Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Western vs. Eastern

While large tracts of Western philosophy and some theology are acceptable in scientific discourse, this is by and large not true for Eastern philosophy. If I bring up Plato, Socrates, Aquinas, Fichte, Schelling, Kant etc. in a discussion, there's no problem. But if I were to bring up Nagarjuna, Fa-tsang, Sankara, Aurobindo, Trungpa Rinpoche etc., I'm usually amazed and taken aback by the hostile reception.
Sometimes the discussion veers off into finding approximate Western counterparts for Nagarjuna (Derrida), Sankara (Berkeley), Aurobindo (de Chardin) etc. as though this makes the person feel safe that the discussion is now again "Western." Or else, and this happens sometimes, the person (that I'm talking to) will just state baldly that there is not a single idea of merit in "Eastern mysticism" (whatever that term means). What amazing and breathtaking arrogance. Where does it come from? I have no clue. # posted by NoOne @ 10:50 AM Sutra, Tantra and Ati

1 comment:

  1. At university my encounter with Nagarjuna was eye-opening, but I can count the people who shared my enthusiasm on one digit. Generally I think only a handful of people in any large University department will be genuinely curious. If a student is lucky, the true intellectuals will not be trying to strangle each other.

    Surely then the kind of arrogance you're talking about is a defense mechanism.

    If it makes you feel better, I could also count the people who genuinely shared my enthusiasm for Derrida on one digit--the same digit, as it were--although many people would nod their heads at the mention of the name, and overt hostility was rare.