Satori in Climacus? Christian Existence and the Zen Charge of Dualism

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In this paper, I begin by exploring the charge leveled against Christian belief by Masao Abe, a contemporary Zen Buddhist thinker. According to Abe, there are two pernicious dualisms in Christian belief. First, there is the dualism of the object (God) and subject (devotee) of faith. Second, there is a dualism of samsara and nirvana, or unliberated and liberated existence. I argue that Abe finds a kindred spirit in Kierkegaard’s pseudonym, Johannes Climacus. Accordingly, Climacus’ brand of Christianity can withstand Abe’s charge. Further, as I argue later, Climacus can issue his own charge in response to Abe’s account of liberation.

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