Liberating Intimacy: Enlightenment and Social Virtuosity in Ch'an Buddhism

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State University of New York Press, Jul 3, 1996 - Philosophy - 236 pages
Liberating Intimacy dramatically reevaluates the teachings and practice of Ch'an Buddhism. Considering Buddha's insight that everything is empty or absent of a permanent and independent "self nature," Hershock argues that not only is suffering without any essence and so dependent on time and place, so is end of suffering or enlightenment. He shows that the tradition need not entail a quietistic withdrawal from social life. Far from being something privately attained and experienced, Ch'an enlightenment is best seen as the opening of a virtuosic intimacy through which we are continually liberated from the arrogance of both "self" and "other." That is, enlightenment in Ch'an must be understood as irreducibly social--it can never be merely "mine" or "yours," but is only realized as "ours." Including new translations from the teachings of Ma-tzu, Pai-chang, Huang-po and Lin-chi, Liberating Intimacy reconciles the almost fierce individualism that characterizes the mastery of Ch'an and its unwavering embrace of the ideal of compassionately saving all beings.

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User Review  - jasonli - LibraryThing

An epic treatise about Ch'an Buddhism (the version of Buddhism that emerged when it arrived and meshed with the local culture of ancient China). A bit dense to parse, but written with a clear and thought-provoking point of view. Read full review

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About the author (1996)

Peter D. Hershock is Project Fellow of the Asian Studies Development Program at the East-West Center.

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