Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

The Buddha of the North: Swedenborg and Transpacific Zen

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Religion and the Arts

The Scandinavian scientist-mystic Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) has had a curious relationship to the history of how Western literature has responded to Buddhism. Since Honoré de Balzac’s claim in the 1830s that Swedenborg was “a Buddha of the north,” Swedenborg’s mystical teachings have been consistently aligned with Buddhism by authors on both sides of the pacific, from D. T. Suzuki to Philangi Dasa, the publisher of the first Buddhist journal in North America. This essay explores the different historical frames that allowed for this steady correlation, and argues that the rhetorical and aesthetic trope of “Swedenborg as Buddha” became a point of cultural translation, especially between Japanese Zen and twentieth-century Modernism. Swedenborg’s figuration in the earlier work of Ralph Waldo Emerson and William Blake, moreover, might begin to account for the peculiar ways those two Romantics have particularly affected modern Japanese literature. The transpacific flow of these ideas ultimately complicates the Orientalist critique that has read Western aesthetic contact with Buddhism as one of hegemonic misappropriation.

Affiliations: 1: University of Osnabrück


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Religion and the Arts — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation