KEIJI NISHITANI PDF

Though the philosopher Keiji Nishitani was arguably the latter kind, he struggled throughout his life to see the world with wonder. But this was not just a subjective dilemma for Nishitani. The questions he posed are still relevant, specifically to our recent concerns about the climate and planet. Rather than ignore this abyss, Nishitani sought to go deeper into it. As a youth he struggled with bouts of illness, but discovered his love of reading in periods of convalescence.

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Though the philosopher Keiji Nishitani was arguably the latter kind, he struggled throughout his life to see the world with wonder. But this was not just a subjective dilemma for Nishitani. The questions he posed are still relevant, specifically to our recent concerns about the climate and planet. Rather than ignore this abyss, Nishitani sought to go deeper into it. As a youth he struggled with bouts of illness, but discovered his love of reading in periods of convalescence.

In high school — listless and bored — he found further solace in books after abandoning the official curriculum. At university, Nishitani refused the path expected of him to study law , but no clear alternative presented itself — each option seeming as inconsequential as the next. 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.

If he continues to live he may become a vagrant or a poet, he may give himself up to social action or moneymaking, etc. Often we learn not to worry about questions without answers or problems without solutions — we simply continue on with our lives. But Nishitani could not or would not let his questions go unanswered. Nishitani rigorously studied Mahayana Buddhism and Zen, while also cultivating his interest in Western philosophy. He also regularly visited Shokokuji Temple in northern Kyoto to practice Zen meditation, and it was this practice that would sustain him throughout the difficult periods during and after World War II following the war, Nishitani was forced to resign from his position by U.

Occupation authorities. Nishitani also received funding to study with Martin Heidegger in Freiburg. There Nishitani began to conceive of a syncretic, comparative philosophy that would bring together elements from Mahayana Buddhism, the mystical philosophy of German theologian Meister Eckhart, the Zen writings of Dogen and Nietzschean nihilism.

But nihilism was just the beginning for Nishitani. He began to view the human being — reduced through science, manufactured through technology, alienated in our social relations and rendered insignificant by the scale of the planet, the human being — as everywhere in general, and nowhere in particular. But this is not nihilism as typically understood, this nothingness is no void that must be filled: sunyata is not some thing in itself nor some empty container in which things exist and persist.

Nishitani is highly regarded in the history of Japanese philosophy. More than anyone, he placed nihilism at the center of any future philosophy.

For him, nihilism was not just an abstract concept but a deeply personal experience, and yet one that opened onto the impersonal — the climate, the Earth itself and every other nonhuman thing that remains indifferent to our wants and desires.

That this view of nihilism recurs again and again — culturally, socially, historically — is evidence of our need to understand the world in non-human as well as human terms. Ultimately both categories emerge as tenuous and uncertain. Along the way, Nishitani overcame the old struggle between despair and wonder by taking a position that was at once neither and, strangely, both at the same time.

This is the third article in a series on pessimism in Japanese literature. Click to enlarge. Sorry, but your browser needs Javascript to use this site.

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NISHITANI KEIJI

It examines his idea of the three fields of awareness: consciousness, beneath it nihility, and at bottom emptiness. Existence on the field of consciousness is too superficial to make for a fulfilling life. Drawing from Nietzsche and Heidegger, as well as from the Zen tradition, Nishitani outlines the field of nihility as a place of death rather than life and argues that if we can endure facing our finitude there will come a turn to the deeper field, of emptiness. Keywords: Nishitani , Nietzsche , Heidegger , consciousness , death , emptiness , nihilism , nihility , zazen , Zen. Graham Parkes, born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, taught Asian and comparative philosophy for thirty years at the University of Hawaii before taking up his present position at Professor of Philosophy at University College Cork, in Ireland, where he is also the founding director of the Irish Institute for Japanese Studies. Among his publications are: Heidegger and Asian Thought ed. He is also the author of over a hundred journal articles and book chapters on topics in Chinese, Japanese and European philosophies.

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The Kyoto School

After an introductory section, this article will focus on four questions: How should the Kyoto School be defined? What are the basics of their political writings, and the basis of the controversy surrounding them? What is the legacy of the Kyoto School for cross-cultural thinking? This he began to do in his maiden work, An Inquiry into the Good , published in Nishida On the basis of this work he obtained a position in the Philosophy Department of Kyoto University, where he went on to ceaselessly develop his thought and to decisively influence subsequent generations of original philosophers, including the two other most prominent members of the Kyoto School, Tanabe Hajime — and Nishitani Keiji — As is reflected in the name of the School, its founding members were associated with Kyoto University, the most prestigious university in Japan next to Tokyo University. It is perhaps no coincidence that the School formed in Kyoto, the ancient capital and center of traditional Japanese culture, rather than Tokyo, the new capital and center of modernization, which also meant, Westernization.

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Black Illumination: the abyss of Keiji Nishitani

He studied under Martin Heidegger in Freiburg from to He held the principal Chair of Philosophy and Religion at Kyoto University from until becoming emeritus in At various times Nishitani was a visiting professor in the United States and Europe. According to James Heisig , after being banned from holding any public position by the United States Occupation authorities in July , Nishitani refrained from drawing "practical social conscience into philosophical and religious ideas, preferring to think about the insight of the individual rather than the reform of the social order. In James Heisig's Philosophers of Nothingness Nishitani is quoted as saying "The fundamental problem of my life … has always been, to put it simply, the overcoming of nihilism through nihilism. Heisig further argues that Nishitani, "the stylistic superior of Nishida," brought Zen poetry, religion, literature, and philosophy organically together in his work to help lay the difficult foundations for a breaking free of the Japanese language, in a similar way to Blaise Pascal or Friedrich Nietzsche. Stating: "All things that are in the world are linked together, one way or the other.

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