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    Reviews the book Foundations of Tien-tai Philosophy
     
    [ 作者: Paul Loren Swanson   来自:期刊原文   已阅:2405   时间:2007-1-7   录入:douyuebo


    ·期刊原文
    Reviews the book `Foundations of T'ien-t'ai Philosophy:
    The Flowering of the Two Truths Theory in Chinese Buddhism`

    by Paul Loren Swanson


    Whalen Lai
    Philosophy East and West
    Vol. 42 No. 2 Api 1994
    Pp.344-347
    Copyright by University of Hawaii Press


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    .

     

    Foundations  of T'ien-t'ai  Philosophy: The Flowering  of the
    Two Truths Theory in Chinese  Buddhism.  By Paul L.  Swanson.
    Berkeley: Asian Humanities Press, 1989. Pp. xi + 399.

    Since I have reviewed this book before (see back of book) and
    have highly  recommended  it for Buddhologists, I will try to
    present  here  its equal  importance  for those  involved  in
    East-West comparative philosophy and to do so in nontechnical
    language.

    T'ien-t'ai  philosophy  synthesized  the vision  of the Lotus
    Sutra and the dialectics  of the Middle  Path philosophy.  Of
    the  works  in English  on T'ien-t'ai, this  one  deals  most
    thoroughly  with  the development  of Nagarjuna's  Two Truths
    into a Threefold Truth. Although such a threefold division is
    not known  in India, the study  well shows  how this is by no
    means a misunderstanding. Rather, it captures well the spirit
    of the letter of the Law of Interdependence.

    The first half of the book (pp. 1-156) deals with the history
    of this idea. This is followed by a translation (pp. 157-256)
    of key sections  of Chih-i's  Fa-hua hsuan-i.  Swanson  opens
    with an exposition  of the theory of the Threefold Truth (pp.
    1-17), and  takes  us  through  its  historical  development:
    through Kumarajiva  and Seng-chao (pp.  18-37), two important
    apocryphal  sutras  in China  (pp.  38-56), key Southern  and
    Northern  developments  (pp.  57-81),  and,  especially,  the
    Ch'eng-shih  masters and the San-lun school of Chi-tsang (pp.
    82-114), before  concluding  with  the views  of Chih-i  (pp.
    115-156).

    There  can be no denying  that Madhyamika  (Middle  Path) and
    Yogacara  (Idealism) were Sinicized  in China.  This occurred
    naturally  during the Northern and Southern dynasties.  A new
    influx of the more Indic readings of both traditions appeared
    in the Sui and T'ang, touching off heated debates between the
    "new" and the "old" understandings. Thus Chi-tsang in the Sui
    launched his San-lun (Three Treatises) critique of the native
    Two Truths  theories, just as Hsuan-tsang, later in the T'ang
    period, would critique  a Sinitic "Mind Only" Idealism  found
    in the  Mahayana  Treatise  on the Awakening  of Faith.  That
    Fa-tsang  of the Hua-yen  school  came  to the rescue  of the
    Awakening  of  Faith  and  reversed  Hsuan-tsang's   indirect
    critique  of  it  is fairly  well-known.  Fa-tsang  was  able
    subsequently  to charge  Hsuan-tsang's  students  for knowing
    just Consciousness  Only but not Mind Only, for being fixated
    with  phenomenal  dharma-characteristics   or  fa-hsiang  and
    missing  out  on seeing  the  noumenal  Dharmata  essence  or
    fa-hsing that activates the forms.

    The same "challenge and response" pattern can be found in the
    history  of Sinitic  Madhyamika.  It is only that  it is less
    well-known.  Chitsang  of the "new"  Middle  Path  philosophy
    published  his work earlier in the Sui capital.  His critique
    demolished the various "old" Two Truths theories.  Chih-i was
    teaching at Mt. T'ien-t'ai at the same time, but his teaching
    was only  published  posthumously  through  his disciple  and
    recorder, Kuan-ting, in the early  T'ang.  This fact makes it
    harder  to  track  down  the  sequence   of  "challenge   and
    response," but it is safe to assume that by the time Chih-i's
    Threefold  Truth was codified and publicized, it had reworked
    and overcome  the weakness  of the "old" Two Truths  theories
    while  incorporating   the  "new"  insights   of  Chi-tsang's
    critique even as it worked to displace the latter.

    Traditional  T'ien-t'ai  scholarship  on the Threefold  Truth
    begins with that triumphal scheme of Chih-i.  In so doing, it
    generally  ignores  Chinese  theories  on what  went  before.
    Swanson's book is the only one that lays out this prehistory.
    This  alone  makes  it an invaluable  sourcebook  for  anyone
    working  in the history  of Middle  Path philosophy.  But the
    reader should be prepared  for missing  links, for Chih-i was
    no midget  standing  on the shoulders  of giants.  He was the
    giant that towered  above his predecessors.  This fact of his
    genius is told by Kuan-ting  in a T'ien-t'ai  legend that has
    Chih-i  receiving  his understanding  of the Threefold  Truth
    directly  from  Nagarjuna.  This  is  T'ien-t'ai  kerygma  or
    proclamation.  It was apparently  in response  to Chi-tsang's
    lineage  legend.  Chi-tsang  had traced his own orthodoxy  to
    Kumarajiva  through  a transmission  among the masters of Mt.
    She.  The new T'ien-t'ai  legend effectively  undercut  this.
    T'ien-t'ai had its patriarchal  line tying Chih-i directly to
    Nagarjuna, bypassing  even Kumarajiva, the Kuchan  translator
    who was until  then  the unchallenged  authority.  It was (to
    wit) a case of "It was said (by authorities to date) ...  but
    Chih-i (inspired by Nagarjuna) says now unto you...."

    But if there is such a transhistorical  source, does that not
    invalidate the whole "history of ideas" approach? Yes and no.

    Here is where  the second  half  of Swanson's  study  is most
    pertinent.  For understanding  the Threefold  Truth, one must
    take into account Chih-i's  reading of the Lotus Sutra in the
    Fa-hua  hsuan-i.  This  work  marks  the  beginning  of a new
    Buddhist hermeneutics. In it, Chih-i disclosed the hsuan-i or
    "hidden  truth"  of the Lotus Sutra: it is more than just the
    meaning   of  words  and  sentences,  the  province   of  the
    philologist.  What Chih-i found is a principle, a philosophy,
    within the text itself that would help unlock the text. Every
    Mahayana   sutra   has  this  essence   and  this   principle
    (ching-t'i,  ching-tsung) .  The  essence  is  Mahayana;  the
    principle is what places a sutra in the unfolding of this One
    Truth.  Chih-i used this new hermeneutics  to find a unity in
    every  sutra  and a unity  to all sutra.  The  result  is the
    T'ien-t'ai system of p'an-chiao or tenet classification  that
    David Chappell has so well traced for us.

    The  Fa-hua  hsuan-i  is the  text  where  we can  see Chih-i
    working  out  this  new hermeneutics  in seminal  form.  Most
    important  is the section dealing with his disagreement  with
    the authority of Fa-yun. Swanson's translation stays close to
    the text and captures the intricacies  and the excitement  of
    Chih-i's  formative  thoughts.  The  copious  notes  are most
    useful to the specialist.

    Once more, T'ien-t'ai legend lifts this reading of the hidden
    truth  "above  history."  Chih-i  is supposed  to be able  to
    intuit  it because  he  got  it  directly  from  the  Buddha,
    together  with his master Hui-ssu, in a prior life on Vulture
    Peak. The story goes that when Chih-i met Hui-ssu (said to be
    one "enlightened  without  a teacher"), they both recalled  a
    prior encounter  during an audience  before  Sakyamuni.  This
    myth  form  is, as I have shown  in my work, taken  from  the
    first  chapter  of the Lotus  Sutra  where  the players  were
    originally  Manjusri  and  Maitreya, and  the  Buddha  was  a
    prefiguration of Sakyamuni.

    Here, too, is the key to Chih-i's genius. He used the Ekayana
    (One Vehicle) doctrine  of the Lotus  Sutra  --  the teaching
    that the Three Vehicles are ultimately  one --  to remold the
    Two Truths theory into the "Round"  for the Threefold  Truth.
    And  he  used  Nagarjuna's  dialectics, in  reverse, to  help
    unlock the structure of the Lotus Sutra. Chi-tsang never used
    Ekayana  that way, and no (prior Chinese  Two Truth theorists
    knew this Truth-in-the-Round.  In the "Round" of Ekayana, the
    One Truth is fully present in each of the three truths.  Thus
    "Three  [is] One;  One [is] Three"  (see Swanson  p.  7).  Or
    everything is "siva empty, siva real, siva middle." This is a
    forerunner  of the Hua-yen  Totalism  of "One  is All, All is
    One." In light of ail that, the two halves of Swanson's  book
    give us indeed the key to seeing the foundation of T'ien-t'ai
    philosophy.

    Swanson  is in a position  to do this, for having been raised
    in Japan, he has a grasp  of the Japanese  language  that few
    other Americans  have.  Not tied to sectarian  Tendaigaku, he
    comes  to the  texts  with  fresh  readings  and insights.  A
    permanent member now of the Nanzan Institute  of Religion and
    Culture, he is also in the company  of some of the best minds
    in interfaith dialogue. Now, in medieval Chinese thought, the
    two new departures  from classical philosophy  were the "Mind
    Only" Idealism  of the Awakening  of Faith and the "Threefold
    Truth" of T'ien-t'ai.  They may not correspond exactly to the
    pillars of medieval  European  thought: the Neo-Platonism  of
    Pseudo-Dionysius  and the Trinitarianism supposedly rooted in
    Aristotle.   The  One  Mind  does  not  really  devolve  into
    multiplicity  as  the  One  would  in  Plotinus.   Here,  all
    realities  are  immediately  the  One Mind, and the Threefold
    Truths may not proceed, so to say, from Father to Son to Holy
    Spirit.  But the medieval interest, East and West, in the One
    and the  Three  is no mere  accident, and there  is, I think,
    enough  common  ground  for each to look  at the other  anew.
    Swanson has now placed in our hands a systematic study of the
    Threefold  Truth to facilitate  that dialogue  --  and I hope
    comparative philosophers or religionists would take him up on
    that.


     

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