Building Bridges between Chan Buddhism and Confucianism
A Comparative Hermeneutics of Qisong's "Essays on Assisting the Teaching"
Arghirescu meticulously reveals a "Confucianized" dimension of Qisong's thought, showing how he revisited and reinterpreted Confucian terminology in his special form of Chan aimed at his contemporary Confucian readers and auditors "who do not know Buddhism." Qisong's form of eleventh-century Chan, she argues, is unique in its cohesive or nondual perspective on Chinese Buddhist, Confucian, and other philosophical traditions, which considers all of them to be interdependent and to share a common root.
Building Bridges between Chan Buddhism and Confucianism is the first book to identify, examine, and expand on a series of Confucian concepts and virtues that were specifically identified and discussed from a Buddhist perspective by a historical Buddhist writer. It represents a major contribution in the comparative understanding of both traditions.
About the Author
"Although the great intellectual traditions of Buddhism and Confucianism existed alongside each other in a complex manner through several centuries of Chinese history, truly sophisticated attempts at mutual intellectual understanding between them were almost nonexistent for most of this period. It was not until the Song dynasty when the necessary impetus and intellectual erudition manifested itself in the mind of the eminent Chan master Qisong (1007–1072). Qisong, who was also deeply conversant in the texts of Confucianism, brought the Buddhist-Confucian dialogue to a new philosophical level in his writings. In this book Diana Arghirescu has provided us with a rich annotated translation of some of Qisong's central works, along with a substantial introduction to their philosophical role. This book goes far in filling in a large gap in our understanding of Song intellectual history."—A. Charles Muller, Musashino University
"An impressive in-depth analysis. It introduces a prominent voice of early Song Buddhism. At the same time, the author is adding a crucial perspective on the formative stage of daoxue Confucianism in the 11th century."—Christian Soffel, Universität Trier
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