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1st Unit : 2nd Study Group Session

1st Unit : 2nd Study Group Session

Inoue Enryo’s Buddhist Philosophy within the paradigm of ‘theory versus practice’

The 2nd Study Meeting, the 1st Unit

The 1st Unit held its second study meeting on October 26 (Wed.), 2011 at Room 1409, Building No. 1, on Hakusan Campus. Visiting Researcher Mr. Rainer Schulzer gave a presentation titled “Inoue Enry?'s Buddhist Philosophy within the paradigm of ‘theory versus practice’.” According to Mr. Schulzer, Enryo’s thoughts are characterized by his broad perspective rather than their preciseness. His presentation gave an outline for a proper evaluation of Enryo’s philosophy.

The slogan summarizing Inoue Enryo’s thought is “gokoku airi” (protecting the nation and loving the truth). “Gokoku” (protecting the nation) refers to practice while “airi” (loving the truth) refers to theory. By elucidating the relations between the two, we will be able to elucidate the significance of Enryo’s thought.

Since the pursuit of truth based on “airi” is helpful for “gokoku,” “gokoku airi” is an integral principle, according to Enryo. But at the same time, Enryo was frustrated by philosophy and universities emphasizing too much on theory. Even if one improves oneself in the pursuit of truth, it is not “living learning” but “dead study” unless one descends from there down to practice.

The 2nd Study Meeting, the 1st Unit

The practical meaning of Enryo’s thought is found also in his Buddhist thought. Enryo pointed out that in Buddhism, theory is a means to mitigate worldly desires. That is, theory serves as a “skilful means” of practice. The modern challenge for Buddhist philosophy may be to elucidate this relation, pointed out Mr. Schulzer. He suggested that considerations on the question of how people’s peace of mind and happiness are derived from theoretical considerations such as “impermanence” or “causality” would be a future topic for Buddhist philosophy. Following the presentation, active discussions on the meaning of Enryo’s Buddhist philosophy took place in search of ways to build upon Enryo’s thought in today’s world.