Nanzan Studies in Religion & Culture

A series of volumes dedicated to the encounter of philosophy and religion, East and West. Nineteen volumes have appeared to date. Titles are listed in the order of their publication. Copies may be ordered from the Institute if not available in your country.

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The Collection

  • Hans Waldenfels trans. by J. W. Heisig

    Absolute Nothingness

    Available now only in eBook (PDF) format. Order here.

    A major breakthrough in Buddhist-Christian dialogue, Absolute Nothingness is a comparative study that attempts to relate the Kyoto School of Buddhist philosophy to the Christian tradition. Among the major questions treated in this book is that of spiritual emptiness as it is experienced in the traditions of East and West. The author brings to his book the skills of a theologian and the sensitivities of one who has studied Buddhism in Japan.

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  • Nishitani Keiji trans. by Jan Van Bragt

    Religion and Nothingness

    In Religion and Nothingness one of the leading figures in the Kyoto School of philosophy lays the foundations for a world in the making, a world united beyond the differences of East and West, Buddhism and Christianity. Taking absolute nothingness as the central notion in rational explanations for the Eastern experience of human life, Nishitani examines the relevance of this notion for contemporary philosophy, religion, and life.

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  • Frederick Franck, ed.

    The Buddha Eye

    The Buddha Eye is an anthology of seventeen important writings related to the Kyoto School of philosophy, including essays by Nishitani Keiji, Abe Masao, Ueda Shizuteru, Hisamatsu Shin’ichi, Takeuchi Yoshinori, and D. T. Suzuki. Contributions by other modern Buddhist thinkers, such as Kiyozawa Manshi and Soga Ryõjin, add further scope to the collection. The articles touch upon a wide variety of topics, including the nature of the self, the Buddhist concept of reality, the notion of emptiness, and the teachings of Shin Buddhism. The arrangement of the materials as well as the author’s ample prologue and helpful prefaces to each of the selections not only clarify the material presented but also serve as a basic introduction to this lively current of contemporary Buddhist thought.

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  • Takeuchi Yoshinori

    The Heart of Buddhism

    In this book Takeuchi Yoshinori, one of the leading figures of the Kyoto School, shows how an existentialist hermeneutic can disclose the true meaning of Buddhism. His primary focus is on the two core notions of primitive Buddhism: the stages of contemplation and the theory of dependent origination. Working over the Pali texts of primitive Buddhism, Takeuchi seeks to unearth the fundamental concerns of Buddhist theory and practice, and to relate them to the contemporary world.

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  • Tanabe Hajime

    Philosophy as Metanoetics

    Studies in Japanese Philosophy 3

    Written in the closing months of World War II, Philosophy as Metanoetics seeks to respond to the failure of Japan’s philosophical tradition to face up to the political and cultural realities that had landed the country in the war. It calls for nothing less than a complete and radical rethinking of the philosophical task itself. To perform this "absolute critique" of philosophy, while at the same time protecting it from the specter of nihilism, the author embraces what he calls metanoetics: a letting-go of the self’s own power so that it can be transformed by the power of absolute nothingness.

    This is a powerful, original work, showing vast erudition in all areas of both Eastern and Western thought.

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  • Winston L. King

    Death Was His Kōan

    An early Tokugawa samurai turned maverick Zen monk, Suzuki Shōsan (1579–1655) is one of Japanese Buddhism's most neglected yet most colorful figures. Though this fascinating man—part fanatic, part saint—founded no sect and only left a small group of disciples behind him when he died, he has been called "the reviver of Buddhism in modern times." The bluntness of his words is accompanied by a sincerity in his desire to see people move toward a state of enlightenment. He was first and foremost a religious leader, and his writings have a freshness of approach that gives them power even for twentieth-century readers.

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  • Robert E. Morrell

    Early Kamakura Buddhism

    Our view of Kamakura Buddhism rests largely on interpretations by the heirs of its successful innovators——the Zen, Nichiren, and Pure Land movements——while the Establishment is represented merely as the hostile background against which our currently accepted heroes of the age had to struggle to create their brave new world.

    In this "minority report," four leaders of the traditional older sects are given an opportunity to present their side: Tendai's Jien, Hossō's Jōkei, Kegon's Myōe, and Shingon's Kakukai——largely through selected translations of their writings, and other contemporary accounts. Students of history, literature, and religion are invited to reexamine this critical period in the story of Japanese religion from a new perspective.

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  • Nishida Kitarō trans. by Y. Takeuchi, V. Viglielmo, J. S. O'Leary

    Intuition and Reflection in Self-Consciousness

    Available now only in eBook (PDF) format. Order here. A translation of the second volume of the Collected Works of Japan’s foremost twentieth-century philosopher, this book provides a rare glimpse into the struggle of the Japanese mind to rethink the concerns of Western philosophy in terms of the Eastern intellectual heritage. The translation evokes the movement and flavor of the notoriously opaque original as well as clarifying its obscurities and eliminating much of the repetition. Moreover, this is the first translation of Nishida’s works, in Japanese or English, to appear with complete bibliographical annotation. Everyone interested in the interaction of Eastern and Western thought-forms now has a document elucidating many of the cultural, psychological, and intellectual dynamics that have shaped Japanese intellectual life in one of its most fascinating and ambitious manifestations.

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  • Paul L. Swanson

    Foundations of
    T'ien-t'ai Philosophy

    This work examines the background and development of the notion of the Threefold Truth by Chih-i, one of China's greatest Buddhist philosophers and systematizers and the founder of the T'ien-t'ai tradition. Not only does Chih-i's Threefold Truth mark the climax of the Chinese reinterpretation of the two truths theory inherited from Madhyamika philosophy, but it also provides the basic structure and pattern for T'ien-t'ai thought and practice, making it the key to this important school of Chinese Buddhism.
  • Nagao Gadjin

    The Foundational Standpoint of Madhyamika Philosophy

    Madhyamika is the central focus of Mahayana Buddhist thought, lying barely concealed behind iconoclastic Zen aphorisms and permeating doctrinal thinking in Tibet, China, Korea, and Japan. The Madhyamika philosophy of Nagarjuna articulates basic Buddhist insights on two themes: the identity of emptiness and dependent co-arising, and the two truths of ultimate meaning and worldly convention. In this book Nagao offers an in-depth interpretation of this foundational philosophy of Mahayana Buddhism, reclaiming Nagarjuna's profound system for the present-day reader by delving into the historical context and relating Nagarjuna's thought to our modern discourse. Gathering his materials from original Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, and Western sources, Nagao demonstrates a skill that few can match.

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  • Taitetsu Unno, ed.

    The Religious Philosophy of Nishitani Keiji

    This collection is based on an international conference held at Smith College in April 1984. In it representative scholars Buddhist and Christian—including Abe Masao, Jan Van Bragt, Langdon Gilkey, Thomas Altizer, Gordon Kaufman, Sten Stenson, Steven Rockefeller, Robert Thurman, and Thomas Kasulis—grapple with the implications of Nishitani’s thinking for the modern world, particularly as it relates to the question of God, problems of science and ethics, the meaning of history, and the understanding of Buddhism.

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  • Taitetsu Unno, J. W. Heisig, eds.

    The Religious Philosophy of Tanabe Hajime

    This collection brings together a series of papers delivered at an international symposium on metanoetics held at Smith College, October 1989. The symposium was inspired by publication of the English translation of Tanabe Hajime’s Philosophy as Metanoetics in 1986, which marked another milestone in the introduction of Japanese philosophy to the West. Nineteen representative scholars in the fields of philosophy and religion discuss the implications of metanoetics and other aspects of Tanabe’s thought for our understanding of Shin Buddhism, Christianity, philosophy, and society. Among the wide variety of topics covered are the meaning of Shin Buddhism for the West, the encounter of Buddhism and Christianity, and the relation of religious philosophy to society.

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  • Heinrich Dumoulin trans. by J. W. Heisig, Paul Knitter with new Introductions by John R. McRae and Victor Sōgen Hori

    Zen Buddhism: A History
    (vol. 1)

    These two volumes represent a newly revised and greatly expanded edition of Heinrich Dumoulin's acclaimed history of Zen Buddhism, first published over 30 years ago. It has been updated to take into account the wealth of historical research that has gone on in the intervening years, insuring its place as a standard reference work in the field. Its more than 850 pages of carefully documented scholarship represent a lifetime of work.

    This the first volume treats Zen from its roots in ancient Indian Buddhism and Yoga to its flowering in China under the influence of Taoism and Confucian thought. Dumoulin not only introduces the imposing personalities of Zen Buddhism, among them Shakyamuni, Hui-neng, and Lin-chi, but also discusses the various expressions of Zen in the art and culture of India and China.

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  • Heinrich Dumoulin trans. by J. W. Heisig, Paul Knitter with new Introductions by John R. McRae and Victor Sōgen Hori

    Zen Buddhism: A History
    (vol 2)

    These two volumes represent a newly revised and greatly expanded edition of Heinrich Dumoulin's acclaimed history of Zen Buddhism, first published over 30 years ago. It has been updated to take into account the wealth of historical research that has gone on in the intervening years, insuring its place as a standard reference work in the field. Its more than 850 pages of carefully documented scholarship represent a lifetime of work.

    The first volume treats Zen from its roots in ancient Indian Buddhism and Yoga to its flowering in China under the influence of Taoism and Confucian thought. Dumoulin not only introduces the imposing personalities of Zen Buddhism, among them Shakyamuni, Hui-neng, and Lin-chi, but also discusses the various expressions of Zen in the art and culture of India and China.

    This the second volume focuses on Zen in Japan, tracing its development from the time of its arrival through to the modern period.

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  • Nishitani Keiji

    The Self-Overcoming of Nihilism

    The resurgence of interest in nihilism in the aftermath of the Second World War was not without its echoes in the East. This book, written some 40 years ago but until now unavailable in a Western language, resounds with a reading of nihilism as distinctively Eastern as it is faithful to the intellectual traditions of the West.

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  • Nishitani Keiji Trans. by J. W. Heisig & Yamamoto Seisaku

    Nishida Kitarō

    Studies in Japanese Philosophy 2

    As more and more works by and about the thinkers of the Kyoto School of philosophy appear in English translation, the need for a volume in a Western language elucidating the life and thought of the tradition’s founding inspiration, Nishida Kitarõ, has never been felt more keenly. No one is more qualified to write such a book than Nishitani Keiji, whose lifetime coincided with the rise and flowering of the Kyoto School and whose own critical contribution to Japanese thought has been so important.

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  • Frederick Franck

    To be Human against All Odds

    To Be Human Against All Odds, illustrated with the author's own drawings and photographs, takes a personal yet radical look at the state to which civilization has driven itself. Against the backdrop of a journey to Japan, Franck probes both himself and others for an answer to the most fundamental of questions: What does it mean to be truly human? In elegantly crafted prose Franck issues a powerful call to unmask our inhumanity and rediscover the Human Imperative.

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  • Jan Van Bragt & Paul Mommaers

    Mysticism Buddhist and Christian

    In 1343, when he was fifty, the priest Jan van Ruusbroec (1293–1381) began a contemplative life with two other Catholic priests in Groenendael, a clearing in the forest a few miles to the south of Brussels. Ruusbroec lived out the rest of his days in prayer and spiritual direction. When he died in 1381 at the age of eighty-eight, he had written eleven of the greatest mystical works in the Christian tradition.

    This volume represents the first book-length treatment in English of Ruusbroec. The Flemish historian Paul Mommaers focuses on the delicate relationship between mysticism and religiosity, and between the mysticism of love and the more metaphysical mysticism of unity. The theologian of religions Jan Van Bragt places the problem in an interreligious context by contrasting the spiritual path of Buddhism with that of the Christian mystical way.

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  • James W. Heisig

    Dialogues at One Inch above the Ground

    In this collection of essays, all composed during the last decade of the twentieth century, James Heisig takes up different aspects of the dialogue with religions and with the "saeculum."

    At a time of the dislocation of belief, perhaps it is the will to disbelieve that is the greater virtue. Simple skepticism aimed at the doctrines and institutions that have failed to provide a ground for the faith and hope and love of the age, however reasonable or morally inspired, is not enough. Disbelief must be deepened and cultivated if it is ever to point the way to relocating faith in new doctrines and institutions. Like the angel caught in Jacob’s grip at Penuel, it must be wrestled with until it delivers a blessing we can pass on to those that follow us. This book is the record of my own attempts to dialogue with the kind of disbelief that I believe that faith at the end of the twentieth century obliges us to.

    from the Introduction

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