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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 January 2014
Philosophical approaches to hermeneutics, such as we find in Hans-Georg Gadamer and Paul Ricoeur, offer insights into how a classic text expands one's horizons, through both a dynamic game of conversation between reader and text and the enlarged sense of self that comes from entering into the proposed world of the text. Comparative theology follows these leads by showing how engaging in the canons of the religious other allows one fresh insights into one's own religious tradition's familiar and revered truths. This article is an exercise in such an approach, examining three Asian traditions and samples from their most classic textual representatives. By engaging the Dhammapada from Theravada Buddhism, classic sayings from Zen, and the Dao-De-Jing and Zhuangzi from the Daoist tradition, we see how we might appropriate the Catholic theological and spiritual traditions with fresh eyes and new insights.
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12 Translations of the Dhammapada are mine.
13 Wimal Dissanayake refers to the Dhammapada as “the inmost soul of Buddhism, embodying the whole of the Buddha's teaching.” See Dissanayake, Wimal, “Self and Body in Theravāda Buddhism: A Tropological Analysis of the Dhammapada,” in Self as Body in Asian Theory and Practice, ed. Kasulis, Thomas et al. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993), 123–45Google Scholar, at 129.
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