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On the Absence of Buddhist Ethics: An Examination of Interwar Shin Writings on the Two Truths
Author Schroeder, Jeff (著)
Source The Eastern Buddhist: Third Series
Volumev.2 n.1
Pages35 - 53
PublisherThe Eastern Buddhist Society
Publisher Url
Location京都, 日本 [Kyoto, Japan]
Content type期刊論文=Journal Article
AbstractDiscussions of social ethics by Shin 真 Buddhists during the modern period were dominated by the doctrine of the “absolute and conventional two truths” (shinzoku nitai 真俗二諦). According to the interpretation put forward by modern Shin sect authorities, “absolute truth” (Skt. paramārthasatya; Jp. shintai 真諦) referred to the Buddha’s teachings while “conventional truth” (Skt. saṃvṛtisatya; Jp. zokutai 俗諦) referred to secular law and morality. As discussed below, the unorthodox analysis of the two truths by Kiyozawa Manshi 清沢満之 (1863–1903) has been seen by many scholars as a critical step toward casting o3 the dominant ethics of subservience to the state and establishing an autonomous Buddhist ethics. Historically, however, this is not how Shin thought developed after Kiyozawa. The members of Kiyozawa’s Seishinshugi 精神主義 movement did not go on to develop social or political views signi8cantly at odds with the state or with mainstream society. To the contrary, in response to such events as the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, the Great Treason Incident (Taigyaku jiken 大逆 事件) of 1911, and the death of the Meiji 明治 Emperor in 1912, Seishinshugi 8gures echoed popular opinion in their statements of war support and loyalty to the emperor. When the period of war mobilization arrived in the 1930s and 1940s, Seishinshugi 8gures led in the production of “imperial-way Buddhism” (kōdō bukkyō 皇道仏教), advancing the view that Shin thought and imperialist ideology were in harmony.
Yoshida Kyūichi attributes this trend in part to the failure of Kiyozawa’s followers to uphold their teacher’s stance on the two truths: “!e Seishinshugi movement was unmatched in its exaltion of absolute truth. Yet after Manshi, it unexpectedly produced labored explanations of conventional truth, advancing arguments that can only be understood as a total degeneration of conventional truth.” Through a close reading of interwar writings on the two truths by Sasaki Gesshō 佐々木月樵 (1875–1926) and Kaneko Daiei 金子大栄 (1881–1976), this paper will investigate how two of Kiyozawa’s most esteemed followers diverged from or developed Kiyozawa’s interpretation of the two truths, and more broadly, why they failed to develop a robust social ethics capable of critiquing the state.
Table of contentsŌtani Orthodoxy 36
Kiyozawa Manshi 38
Sasaki Gesshō 40
Table 1. Multiple Levels of the Two Truths 46
Kaneko Daiei 47
Conclusion 49
Abbreviations 52
References 52
ISSN24366366 (P)
Created date2023.05.03
Modified date2023.05.03

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