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Anointed and Awakened

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Title: Anointed and Awakened
Author: Drake, Owen
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Religion
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2009
Abstract: With this thesis I intend to demonstrate the great compatibility between a Buddhist ontological account of reality, and a Christian Trinitarian definition of created order. Both theophilosophies, when drawn to their conclusions, establish the individual as inseparably connected to the world, and require an abandonment of the worldview that treats the Self as isolated and independent from the Other. When creation through the Son is closely examined, as fixed by the Gospels and early Christian ecumenical creeds, it proves to necessitate an understanding of the fundamental connectedness of all that is created. This stems from the substantially infinite nature of the Son, and the perpetual quality of creative action. The Buddhist principle of interconnectedness is articulated most specifically by Nishida Kitaro, founder of the Kyoto School of Zen, with his language of contradictory identity. It is found that even in a formulation where the individual consciousness is most expressly defined as being self-determining, the Buddhist perspective on Self as whole is dependent upon an infinite and creative Other. In essence: creation (the Christian view) logically entails connection (the Buddhist account), and ultimately I posit that the same is true in the opposite direction. It is simplest to approach this discussion first from the realm of interpersonal relations, so the first part of my essay is dedicated in large part to an examination of the presence of the self in the other. This principle is found in both Buddhist ontology and in the moral instructions of Jesus Christ, and so we find that, on the level of human interactions, both traditions recognize the importance of overcoming the view of Self as self-contained existentially. On the theological level, we see that the Son is established as Infinite Creator of everything, being the same substance as God the Father. Because every part of the Infinite is connected to every other, and ultimate creation cannot be understood historically, but must instead be framed in terms of the eternal moment of God, all of the created order is shown to be inseparably connected, by the Power of the Son. This acknowledgment of universal interconnectivity is the core point of Christian agreement to Buddhist perception.
Subject: Reality -- Religious aspects -- Buddhism
Subject: Order -- Religious aspects -- Christianity
Subject: Self -- Religious aspects
Subject: Other (Philosophy)
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Drake, Owen. "Anointed and Awakened". 2009. Available electronically from

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