By David R. Loy
A Buddhist interpretation of Western historical past that exhibits civilization formed through the self's hope for groundedness
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Additional resources for A Buddhist history of the West : studies in lack
This way of understanding our past originated in the Renaissance, whose intellectuals were eager to distinguish their times from the dark ages that preceded. 1050), owing to the many extraordinary changes that began to occur late in the eleventh century: a self-generated economic expansion, with the The Lack of Progress 43 formation of craft guilds and a merchant class; the growth of cities and universities; the development of vernacular languages and literatures, chivalry, and new styles of art and architecture.
Understood more literally, however, original sin enslaves my incipient freedom to those religious institutions that claim to control its dispensation. Yet the radical inward turn Augustine encouraged, by seeking God within, opened the door for what seems to have been the spiritual freedom of the great Christian mystics, such as St. Francis and Meister Eckhart, who discovered what according to Buddhism is the only true way to resolve our lack: liberation from self in nondual union with something greater than the self, a loss of self-preoccupation that can lead to identifying oneself with all creation—not only with the needy and sick, but with Brother Sun and Sister Moon.
H. , humanism—and the result of their experiment was the discovery that such a religion does not work. , the Roman conquest of Greece, the barbarian conquest of Rome) but because it self-destructed. Its distinctive contribution to the development of freedom (and the individual self) survived only as sublated into the Augustinian synthesis of Neoplatonic thought with Christian theology, which devised another way to cope with the greater anxiety of greater inwardness: by postulating an original sin, caused by Adam’s misuse of freedom.
A Buddhist history of the West : studies in lack by David R. Loy