The Idea of the Mirror in Dōgen and Nishida

In James W. Heisig (ed.), Frontiers of Japanese Philosophy Vol.1. Nagoya: Nanzan Institute for Religion & Culture. pp. 99-142 (2006)
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The image of the “mirror” (鏡kagami) appears frequently in the philosophical texts of Nishida Kitaro (西田幾多郎1870-1945), where it assumes various functions. Mirror references first occur in meditations on the philosophies of Josiah Royce (1855-1916) and Henri Bergson (1859-1941). The most fascinating evocation here corresponds to the idea of a “self-enlightening mirror”, used to probe the philosophical ground for self-illumination. This idea seems to point back to Buddhist meaning that intervenes in Japanese intellectual history. We take this as our warrant for establishing here, firstly, how Nishidean philosophical speculation can be critically related to the thought of Dogen (道元1200-1253); and, secondly, in what sense it has stimulated some contemporary approaches in Japanese philosophy (for example, those of Nitta, Ohashi, and Sakabe).
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