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The experience of knowing : illusion and illumination in the Zhuangzi and the Platform Sūtra Kreger, Wayne Gary


This paper aims to compare and contrast the concepts of “delusion” and “knowledge” as found in the Inner Chapters of the Zhuangzi and the Platform Sūtra. Employed in this analysis is the methodology of conceptual metaphor analysis, a method that identifies the source domain for metaphors employed in the dissemination of both doctrine and mystical experience. By acknowledging their metaphorical entailments, such metaphors can be used to more clearly elucidate the meaning of said disseminations. Ultimately I will argue that both works exhibit a similar conception of the afflictions of “non-enlightened” persons and the cognitive abilities of “enlightened” persons, though they arrive at different conclusions regarding the source of these abilities. Part one of this paper will introduce the methodology of conceptual metaphor analysis as developed by Lakoff and Johnson, and will illustrate the ways this methodology can serve the pursuit of studies in comparative religion. Following this background information relevant to the interpretation of both the Zhuangzi and the Platform Sūtra will be given. Part two investigates the metaphors and “realization” moments found in the Zhuangzi. Part three uses similar methodology to analyze the Platform Sūtra. The final part compares and contrasts the two works.

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