Studies in Japanese Philosophy 4
In this book, Sueki discusses the difficult relationship between religion and ethics. He understands ethics as something fundamentally tied to inter-human relationships, which presumes mutual intelligibility. How then do we relate to the “other”—that which cannot be reduced to our comprehension? How do we relate to other cultures, other genders, or even ourselves as unintelligible others? How do we relate with the kami, buddhas, and the dead? Sueki refers to this as the problem of “trans-ethics.” He argues that it is religion that has constantly tried to focus on this relationship with the other. In the case of Buddhism, this involves attempts to construct ethics, difficulties with ethics, and transcendence beyond ethics.In particular, he highlights the possible role of the much maligned “funeral Buddhism” in such a Buddhist counter-position to ethics.
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