Hōnen, the founder of the Jōdo School of Buddhism in Japan, came to a strong conviction of the efficacy of the nembutsu through his deep personal experience, in which he realized that he would be incapable of mastering the Buddhist teachings and practices. Although Hōnen refrains from urging the nembutsu practitioner to focus on the mental components of the nembutsu, a close reading of his texts reveals that he has a systematic view of a psychological process that the nembutsu practitioner must go through in order to recite the nembutsu properly. I argue that Hōnen’s account of a deep, dynamic psychological structure of the nembutsu practitioner exhibits a strong parallel to psychological factors in the preconditions of religious experience elucidated by James in his Varieties of Religious Experience. Moreover, interestingly, Hōnen’s religious conviction of the Jōdo belief being grounded in his own emotionally infused personal experience accords well with James’ contention regarding religion in general. James’ psychological analyses of religious experience provide an illuminating framework in which we can understand the significance of the psychological process of the nembutsu practitioner expounded by Hōnen in his teachings of the nembutsu as well as the importance of Hōnen’s own personal experience.
Ren and Gantong: Openness of Heart and the Root of Confucianism
Huaiyu Wang, 463
In this essay, the sense of gantong 感通 is taken as a vital clue, and a line of interpretation is established that brings the complex meanings of ren and its various forms of writing into a coherent unity. The interpretation here identifies one of the oldest meanings of ren as gantong: open and affective comportment with spiritual, human, and natural beings in the surrounding world. The origin of ren lies in the ancient rites of ancestral worship that featured the spiritual surrogates (shi 尸) who served as the intermediary for the communication and interaction (gantong) between dead ancestors and living descendents, between heavenly spirits and human beings. While this use of ren as gantong did not start with Confucius, what distinguished the Confucian understanding of ren was the shift of priority from the way of heaven to the way of the human, from the divination and intuition of godly injunctions to care and compassion among different individuals in the human community. Openness and sincerity of heart became the central meaning of ren in Confucian teachings and the root of Confucian moral cultivation, which can be best described as a gradual process of person opening instead of person making.
Ren as a Communal Property in the Analects
Alexus McLeod, 505
This essay presents an interpretation of ren 仁 in the Analects that takes it to be a moral property primarily of communities, one that individuals can possess derivatively. Other interpretations of ren, li 禮, and moral agency in the Analects fail to account for the centrality of community in an adequate way, making it peripheral to the main theory, and thus struggling to make sense of the concentration on community in sections of the Analects such as book 4, and key passages such as Analects 4.1, 4.7, and 4.25, in which Confucius discusses the connection of ren to the particular community in which one lives, the groups one is a member of, and one’s neighbors, respectively. First, a conception is outlined of shared communal disposition that helps us to understand ren in the Analects. Then, a textual argument centered in book 4 of the Analects is presented that ren is best understood as a communal property. Finally, an explanation is offered of communal disposition in general, and of how ren as a communal property is connected to the relevant communal dispositions.
Fingarette on Moral Agency in the Analects
Richard Reilly, 529
Despite the seminal status of Herbert Fingarette’s collection of essays, Confucius: The Secular as Sacred, certain lines of criticism have persisted for four decades. The aim of this essay is to rescue Fingarette’s analyses from several recurring misconceptions. Attending to Fingarette’s methods of analysis and to the light shed by subsequent publications, the following claims are advanced regarding Fingarette’s understanding of the Lun yü. (1) Fingarette does not give it a “behaviorist” interpretation. (2) While it does not utilize psychological metaphors or doctrines, it nevertheless affirms that persons have a psychic life and exercise moral agency. (3) Indeed, a “moral self” underlies an authentic (egoless) “bearer of roles.” (4) It reveals how “magical power” is at the heart of human virtue embedded in li, but this does not mean either that persons exercise causal power from a distance or that such magical power lacks philosophical significance. (5) Li is epistemologically necessary for what can be interpersonally understood as intelligently appropriate conduct, as references to “performatives” and “forms of life” make clear. (6) Human beings are primarily performers rather than composers of li; nevertheless, right conduct manifests how individuals uniquely cultivate themselves and attain sacred dignity.
This essay proposes a novel interpretation of the Fatāwā-i Jahāndārī (Precepts of world rulership), one of the major sources of Indo-Islamic political thought produced by Ziyā’ al-Dīn Baranī, a seminal Indo-Islamic political theorist and historian (fourteenth century). It shows that one of the main thrusts of Baranī’s theory is to offer a comprehensive account of the various kinds and manifestations of emergencies and modes of treating the diseases afflicting the body politic. It also investigates the ways in which Baranī’s ideas on emergencies relate to the political circumstances that prevailed during the Delhi Sultanate period as well as to previous works of political and moral advice, particularly Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsī’s Nasirean Ethics. In addition, this essay is the first systematic endeavor to place Baranī in conversation with Western political writers, especially Niccolò Machiavelli. It explores the affinities between these two authors’ views on emergencies and, more broadly, on the challenges associated with rulership and the qualities requisite for an efficient ruler. My analysis of Baranī’s ideas within the context of the Islamic tradition and the cross-cultural comparison with Machiavelli highlights the normative dimensions of his theory and its relevance to current debates on emergencies.
An Apology for Postcolonial Reason, a review of On Reason: Rationality in a World of Cultural Conflict and Racism, by Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze
Paul Lyons, 574
Talk about “Barbarians” in Antiquity, a review of Rethinking the Other in Antiquity, by Erich S. Gruen
Michael Nylan, 580
Iqbal’s Conception of God, by M. Salman Raschid
Reviewed by M. Shabbir Ahsen, 602
Engaging with Bediuzzaman Said Nursi: A Model of Interfaith Dialogue, by Ian S. Markham
Reviewed by Recep Alpyağil, 604
The Legend of the Middle Ages: Philosophical Explorations of Medieval Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, by Rémi Brague, translated by Lydia G. Cochrane
Reviewed by Mehmet Karabela, 605
Theodicy and Justice in Modern Islamic Thought: The Case of Said Nursi, edited by Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi’
Reviewed by Nazif Muhtaroğlu, 608
The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App
Reviewed by Joseph Prabhu, 610
Books Received, 614