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2015-2016

7 hits

  • Thumbnail for AN ANALYSIS OF RHETORIC AND TOTAL EXERTION IN DOGEN: A CRITIQUE OF “THE REASON OF WORDS AND LETTERS”
    AN ANALYSIS OF RHETORIC AND TOTAL EXERTION IN DOGEN: A CRITIQUE OF “THE REASON OF WORDS AND LETTERS” by Phelan, Timothy Kerney

    Hee-Jin Kim’s article “The Reason of Words and Letters: Dogen and Koan Language” revolutionized the study of Dogen and the way we understand his language. Its biggest contribution is the proposal that Dogen viewed language itself as a path to realization. This model successfully integrates discriminating thought into a world-view of enlightenment, greatly deepening our view of Dogen as a unique and genius thinker. Kim does not, however, delve into Dogen’s rhetorical side, and rather claims that the intention of his writing was primarily rational. I argue that Dogen’s “realizational” view of language was applied by him in a specific rhetorical manner which Dale Wright dubs “direct pointing”. Through examining multiple Dogen passages, I show that direct pointing is an underappreciated aspect of his writing. Understanding this rhetorical dimension of Dogen adds new depth to his realizational view of language and opens new possibilities for interpretation of his writing. In addition, Kim outlines Dogen’s core principle of total exertion in his article. He does this mostly through philosophical explanation and uses few examples. I argue that a better understanding of total exertion is possible through using it as a lens to look at different texts. This method is essential for penetrating some of Dogen’s more complicated and strange koan interpretations- themselves often being koans- and poetic imagery. In addition, I find that new understandings of total exertion itself arise through analyzing its essence in metaphor and imagery. For example, one can comprehend total exertion as “activity without remainder” or as an absence of “hindrance”. Overall, Kim’s article is foundational in understanding Dogen, but there is still more to be uncovered in his language and thought.

  • Thumbnail for AN ANALYSIS OF RHETORIC AND TOTAL EXERTION IN DOGEN: A CRITIQUE OF “THE REASON OF WORDS AND LETTERS”
    AN ANALYSIS OF RHETORIC AND TOTAL EXERTION IN DOGEN: A CRITIQUE OF “THE REASON OF WORDS AND LETTERS” by Phelan, Timothy Kerney

    Hee-Jin Kim’s article “The Reason of Words and Letters: Dogen and Koan Language” revolutionized the study of Dogen and the way we understand his language. Its biggest contribution is the proposal that Dogen viewed language itself as a path to realization. This model successfully integrates discriminating thought into a world-view of enlightenment, greatly deepening our view of Dogen as a unique and genius thinker. Kim does not, however, delve into Dogen’s rhetorical side, and rather claims that the intention of his writing was primarily rational. I argue that Dogen’s “realizational” view of language was applied by him in a specific rhetorical manner which Dale Wright dubs “direct pointing”. Through examining multiple Dogen passages, I show that direct pointing is an underappreciated aspect of his writing. Understanding this rhetorical dimension of Dogen adds new depth to his realizational view of language and opens new possibilities for interpretation of his writing. In addition, Kim outlines Dogen’s core principle of total exertion in his article. He does this mostly through route philosophical explanation and few examples. I argue that a better understanding of total exertion is possible through using it as a lens to look at different texts. This method is essential for penetrating some of Dogen’s more complicated and strange koan interpretations- themselves often being koans- and poetic imagery. In addition, I find that new understandings of total exertion itself arise through analyzing its essence in metaphor and imagery. For example, one can comprehend total exertion as “activity without remainder” or as an absence of “hindrance”. Overall, Kim’s article is foundational in understanding Dogen, but there is still more to be uncovered in his language and thought.

  • Thumbnail for AN ANALYSIS OF RHETORIC AND TOTAL EXERTION IN DOGEN: A CRITIQUE OF “THE REASON OF WORDS AND LETTERS”
    AN ANALYSIS OF RHETORIC AND TOTAL EXERTION IN DOGEN: A CRITIQUE OF “THE REASON OF WORDS AND LETTERS” by Phelan, Timothy Kerney

    Hee-Jin Kim’s article “The Reason of Words and Letters: Dogen and Koan Language” revolutionized the study of Dogen and the way we understand his language. Its biggest contribution is the proposal that Dogen viewed language itself as a path to realization. This model successfully integrates discriminating thought into a world-view of enlightenment, greatly deepening our view of Dogen as a unique and genius thinker. Kim does not, however, delve into Dogen’s rhetorical side, and rather claims that the intention of his writing was primarily rational. I argue that Dogen’s “realizational” view of language was applied by him in a specific rhetorical manner which Dale Wright dubs “direct pointing”. Through examining multiple Dogen passages, I show that direct pointing is an underappreciated aspect of his writing. Understanding this rhetorical dimension of Dogen adds new depth to his realizational view of language and opens new possibilities for interpretation of his writing. In addition, Kim outlines Dogen’s core principle of total exertion in his article. He does this mostly through route philosophical explanation and few examples. I argue that a better understanding of total exertion is possible through using it as a lens to look at different texts. This method is essential for penetrating some of Dogen’s more complicated and strange koan interpretations- themselves often being koans- and poetic imagery. In addition, I find that new understandings of total exertion itself arise through analyzing its essence in metaphor and imagery. For example, one can comprehend total exertion as “activity without remainder” or as an absence of “hindrance”. Overall, Kim’s article is foundational in understanding Dogen, but there is still more to be uncovered in his language and thought.

  • Thumbnail for Bharatanatyam: eroticism, devotion, and a return to tradition
    Bharatanatyam: eroticism, devotion, and a return to tradition by Steine, Taylor

    The classical Indian dance style of Bharatanatyam evolved out of the sadir dance of the devadāsīs. Through the colonial period, the dance style underwent major changes and continues to evolve today. This paper aims to examine the elements of eroticism and devotion within both the sadir dance style and the contemporary Bharatanatyam. The erotic is viewed as a religious path to devotion and salvation in the Hindu religion and I will analyze why this eroticism is seen as religious and what makes it so vital to understanding and connecting with the divine, especially through the embodied practices of religious dance.

  • Thumbnail for Play and Imagination in Theory and Practice: An Examination of Kṛṣṇa Līlā Rituals Through the Lens of George Santayana's Poetic Theory
    Play and Imagination in Theory and Practice: An Examination of Kṛṣṇa Līlā Rituals Through the Lens of George Santayana's Poetic Theory by Sharples, Chloe Marie

    Idealized religious worlds often have the effect of drawing peoples’ attentions away from the present reality and instead towards a superior, divine reality. For this reason, American philosopher George Santayana calls for a metaphorical interpretation of religion, akin to the metaphorical interpretations of reality as found in poetry. My thesis explores the role of play (or līlā) in religious practices and how these sacred practices have potential to carry over into the mundane world. Essentially līlā translates as “play” or “sport” and in Hindu Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava tradition it can refer to the play of Kṛṣṇa in the land of Vraja or it can refer to the theory that the cosmos were created and maintained for the sole purpose of play. Devotees try to find union with Kṛṣṇa by entering into his līlā through the act of play. In practice, these methods of playing may not just be confined to a separate, sacred space, but could be incorporated into one’s way of being in the world at large. With this in mind I will examine the līlā practices of rāgānugā bhakti sādhana, rās līlā, and the Ban-Yatra pilgrimage through the lens of Santayana’s theories to determine to what extent each practice integrates the spirit of play with the world as a whole.

  • Thumbnail for The Politics and Poetics of Mestizaje: Hybrid Christianity in the Texas-Mexico Borderland
    The Politics and Poetics of Mestizaje: Hybrid Christianity in the Texas-Mexico Borderland by Cohen-Fuentes, Amy Michaela

    Mestizaje refers to the mixture of Spanish colonizers and the indigenous peoples of Mexico and to the hybrid culture that has developed in the borderlands during the five centuries since the conquest. This paper explores the insights and limitations of a leading Chicana feminist, Gloria Anzaldúa, who seeks to create a new political consciousness for the mestizo (mixed) people. Anzaldúa’s cultural and historical context led her to reject the various forms of oppression that she found in the Chicano community, including all forms of institutionalized religion (especially Catholicism). In this essay I will examine how Anzaldúa’s rejection of Catholicism made her unable to see the resistance of the Chicana/o people to seemingly oppressive religious and societal structures. Drawing on Saba Mahmood, an Islamic feminist theorist, I argue that Chicana/o resistance may be expressed in ways that are different from the overt forms of resistance and defiance that are found in other societies. Two of Anzaldúa’s contemporaries, Marta Cotera and Virgilio Elizondo, were able to work within the confines of Catholicism and to find a spiritual and political home in the hybrid Catholic church of Texas. Based on my experience witnessing life in the borderlands, I propose a reconceptualization of mestizaje that addresses both its politics and its poetics.

  • Thumbnail for What's With All The Secrecy?
    What's With All The Secrecy? by Conlon, Maxwell T.

    Secrecy is a common component of many religions and has recently become the subject of scholarly inquiry. Drawing from a wide variety of scholarly sources, ranging from a sociological study to ethnographic research on a little known Afro-Brazilian tradition, this paper seeks to combine existing views of secrecy to examine the phenomenon of religious secrecy as it applies to Esoteric Buddhism. I begin with conceptualizing of secrecy as a human construct, discuss the view that the secret is divine and thus inherently “mysterious,” and finally propose my own unique theory which suggests secrecy in Esoteric Buddhism can be best understood as “unintelligibility.”