Otherness-Reception and Self-Rediscovery in the Dialogue and Comparative Study of Christianity and Buddhism

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Humanities/Philosophies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 4058

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
College of Philosophy, Nankai University, Tianjin 300350, China
Interests: philosophy of religion; medieval philosophy; history of Christian thought; religious dialogue and comparison; Chinese Buddhism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The focus of this issue is on otherness-reception and self-rediscovery in the dialogue and comparative study of Christianity and Buddhism. With the comparative study and dialogue of the two world religions ongoing, their individual dogmas, doctrines, rituals, ethics, spirituality and practices are fully examined; therefore, a new perspective can be gained from the other to deepen self-understanding and appreciate their otherness. However, these theoretical viewpoints have never been organized into a single volume.  

The scope of this Special Issue would be the various forms of dialogue and comparison between Christianity and Buddhism in light of the theory of ‘the other’, and would include both historical and contemporary data.

 Its purpose is to enrich the scholarly understanding of the modern value and distinctive essence of the two religions, and give impetus to the development of the theory of inter-religious dialogue. It will include detailed examinations of essential concepts or values in the two religions’ traditions, including their deepened self-understanding and otherness-appreciation, and could mix together philosophical and theological ideas.

There is currently a gap in the literature regarding the perspective of ‘otherness’ in the dialogue and comparison between Christianity and Buddhism. Most work, including journals that address the wider topic, are of historical and literary focus and examine the central doctrines, concepts, rites, experiences, ethics and values of both traditions, as relates to the lives, works and thoughts of Christian theologians and Buddhist masters, and discuss specific contemporary topics from their traditional resources. In this Special Issue, we research the dialogue and comparison between Christianity and Buddhism from the theoretical perspective of the self and the other, which not only exposes the similarities and differences between the two religions, but also deepens their self-understanding by means of the mirror provided by the other. Meanwhile, as exclusivism is rejected, their own essence can be shown more better than before. Therefore, the theory of the self and the other benefits their own insights and makes them mutually consummate.

Prof. Dr. Shiying Zhang
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Christianity
  • Buddhism
  • comparative study
  • inter-faith dialogue
  • theologian
  • master
  • cultural difference
  • divinity
  • reality
  • morality
  • self-understanding
  • otherness-reception
  • benefit
  • consummate

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 322 KiB  
Article
A Comparison of Human Life in Christian and Chinese Buddhist Bioethics
by Fuyi Wang
Religions 2024, 15(5), 624; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15050624 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 228
Abstract
Bioethics provides a new perspective for the comparative study of Christianity and Chinese Buddhism. This paper provides a comprehensive comparison of the sources, states of existence, and fundamental principles and purposes of the Christian and Chinese Buddhist perspectives on human life, focusing specifically [...] Read more.
Bioethics provides a new perspective for the comparative study of Christianity and Chinese Buddhism. This paper provides a comprehensive comparison of the sources, states of existence, and fundamental principles and purposes of the Christian and Chinese Buddhist perspectives on human life, focusing specifically on the realm of bioethics. It places special emphasis on teachings about God’s creation and dependent origination, original sin and Buddhist causality, as well as love and compassion. Despite the significant geographic distance between Christianity and Chinese Buddhism, the dialogue highlights potential cultural differences and interpretations. It also demonstrates mutual acceptance and the process of redefining one’s own identity. Religious bioethics greatly benefits from a comprehensive study of various religions from around the world. It aims to encourage cross-cultural and interdisciplinary research on different religions globally. It promotes religious bioethics as a relevant field of study. Full article
12 pages, 318 KiB  
Communication
The Self and the Other: A Further Reflection on Buddhist–Christian Dialogue
by Shiying Zhang
Religions 2024, 15(3), 376; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15030376 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 896
Abstract
The dialogue between and comparative research into Christianity and Buddhism theoretically involve the issues of self and other. Faced with the cultural reality of religious diversity, theologies of religions provide four modes of dialogue through which Christianity can interface with religious others. The [...] Read more.
The dialogue between and comparative research into Christianity and Buddhism theoretically involve the issues of self and other. Faced with the cultural reality of religious diversity, theologies of religions provide four modes of dialogue through which Christianity can interface with religious others. The exploration of the infinite and transcendent traits of otherness in contemporary phenomenological philosophy, as well as the emphasis on differences in postmodern philosophy, contributes to maintaining a clear awareness of otherness and self-identity in the Buddhist–Christian dialogue. Following the dialogical path in comparative theology, which leads one out of oneself, into the other, and back into oneself, in experimental Buddhist-Christian dialogue activities, both Christianity and Buddhism figure as the self and the other. If they openly accept each other’s otherness and heterogeneity, view each other as mirrors, and criticize and reflect on themselves, then creative insights into themselves will ultimately be generated. Their selves will be rediscovered, and their understanding and expression will be updated. Reflecting on the Buddhist–Christian dialogue from four aspects, namely, ultimate realism, cosmology, ethics, and religious ideals, can eliminate some misunderstandings and deepen both parties’ understandings of themselves and others. Full article
15 pages, 283 KiB  
Article
Redefinition and Interpretation of “Religiosity” Based on the Reflection of Buddha Nature
by Mingli Chen
Religions 2024, 15(3), 362; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15030362 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 711
Abstract
Nowadays, scholars expect to measure religiosity in different ways, but these measurements run counter to the purpose for which “religiosity” was originally coined, which was to be highlighted and differentiated from “religion” under the “the crisis of modernity of religion”; so, this important [...] Read more.
Nowadays, scholars expect to measure religiosity in different ways, but these measurements run counter to the purpose for which “religiosity” was originally coined, which was to be highlighted and differentiated from “religion” under the “the crisis of modernity of religion”; so, this important concept should be redefined. However, the redefinition and analysis of religiosity needs to include the contribution of religious studies, thus correcting the bias of sociology of religion towards sociology, as well as the reflection on pluralism of religions. Among them, thinking about Buddha nature can provide a valuable reference for the redefining of “religiosity”. First of all, the discussion of Buddha nature can provide a philosophical and value-level supplement to the understanding of “religiosity”, making the originally flattened empirical interpretation three-dimensional; secondly, the reflection on Buddha nature influenced by Chinese culture can provide oriental wisdom for the definition of religiosity. For example, Chineseized Buddhist thought incorporates the traditional Chinese understanding of human nature. On the basis of the discussion of Buddha nature, it can be seen that “religiosity” has different emphases in different religions, but there are still areas of consistency under these different understandings and expressions. Thus, the redefinition of “religiosity” should both reflect these consistencies and address the reasons for the inconsistencies through a hierarchical division. Since the redefinition of “religiosity” is not only conducive to inter-religious dialogue, but also relates to the answer to a series of important questions, such as the prediction of the future of religions, its meaning needs to be updated in accordance with the changes in the times. Full article
14 pages, 389 KiB  
Article
The Soul and Buddha-Nature in Jesuit–Buddhist Debates in the Late Ming Fujian–Zhejiang Regions
by Wen Zhao
Religions 2024, 15(3), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15030264 - 22 Feb 2024
Viewed by 873
Abstract
The Jesuit missionary in Fujian, Giulio Aleni, ingeniously integrated Christian teaching concerning the soul into the traditional Chinese understanding of human nature. He adeptly reconciled the Christian notion of the soul, created by God, with the neo-Confucian belief in human nature bestowed by [...] Read more.
The Jesuit missionary in Fujian, Giulio Aleni, ingeniously integrated Christian teaching concerning the soul into the traditional Chinese understanding of human nature. He adeptly reconciled the Christian notion of the soul, created by God, with the neo-Confucian belief in human nature bestowed by heaven. However, during the late Ming period, Chinese Buddhist thinkers held a contrasting perspective rooted in the Buddha-nature theory. According to this theory, Buddha-nature is intrinsic to every sentient being, devoid of a Creator. This fundamental discord in the understanding of human nature sparked intense debates between Jesuit missionaries and Buddhists in the Fujian–Zhejiang regions. These debates probed intricate themes, ranging from the ontological origin of nature to the associated soteriology surrounding human nature, as well as the hierarchical relationships between humans and other sentient beings. Full article
17 pages, 1264 KiB  
Article
Self-Determination and Absolute Dependence: A Comparison of the Relationship between the “Self” and the “Other” and Its Dimension in The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch and Schleiermacher’s Christian Philosophy
by Jun Wen
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1537; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121537 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 879
Abstract
As a classic of Zen Buddhism, The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, starting from the core concept of “self-nature and self-determination”, fully demonstrates the “Self” dimension and the “self-mastery” and “self-bearing” spiritual temperament of Master Huineng, who put forward the idea [...] Read more.
As a classic of Zen Buddhism, The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, starting from the core concept of “self-nature and self-determination”, fully demonstrates the “Self” dimension and the “self-mastery” and “self-bearing” spiritual temperament of Master Huineng, who put forward the idea that “Buddhahood is realized within the essential-nature; do not seek for it outside yourself.” 佛向性中作,莫向身外求, and the spiritual temperament of “self-mastery” and “self-responsibility”. In contrast, Schleiermacher, as “the father of modern Protestant theology”, in his philosophical reflection on religion, grasped the notion of piety centered on “the feeling of absolute dependence” and enriched it with the substance of religious self-consciousness to establish and reveal the essence of religious faith and Christianity. This sharp contrast fully demonstrates the important difference of Buddhism and Christianity in dealing with the relationship between the “Self” and the “Other”. This essential difference reflects the fact that the Zen Buddhist classics represented by The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch are both rooted in the Buddhist tradition and based on the traditional Chinese philosophical theory of mind and nature, based on which is the faith model of seeking liberation from the nature of the “Self”. In contrast, The Christian faith, as typified by Schleiermacher’s Christian philosophy, attempts to establish a model of faith that seeks salvation through devout faith in the Absolute Supreme, and to take this point as the essence and basis of religious faith and Christian faith. Full article
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