Hans Martin Krämer (Heidelberg University, Germany) - “Even Three-Year-Old Children Know that the Source of Enlightenment is not Religion but Science”: Modern Japanese Buddhism between ‘Religion’ and ‘Science,’ 1860s–1910s

alle activiteiten

Wat Lezing
Wanneer 27-03-2019
van 19:30 tot 21:00
Waar Library Lab, Rozier Bibliotheek
Website http://www.cbs.ugent.be/node/394

​The acceptance of the truth claims of modern science as being fundamentally of a different order than those of ‘religion’ was a central feature of a globally shared concept of religion emerging in the nineteenth century. Conversely, refusing to make the distinction and continuing to claim religious authority over matters of science became the hallmark of ‘esoteric’ movements or ideas. In Japan, religions were quick to identify the challenges posed by the materialistic natural sciences; in response, Japanese Buddhists emphasized the compatibility of Buddhist doctrine with the causal rationality seen in the natural sciences. Concretely, this could mean either viewing certain Buddhist teachings as identical with science, or judging that Buddhism and science belonged to different realms but were in no conflict with each other. In this paper, I will examine the Japanese Buddhist debate before ca. 1900, identifying the strategies Japanese Buddhists employed to position themselves vis-à-vis science. I will argue that the processes examined here contributed crucially to creating the division between proper religions and esoteric movements present in Japan until today