By David R. Loy
A Buddhist interpretation of Western background that exhibits civilization formed by way of the self's hope for groundedness
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Brought on through the shattering of the bonds among faith and the political order led to via the Enlightenment, Jean-Jacques Rousseau devised a “new” faith (civil faith) for use through the nation as a manner of implementing civic harmony. Emile Durkheim, in contrast, conceived civil faith to be a spontaneous phenomenon coming up from society itself ― a non-coercive strength expressing the self-identify or self-definition of a humans.
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Additional resources for A Buddhist history of the West : studies in lack
Goethe The growth of freedom has been the central theme of history, Lord Acton believed, because it represents God’s plan for humanity. One does not need such a Whiggish view of history to notice that the history of the West, at least, has indeed been a story of the development of freedom, whether actualized or idealized. We trace the origins of Western civilization back to the Greek “emancipation” of reason from myth. Since the Renaissance, there has been a progressive emphasis, first on religious freedom (the Reformation), then political freedom (the English, American, French revolutions), followed by economic freedom (the class struggle), colonial freedom (independence movements), racial freedom (civil rights), psychological freedom (psychotherapy frees us from neuroses), and most recently gender equality and sexual freedom (feminism and gay rights emancipate women and sexual “deviance”).
Self-determination, in this view, could only appear . . as a violation of the very structure of reality, and political duty appeared to consist only in patient submission and obedience. (Bouwsma 6)8 Yet the City of God also discouraged this conflation. Written to justify the fall of Rome, it did not identify the City of God with the City of Man. Instead of being the privileged vehicle of God’s will, the Roman empire was only one in a series of historical societies. It was neither sacred nor necessary for human salvation.
Humphreys 92, 112) In India a two-stage process created these conditions. , Shakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, and Mahavira, the founder of Jainism. In Israel the “interstitial” Hebrew prophets, especially Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, developed the ethical monotheism established in the Mosaic covenant by fulminating against the impious people and their rulers. While it is futile to seek the necessary and sufficient historical causes for Greek self-consciousness, retrospectively we can observe how a number of factors reinforced one another to promote that particular type of transcendence (the third of the types mentioned above).
A Buddhist history of the West : studies in lack by David R. Loy