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The Buddhist Philosophers

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Chapter Summary

When Mou reads Buddhist scholastic authorities, he measures them by how closely they match this understanding of buddha-nature. Then, using a scheme inspired by Zhiyi, he divides their philosophies into five ranks: tripitaka theory; shared theory; beginning separation theory; mature separation theory; and perfect or complete theory. From a bird's-eye view, then, Mou thinks Buddhist philosophy consists of answers to two questions, named in the title of his great buddhological monograph. The first is the question of prajña. It is on the second question that Buddhist philosophers disagree substantially, Mou thinks, and exercise most of their ingenuity. In Mou's scheme, each of the lower theories incorporates some important insights as well as some misunderstandings. Mou stresses that the Tiantai thinkers do not want to expunge these theories but to clean them up and merge them.

Keywords: Buddhist Philosophers; Mou; prajña; Tiantai; Zhiyi

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