Evil and/or/as the Good: Omnicentrism, Intersubjectivity, and Value Paradox in Tiantai Buddhist Thought

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ISBN-13: 978-0674002487
ISBN-10: 0674002482
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Brook Ziporyn is Assistant Professor of Asian Religion and Philosophy at Northwestern University.
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Product Details

  • Series: Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series (Book 51)
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Asia Center (July 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674002482
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674002487
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,340,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By HomoBonaeVoluntatis on November 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In his learned and inventive work Ziporyn presents us with a philosophy practically unheard-of in the West. T'ien-T'ai's enlightenment perceives reality neither as just "mundane" nor as transcendent in the more (Zen) or less ("separate teaching") exclusive sense of "beyond", but rather as immanent transcendence grounded in samsara. Therefore, only the "provisional" can incarnate the ultimate and only "provisional" words can convey the "unspeakable", employing them allegorically so that even fairy tales can express some particular aspect of the Middle Way.
Ziporyn choses the model of setup/punch line as a metaphor for the Lotus-Sutra's supreme marvel to "open up provisional" words/reality as dwelling place of the ultimate. But life is largely not funny at all. Given the terrible suffering in this world, how could Buddhas, who always suffer when seeing others suffering, not view samsara as one monumental tragedy?!
Zhili maintains the impossibility of attaining pure goodness arguing that there's nothing but evil, the realization of which is itself the good. I believe T'ien-T'ai wouldn't agree to that. Instead he ascribed very specific psychological and behavioural qualities like compassion to Buddhahood. If there didn't exist a tenth substance endowed with distinguishing qualities, why then 100 worlds? Ninety would do just fine, adding to each of the nine deluded worlds a tenth state of aggregation which would correspond to Zhili's enlightened "dung-beetle-hood" (= wickedness).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By dak on August 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
what a great read with mind opening possibilities.a deep penetrating look into the nature of knowledge,being and reality.what more can i say.Ok,ill say more,this book shows the contrast between western dual thought and the omnicentric view of reality in tiantai Buddhist thought.it is not an easy read as it touches on deep topics in the fields of ontology, epistemilogical and axiological concepts.i have many years of study on philosophy and Buddhist thought and i still had to read this book slowly and deliberately to really grasp the underlying meaning into the nature of omnicentric thought.i dont recommend this book as a first read into the look of Buddhist thought or those new to philosophy.i did give it a five star because it was written giving multiple comparisons to other philosophical systems and it did open up some new understanding to me into the nature of what is?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Erik Hahn on November 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Especially difficult for someone without a background in Buddhist philosophy but it is pleasant to read once you understand the terms, like upàya and omnicentric holism. If you get through it you will have an entirely new worldview and greater understanding of a particular form of Buddhism.
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Evil and/or/as the Good: Omnicentrism, Intersubjectivity, and Value Paradox in Tiantai Buddhist Thought
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