AAR 2017 Panels: Pure Land Buddhism in China and Shinran, Heidegger, and Levinas

The North American District of the IASBS is hosting two events at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Boston, MA, November 2017. Both panels will be held on Friday, November 17, at the Hynes Convention Center, Room 103 on the Plaza Level, located at 900 Boylston St in Boston.

These events are free and open to the public. Registration for the AAR meeting is not required, though it is encouraged.

Please visit the AAR Online Program Book for detailed information on the AAR annual meeting.

Mochizuki’s Doctrinal History of Pure Land Buddhism in China
Friday – 10:00 AM-12:00 PM
Hynes Convention Center-103 (Plaza Level)

Kenneth Tanaka, Musashino University, Presiding

All too little known outside circles of specialists working on Japanese Buddhism, Shinko Mochizuki (1896–1948) is one of the pioneering giants of modern Buddhist studies. Mochizuki is perhaps best-known for the encyclopedia of Buddhism (Bukkyō daijiten, 1933, 10 vols.) that he edited, and which is still in print today. The work being featured in this panel discussion, Pure Land Buddhism in China: A Doctrinal History (tr. Leo Pruden, ed. Richard K. Payne and Natalie Quli; Chūgoku Jōdo kyōrishi, published in 1942), was based on a lengthy series of lectures he gave on the history, thought and practice of Pure Land Buddhism in China. The work remains a resource for Japanese Pure Land Buddhist scholarship, and has now been made available in English translation. In order to bring this publication up to date, the translation has been complemented by a second volume of four supplemental essays—a biographical study of Mochizuki (Daniel Getz), and bibliographical essays on scholarship since Mochizuki’s publication in Chinese (Charles B. Jones), Japanese (Mark L. Blum), and English (Scott A. Mitchell). These four contributors will discuss the importance and value of Mochizuki’s work, and its continuing relevance for Pure Land Buddhist studies.

Daniel A. Getz, Bradley University
Charles B. Jones, Catholic University of America
Mark L. Blum, University of California, Berkeley
Scott Mitchell, Institute of Buddhist Studies

Shinran in the Light of Heidegger and Levinas
Friday – 2:00 PM-5:00 PM
Hynes Convention Center-103 (Plaza Level)

Janet Gyatso, Harvard University, Presiding

This panel presents work in an ongoing project jointly sponsored by the Institute of Buddhist Studies and the Ryukoku University Research Center for World Buddhist Cultures. The project seeks to explore resources in recent continental philosophy for illuminating Shinran’s Pure Land Buddhist path, focusing on the thought of Heidegger and Levinas. The panelists will present papers treating a variety of philosophical themes and issues that suggest resonances with aspects of Shinran’s thought—such as non-willful comportment, attunement, and dwelling in the philosophy of Heidegger and conscience, incapacity, and the Other in Levinas. The expectation is that probing such resonances will both cast fresh light on the implications of current philosophical topics and further suggest paths toward developing cogent and compelling contemporary understandings of Shinran’s thought.

Bret W. Davis, Loyola University, Maryland
Gelassenheit and the Entrusting Heart: Toward a Dialogue between Heidegger and Shinran

Ryan Coyne, University of Chicago
“This Burning House”: Heidegger, Shinran, and the Meaning of Licensed Evil

Charles Hallisey, Harvard University
On the Sources of Morality: Reading Shinran with Jankelevitch and Levinas

Leah Kalmanson, Drake University
The (Non-)Practice of Not-Directing-Merit: Levinas, Shinran, and the Impossibility of Doing Good

Dennis Hirota, Ryukoku University
Shinran and Heidegger on Dwelling

Janet Gyatso, Harvard University