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The Making of Buddhist Modernism$
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David L. McMahan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195183276

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195183276.001.0001

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Buddhist Romanticism: Art, Spontaneity, and the Wellsprings of Nature

Buddhist Romanticism: Art, Spontaneity, and the Wellsprings of Nature

Chapter:
(p.117) 5 Buddhist Romanticism: Art, Spontaneity, and the Wellsprings of Nature
Source:
The Making of Buddhist Modernism
Author(s):

David L. McMahan (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195183276.003.0005

This chapter investigates the articulation of Buddhism in terms of Romanticism and Transcendentalism by examining how Buddhism has come to be conceived as having a special link to art and creativity. D. T. Suzuki, a key figure in this conception, amalgamated German idealist and American Transcendentalist cosmological concepts with Buddhist ones and presented the Japanese poets, Zen monks, and samurai warriors as deeply and religiously attentive to nature in ways similar to the English Romantics and American Transcendentalists. His conception of spiritual freedom as a spontaneous, emancipatory consciousness that transcends rational intellect and social convention drew heavily on these figures. The idea caught on with other influential figures like Lama Govinda and Sangharakshita and has inspired a plethora of popular books, as well as programs in meditation and creativity in monasteries and universities.

Keywords:   Daisetz T. Suzuki, Lama Govinda, Sangharakshita, creativity, Takuan Soho, Romanticism, Transcendentalism, Zen

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