Buddhist Logic (hetuvidyā/yinming/inmyō) and its Applications in East Asia

  • Time: 27-28 June 2016
  • Venue: Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia, seminar room 1
  • Organisation: Birgit Kellner, Prof. Chen-Kuo LIN (National Chengchi University, Taipei)


Theoretical analyses of inference and proof and practical rules for debate formed a major preoccupation among Buddhist traditions of higher learning in India, subsumed under the heading of a "science of reasons" (Sanskrit hetuvidyā, Chinese yinming, Japanese inmyō). With the spread of Buddhism, texts belonging to different historical stages of this "Buddhist Logic" were translated into Chinese, became subject to intense processes of interpretation, and were variously elaborated in the larger context of Buddhist East Asia into a novel system called yinming (or inmyō in Japan) that retains significance in Buddhist monastic contexts until today.

A wealth of texts and manuscripts of this tradition in China and Japan await study. While continuing the investigation of theoretical and conceptual aspects of yinming in its various historical and local inflections and exploring further its textual transmission, this workshop aims to draw special attention to the application of such theories in changing social and intellectual contexts. How was yinming placed in Buddhist doctrinal discourse? What role did inmyō play in ritualized debate settings in medieval Japan? How was inmyō used in more recent critiques of Christianity and Republicanism in Meiji Japan?