How Master Mou Removes Our Doubts

A Reader-Response Study and Translation of the Mou-tzu Li-huo lun

By John P. Keenan

Subjects: Buddhism
Series: SUNY series in Buddhist Studies
Paperback : 9780791422045, 229 pages, November 1994
Hardcover : 9780791422038, 229 pages, December 1994

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Table of contents


Introduction Reading the Mou-tzu Li-huo lun:Socioliterary Strategies

The Intent of the Li-huo lun

Modem Scholarship

The Approach of Literary Criticism

Reader-Response Criticism

The Plot of the Mou-tzu Li-huo lun

Interpretation As a Function of an Institutional Community

The Argument of the Li-huo lun

Notes to Introduction

The Preface to the Li-huo lun

Background and Context

English Translation of Preface: Mou-tzu's Treatise on the Removal of Doubt

Reader-Response Criticism

Mou-tzu's Dialogue with His Critics

Each of Thirty-Seven Articles Treated in Three Parts:

1. English Translation

2. Source Codes (Background textual images and ideas)

3. Reader-Response Criticism (What the argument accomplishes in each of its progressive steps)

Notes to Articles




This is the first English translation of the earliest Chinese Buddhist text, but it is more than a translation. Keenan shows that Mou-tzu's Treatise on Alleviating Doubt is a Buddhist hermeneutic on the Chinese classics. Using a reader-response method of examining the text, Keenan shows how the rhetoric convinces readers that one can remain culturally Chinese yet be a Buddhist.

The Introduction explains the reader-response methodology, develops the movement of the dialogue in terms of this method, and clarifies the rhetorical impact of Master Mou's argument. The Introduction is followed by the thirty-seven articles of the text. Each article is first translated into English, then the contextual images and ideas are unpacked for each, and finally each article is subjected to a reader-response critique that shows what the argument accomplishes in each of its progressive steps.

John P. Keenan is Associate Professor of Religion at Middlebury College