By Richard Cohen
The majority of books on Buddhism describe the Buddha utilizing the observe enlightened, instead of woke up. This bias has led to Buddhism turning into mostly perceived because the eponymous faith of enlightenment.
Beyond Enlightenment is a cosmopolitan learn of a few of the underlying assumptions concerned about the research of Buddhism (especially, yet no longer solely, within the West). It investigates the tendency of such a lot students to floor their research of Buddhism in those specific assumptions in regards to the Buddha’s enlightenment and a selected figuring out of faith, that's traced again via Western orientalists to the Enlightenment and the Protestant Reformation.
Placing a unique emphasis on Indian Buddhism, Richard Cohen adeptly creates a piece that would entice people with an curiosity in Buddhism and India and likewise students of faith and historical past.
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Additional resources for Beyond Enlightenment, Buddhism, Religion, Modernity
This pattern of inclusions and exclusions “fills” Müller’s empty signifier. Per Laclau, “to hegemonize something is exactly to carry out this filling function. . ”84 The underlying point is simple enough: a game, a religion, a society, a system will have an identity to the extent that a barrier delimits the inside from outside. The barrier itself is hardly as simple. It provides an identity only insofar as it creates an equivalence among everything on the inside, but excludes, devalues, and thus makes a potential antagonist of everything that does not participate in that order.
Cognate questions fill Laclau’s corpus of writings. ”71 The essay begins with Laclau’s oblique definition of the empty signifier, followed by his protestation that empty signifiers ought not be confused with the more commonly encountered polyvalent symbols, which might be merely equivocal or ambiguous. ” Is this a statement about Zen doctrine, or European history, or the touch of the Holy Spirit? The signified is indefinite here, not because the words enlightenment and freedom lack referents, but because the listener lacks a context within which to be precise in the identification of those referents.
Claims to the contrary, Almond often writes as if Buddhism was something there in Asia, waiting for the British to find and name, rather than a discursive object determined by the orderings, correlations, positions, functionings, and transformations of nineteenth-century Orientalism. The book’s title, Discovery, suggests prior objective existence—King Tut’s tomb and E ϭ mc2 are conventional objects of discovery—while his chapters prefer words like construction, creation, and imagination. Or again, the status of Buddhism in a sentence cited above— “Victorian interpretations of Buddhism, whether of its founder, it doctrines, its ethics, its social practices, or its truth and value, in constructing Buddhism, reveal the world in which such constructing took place”—is unclear.