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Letting Go

translated and with an introduction by Peter Haskel

Of the many eccentric figures in Japanese Zen, the Soto Zen master Tosui Unkei (d. 1683) is surely among the most colorful and extreme. Variously compared to Ryokan and Francis of Assisi, Tosui has been called "the original hippie." After many grueling years of Zen study and the sanction of a distinguished teacher, Tosui abandoned the religious establishment and became a drifter. The arresting details of Tosui's life were recorded in the Tribute (Tosui osho densan), a lively and colloquial account written by the celebrated scholar and Soto Zen master Menzan Zuiho. Menzan concentrates on Tosui's years as a beggar and laborer, recounting episodes from an unorthodox life while at the same time opening a new window on seventeenth-century Japan. The Tribute is translated here for the first time, accompanied by woodblock prints commissioned for the original 1768 edition. Peter Haskel's introduction places Tosui in the context of the Japanese Zen of his period--a time when the identities of early modern Zen schools were still being formed and a period of spiritual crisis for many distinguished monks who believed that the authentic Zen transmission had long ceased to exist. A biographical addendum offers a detailed overview of Tosui's life in light of surviving premodern sources.

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Levinas and Asian Thought

edited by Leah Kalmanson, Frank Garrett & Sarah Mattice

While influential works have been devoted to comparative studies of various Asian philosophies and continental philosophers such as Nietzsche, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Derrida, this collection is the first to fully treat the increased interest in intercultural and interdisciplinary studies related to the work of Emmanuel Levinas in such a context. Levinas and Asian Thought seeks to discover common ground between Levinas’s ethical project and various religious and philosophical traditions of Asia such as Mahāyāna Buddhism, Theravādic Buddhism, Vedism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Islam. In these 13 essays, contributors draw on resources as diverse as the self-sacrificial ethic of bushidō, Islamic jurisprudence, and contemporary research in cognitive science. The essays are organized around three primary themes of enduring ethical, political, and religious importance. The first set of essays considers a dialogue between Levinasian and Asian accounts of the self, others, and the intersubjective relationship. Through a conversation with a variety of non-Western traditions, the second group of essays addresses the question of Levinas’s extreme portrayal of the self’s responsibility to the other and its potential limits. Finally, the collection ends with essays that utilize Asian thought and culture to consider ways in which Levinas’s ethics of alterity might be put into practice in the sphere of politics, social norms, and institutions. Levinas and Asian Thought is not only a comprehensive attempt to bring Levinas into conversation with the philosophies of Asia, but it also represents a focused effort to recognize, address, and overcome Levinas’s own Eurocentrism. Overall, the thoughtful investigations collected here chart new territory, pushing Levinas’s practice of philosophy outside its familiar European and Jewish contexts, expanding our understanding of key Levinasian terms, thus furthering the thinking necessary for ethics as first philosophy. This volume will be of interest to a wide range of scholars and students, as it builds connections among Levinas studies, Asian philosophy, comparative philosophy, continental philosophy, and ethics.

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Li Zhi, Confucianism, and the Virtue of Desire

A philosophical analysis of the work of one of the most iconoclastic thinkers in Chinese history, Li Zhi, whose ethics prized spontaneous expression of genuine feelings.

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Living Zen Remindfully

Retraining Subconscious Awareness

James H. Austin, M.D.

This is a book for readers who want to probe more deeply into mindfulness. It goes beyond the casual, once-in-awhile meditation in popular culture, grounding mindfulness in daily practice, Zen teachings, and recent research in neuroscience. In Living Zen Remindfully, James Austin, author of the groundbreaking Zen and the Brain, describes authentic Zen training—the commitment to a process of regular, ongoing daily life practice. This training process enables us to unlearn unfruitful habits, develop more wholesome ones, and lead a more genuinely creative life. Austin shows that mindfulness can mean more than our being conscious of the immediate “now.” It can extend into the subconscious, where most of our brain’s activities take place, invisibly. Austin suggests ways that long-term meditative training helps cultivate the hidden, affirmative resource of our unconscious memory. Remindfulness, as Austin terms it, can help us to adapt more effectively and to live more authentic lives. Austin discusses different types of meditation, meditation and problem-solving, and the meaning of enlightenment. He addresses egocentrism (self-centeredness) and allocentrism (other-centeredness), and the blending of focal and global attention. He explains the remarkable processes that encode, store, and retrieve our memories, focusing on the covert, helpful remindful processes incubating at subconscious levels. And he considers the illuminating confluence of Zen, clinical neurology, and neuroscience. Finally, he describes an everyday life of “living Zen,” drawing on the poetry of Basho, the seventeenth-century haiku master.

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Master Sorai's Responsals

An Annotated Translation of Sorai Sensei Tomonsho

Samuel H. Yamashita

Master Sorai's Responsals was to eighteenth-century Japan what The Prince was to Renaissance Italy. Like Machiavelli, Ogyu Sorai (1666-1728) was a humanist scholar who served a prince (one of the shogun's chief lieutenants) and drew on his experiences as a house philosopher and on his vast knowledge of history and political affairs in his work. In 1720, when he began to write the letters that comprise this text, the Tokugawa regime was more than a hundred years old and beset with grave administrative and fiscal problems, about which Sorai had much to say.Samuel Yamashita's impressive translation of this work offers modern readers a rare glimpse of the prevailing political discourse of the day and the specific concepts that rulers had at their disposal as they struggled to manage their domains, find talented men for their bureaucracies, create new sources of revenue, and keep their subjects well fed and happy.Sorai himself, of course, is a presence in the text. He is by tunes earnest, frank, impatient, utterly confident, and occasionally condescending. Unlike his Renaissance counterpart, he is something of an optimist: he was convinced that the introduction of archaic Chinese culture and institutions to Japan would solve its myriad problems.Well-versed in Chinese history, philosophy, religion, medicine, and belles lettres, Sorai holds forth on everything from archaic Chinese divination to Sung poetry and prose. He offers advice on how to become a Confucian gentleman, how to learn to read classical Chinese, and which books to read and which to avoid. He even discusses his belief in a sentient, Chinese-style "heaven," a topic not well understood by modern scholars. Long regarded as one of Sorai's best works, Master Sorai's Reponsals bristles with the sharp and clear opinions of the most influential thinker of Tokugawa Japan.

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Material Feminisms

Edited by Stacy Alaimo and Susan Hekman

Harnessing the energy of provocative theories generated by recent understandings of the human body, the natural world, and the material world, Material Feminisms presents an entirely new way for feminists to conceive of the question of materiality. In lively and timely essays, an international group of feminist thinkers challenges the assumptions and norms that have previously defined studies about the body. These wide-ranging essays grapple with topics such as the material reality of race, the significance of sexual difference, the impact of disability experience, and the complex interaction between nature and culture in traumatic events such as Hurricane Katrina. By insisting on the importance of materiality, this volume breaks new ground in philosophy, feminist theory, cultural studies, science studies, and other fields where the body and nature collide.

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Mortality in Traditional Chinese Thought

Mortality in Traditional Chinese Thought

A wide-ranging exploration of traditional Chinese views of mortality.Mortality in Traditional Chinese Thought is the definitive exploration of a complex and fascinating but little-understood subject. Arguably, death as a concept has not been nearly as central a preoccupation in Chinese culture as it has been in the West. However, even in a society that seems to understand death as a part of life, responses to mortality are revealing and indicate much about what is valued and what is feared. This edited volume fills the lacuna on this subject, presenting an array of philosophical, artistic, historical, and religious perspectives on death during a variety of historical periods. Contributors look at material culture, including findings now available from the Mawangdui tomb excavations; consider death in Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist traditions; and discuss death and the history and philosophy of war.

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The Mutual Cultivation of Self and Things

A Contemporary Chinese Philosophy of the Meaning of Being

Translated by Chad Austin Meyers. Foreword by Hans-Georg Moeller. Yang Guorong

Yang Guorong is one of the most prominent Chinese philosophers working today and is best known for using the full range of Chinese philosophical resources in connection with the thought of Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Heidegger. In The Mutual Cultivation of Self and Things, Yang grapples with the philosophical problem of how the complexly interwoven nature of things and being relates to human nature, values, affairs, and facts, and ultimately creates a world of meaning. Yang outlines how humans might live more fully integrated lives on philosophical, religious, cultural, aesthetic, and material planes. This first English translation introduces current, influential work from China to readers worldwide.

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Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Daoist Thought

Crossing Paths In-Between

In this book, Katrin Froese juxtaposes the Daoist texts of Laozi and Zhuangzi with the thought of Nietzsche and Heidegger to argue that there is a need for rethinking the idea of a cosmological whole. By moving away from the quest for certainty, Froese suggests a way of philosophizing that does not seek to capture the whole, but rather becomes a means of affirming a connection to it, one that celebrates difference rather than eradicating it. Human beings have a vague awareness of the infinite, but they are nevertheless finite beings. Froese maintains that rather than bemoaning the murkiness of knowledge, the thinkers considered here celebrate the creativity and tendency to wander through that space of not knowing, or “in-between-ness.” However, for Neitzsche and the early Heidegger, this in-between-ness can often produce a sense of meaninglessness that sends individuals on a frenetic quest to mark out space that is uniquely their own. Laozi and Zhuangzi, on the other hand, paint a portrait of the self that provides openings for others rather than deliberately forging an identity that it can claim as its own. In this way, human beings can become joyful wanderers that revel in the movements of the Dao and are comfortable with their own finitude. Froese also suggests that Nietzsche and Heidegger are philosophers at a crossroads, for they both exemplify the modern emphasis on self-creation and at the same time share the Daoist insight into the perils of excessive egoism that can lead to misguided attempts to master the world.

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Nishi Amane and Modern Japanese Thought

Thomas R.H. Havens

A nineteenth-century aristocrat, Nishi Amane (1829-1897) was one of the first Japanese to assert the supremacy of Western culture. He was sent by his government to Leiden to study the European social sciences; on his return to Japan shortly before the climactic Meiji Restoration of 1868 he introduced and adapted European utilitarianism and positivism to his country’s intellectual world. To modernize, Nishi held, Japan must cast off the bonds of the Confucian world-view in order to adopt new principles of empirical scholarly investigation and new standards of self-improvement. Though a Confucian by upbringing, Nishi became thoroughly committed to Western intellectual values in his programs for the new Japanese society. In his roles of teacher, writer, and government administrator, he was influential at one of the most critical times in Japan’s history.

Originally published in 1970.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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