Press, 1988), of Thomas Merton's Zen and the Birds of Appetite (New York: New Directions, 1968) and of the American Roshi Aitken's Mind of Clover (San Francisco: North Point Press, 1984). There is no space for listing all their publications in detail or those of others (including the Buddhistic poetry of Gary Snyder) who are worthy of mention. V. Contemporary Buddhist Philosophy in the 1990s and Beyond In an entry of this kind the reader may justifiably hope for some sense of 'what's happening now'. Even as this sentence is typed the 'now' recedes into the past and the present slides onward towards the 1992 publication date. I will venture a few remarks without the aid of any New Age crystal ball. First, economically, one notices a movement of research, grants, and grant-related activities towards, on the one hand, East Asia (especially Japan) and on the other hand towards Tibet. Even scholars with training in South Asia appear to be shifting somewhat to accommodate East Asian Mahayana perspectives on their work. And then there are the many untranslated Tibetan manuscripts (in the Harvrd Yen-Ching Institute, for example). There are doubtless political and economic realities behind these current emphases. Second, socially viewed, there is the rise of numerous meditation institutes such as are listed in the useful reference work by Don Morreale, Buddhist America: Centers, Retreats, Practices (Santa Fe: John Muir, 1988) and also in the International Buddhist Directory (Wisdom, 1985). Rick Fields, How the Swans Came to the Lake: A Narrative History of Buddhism in America (Boston and London: Shambala, 1986) tells how the lotus unfolds. There is even the rise of a new type of meta-level institute exemplified by the Buddhist leader, Havanpola Ratanasara, who organises Buddhists from several cultures in his work in Los Angeles through programmes of the College of Buddhist Studies, and is active in dialogue with other religions as well. Buddhist groups in the USA easily become isolated linguistic and cultural enclaves. Yet some have seen the need to increase co-operation between these enclaves and between Buddhists altogether and the mainstream (predominantly Christian) culture. Whereas Ratanasara's enterprise would be a difficult undertaking in any specific Asian country, Western countries such as the USA are in good positions to facilitate the emergence of these meta-institutes which transcend ethnic enclaves, oppose cultural tribalism, and make for mutual understanding among Buddhists in the contemporary world. As for social and academic opportunities, the meeting of college professors through those of the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institutes and Summer Seminars which pertain to Asia function effectively to promote knowledge of Asian culture, of which Buddhism is one element. Also, The Summer Seminars on the Sutras (sponsored by Jemez Bodhi Mandala, New Mexico) which combine meditation practice with scholarly endeavour are another important contemporary social development nowadays. Credit should be given to the Kuroda Institute for extending substantial scholarly support for publications. Third, politically, there is the development of political activism which is explicitly Buddhistic in its vegetarian, feminist, animal rights orientation in ways that cut across sectarian lines. Directories such as those mentioned above facilitate contacts among those interested in Buddhism. Fourth, internationally, the events contributing towards a more unified European alliance and those which conditioned the decline in the heretofore monolithic Soviet domination of minorities together set the stage for the emergence of more East European publications sympathetic to Buddhistic thinking, such as Yugoslavia's Kulture Istoka or 'Eastern Culture' quarterly edited by Dusan Paijin in Novi Beograd. Fifth, is the development of communications media such as computer networks, the use of computers for day-to-day on-line communications and text transmission work (such as the Columbia University Pali Canon CD ROM Project with Berkeley's Lewis Lancaster et al.). Various newsletters, such as Southern Dharma (Hot Springs, NC) and Dharma Voice (Los Angeles, CA) facilitate communication for the meditation minded. Factors such as the foregoing contribute towards a concrescence of Buddhistic feeling, what Nolan Pliny Jacobson called "thinking from the soft underside of the mind". One result might be a sympathetic attunement among Buddhist groups such that they seek points of cooperation where there are sectarian divisions, such that they work better together for a world of cooperation and religious freedom. The construction of a deep theoretical basis for Buddhist ethics taking into account the work of Saddhatissa and others which provides a unifying framework of intra-Buddhistic cooperation is a desideratum. Another challenging task would be the construction of a 'Philosophy of Buddhist Religion' (distinct from both the entirely emic (or internal) 'Buddhist Philosophy' and the entirely etic (or external) 'Philosophy of Christian Religion') which would highlight conceptual problems of interest specifically to philosophers. Emma McCloy Layman, Buddhism in America (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1976), drawing on terms from Donald Swearer, writes of the possible modes of Buddhist influence as those of 'appropriation', 'transformation' and 'dialogue'. As Buddhism becomes more and more an established religion in Western countries there will probably be more instances of transformation and not just instances of Buddhist-Christian dialogue. For further reading about the future one might consult S.S. Rama Rao Pappu and Ramakrishna Puligandla (eds.) Indian Philosophy Past & Future (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1982). Acknowledgement Special thanks go to NEH for funding its Summer Seminar on Buddhism and Culture at UCLA in 1989. There William LaFleur, Steven Teiser and some seminar participants offered information, criticism and advice on writing this essay. Any errors that remain are my own. I am grateful to Brian Carr and Indira Mahalingam for their invitation to write this article.