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Hey, Buddha! Don’t Think! Just Act!—A Response to Bronwyn Finnigan

Hey, Buddha! Don’t Think! Just Act!—A Response to Bronwyn Finnigan andEasyWanderingastheemploymentofwu-wei.Itsusereturnsintheouter chapters,whichcoincidewiththepresumedperiodduringwhichtheLaoziwas beingcomposedandthefigureofLaozistartstoplaytheroleofspokesmanin storieswherehelecturesConfuciusinDaoistawareness. 2­FungYu-lan,A History of Chinese Philosophy,ed.DerkBodde(Princeton:Prince tonUniversityPress,1952),p.390. 3­Finnigan'snote3grantsherselfthe"notunreasonable"assumptionthatweare not Buddha n the context of a discussion of Zen, that is controversial and --i needsmoreargument. Hey,Buddha!Don'tThink!JustAct! ResponsetoBronwyn --A Finnigan Jay L Garfield DepartmentofPhilosophy,SmithCollege;UniversityofMelbourne;Central UniversityofTibetanStudies The Problem: How a Buddhist can Conceptualize a Buddha's Enlightened Action InthecourseofacarefulandastutediscussionofthedifficultiesfacingaBuddhist accountofthemoralagencyofabuddha,BronwynFinnigandevelopsachallenging critiqueofaproposalImadeinarecentarticle(Garfield2006).Muchofwhatshe saysisdeadontarget,andIhavelearnedmuchfromhercomment.ButIhaveserious reservationsaboutboththecentralthrustofhercritiqueofmyownthoughtandher proposalforapositiveaccountofabuddha'senlightenedaction.Curiously,inanotherfineessay(FinniganandTanakaforthcoming),Finniganandherco-authorhave anticipatedmuchofwhatIwillsayinreply.Iwillrelyinpartonthatsecondessayin myreplytothecritiquethatappearsinthisvolume. Thefirsttaskistobeclearaboutexactlywhatisatissuebetweenus,asitiseasy to lose focus and closely related questions can be hard to distinguish. In Garfield 2006Iwasconcernednottogiveanaccountofabuddha'saction,butrathertoexploretheresourcesthatBuddhistphilosophyhasinternallytoexplainthenatureofa buddha'sthoughtafterenlightenment.Theseareslightlydifferentissues.Onemight, forinstance,thinkthateventhebestBuddhistactiontheoryorphilosophyofmindis ultimatelyunsuccessful,butstillthinkthatitfacesnospecialproblemsinaccounting forabuddha's thought.Or,onemightthinkthatonecanprovideacompellingaccountofawakenedthoughtoraction,butbelievethataccountisnotavailablewthin i aBuddhistphilosophicalframework.Inanycase,whilemyfocusinGarfield2006 was thought, Finnigan's is action. I agree with her that my account has important implicationsforactiontheory,andwillengagehercritiqueinthatdomain. PhilosophyEast&WestVolume61,Number1January2011174­183 ©2011byUniversityofHawai`iPress Ontheotherhand,wearebothconcernedwiththecentralquestion:howcana Buddhistexplainabuddha'sawakenedthoughtandaction?InGarfield2006Iargued,asFinniganpointsoutaccurately,thatwhileIndianBuddhistphilosophydid nothavetheresourcestoarticulateatheoryofabuddha'sawakenedthought,ChineseBuddhism,inflectedbothbyIndianYogcrinideasandbyDaoistideas,does. I argued that this is because of the availability in the Chinese tradition of a non- representationaltheoryofmindnotavailabletoanIndianBuddhistphilosopher.Isay thisattheoutsetbecauseIwillarguethatFinnigan'sownaccountofabuddha'saction,whileperhapsanacceptableexternal accountofhowanawakenedbeingconceptualizedinsometraditioncanthinkandact,isnot,asshebelieves,acceptable within a Buddhist framework,forreasonshavingtodowithissuesinbothBuddhist philosophyofmindandtheoryofaction.Iwillalsoarguethat,forcloselyrelated reasons,hercritiqueofmyownproposalisnotsuccessful. Finnigan's Official Account of Action LetuscallanaccountofactionDavidsonic if,accordingtoit,whenoneacts(1)one doessoforreasons(asopposedtomerecauses);(2)onecanexplainone'sownaction by appeal to those reasons; and (3) one represents one's action intentionally. Finnigan'saccountofactionisDavidsonic.Shewrites: Agency,accordingtoourdefinition,isinstantiatedinintentionalaction,andintentional actioninvolvesthecapacitybothto`direct'behaviorandtogiveintentionalexplanations forthedirectednessofsuchbehavior. SuchaccountsofthenatureofactionarefamiliarintheWest,andareindeedfairly mainstream.IconcedetoFinniganthatifaDavidsonicaccountiscorrect,thenthe accountofawakenedthoughtandactionthatIproposedinGarfield2006isnotcogent.Iwouldadd,however,thatifBuddhistactiontheorywereDavidsonic,Buddhismwouldhavenoresourcesforexplainingabuddha'sawakenedactivity.Onthe otherhand,IwillshowthattoadoptaDavidsonicaccountattheoutsetbegsthe questioninthiscontext.Partoftheburdenofmy2006argumentistoprovideanonDavidsonic account of action, to show that such an account is available to Buddhism,thattheChinesetraditionopensthispossibility,andthatanon-Davidsonic accountcaninfactprovideanaccountofawakenedaction.Interestingly,aswewill see,Finnigan,despitewhatshesaysinthis essay,agrees. Finnigan's Dilemma FinniganpointsoutcorrectlythatIfailtodistinguishadequatelytwomodelsofthe acquisitionofthekindofspontaneousresponsivenessthatIargueaChinesemodel canattributetoabuddha.ShehelpfullylabelsthesetwomodelsasaDaoistdeconstructive modelandaConfucianconstructive model.Shewrites: [T]heClassicalChineseofferustwodifferentmodelsof...spontaneousresponsiveness. Inoneaccount(theConfucian)thiscapacityisacquired asaresultofcultivation,andin another(theDaoist)thiscapacityisrecovered byremovingtheobscurationofculture.... Thequestionnowarises:towhichnotionofspontaneousresponsivenessdoesGarfield appealinhisclaimthatBuddhismiscompletedwhenitistakentoChina?1 Garfield'spositiononthisquestionisfundamentallyambiguous.Inexplicitlyaligning theBuddhistYogcraideasoffoundationconsciousnesswithDaoistthought,heseeminglyinvokestheDaoistdeconstructivemodelofrecoveringspontaneitytoaccountfora Buddha'scapacitytoact....2 However,inhisappealtometaphorsofskillacquisition,Garfieldcanbeseenalsoto invoketheConfucianconstructive modelofacquiring spontaneitytoaccountforaBuddha'scapacitytoact. Finniganiscorrect.IdoappealtobothmodelsincharacterizingaChineseaccount ofabuddha'senlightenedconsciousness.Andthereisatleastaprima facie tension betweenthem.Finniganputsherfingeronthistension: [W]henenlightenedpersonsactspontaneously,dotheydosoinawaythatis(atall)informed (however latently) by http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy East and West University of Hawai'I Press

Hey, Buddha! Don’t Think! Just Act!—A Response to Bronwyn Finnigan

Philosophy East and West , Volume 61 (1) – Jan 16, 2011

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Abstract

andEasyWanderingastheemploymentofwu-wei.Itsusereturnsintheouter chapters,whichcoincidewiththepresumedperiodduringwhichtheLaoziwas beingcomposedandthefigureofLaozistartstoplaytheroleofspokesmanin storieswherehelecturesConfuciusinDaoistawareness. 2­FungYu-lan,A History of Chinese Philosophy,ed.DerkBodde(Princeton:Prince tonUniversityPress,1952),p.390. 3­Finnigan'snote3grantsherselfthe"notunreasonable"assumptionthatweare not Buddha n the context of a discussion of Zen, that is controversial and --i needsmoreargument. Hey,Buddha!Don'tThink!JustAct! ResponsetoBronwyn --A Finnigan Jay L Garfield DepartmentofPhilosophy,SmithCollege;UniversityofMelbourne;Central UniversityofTibetanStudies The Problem: How a Buddhist can Conceptualize a Buddha's Enlightened Action InthecourseofacarefulandastutediscussionofthedifficultiesfacingaBuddhist accountofthemoralagencyofabuddha,BronwynFinnigandevelopsachallenging critiqueofaproposalImadeinarecentarticle(Garfield2006).Muchofwhatshe saysisdeadontarget,andIhavelearnedmuchfromhercomment.ButIhaveserious reservationsaboutboththecentralthrustofhercritiqueofmyownthoughtandher proposalforapositiveaccountofabuddha'senlightenedaction.Curiously,inanotherfineessay(FinniganandTanakaforthcoming),Finniganandherco-authorhave anticipatedmuchofwhatIwillsayinreply.Iwillrelyinpartonthatsecondessayin myreplytothecritiquethatappearsinthisvolume. Thefirsttaskistobeclearaboutexactlywhatisatissuebetweenus,asitiseasy to lose focus and closely related questions can be hard to distinguish. In Garfield 2006Iwasconcernednottogiveanaccountofabuddha'saction,butrathertoexploretheresourcesthatBuddhistphilosophyhasinternallytoexplainthenatureofa buddha'sthoughtafterenlightenment.Theseareslightlydifferentissues.Onemight, forinstance,thinkthateventhebestBuddhistactiontheoryorphilosophyofmindis ultimatelyunsuccessful,butstillthinkthatitfacesnospecialproblemsinaccounting forabuddha's thought.Or,onemightthinkthatonecanprovideacompellingaccountofawakenedthoughtoraction,butbelievethataccountisnotavailablewthin i aBuddhistphilosophicalframework.Inanycase,whilemyfocusinGarfield2006 was thought, Finnigan's is action. I agree with her that my account has important implicationsforactiontheory,andwillengagehercritiqueinthatdomain. PhilosophyEast&WestVolume61,Number1January2011174­183 ©2011byUniversityofHawai`iPress Ontheotherhand,wearebothconcernedwiththecentralquestion:howcana Buddhistexplainabuddha'sawakenedthoughtandaction?InGarfield2006Iargued,asFinniganpointsoutaccurately,thatwhileIndianBuddhistphilosophydid nothavetheresourcestoarticulateatheoryofabuddha'sawakenedthought,ChineseBuddhism,inflectedbothbyIndianYogcrinideasandbyDaoistideas,does. I argued that this is because of the availability in the Chinese tradition of a non- representationaltheoryofmindnotavailabletoanIndianBuddhistphilosopher.Isay thisattheoutsetbecauseIwillarguethatFinnigan'sownaccountofabuddha'saction,whileperhapsanacceptableexternal accountofhowanawakenedbeingconceptualizedinsometraditioncanthinkandact,isnot,asshebelieves,acceptable within a Buddhist framework,forreasonshavingtodowithissuesinbothBuddhist philosophyofmindandtheoryofaction.Iwillalsoarguethat,forcloselyrelated reasons,hercritiqueofmyownproposalisnotsuccessful. Finnigan's Official Account of Action LetuscallanaccountofactionDavidsonic if,accordingtoit,whenoneacts(1)one doessoforreasons(asopposedtomerecauses);(2)onecanexplainone'sownaction by appeal to those reasons; and (3) one represents one's action intentionally. Finnigan'saccountofactionisDavidsonic.Shewrites: Agency,accordingtoourdefinition,isinstantiatedinintentionalaction,andintentional actioninvolvesthecapacitybothto`direct'behaviorandtogiveintentionalexplanations forthedirectednessofsuchbehavior. SuchaccountsofthenatureofactionarefamiliarintheWest,andareindeedfairly mainstream.IconcedetoFinniganthatifaDavidsonicaccountiscorrect,thenthe accountofawakenedthoughtandactionthatIproposedinGarfield2006isnotcogent.Iwouldadd,however,thatifBuddhistactiontheorywereDavidsonic,Buddhismwouldhavenoresourcesforexplainingabuddha'sawakenedactivity.Onthe otherhand,IwillshowthattoadoptaDavidsonicaccountattheoutsetbegsthe questioninthiscontext.Partoftheburdenofmy2006argumentistoprovideanonDavidsonic account of action, to show that such an account is available to Buddhism,thattheChinesetraditionopensthispossibility,andthatanon-Davidsonic accountcaninfactprovideanaccountofawakenedaction.Interestingly,aswewill see,Finnigan,despitewhatshesaysinthis essay,agrees. Finnigan's Dilemma FinniganpointsoutcorrectlythatIfailtodistinguishadequatelytwomodelsofthe acquisitionofthekindofspontaneousresponsivenessthatIargueaChinesemodel canattributetoabuddha.ShehelpfullylabelsthesetwomodelsasaDaoistdeconstructive modelandaConfucianconstructive model.Shewrites: [T]heClassicalChineseofferustwodifferentmodelsof...spontaneousresponsiveness. Inoneaccount(theConfucian)thiscapacityisacquired asaresultofcultivation,andin another(theDaoist)thiscapacityisrecovered byremovingtheobscurationofculture.... Thequestionnowarises:towhichnotionofspontaneousresponsivenessdoesGarfield appealinhisclaimthatBuddhismiscompletedwhenitistakentoChina?1 Garfield'spositiononthisquestionisfundamentallyambiguous.Inexplicitlyaligning theBuddhistYogcraideasoffoundationconsciousnesswithDaoistthought,heseeminglyinvokestheDaoistdeconstructivemodelofrecoveringspontaneitytoaccountfora Buddha'scapacitytoact....2 However,inhisappealtometaphorsofskillacquisition,Garfieldcanbeseenalsoto invoketheConfucianconstructive modelofacquiring spontaneitytoaccountforaBuddha'scapacitytoact. Finniganiscorrect.IdoappealtobothmodelsincharacterizingaChineseaccount ofabuddha'senlightenedconsciousness.Andthereisatleastaprima facie tension betweenthem.Finniganputsherfingeronthistension: [W]henenlightenedpersonsactspontaneously,dotheydosoinawaythatis(atall)informed (however latently) by

Journal

Philosophy East and WestUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jan 16, 2011

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