Sculpting-scholarship : a study on the emergence of the Buddhist critical constructive reflection
DeBoer, Nathan Frederick
Doctor of Philosophy in Religious Studies
To date, the phenomena of Buddhist Critical Constructive Reflection saw no extend scholarly examination. This dissertation sought to fill that lacuna. Buddhist Critical Constructive Reflection represents a radical departure from description to prescription within Buddhist Studies. The study of religion and the practice of religion have long been separated by an impassible divide. This crosses over an intellectual boundary once believed sacrosanct by Buddhist Studies scholar and their religious studies counter parts. Buddhist Studies scholars, drawn to the study of academic study of Buddhism by their Buddhist faith, saw that their scholarship could be an extension of their Buddhist religiosity. Despite the comparatively late emergence of this phenomena, Buddhist Studies scholars of the past were not without theological passion towards their topics. I challenge the assumption that their lay a steep division between early Buddhologists, believed to be thoroughly detached from the object of their study. But a range of normative and theological interest in Buddhism can be seen present in their scholarship. Scholars from the nineteenth century brought a range of assumptions about the merits of studying the works of ancient worthies from their roots in the study of classical antiquity. Others of the same period saw the purpose of their scholarship as to recover a unalloyed Buddhism from centuries of deleterious cultural accretions. Early 20th century scholars of Buddhism also evidence unmistakable theological interest in Buddhism as well. Moving onto the present I examine Buddhist Theology through the tools of Comparative theology, allowing for a range of evaluation germane to a large non-Buddhist audience the contributors sought to address with Buddhist solutions. I also examined the continuities and expansion in topics between Buddhist Theology and the Buddhist Critical Constructive Reflection. It is important this scholarship find expression in modern Buddhist life and practice if it is to accomplish the end of offering the solutions to contemporary society it sought out with. Finally, I noted the importance of this growing body of scholarship has for Buddhism in America and beyond, and the imperative that further work be done on the reception of this scholarship by communities of practicing Buddhists.
University of the West