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Abstract

In this cross-cultural comparison on religious therapeutics and pathology in Christianity and Buddhism, I focus on Augustine of Hippo (354-430) in the Roman Empire, and Tiantai Zhiyi (538-597) in Sui China. Addressing the cross-cultural phenomena of interiority and disciplinary measures in ordinary life, the present comparison suggests a multi-dimensional comparative method in dialogue with phenomenology, hermeneutics, interiority studies, and post-colonial theories. This comparison examines how Augustine and Zhiyi show similarities and differences when envisaging the therapeutic vision of virtue and the diagnostic analysis of pathology and addressing the effect of cosmological participation on the lived experience of value, desire, emotion, and affect. It also examines how both thinkers tackle various institutional measures of disciplining the collective lived experience through authoritative social relations, communications of traditions, and ritual reenactments, while underscoring the limit of discipline. This comparison also delves into how both thinkers conceive of the interaction between the religious way of vision and mundane social activities in ordinary life as well as suggest spiritual exercises and disciplines. In addition to the historical comparison of Augustine and Zhiyi, it traces how they laid the foundations for the two living traditions, the Augustinian tradition and the Tiantai tradition, that keep struggling to relate to modern normative orientations such as authenticity, reciprocity, and political liberalism.

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