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3rd Unit : 2nd Study Group Session

3rd Unit : 2nd Study Group Session

?Upekşā? as a possible basis for kyosei in Buddhim

3rd Unit : Second Study Group Session

At the 2nd study meeting of the 3rd Unit held on October 28 (Fri.), 2011, Research Associate Dr. Toshio Horiuchi gave a presentation titled ??Upek??? as a possible basis for kyosei in Buddhism? (at Conference room, 4th floor of No.6 building, Undergraduate School of Literature, Hakusan Campus, Toyo University). Specialized in Mahayana Buddhism in India, he focuses at IRCP on ?the studies of kyosei (harmonious coexistence) philospohy in Buddhism.? The following is a summary of his presentation.

Kyosei is originally a translation of ?symbiosis,? which is a term in biology to describe a certain natural condition: it was not to mean that anything needs to be done. But later, the word began to be used in figurative or looser meanings, such as kyosei (coexistence) of cattle and humans, or kyosei of machines and humans. However, the term is now increasingly abused as a pleasant catchphrase, and as a result, quite often causes a psychological reactance: hence, any discussion on kyosei needs adequate definition of the concept in advance, Dr. Horiuchi warned.

Next, he tried defining the concept of kyosei along the line of the Reverend Benkyo Shiio, a Jodo monk and Kisho Kurokawa. According to Rev. Shiio, the original meaning of the word kyosei (tomo-iki) is to be ?born (iki)? ?together (tomo)? in pure land with sentient beings, but its emphasis is on ?to live truthfully and vividly.? According to Mr. Kurokawa, kyosei means not just a harmony or compromise, but to mutually recognize and respect sanctuaries while seeking to find a region that can be shared.

When kyosei in Buddhism is considered in that meaning, its philosophical ground should be secular Buddhist ethics. By the way, ?upek??? as one of the four immeasurable minds (skt:apram???ni) or four supreme states (skt:brahmavih?ra) means not a mere indifference but a perspective, calm mind or mind harboring no love or hatred toward others. In that sense, upek?? may be the ground for kyosei in Buddhism, concluded the speaker. In the question and answer session, questions were raised from broad range of viewpoints worthy of the name of International Research Center for Philosophy, such as the positioning of upek?? in the Buddhist path to awakening, its relations with Stoic apatheia, or its relations with the practices taught in Confucianism, making it a productive meeting.