INTRODUCTION: Philosophy is the unique science which considers all other sciences in systematically unity (Kant). The classical anthropology (Platon, Aristoteles, Descartes, Hume, Kant, etc.) considers the human and his "spheres" (biological, psychological, logical, philosophical, theological) and his interdependence with nature and society. A philosophical theology investigates spiritual phenomena, described by religions and parapsychology in context of ethics, epistemology (incl. metaphysics), aesthetics. A theologicalanthropology should consider these phenomena multidimensional in context of a holisticscience, i.e. physico- (Kant), (...) bio- (Lüke), psycho-, logico-, philosophical theology, etc. [Lit.: Neu, Michailov: Integralanthropology. In: Proc. 21st World Congr. Philos. Istanbul. Press FISP 280‐281, 2003; Theol. Anthrop. In: Book: New Pathways for Eur. Bioethics. Ed.: Eur. Ass. Med. Ethics, Leuven, p. 53/60, 2006; Med. Ethics, 21st Ann. Conf. EACME (Ed.) Zürich, p. 53, 2007]. CONCEPTION: Regrettably philosophical theology is reduced to nearly philosophical and theological ethics: Both ethics in the future should realize a common scientific integrated ethics based on philosophy, theology, and psychology incl. of great cultures - Brahmanism, Buddhism, Christianism-Mosaism, Confucianism, and Mohammedanism. The present moral philosophy is very pluralistic: Many views concerningnormative and metaethics (deontology, axiology), also relativism, absolutism (incl. utilitarism), noncognitivism are present. A similar situation exists in moral theology: Not only in context of philosophy (consequentialism, justice, protectionism), but more - of theology are existent contradictionary differences concerning ethics in the great religions (related to God, Spirit/Soul, reincarnation, etc.). A future philosophical theology needs a renewal of its scientific theoretical andexperimental fundamentals (controlled observations: criterion for intersubjectivity) concerning theologicalanthropology incl. not only occidental epistemology (metaphysics, scientific theory, etc.), but also oriental - esp. Brahmanistic and Buddhist (self realization by Yoga, Tibetan, Zen Buddhism) and scientific evaluation of spiritual phenomena by biophysics, physiology, psychology and formal (Aristoteles, Gautama), real, transcendental (Kant), metaphysical (Hegel) normal logic. Areconsideration of application of philosophy of arts, esp. aesthetics in philosophical theology is also necessary (incl. inspirations in music/Bach, Beethoven, Händel, painting/Leonardo da Vinci, sculpture/Michelangelo). CONCLUSION: Scientific and political support for a renovation of theologicalanthropology and philosophical theology could help essentially for a realization of UNO-Agenda 21 for better total (incl. spiritual) health and peaceful world. (shrink)
Indonesian Buddhism has many sects such as Theravada, Mahayana, Buddhayana, Tantrayana, Maitreya, Tridharma, Kasogatan, Nichiren and so on. These sects historically come from the same source, the Buddha's teachings, but now they have differences in terms of doctrines and practices. This article analyses the differences with regard to their doctrines and beliefs in relation to the concept of God as required by the Indonesian Constitution. The discussion focuses on the debate among three sects, namely, Buddhayana, Theravada and Mahayana, about (...) the name and nature of God and sources of doctrines on which they rely. The research was conducted in Jakarta and Bogor which focused mainly on the organisation of Nichiren Shoshu Indonesia. The data were collected through book and document study, observations and interviews with NSI followers. Additional data was performed in Bandung in 2019 by interviewing Buddhayana and Theravada adherents. The research finds that Buddhayana was successful in formulating the concept of God based on an old manuscript, Sang Hyang Kamahayanikan, so that Buddhism has met constitutional requirements and eventually has been accommodated as one of the official religions. However, it has been challenged by both Theravada and Nichiren, which rely on other sources of doctrines. CONTRIBUTION: This article contributes to the theological discourse among Buddhist sects, which are rarely discussed by Buddhist scholars. Buddhist adherents in Indonesia not only have political responsibility as required by the Constitution, but also have a socio-ethical responsibility in terms of religious tolerance both within and outside other religions. (shrink)
Because Europeans have shaped scholarly discourse about Southeast Asia and Buddhism, movement away from understanding “pure” Theravada Buddhism through religious and philosophical doctrine was a technique to decenter Western readings and shows how practitioners shaped their own beliefs. Stanley Tambiah called for academics to pay more attention to common beliefs of laypeople and everyday practices of monks. This, in turn, placed anthropologists at the center of collecting knowledge about Theravada Buddhism. Yet French philosophers continued, through their theories, (...) to influence the structure of anthropological analysis of Theravada cultures, particular through gift exchanges. In this paper, I will explore ways Derrida’s theories of gifts and ghosts can add to anthropological studies of Southeast Asian communities while also helping to recover philosophical and ethical components of Theravada practices. (shrink)
Most anthropological and sociological studies of Buddhism have concentrated on village and rural Buddhism. This is a systematic anthropological study of monastic organization and monk-layman interaction in a purely urban context in the countries where Theravada Buddhism is practised, namely, Burma, Cambodia, Ceylon, Laos and Thailand. The material presented is based on fieldwork carried out in Ayutthaya, Central Thailand. Dr Bunnag describes and analyses the socio-economic and ritual relations existing between the monk and the lay community, and (...) she demonstrates the way in which the role of the monk is used by some men, wittingly or otherwise, as a social stepping-stone, in that for the son of a farmer a period in the monkhood can provide the education and contacts necessary to facilitate his assimilation into the urban lay community at a social and economic level which would otherwise have been impossible. Finally, Dr Bunnag places the material presented in a broader theoretical context by reviewing it in relation to anthropological discussions concerning the nature of Thai society as a whole. (shrink)
"Ask two religious people one question, and you'll get three answers!" Why do religious people believe what they shouldn't--not what others think they shouldn't believe, but things that don't accord with their own avowed religious beliefs? This engaging book explores this puzzling feature of human behavior. D. Jason Slone terms this phenomenon "theological incorrectness." He demonstrates that it exists because the mind is built it such a way that it's natural for us to think divergent thoughts simultaneously. Human minds (...) are great at coming up with innovative ideas that help them make sense of the world, he says, but those ideas do not always jibe with official religious beliefs. From this fact we derive the important lesson that what we learn from our environment--religious ideas, for example--does not necessarily cause us to behave in ways consistent with that knowledge. Slone presents the latest discoveries from the cognitive science of religion and shows how they help us to understand exactly why it is that religious people do and think things that they shouldn't. He then applies these insights to three case studies. First he looks at why Theravada Buddhists profess that Buddha was just a man but actually worship him as a god. Then he explores why the early Puritan Calvinists, who believed in predestination, acted instead as if humans had free will by, for example, conducting witch-hunts and seeking converts. Finally, he explains why both Christians and Buddhists believe in luck even though the doctrines of Divine Providence and karma suggest there's no such thing. In seeking answers to profound questions about why people behave the way they do, this fascinating book sheds new light on the workings of the human mind and on the complex relationship between cognition and culture. (shrink)
From a field primarily of interest to specialist orientalists, the study of Buddhism has developed to embrace inter alia, theology and religious studies, philosophy, cultural studies, anthropology and comparative studies. There is now greater direct access to Buddhism in the West than ever before, and Buddhist studies are attracting increasing numbers of students. This eight-volume set brings together seminal papers in Buddhist studies from a vast range of academic disciplines, published over the last forty years. With a (...) new introduction by the editor, this collection is a unique and unrivalled research resource for both student and scholar. (shrink)
Centesimus Annus raises the issue of the relationship of religion to practical conduct. This paper constructs the issue; illustrates the construction with materials from Theravada Buddhist cultures; and applies the construction toCentesimus Annus. This is an exercise in social history.
Nostra Aetate urges Christians to enter into dialogue and collaboration with religions, and to acknowledge, preserve and encourage the spiritual and moral truths found in them. It is in this spirit that this article makes a comparative theological study of altruistic love in the Christian and Buddhist Scriptures. Such comparison does not only facilitate better mutual understanding but also helps each tradition to understand itself better. The New Testament favours agape and related words to express the idea of altruistic (...) love, while Buddhism uses the words metta and karuna. After presenting the main characteristics of altruistic love in Christianity and in Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, the article launches into the theological comparison. Christian and Buddhist love are altruistic and universal. Both are opposed to malice and cruelty, are forgiving and move one to transfer one's merit, and both go to the extent of loving one's enemy and even sacrificing one's life for another. But there are many differences arising from their different worldviews. Christians love others because God has loved them, but in Theravada the motivation is different, since there is no Supreme Being. In Mahayana the Buddhas will not forgive people unless they forgive others. However, it is not the Buddhas who are the highest, but it is the Adi Buddha that is the Supreme Being. In Theravada love is developed through personal effort, i.e., through meditation; while in Christianity love is a. (shrink)
This study explores and assesses the nature and practice of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) from the perspective of Therav?da Buddhism. It is particularly concerned with how both models of training understand and apply ?mindfulness?. The approach here is, firstly, to examine how the Therav?da understands and employs mindfulness and, secondly, to explore, and more accurately contextualize, the work of MBCT. The evaluation of MBCT in terms of the Therav?da suggests the former has both a strong affinity with, as well (...) as some significant distinctions from, its dominant Therav?din influences. (shrink)
By illustrating the presence and scope of the bodhisattva ideal in Theravāda Buddhist theory and practice, this article shows that some of the distinctions used to separate Mahāyāna Buddhism from Hīnayāna Buddhism are problematic, and, in particular, calls into question the commonly held theoretical model that postulates that the goal of Mahāyāna practitioners is to become buddhas by following the path of the bodhisattva (bodhisattva-yāna), whereas the goal of Hīnayāna practitioners is to become arahants by following the (...) path of the hearers of Buddha's disciples (śrāvaka-yāna). (shrink)
I examine the ways in which the theological and philosophical debate surrounding transhumanism might profit by a detailed engagement with contemporary biology, in particular with the mainline accounts of species and speciation. After a short introduction, I provide a very brief primer on species concepts and speciation in contemporary biological taxonomy. Then in a third section I draw out some implications for the prospects of our being able intentionally to intervene in human evolution for the production of new species (...) out of Homo sapiens. In a fourth section Account of Human Nature? And Where Does This Leave Transhumanism?”) I bring in the debate over the proper relationship between biological and theological conceptions of human nature, laying out the major options available and considering their possible implications for our understanding of transhumanism. In a fifth section several concrete examples are drawn out pertaining to particular subdisciplines within theology. I conclude by briefly laying out some suggestions for future work, focusing on tasks that theologians specifically ought to pursue. (shrink)
Among one of the older sub-fields in Buddhist Studies, the study of TheravādaBuddhism is undergoing a revival by contemporary scholars who are revising long-held conventional views of the tradition while undertaking new approaches and engaging new subject matter. The term Theravāda has been refined, and research has expanded beyond the analysis of canonical texts to examine contemporary cultural forms, social movements linked with meditation practices, material culture, and vernacular language texts. The Routledge Handbook of Theravāda (...)Buddhism illustrates the growth and new directions of scholarship in the study of TheravādaBuddhism and is structured in four parts: Ideas/Ideals Practices/Persons Texts/Teachings Images/Imaginations Owing largely to the continued vitality of Theravāda Buddhist communities in countries like Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos, as well as in diaspora communities across the globe, traditions associated with what is commonly called Theravāda attract considerable attention from scholars and practitioners around the world. An in-depth guide to the distinctive features of Theravāda, the Handbook will be an invaluable resource to provide structure and guidance for scholars and students of Asian Religion, Buddhism and in particular TheravādaBuddhism. (shrink)
The interjection of pneumatology in both theologies of interreligious dialogue and in the theology-and-science conversation comes together in this volume. The resulting Christianity-Buddhism-science trialogue opens up to new pneumatological perspectives on philosophical cosmology and anthropology in interdisciplinary and global context.
In this essay, I offer a comparative analysis on the ontological perspective from Heidegger and Theravada Buddhism on ‘the motility of life’: namely, the essence of the organism belonging to living beings whether human or non-human animals. To question about the innermost essence of life by considering birth, maturing, aging, and death, Heidegger finds out later that his approach is incomplete and inadequate because his existential analytic of human Dasein cannot explain the animal motility as captivation. However, in Theravada (...) Buddhist philosophy there is some doctrine in ‘The Four Noble Truths’ mentioning the same point of those processes of life, birth – decay - death, as ‘Dukkha’. Next, from the analysis I offer an argument to show that if the Buddhist conception of Dukkha is read into the motility of life, we can find a new Heideggerian concept of ‘underlying motility’ as a result which can give an answer to his question. (shrink)
This book explores the theme of 'memory' in Augustine's works, tracing its philosophical and theological significance. It shows how Augustine inherits this theme from classical philosophy and how Augustine's theological understanding of Christ draws on and resolves tensions in the theme of memory.
The practice of merit-transference in Sri Lankan Therav?da Buddhism has evolved over three important stages of development, namely, assigning of dakkhi??, giving of patti, and direct transferring of merit. These stages are generally understood as similar practices but are significantly different from each other. It is not the merit but the meritorious act that is dedicated to, or shared with the departed ones in first two stages. Pattid?na, in this context, does not strictly mean giving merit or giving what (...) is obtained or achieved, as it has so far been interpreted, but giving a share of or stake in the ownership of a meritorious act. It is in the third stage that the idea of merit-transference appeared in Buddhist practice in Sri Lanka. Understanding this historical development is important for interpreting Buddhist texts in their historical contexts as well as for realizing the larger role assigned to the living in the contemporary practice of merit-transference and its influence on other arena of social and cultural life in Sri Lanka. This idea of merit-transference transformed mourning and sorrowful funerals into merit-making events. Practices related to this idea of merit-transference also successfully fulfill the psychological needs of the living to assist departed relatives and to maintain some form of relationship with them. It also allowed local beliefs to be assimilated into the Buddhist fold and shaped the social structure of the living, particularly the lay-monastic relationship. (shrink)
The intent of this article is to explore the extent to which we can apply to Buddhist ethics Martha Nussbaum's statement that "[l]iterary form is not separable from philosophical content, but is itself, a part of content - an integral part, then, of the search for and the statement of truth". We explore the transformative impact that narratives can have on moral life, using examples from the story literature of Theravāda Buddhist traditions in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Focusing (...) on what Geoffrey Harpham has called "sub- ethics," the conditions that center moral life, we trace the ways in which narratives prefigure, configure, and refigure these conditions for human flourishing. (shrink)
The Pastoral Constitution, Gaudium et Spes, is a key document for fundamental theology. In it, for the first time, the Church openly discusses the anthropological question as a specific theme. It explains what Christian anthropology is and in what way the mystery of Christ sheds light on the mystery of man. From the point of view of fundamental theology, the document shows how theological reason is closely related to anthropological meaning. It takes note of the potential mediatory role (...) of anthropology in a dialogue between faith and reason in the modern world. (shrink)
In the development of Indian Buddhism we begin to see a shift away from the early Buddhist epistemology based in phenomenology and process metaphysics toward a type of event-based metaphysics. This shift began in the reductionist methodology of the Abhidhamma and culminated in a theory of momentariness based in rationalism and abstraction, rather than early Buddhist empiricism. While early Buddhism followed an extensional model of temporal consciousness, when methodological reductionism was applied to the concept of time, it necessarily (...) resulted in a cinematic model of temporal consciousness like that of the Sautrāntikas or in an idea of the tri-temporal existence of dhammas, like that of the Sarvāstivādins. It is in the accounting of the process of karmic rebirth that we can most clearly see the effects of this shift. -/- The development of a theory of momentariness was incorporated into the Visuddhimagga by Buddhaghosa. In Buddhaghosa’s treatment of karmic rebirth, karma, particularly death-threshold karma, receives more emphasis in the process of rebirth than was previously found in the Suttas. The incorporation of “duration-less duration” via tritemporal existence by Buddhaghosa became necessary in order to explain karmic continuity in the rebirth process while retaining the concept of momentariness. (shrink)
In Reforming TheologicalAnthropology, F. LeRon Shults draws from work on relationality in other disciplines to suggest ways in which theologicalanthropology might profitably be reformulated. While the task is worthwhile, the method promising and the results suggestive, much fine-tuning remains to be done.Paul Lewis review is followed by a brief response from F. LeRon Shults.
The following essay deals with the specificity of aesthetic experience and apprehension of beauty in the frame of TheravādaBuddhism. This essay is aimed, above all, to Western readers, since aesthetics and beauty, as an inherent quality of nature and works of art, are constitutive parts of the Western philosophical and cultural tradition. I consider texts written in Western languages and available in the Western debate. On the one hand, so far as aesthetics is concerned, as a philosophical (...) reflection on beauty and art, TheravādaBuddhism may seem to be critical towards any kind of aesthetical experience. On the other hand, TheravādaBuddhism can offer a different and peculiar perspective on art and beauty. The aim is to demonstrate that there is a specific aesthetic experience in TheravādaBuddhism and this experience allows a different perception and use of the work of art and a different experience of beauty. (shrink)
Venerable “Than” Pamutto was ordained in 2010 in the austere forest tradition of Theravada Buddhism. He lives as a mendicant monk traveling among the towns and forests of rural New England. The Buddha's teaching to avoid identification with the “five aggregates subject to clinging” promises disenchantment with the outward manifestations of a person and an opening to seeing and appreciating the being right in front of us.