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This article deals with the persistence of theosophist worldviews in contemporary discourses on Buddhism in the West. It shows that some French intellectuals, working across the academic and the media spheres, though pretending to analyse the establishment of Buddhism in the West actually develop a soteriological discourse focused on a reified entity called “the West”. They thus contribute not only to Occidentalism (Carrier, 1995) but also to a Messianic reinterpretation of the Buddhist religion. The first part of this paper describes how those intellectuals refuse to characterize this tradition, except by opposition to what is known – Christianity, religion, science, Modernity. The second part examines the historical and ideological roots of this soteriology. Finally, the third part explores some of its concrete applications.


Rencontre académique creteil

Rencontre académique creteil



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