Differentiating the Pearl from the Fish-Eye: Ouyang Jingwu and the Revival of Scholastic Buddhism


In Differentiating the Pearl from the Fish-Eye, Eyal Aviv offers an account of Ouyang Jingwu (1871-1943), a leading intellectual who revived the Buddhist scholastic movement during the early Republican period in China.

Ouyang believed that authentic Indian Buddhism was an alternative to the prevalent Chinese Buddhist doctrines of his time. Aviv shows how Ouyang’s rhetoric of authenticity won the movement well-known admirers but also influential critics. This debate shaped modern intellectual history in China and has lost none of its relevancy today.

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Eyal Aviv, Ph.D. (2008), George Washington University, is an Assistant Professor at the Departments of Religion and the Honors program. He has published articles on Ouyang Jingwu and on many other aspects of modern Buddhism in China. He is also interested in the reception of Indian Buddhist Philosophy in China.
Differentiating the Pearl from the Fish-Eye makes a crucial contribution to the field. This groundbreaking book focuses on Ouyang’s Buddhist scholasticism but also goes beyond. It stands at the intersection of Yogācāra studies,Buddhist philosophy, Buddhist modernism, and modern Confucianism, and is, therefore, of great importance to scholars who work in these fields. -Jingjing Li, Leiden University in H-Buddhism (Sept. 2021)
Note to the Text
Figure and Table

Introduction: A Brief History of the Search for Authenticity
 1 Prelude
 2 The Structure of the Book
 3 The Problem of Authenticity
 4 The Problem of Authenticity in the Modern Period
 5 Searching for the Authentic Teaching of Confucius
 6 The Late Qing Intellectuals’ Rediscovery of Buddhism
 7 Searching for the Authentic Buddha’s Words
 8 Scholastic Buddhism and Yogācāra
 9 Ouyang and Authenticity

1 Early Life: The Path of a Burgeoning Intellectual
 1 Early Years
 2 Transiency in Ouyang’s Life
 3 Ouyang and Yang Wenhui
 4 Carving His Own Path
 5 The Birth and Failure of the Buddhist Association
 6 Turning to Yogācāra Scholasticism
 7 Financial Difficulties and Growing Reputation
 8 The Buddhist Studies Institute

2 Critique of Chinese Buddhism
 1 The Problems of Chinese Buddhism
 2 Taming the “Wild-Fox” Chan: Ouyang’s Critique of Anti-Intellectualism
 3 The Mistaken Doctrines and Practices of Huayan and Tiantai
 4 The Lack of Genuine Attainments by the Founders of Huayan and Tiantai
 5 One Buddhism, Not Many
 6 Tiantai and Huayan’s Practice
 7 The Ming Dynasty Yogācāra Revival
 8 Ouyang’s Critique of Ming Yogācāra Studies

3 The Debate over the Awakening of Faith in Mahāyāna
 1 Introduction
 2 The Text: Early Reception and Initial Doubts
 3 The Doctrine of the Awakening of Faith
 4 The Awakening of Faith in the Modern Period
 5 The Debate over the Awakening of Faith in Japan
 6 The Chinese Debate over the Awakening of Faith
 7 Ouyang Jingwu and the Awakening of Faith
 8 Essence and Function in Ouyang’s Thought
 9 Defenders of the “Faith”
 10 Lü Cheng and Wang Enyang’s Counterattack
 11 Conclusions

4 Redefining the Terms of Chinese Buddhism
 1 Introduction
 2 Historical Context
 3 Ouyang’s Twist in the Evolution of the Terms
 4 The Two Paradigms in Ouyang’s Preface to the Yogācārabhūmi-śāstra
 5 Faxiang versus Weishi Paradigms
 6 Different Textual Foundations for Each Paradigm
 7 Textual Sources for the Two Paradigms
 8 The Two Paradigms Are Essentially One Teaching
 9 The Importance of Faxiang
 10 The Faxiang Paradigm as a Tool of Criticism
 11 Opposing the Two-Paradigms Theory: Taixu and Yinshun’s Responses
 12 Taixu’s Critique: Introduction
 13 Taixu’s Critique of the Relationship between Faxiang and Weishi
 14 Classification of Scriptures
 15 The Notion of Paradigm
 16 Blurring the Boundaries between Mahāyāna and Hīnayāna
 17 Taixu’s Alternative
 18 Yinshun’s Critique and Analysis
 19 Conclusion

5 Later Thought
 1 Introduction
 2 The Move to Jiangjin
 3 Ouyang’s Later Buddhist Thought
 4 Ouyang on Nirvāṇa with No Remainder
 5 Ouyang on the Tathāgatagarbha
 6 The Two Kinds of Tathāgatagarbha Theory
 7 Ouyang and the Confucian (Re)turn
 8 Ouyang’s Quest for Authentic Confucianism
 9 Authentic Confucianism in Harmony with Buddhism
 10 Conclusions

6 Legacy and the Future of Authenticity
 1 Introduction
 2 Ouyang and Authentic Buddhism Reexamined
 3 Ouyang’s Influence on His Contemporaries
 4 Ouyang’s Influence on the Debate over Authenticity and Identity
 5 Ouyang’s Legacy: Buddhist Scholasticism and New Confucianism
 6 Buddhist Scholasticism and the Rise of Chinese Nationalism
 7 Ouyang Jingwu and Contemporary Buddhism
Scholars and readers with an interest in Chinese intellectual history, especially in the modern period. Scholars of Buddhism, especially those who are interested in modern Buddhism, Buddhist thought, and the Yogācāra scool.
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