Is Critical Buddhism Really Critical?

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Is Critical Buddhism Really Critical?
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Citation: Gregory, Peter N. "Is Critical Buddhism Really Critical?" In Pruning the Bodhi Tree: The Storm over Critical Buddhism, edited by Jamie Hubbard and Paul L. Swanson, 286–97. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1997.

Article Summary

Peter Gregory’s essay, "Is Critical Buddhism Really Critical?," takes the thought of Tsung-mi as a case study in order to ask whether the pursuit of "true Buddhism" is not in turn positing some sort of dhātu-vāda-like essence of Buddhism, hence mirroring the object of its own criticism. Preferring to see Buddhism as a "product of a complex set of interdependent and ever-changing conditions (pratītyasamutpāda),” he looks at Tsung-mi's thought not to determine whether or not it is "truly Buddhist" but in order to discover the causes and conditions that brought it into existence. In a manner similar to Sallie King's argument that Buddha-nature can be understood as a catalyst for positive social change, Gregory argues that for Tsung-mi the doctrine of original enlightenment was tied not to a linguistic transcendentalism but rather to an affirmation of language in response to the more radical critiques of the prajñā-pāramitā tradition. (Hubbard, introduction to Pruning the Bodhi Tree, xvii)