湯一介 ( 北京大學 ) ,文化的互動及其雙向選擇:以印度佛教和西方哲學傳入中國為例,共 14 頁 , 二零零二年七月。

TANG Yijie (Peking University), Cultural Interaction and the Bidirectional Option: The Introduction of Indian Buddhism and Western Philosophy into China as Examples, Chinese/14 pages, July 2002.

Abstract

After his visit to China in 1921, Bertrand Russell published an article "A Comparison of Chinese and Western Cultures," in which he argued: "Many times in the past has it been proved that exchanges between different civilizations made milestones in the development of human civilizations. We had Classical Greece in imitation of Egypt, Rome of Greece, Arabia of the Roman Empire, Mediaeval Europe of Arabia, and the Renaissance Europe of Byzantium." Looking at the Chinese history form Russell's perspective, we have, among many, two most exemplary introductions of foreign cultures. In the first case, it was the Indian Buddhism disseminated East in the first century B.C., and in the second, introduction of Western/European culture since the sixteenth century. Both events exerted immense influence on the development of the Chinese culture.

From the end of the Western Han Dynasty to the Eastern Jin Dynasty, Indian Buddhism began to insinuate itself into China, a page first of the Han Dynasties' sorceries practice (otherwise known in the usurping name of Dao-shu), then of the Wei-Jin Dynasties' metaphysics tradition. From the Hans to the Wei-Jin, Buddhism spread itself through two basic schools, i.e., the Zen School represented by Anshi Gao/An Shigao and the Prajna School represented by Zhiloujiachen; the latter survived and exerted considerable influence upon the Chinese culture. After the Eastern Jin Dynasty, the Buddhist schools of Mahayana and Hhinayana infiltrated their sutras, vinayas and sastras. This came into conflict with the traditional Chinese culture, which was answered by the Buddhists with their adaptation to the native culture, resulting in the Confucian-Daoist-Buddhist tripod of conflict, interbreeding and co-existence. After the Sui and the Tang Dynasties, the Indian Buddhism began to naturalize, and the sinicized Buddhist Sects, i.e. the Tiantai, the Huayan, the Zen, appeared to contemplate on the xinxing (heart-nature), their principal theme. However, the Weishilun, the greatest Buddhist influence then in India, lasted but a bit longer than thirty years, though supported by the authority of Xuanzang's translation. Later, the Indian Buddhist Sect of Mizong, fanfared to immense populace of believers by the three Indian masters Shanwuwei, Jingangzhi and Bukongdali, fell from sonority to ignorance in a short period of time, being too different from the Chinese tradition, while the Zen Sect, close to the Chinese way, survived, spread and soared. Yet in Tibet, Mizong interbred with the similar Benjiao, a popular local religion in Tibet and northern Sichuan, and begot today's Lamaism. As it descended down to the Song dynasties, Buddhism was much criticized and extracted from, giving rise to a newer, richer and brighter school, the Neo-Confucianism. China remained in the latter's power for another thousand years.

Sparks of the Western culture were blown into China as early as the Tang Dynasty when Nestorianism set upon its eastward mission. It grew for some time, only to be struck down and put out by the Antibuddha Decrees of the Tang's Emperor Wuzong. It then fell into oblivion. Whereas another Eastern Christian Sect, the Yelikewen Sect, brought into China during the Yuan Dynasty, joined in the Empire's fate. The real cultural influence exerted on China by the West was not felt until the end of the Ming Dynasty, i.e., in the 1500s. After a short interval caused by the Chinese Rites Controversy, it picked up its course at the time of the Western invasion in the mid-1800s and forced its tide upon China -- hence the overall import of Western learning, an accepted fact for Chinese culture, and Chinese philosophy in particular.

Thanks to the introduction of Western philosophy, Chinese philosophy began to dissociate from the traditional academic sections of jing and zi , and distinguish itself as an independent branch of science. The twentieth century was an age of social change in China, and theories in fields as diverse as evolutionism, the Nietzschean philosophy, pragmatism and Marxism, came into China. After the opening and reform policy was adopted, existentialism and Western Marxism was felt in China, followed by phenomenology and post-modernism. But that was not true for the analytic philosophy and the scientific philosophy. In the meantime, Chinese philosophy never ceased to assimilate, and the Chinese philosopher began to see where the East and West differ. This demonstrates the cultural consciousness of the Chinese philosophy. If we take a careful look at the introduction of the various schools of Western philosophy into China, it is clear that some are felt and seen, some are felt but not seen, some are seen but not felt, and some are neither seen nor felt -- a clear evidence for the bi-directional option in cultural interaction.

Taking the Westerner's perspective, we again see different cases of the Chinese culture's influence upon the West. When Matteo Ricci brought Chinese classics to Europe, the intelligentsia was struck: people found in Leibnitz a devotee to the Chinese philosophy, and in Voltaire a Confucius of Europe. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Western scholars studied loads of ancient documents carried West and established a tradition known as sinology, a window to the vast treasury of the Chinese culture. As early as the 1920s, Bertrand Russell expressed his wish in his article "A Comparison of Chinese and Western Cultures" that the Chinese and the Western cultures emerge. With the development of the comparative culture (including comparative philosophy, comparative literature and comparative history, etc.), Western scholars in the 1990s further demanded: "Can we have a complete philosophy without the Chinese part?" Even some mainstream philosophical schools in the West are attracted by China, so much so that Martin Heidegger is immersed in Laozi, Carl Gustav Jung is drawing much from the Chinese Daoism, and the post-modernist way of thinking cannot be irrelevant to the traditional Chinese mode, etc. In a word, while the Chinese culture takes from the West in quantity, it gives in diversity. Such is the twentieth century China.