University of Winchester

ABSTRACTS /Joseph Tiangco

Sunyata and Postmodern Ambiguity as Philosophies of Spirituality: Implications to Education, Multi-Faith Dialogue, and Developing a Culture of Peace

The concept of Sunyata is closely associated to the notion of bliss in Hindu philosophy. On the other hand, strands of Western postmodernism at times are aligned with relativism, pluralism, and even to the notion of nihilism. The paper argues that an affinity exists between Sunyata and postmodernism as both reflect philosophies that are axiological to the spiritual ramifications of a philosophy of nothingness. From a Zen Buddhist standpoint, it is a provocative concern to ponder upon the blissfulness among multi-religious ideologies and the aberrant tendency towards the intellectualization and rationalization of both faith and spirituality. Ideologies, regardless whether religious, political, or philosophical, shall always be situated among contending isms. The occurrence of ideological isms in return accounts for instances of marginalization and even violence. Hence, the paper argues that an encounter with the spiritual implications of nothingness has much to offer in developing a culture of peace, which can be integrated with education and multi-faith dialogue.

Biographical Statement

I am the Vice Director of the Center for Cross-cultural Research and Promotion of Shu-Te University, Taiwan. I have recently presented/read the following papers relevant to the conference theme:

Sunyata, Postmodern Self and the Great Satori
Paper read at the Unity & Diversity Conference sponsored by the UNESCO Chair on Comparative Studies of Spiritual Traditions, Their Specific Cultures and Interreligious Dialogue. Antioch University in Seattle, WA on January 27-30, 2005.

Discordant Ultimate Realities and Conflict in Religious Worldviews: Can Nothingness Be Instead a Standpoint for Peace?
Paper read at the Worlds in Discourse: Representations of Realities Conference sponsored by the School of Language and Linguistics (SOLLS) in the University of Kebangsaan Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on November 21-23, 2005.

Philosophy from a Zen Standpoint
Paper read at the Conversations II: Western and Non-Western Philosophies
Cave Hill Philosophy Symposium (CHIPS) 2006
University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus
Barbados, West Indies
2-3 March 2006



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