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Darwin, Dharma, and the DivineEvolutionary Theory and Religion in Modern Japan$
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G. Clinton Godart

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824858513

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824858513.001.0001

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The Dharma after Darwin

The Dharma after Darwin

Meiji Buddhism and the Embrace of Evolution

(p.70) Chapter Three The Dharma after Darwin
Darwin, Dharma, and the Divine

G. Clinton Godart

University of Hawai'i Press

Modernizing Buddhists such as Inoue Enryo in the Meiji period actively and creatively embraced, interpreted, and disseminated evolutionary theory. Buddhists also created new evolutionary theories. This was partly because of the competition between Buddhists and Christians. Religious plurality and competition stimulated the dissemination of scientific thought. Buddhism also stimulated creative biological thought, especially in the works of Minakata Kumagusu and Oka Asajiro. In contrast to associating evolutionary theory with nineteenth century progress, Buddhists often casted doubt on evolution as progressive.

Keywords:   Buddhism, evolutionary theory, Inoue Enryo, Minakata Kumagusu, Oka Asajiro

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