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James W. Heisig, Thomas P. Kasulis, and John C. Maraldo

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835521

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835521.001.0001

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The Shōtoku Constitution

The Shōtoku Constitution

Chapter:
(p.35) Prelude The Shōtoku Constitution
Source:
Japanese Philosophy
Author(s):
James W. Heisig, Thomas P. Kasulis, John C. Maraldo
Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824835521.003.0015

This Prelude provides an overview of the Seventeen-Article Constitution, which probably marked the birth of Japanese philosophy. The document was believed to have been issued by the legendary figure of Prince Regent Shōtoku Taishi in the year 604. The Shōtoku Constitution is exemplary of what many Japanese philosophers have done throughout the ensuing fourteen centuries. It stressed Buddhist values of personal development and practice, suggesting that Buddhism should become a state religion. For Shōtoku, Confucianism teaches proper social behavior and governmental leadership, whereas Buddhism teaches self-understanding and control of inner motivations. The Constitution also emphasizes the continuity between the social and natural worlds and addresses the pursuit of truth as a collective enterprise.

Keywords:   truth, Seventeen-Article Constitution, Japanese philosophy, Shōtoku Taishi, Shōtoku Constitution, personal development, Buddhism, Confucianism, self-understanding, natural world

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