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Religion and nothingness by Keiji Nishitani

By Keiji Nishitani

In Religion and Nothingness the best consultant of the Kyoto college of Philosophy lays the basis of concept for an international within the making, for an international united past the diversities of East and West. Keiji Nishitani notes the irreversible pattern of Western civilization to nihilism, and singles out the conquest of nihilism as the activity for modern philosophy. Nihility, or relative nothingness, can purely be conquer through being radicalized to vacancy, or absolute nothingness. Taking absolute nothingness because the basic proposal in rational motives of the jap event of human existence, Professor Nishitani examines the relevance of this suggestion for modern lifestyles, and specifically for Western philosophical theories and spiritual believes. all over his easy goal is still an identical: to direct our smooth main issue to a solution via this insight.

The problem that the concept of Keiji Nishitani offers to the West, as a contemporary model of an jap speculative culture that's every piece as outdated and as variegated as our personal, is person who brings into solidarity the primary of fact and the primary of salvation. within the strategy, one conventional Western inspiration after one other comes lower than scrutiny: the dichotomy of religion and cause, of being and substance, the non-public and transcendent notions of God, the exaggerated position given to the understanding ego, or even the Judeo-Christian view of historical past itself.

Religion and Nothingness represents the key paintings of 1 of Japan's strongest and dedicated philosophical minds.

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3 -4. 14. K. Nishitani, ed. t"f: Philosophy in Contemporary Japan] (Kyoto: Yukonsha, 1 967), pp. 2 - 4. 1 5 . Comparatively speaking, the German philosophical scene is better informed on these matters than its counterpan in the English-speaking world. Of Nishida's translated works we have already referred to Schinzinger's translation of three essays (originally appearing in German under the title Die intelligibele Welt) and A Study ofGo Viglielmo's translation of Nishida's first and seminal work.

N ishitani's outlook on natural, ontological reality, for all it differs from our commonsense "realistic" view of things, may find a ready ally in the contemporary view of science. For it has become commonplace to note that the solid, d iscrete objects that seem to make up our world belong to a buzzing confusion of fluid process where the presence of individuality and limitation seem more remarkable than their absence. But what of the reality of world-historical events ? Offhand, we might be tempted to remark that Nishitani is attempt­ ing the impossible in trying to bring an essentially ahistorical Eastern religiosity to bear on the philosophy of history .

A void appears here that nothing in the world can fill; a gaping abyss opens up at the very ground on which one stands . In the face of this abyss, not one of all the things that had made up the stuff of life until then is of any use. In fact, that abyss is always just underfoot. In the case of death, we 4 WHAT IS REUGION? do not face something that awaits us in some distant future, but something that we bring into the world with us at the moment we are born . Our life runs up against death at its every step; we keep one foot planted in the vale of death at all times .

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