Sophia

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 359–376 | Cite as

Nietzsche as ‘Europe’s Buddha’ and ‘Asia’s Superman’

Article

Abstract

Nietzsche represents in an interesting way the well-worn Western approach to Asian philosophical and religious thinking: initial excitement, then neglect by appropriation, and swift rejection when found to be incompatible with one’s own tradition, whose roots are inexorably traced back to the ‘ancient’ Greeks. Yet, Nietzsche’s philosophical critique and methods - such as ‘perspectivism’ - offer an instructive route through which to better understand another tradition even if the sole purpose of this exercise is to perceive one’s own limitations through the eyes of the other: a self-destruktion of sorts. To help correct this shortcoming and begin the long overdue task of even-handed dialogue - or contemporary comparative philosophy - we will be served well by looking at Nietzsche’s mistakes, which in turn informed the tragic critic of the West of the last century, Martin Heidegger. We may learn here not to cast others in one’s own troubled image; and not to reverse cultural icons: Europe’s Superman, and Asia’s Buddha.

Keywords

Nietzsche Asian philosophy Indian religious thought Buddhism Heidegger Comparative limits 

References

  1. Balagangadharan, S. N. (2005). The heathen in his blindness: Asia, the west and the dynamic of religion (2nd ed.). Delhi: Manohar.Google Scholar
  2. Bilimoria, P. (2001). Heidegger and the Japanese connection. In R. Small (Ed.), A hundred years of phenomenology: Perspectives on a philosophical tradition (pp. 89–110). Ashgate: Aldershot, Publishing.Google Scholar
  3. Dalmia, V. (2003). Orienting India: European knowledge formation in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. New Delhi: Three Essays Collective.Google Scholar
  4. Figl, J. (1991). Nietzsche’s early encounters with Asian thought. In G. Parkes (Ed.), Nietzsche and Asian thought (pp. 51–63). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  5. Halbfass, W. (1988). India and Europe: An essay in understanding. Albany: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  6. Hulin, M. (1979). Hegel et l’Orient Suivi de la Traduction Annotee d’un Essai de Hegel sur la Bhagavad-Gita. Paris: Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin.Google Scholar
  7. Jackson, W. (1992). J.L. Mehta on Heidegger, hermeneutics, and Indian tradition Leiden: EJ Brill.Google Scholar
  8. Junger, E. (1953). Der Gordische Knoten. Frankfurt: Klosterman.Google Scholar
  9. Mehta, J. L. (1987). Heidegger and Vedanta: Reflections on a questionable theme. In Heidegger and Asian thought (pp. 15–46). Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.Google Scholar
  10. Mehta, J. L. (1990). Philosophy and religion: Essays in interpretation. New Delhi: Indian Council of Philosophical Research.Google Scholar
  11. Mistry, F. (1981). Nietzsche and Buddhism prolegomenon to a comparative study. New York: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  12. Morrison, R. C. (1997). Nietzsche and Buddhism: A study in nihilism and ironic affinities. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Nietzsche. (1967). Richard Wagner in Bayreuth. In G. Colli, & M. Montinari (Eds.), Werke, IV (1967). Berlin: de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  14. Parkes, G. (1991). The orientation of the Nietzschean text. In G. Parkes (Ed.), Nietzsche and asian thought (pp. 3–19). Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  15. Schopenhauer (1999). Parerga and Paralipomena, (trans. E F J Payne). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  16. Schulin, E. (1958). The world-historical understanding of the orient in Hegel and Ranke (Translation of Die weltgeschichtliche Erfassung des Orients bei Hegel und Ranke). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht.Google Scholar
  17. Sedlar, J. W. (1982). India in the mind of Germany: Schelling, Schopenhauer and their times. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  18. Singh, R. R. (2007). Death, contemplation and Schopenhauer. Aldershopt, UK: Ashgate Publishing, pp. 44–45, p. 92.Google Scholar
  19. Solomon, R. C. (1988). Introduction: Reading Nietzsche. In R. C. Solomon, & K. Higgins (Eds.), Reading Nietzsche (pp. 3–12). New York, and Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Stambaugh, J. (1972). Nietzsche’s thought of eternal return. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Deakin University/SophiaMelbourne UniversityVicAustralia

Personalised recommendations