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Tang Chun-I Visiting Professorship Department Seminar: Xiong Shili’s Ti-Yong Metaphysics and the Treatise on Awakening Mahāyāna Faith’s “One Mind, Two Gateways” Paradigm

Please register by 5pm, 27 November 2020 to attend the seminar.


Xiong Shili 熊十力 (1885-1968) was very much heir to a body of philosophical traditions, in which the ti-yong polarity featured centrally in repeated attempts, since at least the fifth century, to answer the question, “How can the unconditioned (the absolute, suchness, principle) be realized if our cognitive awareness is circumscribed by the conditioned nature of human existence?” The focus of this seminar presentation is on how Xiong drew on Huayan, and later on Tiantai, philosophical resources to articulate changing formulations and refinements of his signature metaphysical doctrine of the “non-duality of ti and yong” (體用不二). The period covered spans the 1930s to the early 1960s. These resources were grounded in accounts of the relationship between li 理 and shi 事, which, in turn, were philosophical responses to and developments of the account of the relationship between the unconditioned and the conditioned in the Treatise on Awakening Mahāyāna Faith (Dasheng qixin lun 大乘起信論), as encapsulated in its “one mind, two gateways” (一心二門) model.

The first part of this presentation will establish the connection between Xiong’s pre-1950 account of the non-duality of ti and yong thesis and the Huayan doctrine of the non-obstruction of li and phenomena (理事無礙). In the 1950s, Xiong’s ontological views changed substantially. The second part will seek to show how Xiong’s late 1950s-early 1960s account of the non-duality of ti and yong thesis is theoretically grounded in Tiantai accounts of ti-yong.

Delivered in English
All are welcome