By Roger Jackson, John Makransky
Students of Buddhism, themselves Buddhist, right here search to use the serious instruments of the academy to reconsider the reality and transformative worth in their culture in its relevance to the modern global.
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This tells us a gre at deal about the subjectivity of the Buddhist theologian. A Buddhist theologian is, first of all, a Buddhist. This is not a banal observation, given that in today's theological climate there are many theologians who would claim that it is possible to engage in their task without allegiance to a religious tradition. 3 1 But more than that, theologians are scholars 3 2 who have mastered the scriptural tradition of Buddhism to the point of being able to explicate its meaning. Theologians must be skilled in the art of exegesis, sufficiently aware of the world around them to be able to unleash in their respective cultural tyilieus the liberative power of the texts that they manipulate, and sufficiently motivated by the welfare of others to have the will to do so.
Particularly questionable , it s e ems to me, is the notion - manifest more in a work like Kirtisinghe's than in those just mentioned - that B uddhist thought requires, for its legitimation, the e stablishment of parallels to the Western intellectual tradition, in Kirtisinghe's case, Western scienc e . This is not to say that comparison of B uddhist to Western thought is inappropriate, but only that neither the validity nor the relevance of B uddhism is dependent on the existence of similarities to the Western intellectual tradition.
It should make more familiar the texts and practices of Buddhist cultures that are distant from us in both space and time. In its countermovement, it should force us to step back and to question that which has become second nature by virtue of its proximity (both in Buddhism and in our own culture); it should force us to examine the very presuppositions of our religion, our world and even our discourse. What is more, such a critical spirit should be all perva sive and all-penetrating. No portion of our enterprise should be exempt from its scrutiny, and there is never any a priori reason to limit the depth of such scrutiny.
Buddhist Theology: Critical Reflections by Contemporary Buddhist Scholars by Roger Jackson, John Makransky