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Ontological Indeterminacy and Its Soteriological Relevance: An Assessment of Mou Zongsan's (1909-1995) Interpretation of Zhiyi's (538-597) Tiantai Buddhism
Author Kantor, Hans-Rudolf
Source Philosophy East and West
Volumev.56 n.1
Pages16 - 68
PublisherUniversity of Hawaii Press
Publisher Url
LocationHonolulu, HI, US [檀香山, 夏威夷州, 美國]
Content type期刊論文=Journal Article
NoteAuthor affiliation: Graduate Institute of East Asian Humanities, Huafan University, Taibei
Keywordsects; Mahayana; religions; Tiantai; 中國佛教=Chinese Buddhism; 比丘=Buddhist Monk=Bhiksu=Bhikkhu; 本體論=Ontology; 佛教人物=Buddhist; 儒佛會通=佛教與儒家=Buddhism and Confucianism
AbstractThis is an attempt to clarify a vital ontological aspect of Tiantai teaching created by the sixth-century Chinese Buddhist monk Zhiyi. To do this Tiantai must first be distanced from Mou Zongsan's interpretation of its central pattern of nonduality, a reconstructive theory that refers to both Chinese Buddhism and Confucianism and sees a "two-level ontology" in Chinese philosophical traditions, grounded in both the Chinese Buddhist patterns of "nonduality between the sacred and the profane" and the Kantian distinction between "noumena and phenomena." Part 1 of this article is a critical analysis and evaluation of Mou's theory, concluding that the Buddhist patterns of nonduality and the Kantian distinction are not mutually convertible. Part 2 focuses on Tiantai ontology in the specific context of its soteriological relevance, demonstrating that the ideal of "universally saving all sentient beings" in Tiantai soteriology must presuppose the conception of "nonduality of/between the sacred and the profane," and that the ambiguous ontological status of existing things corresponds to this soteriological doctrine in a manner that can only be expressed by a "paradoxical articulation." The ontological meaning of Tiantai teaching is then specified with regard to Zhiyi's discussion of reality and the diversity of existing things. The three constitutive elements of Tiantai Buddhism—the soteriological doctrine of nonduality, ontological indeterminacy, and paradoxical articulation—are all based on an ideal of universal salvation that excludes a level of "being" transcending the realm of sentient beings. This conclusion directly controverts Mou's metaphysical notion of a "two-level ontology.
ISSN00318221 (P); 15291898 (E)
Created date2006.09.12
Modified date2020.08.27

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