|Title:||Going Against the Current: Master Shengyan's (1930-2009) Advocacy and Re-envisioning of Chinese Buddhism in Context
|Authors:||Luke Gibson||Keywords:||chinese buddhism;sheng yen;Yinshun;Buddhist Modernism;chan;漢傳佛教;聖嚴;印順;佛教現代主義;禪||Issue Date:||Jul-2014||Abstract:||This thesis explores the topics of contemporary Chinese Buddhist thought and Buddhist modernism through the works of one of the most prominent Chinese Buddhist reformers of the latter part of the 20th century, late Master Shengyan (釋聖嚴 1930-2009) (hereafter, Shengyan). My discussion of this prolific writer and founder of the Dharma Drum Mountain monastic order will focus on two of the most salient—yet seemingly conflicting—features of his religious and intellectual career: a buddhology of emptiness and an active advocacy of the East Asian Chan tradition in the face of widespread disaffection and criticism. By exploring the ways in which Shengyan's thought was informed yet not strictly constrained by the two great modernist currents of contemporary Chinese Buddhism—the rise of humanistic Buddhism (renjian fojiao 人間佛教) and the usage of historical-critical methods in the pursuit of unadulterated Buddhist truths, I wish to present the case of an idiosyncratic form of reformism which is not adequately accounted for by reductionist models of Asian religious modernism.
The first chapter of this thesis offers to contextualize master Shengyan's advocacy of the Chinese Chan tradition by giving an overview of modern discussion of the school. The second chapter will highlight some of the critiques leveled by contemporary Chinese Buddhists against the Chan School and give a detailed account of the most noteworthy and seminal of those criticisms: the attack on the orthodoxy of East Asian Buddhist traditions and the wish to return to an earlier, unadulterated (non-sinicized) Indian buddhology (foxue 佛學). Chapter three will examine how Shengyan enacted this doctrinal reform, adopting the teachings of emptiness and dependent origination as the highest Buddhist truths, while attempting to demonstrate their compatibility with the Chinese Chan tradition he sought to promote. In addition to securing the tradition's orthodoxy, we will discuss how this buddhology of emptiness also played a key role in demonstrating Buddhism's distinctive nature compared to theistic religions, as well as laying the theoretical foundations for a modern incarnation of Chan Buddhism that stands in stark contrast to more romantic and westernized forms of Zen. Finally, the fourth chapter will first contrast Shengyan's views on the value and strengths of the Chinese Buddhist tradition to that of the reformer monk Taixu before discussing the contemporary context in which his vision took form: the triumphant ascendancy of humanistic Buddhism and the mounting polemical discussion over the issue of secularization.
My thesis concludes that—in light of his resistance to the Chinese critical Buddhists’ rejection of Chinese tradition, his emphasis on meditative practice, and the thoroughly unromantic nature of his teachings—Shengyan's attempt at revitalizing the moribund Chan tradition represents a noteworthy departure from modernist trends in both contemporary Taiwanese Buddhism and the formulation of the East Asian tradition (Zen) by Asian popularizer in the West.
本論文擬以二十世紀漢傳佛教界最重要的改革者之一——聖嚴法師——之思想來探討近代中國佛學之發展以及「佛教現代主義（Buddhist modernism）」之議題。筆者將於這位多產的作家及法鼓山僧團的建立者的思想中，特別針對其最為顯著並表面上互相矛盾的兩個特徵予以研究：一、以「空性」為思想的中心，二、不為近代諸多批判所約束且以漢傳佛教為本位。本論文旨在介紹聖嚴法師的思想如何在受「人間佛教」以及「歷史批判法（historical-critical method）」的兩股現代思潮的影響之餘，卻未被其所局限，進而試著凸顯此一過於單純且線性的「現代主義」模型無法正確解釋的獨特改革思想。 本論文將試著顯示，有鑑於聖嚴法師不認同近代中國許多佛學家批判傳統中國佛學之立場、他對禪修的重視以及其無受到西方「浪漫主義（romanticism）」風潮之影響等特質，聖嚴法師「禪佛教」之復興運動顯著地異於在台灣及西方所見的兩種現代主義潮流。
|Appears in Collections:||佛教學系|
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