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Welcoming Flowers from Across the Cleansed Threshold of Hope: An Answer to the Pope's Criticism of Buddhism (review)

Welcoming Flowers from Across the Cleansed Threshold of Hope: An Answer to the Pope's... BCS 21 pp. i-viii, 1-164 12/5/01 6:24 PM Page 144 144 BOOK REVIEWS nothing in common. Too many Western scholars, she suggests, are willing to settle for the “common knowledge” that there is a single mode of selfhood in Japan, and that that mode is characterized by its lack of creativity, independence, and moral autonomy. She summarizes several Western social-scientific views of Japanese self- hood, along with important critiques of those views, and then contrasts those under- standings with religious ideas about selfhood, notably from Buddhism and Confu- cianism, that are influential in Japanese culture. Acknowledging that the Confucian self is entirely relational, and thus, in fact, less autonomous than the dominant West- ern model of selfhood, Miller nevertheless asserts the importance to Japanese notions of selfhood of Buddhism’s emphasis on personal salvation, even at the cost of aban- doning socially prescribed roles. The Japanese Buddhist tradition valorizes individual accomplishment and creativity, according to Miller, and thus reveals the complexity of the question of Japanese autonomy. Miller further comments on the ambiguity and fluidity inherent in Japanese grammar and conventions of speech, which in her view necessitates the exercise of autonomy on the part of the speaker. She concludes http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Buddhist-Christian Studies University of Hawai'I Press

Welcoming Flowers from Across the Cleansed Threshold of Hope: An Answer to the Pope's Criticism of Buddhism (review)

Buddhist-Christian Studies , Volume 21 – Jan 1, 2001

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2001 The University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9472

Abstract

BCS 21 pp. i-viii, 1-164 12/5/01 6:24 PM Page 144 144 BOOK REVIEWS nothing in common. Too many Western scholars, she suggests, are willing to settle for the “common knowledge” that there is a single mode of selfhood in Japan, and that that mode is characterized by its lack of creativity, independence, and moral autonomy. She summarizes several Western social-scientific views of Japanese self- hood, along with important critiques of those views, and then contrasts those under- standings with religious ideas about selfhood, notably from Buddhism and Confu- cianism, that are influential in Japanese culture. Acknowledging that the Confucian self is entirely relational, and thus, in fact, less autonomous than the dominant West- ern model of selfhood, Miller nevertheless asserts the importance to Japanese notions of selfhood of Buddhism’s emphasis on personal salvation, even at the cost of aban- doning socially prescribed roles. The Japanese Buddhist tradition valorizes individual accomplishment and creativity, according to Miller, and thus reveals the complexity of the question of Japanese autonomy. Miller further comments on the ambiguity and fluidity inherent in Japanese grammar and conventions of speech, which in her view necessitates the exercise of autonomy on the part of the speaker. She concludes

Journal

Buddhist-Christian StudiesUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jan 1, 2001

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