I have recently taken on a position as interviewer for the New Books Network, an exciting new project to hold podcast interviews with the authors of recently published scholarly books. I will be interviewing for New Books in Buddhist Studies, a position I share with Scott Mitchell. I’ve completed a first podcast which is not yet available online, but I’ll let you know when it is.
I mention this now because that first podcast is with Jason Clower on his The Unlikely Buddhologist, the study I recently mentioned of 20th-century Confucian Mou Zongsan. The podcast is there to explore Clower’s ideas; here I’d like to add my own.
The book asks why Mou, a committed Confucian, spent a great deal of time thinking and writing about Buddhism. Its answer is that Mou found East Asian Buddhists expressing metaphysical distinctions with a clarity that the Confucians had not. Mou is deeply concerned with the metaphysics of value – specifically, the relationship between ultimate value and existing things. One might refer to this as the relationship between goodness and truth, or between God and world, even creator and creation. Continue reading