Are Tiantai and Huayan worldviews radically different?

Are Tiantai and Huayan worldviews radically different?

Postby Nikolay » Tue May 14, 2013 3:01 pm

I would like to discuss this article: http://faculty.fullerton.edu/jeelooliu/ ... ua-yan.pdf

Is there really such a huge gap between Tiantai and Huayan metaphysics as the author claims here? Before reading this, I assumed that they are more or less the same.

In a nutshell, the author claims that Tiantai worldview is close to "commonsense realism", while comparing Huayan metaphysics to subjective idealism. This is really a surprising claim, at least for me, especially considering that he goes on to identify Yogacara as objective idealism.

Anyway, I fail to see how any Buddhist philosophy can be compatible with commonsense realism, since this position is arguably one of the principal obstacles to liberation. I am unable to judge whether this presentation of Tiantai is accurate, since I still do not have a sufficient understanding of Tiantai philosophy, but I strongly suspect that something is wrong here. Huayan position as presented in the article seems at least coherent to me, more or less in line with what I know about Yogacara and Buddhist philosophy in general, although I still question the offhand use of Western philosophical terms.

So, is there really such a sharp contradiction? My intuition is telling me that something is wrong here, the author may be over-exaggerating the difference, perhaps misinterpreting the Tiantai doctrine. But maybe I am wrong?

Also, does the situation change with Tendai and Kegon?
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Re: Are Tiantai and Huayan worldviews radically different?

Postby Jikan » Tue May 14, 2013 3:12 pm

The TienTai portions of that paper read like a series of generalizations in search of an argument. I am not convinced by it.

I would like to know what others think of the author's comments on Huayen.

As far as I know, the main point of distinction between Kegon-shu and Tendai-shu had to do with ordination rather than doctrine. (although doctrine was debated extensively among schools. Paul Groner's book on Ryogen describes how these debates worked among Tendai, Hosso, and Kegon monks)
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Re: Are Tiantai and Huayan worldviews radically different?

Postby Nikolay » Tue May 14, 2013 3:22 pm

This was also my impression. The whole "commonsense realism" thing looked a bit outlandish to me.

As far as I know, one of the principal points of disagreement between Tendai and Hosso was Tendai's assertion that all beings without exception are capable of reaching Buddhahood. Not sure about the Kegon position, and I also don't know what other topics were debated (besides the whole ordination thing). Unfortunately I do not have access to the book on Ryogen.

I also hope that someone with deeper knowledge of Huayan doctrine will help clarify the issue.

By the way, good to see you back Jikan.
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Re: Are Tiantai and Huayan worldviews radically different?

Postby Jikan » Tue May 14, 2013 3:28 pm

Nikolay wrote:This was also my impression. The whole "commonsense realism" thing looked a bit outlandish to me.

As far as I know, one of the principal points of disagreement between Tendai and Hosso was Tendai's assertion that all beings without exception are capable of reaching Buddhahood.


That's my understanding as well.
I also hope that someone with deeper knowledge of Huayan doctrine will help clarify the issue.


Me too!
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