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Xu Guangqi and Buddhism [36]

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Chapter Summary

Xu Guangqi's anti-Buddhist writings testify of no more than a rather superficial acquaintance with Buddhist doctrinal ideas and of a critical observation of ritual and devotional practices which formed part of lay Buddhism, and which he rejected as being irrational and superstitious. In taking his stand against Buddhism Xu was inspired from two different quarters, which in his worldview were completely integrated: his adherence to the movement called "Practical" studies, and his acceptance of "Heavenly Studies", i.e. the combination of Christian beliefs and European science and technology introduced by the Jesuits. Xu resolutely rejects the Buddhist theory of rebirth, and here again his argumentation is only partially derived from Jesuit theses. Xu repeats Matteo Ricci's argument about human beings as a unique privileged species as well as the conclusion that all other creatures have been given to mankind to be used and exploited.

Keywords: Buddhism; Christian beliefs; European science; Jesuits; Matteo Ricci; Xu Guangqi



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