What Determines Śankara’s Authorship? The Case of the Pañcīkarana
Vidyasankar Sundaresan, 1
The prakarana text called Pañcīkarana, attributed to Śankara, is investigated here. Through a comparative analysis with Śankara’s commentaries on the Gītā and some of the principal Upanisads, it is shown that this text is most probably genuine. The background of Yoga in pre-Śankaran Vedānta and in Śankara’s thought is completely reevaluated, and the need to develop new criteria to determine the validity of the attribution of these texts to Śankara is highlighted.
A Critical Reflection on the Systematics of Traditional Chinese Learning
Fang Zhao-hui, 36
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Chinese scholars have tended to traditional Chinese learning split apart and rearrange it according to the systematics of modern Western academic disciplines. By examining the meaning of Western “philosophy” and “ethics,” it is demonstrated that Western and Chinese learning should not be lumped together according to the same systematics. Moreover, classical Chinese learning has always had its own complex systematics and its own long tradition, and it has undergone constant development over time. Thus, it is well beyond any criticism that may be leveled at it from the standpoint of Western systematics. Even so, modern Chinese intellectuals have become accustomed to understanding classical Chinese learning through a Western prism.
Social Responsibility, Sex Change, and Salvation: Gender Justice in the Lotus Sūtra
Lucinda Joy Peach, 50
What can the Lotus Sūtra teach us about social responsibility? This question is explored through the lens of gender by examining the specifically female-gendered images in the Lotus Sūtra in order to assess its messages regarding normative gender relations, and the implications of these messages for gender justice in the contemporary world. First, gender imagery in the Lotus is explored. Second, these images are compared with those found elsewhere in the Buddhist tradition in order to provide a clearer assessment of how representative the Lotus’ messages are regarding gender in Buddhism more generally. Measuring the gender imagery in the Lotus Sūtra against that in comparable Buddhist texts reinforces an assessment that this text reflects somewhat ambivalent and contradictory messages regarding women’s capacity for Enlightenment.
Mencius, Hume, and Sensibility Theory
Xiusheng Liu, 75
Sensibility theory claims that, for any object x, x is good/right if and only if x is such as to make a certain sentiment appropriate. A realist position, sensibility theory claims conceptual and explanatory advantages over alternative metaethical theories. Sensibility theory, while revealing, presents a problem of its own: its central thesis involves an explanatory circularity. Here, a Mencius-Hume solution to that problem is offered.
Hindu Avatāra and Christian Incarnation: A Comparison
Noel Sheth, S.J., 98
After tracing the development of the doctrines of avatāra and incarnation, the two are compared and contrasted. Some nuanced differences are: (1) Avatāras descend repeatedly, while Christ comes only once. However, we must also reckon with the Second Coming of Christ and the possibility of many incarnations. (2) The avatāra is real but perfect because it is made of “pure matter,” while the incarnation is imperfect. (3) Avatāra have different purposes and, unlike the incarnation, not every Avatāra grants salivation. The two concepts are not so incompatible as may appear at first, yet the differences spring from the contrasting worldviews of the respective religions. The two beliefs can also be mutually complementary.
Tongbian in the Chinese Reading of Dialectical Materialism
Chenshan Tian, 126
Western materialism and dialectics are different from their Chinese analogues. The informed perspective presented here may rouse a sensitivity to these differences in a tongbian reading of Marxist philosophy on the part of Chinese intellectuals; Marxism is no longer exactly what it is understood to be in the Western tradition. Ai Siqi’s discussions of “materialism” and “the interpenetration of opposites” exemplify how Chinese Marxism draws on tongbian to read Marx and Engels in a distinctly different way. Little in Ai’s thought can be identifiable with Engels’ law of unity of contradiction, where all motion consists of the interplay of attraction and repulsion, and the form of motion is what physics terms “energy.” Following Hall and Ames on correlative thinking in the Chinese tradition, it is argued that certain Western cosmological assumptions have led to differences between Western Marxism and particular philosophical currents in the Chinese tradition, and that Chinese Marxism has developed from a culture and tradition that cannot be understood fully in terms of Western categories.
Classical Indian Philosophy of Mind: The Nyāya Dualist Tradition, by Kisor Kumar Chakrabarti
Reviewed by Roy W. Perrett, 145