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Title: Invisible Happiness in Dogen
Authors: 施堂模
Sellari, T.J.
Contributors: 英文系
Keywords: Happiness;Buddhism;Zen;Dogen;Literary Style
Date: 2017-10
Issue Date: 2018-06-12 11:06:49 (UTC+8)
Abstract: Buddhism is frequently referenced as one of the possible paths for the modern quest for happiness. An examination of Buddhist literature, however, shows that the attempt to trace such a route is somewhat misguided, for Buddhism addresses primarily the avoidance of suffering rather than the pursuit of happiness. In fact, a concern with happiness is often characterized in Buddhist texts as a pitfall to be avoided rather than as a path to be followed. This paper examines the near-invisibility of happiness in the writings of Dogen Zenji, a seminal Zen teacher and writer, and demonstrates how the negligible place of happiness in Dogen’s writings corresponds to its conceptual space in Buddhism generally, thus showing that the elimination of suffering, which is the goal of Buddhism, should not be reduced to happiness. As a link between modern writers on Buddhism and the earliest Buddhist texts, Dogen presents an instructive case to illustrate how the theme of happiness holds a position in Buddhist thought even when it is not explicitly mentioned, but that place is far from central to Buddhism’s concerns. Nevertheless, Dogen’s writings furnish splendid examples of what we might call “literary happiness”—a kind of happiness enacted rather than discussed. The identification of such happiness shows how in Buddhism happiness is more incidental than teleological, and suggests that the application of Buddhist concepts to the quest for happiness twists those concepts in a direction inimical to Buddhist practice.
Relation: Open Journal of Social Sciences, Vol.5, No.10, Article ID:80071,13 pages
Data Type: article
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Appears in Collections:[英國語文學系] 期刊論文

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