A Judaeo-Christian theological comparison of the concept of the 'self' in western Cartesianism and Zen Buddhism
The overall plan of the thesis is to present a theological understanding of holistic personhood in relation to the Zenist monistic and the Cartesian dualistic treatments of selfhood. The focus of the study is to analyze the Zenist religious view of the self as unthinking nothingness and the Cartesian philosophical interpretation of the self as thinking substance, Zenist meditation representing a classical stance of Chinese intuitivism and Cartesian meditation of Western rationalism. Common to both approaches to the realization of personal identity is their mentalist-individualist paradigm which does not adequately account for the unity of experience of embodied personhood. In contrast with the 'I un/think therefore I am' of Zen and Cartesianism is the 'I commune therefore I am' of the biblical tradition. Through this communitarian model derived from the Judaeo-Christian biblical tradition, the thesis points towards a possible resolution of the quandary brought about by Cartesian and Zen 'meditational' conceptions of personhood.