Chan Buddhist Research Paper

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The essay begins with a look at Reiner Schürmann's comparison of "anarchic praxis" in Soto Zen and Meister Eckhart (in his 1978 article, "The Loss of Origin in Soto Zen and Meister Eckhart"). I will further extend this comparison with a... more

The essay begins with a look at Reiner Schürmann's comparison of "anarchic praxis" in Soto Zen and Meister Eckhart (in his 1978 article, "The Loss of Origin in Soto Zen and Meister Eckhart").  I will further extend this comparison with a discussion of the ideas of the 13th century Zen thinker and Sōtō Zen founder Dōgen.  "Anarchic praxis" for Schürmann has certain ontological implications, as shown in his notion of "ontological anarchy," e.g., in his Heidegger readings.  Would the "anarchic praxis" we might recognize in Zen, especially Dōgen, have comparable ontological implications?  Through a consideration of the 20th century Japanese thinker Nishida Kitarō's notion of "nothing" (mu)-a "nothing" that escapes reduction to the conceptual distinction between being and its opposite, non-being-the paper investigates the possibility of tweaking Schürmann's notion of "ontological anarchy" in the direction of what call the "an-ontological."  In other words, I argue for an "anontology of anarchy" that would be prior to the archic constructions of the on-meon (being/non-being) distinction.  For this purpose, discussions of the meaning of being vis-à-vis non-being and being in relation to praxis/action; the Heideggerian notions of Lichtung (clearing), chōra, and sacred/chaos; Nishida's notion of place (basho); and Eckhart's notion of godhood/godhead (Gottheit) will also be relevant. 
This is a chapter in the volume, 'Hegemony and Singularity: The Philosophy of Reiner Schürmann' edited by Vishwa Adluri, to be published by Northwestern University Press.  This article was written in 2010 and the book was originally supposed to be published years ago and is still awaiting publication.

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