MA Student, Philosophy of Religions
Return to the Fundamental Substance against the Pursuit of Authentic Dharmadhātu—The 1943 Debate between Xiong Shili and Lü Cheng
“This paper examines a debate that took place in 1943 between the New Confucian philosopher Xiong Shili 熊十力 (1885-1968), known for his Buddho-Confucian work New Treatise on Consciousness-Only (xin weishi lun 新唯識論), and the Buddhologist Lü Cheng 呂澂 (1896-1989), one of the earliest scholars in modern China to have mastered languages like Sanskrit, Pāli, and Tibetan, and developed new methods of textual criticism. More specifically, it deals with 1) the fundamental contrast between “intrinsic awareness” and “intrinsic quiescence” Lü places between Chinese Buddhism and Indian Buddhism; 2) Xiong’s adoption of the word “ontology” in conjunction with “cosmology” for his philosophy; and 3) Xiong’s critique of teleology in Lü’s scholarly commitments. In engaging closely with these three points of contention, this paper seeks to make sense of the conceptual space charted out by their debate, which is both traditional in its continuation of a series of pre-modern metaphysical oppositions in East Asian thought and modern in the tensions created by their drastically different methodological tendencies. Such a space is created with anxieties over defining their philosophies of religion against Western challenges in the background, but comparisons with Europe hardly enter the debate proper. What sorts of roles does “India” play here as a mediating other? What are the limitations and inspirations of such visions? Can we enlist these thinkers as predecessors to a transcultural philosophy of religions?”
Thursday, December 3, 6:00 PM CDT
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