The Bodymind Experience in Japanese Buddhism

A Phenomenological Study of Kūkai and Dōgen

By David Edward Shaner

Subjects: Buddhism
Series: SUNY series in Buddhist Studies
Paperback : 9780887060625, 250 pages, August 1985
Hardcover : 9780887060618, 250 pages, August 1985

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Table of contents

1. A Precautionary Note
2. An Overview of the Study

1. Phenomenology and Comparative Philosophy
2. Is Phenomenology Truly Presuppositionless?
3. The Relation between Philosophy and Culture
4. The Relation between Phenomenological and Scientific Methods: A Critical Appraisal
2. A Phenomenological Description of Bodymind
1. Phenomenology as the Study of Essences
2. A Phenomenological Description of Bodymind Experience
3. The Essential Bodymind Quality in All Experience
a. First Order Bodymind Awareness
(1) Bodymind awareness as the condition for noetic and noematic relations
(2) Bodymind awareness as the dynamic quality of all experience
(3) Bodymind awareness as the condition for the spatio-temporal character of experience
b. Second Order Bodymind Awareness
c. Third Order Bodymind Awareness
3. Kukai: A Descriptive Philosophy
1. Introductory Background
2. The Prescriptive and Speculative Aspects of Kukai's Metaphysics; the Secret and Mystic Aspects of Enlightenment
a. Exoteric and Esoteric Buddhist Philosophy
b. Hosshin seppo
c. Sanmitsu
d. Sokushin jobutsu
e. Hongaku
3. Kukai's Metaphysics and Philosophy of Enlightenment: A Descriptive Account
a. Phenomenalism and Reflexive Phenomenological Methodology
b. Exoteric and Esoteric Thinking: Modes of Experience and the Pathway to Enlightenment
(1) The Vehicles for the First Order Bodymind Awareness
(a) Mantras
(b) Madalas
(c) Mudras

4. Kukai: First Order Bodymind Awareness As Enlightenment
1. The Neutralization of Thetic Positings
2. The Expanded Periphery and Experience of the Horizon in toto
3. Dynanism and Simultaneity
4. Sedimentation and Bodymind Awareness
5. Kukai's Description of Paradigmatic Modes of Experience: A Summary
5. Dogen: A Descriptive Philosophy
1. Introductory Background
2. Dissolving the Rift Between Theory and Practice
a. Hongaku
b. Shinjun datsuraku
c. Shusho ichinyo
d. Sokushin zebutsu
e. Hosshin seppo
3. The Descriptive Project of Shobegenzo
a. Genjokoan
b. Shinjingakudo
c. Uji
d. Kaiinzanmai
6. Dogen: First Order Bodymind Awareness As Enlightenment
1. The Technique of Cultivating Zazen Awareness
2. Hishiryo and Thetic Neutralization
3. The Expanded Periphery, Horizon in toto and Zazen Awareness
4. Dynamism and Zazen Awareness
5. Simultaneity and Zazen Awareness
6. Sedimentation and First Order Bodymind Awareness
7. Phenomenology and Japanese Buddhist Philosophy
1. An Appraisal of Our Method
2. The Relation Between Philosophy and Culture Revisited
3. Phenomenology and Japanese Philosophy


In a pioneering study, David Shaner uses the resources of phenomenology to penetrate Buddhist philosophy in terms of Kukai and Dogen. In addition to this original and rigorous methodology, his work offers insights into some fundamental difficulties intrinsic to comparative studies. The problem of the relation between body and mind is a prime example. Shaner's observations shed a brilliant light on these traditional antinomies as they may be resolved or, more accurately, dissolved when seen in their appropriate contexts. In addressing these issues, the study also contributes to the understanding of common features that underlie the various doctrines of Japanese Buddhism.

This work will appeal to both East and West phenomenologists, philosophers interested in the mind-body problem, scholars of comparative philosophy, and students of Japanese philosophy and religion.

David Edward Shaner is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Furman University. He is currently an Andrew W. Mellon Faculty Fellow in the Humanities at Harvard University, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilization. Doctor Shaner is the Editor of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy Forum.