Xinyi Wang Wins the Best Undergraduate Paper in Buddhist Studies for 2021–22

Congratulations to Xinyi Wang , the recipient of the 2021–22 Best Undergraduate Paper in Buddhist Studies!


"An Analysis of the Philosophical Coherence Between 'Neither A, Nor Non-A' in the Diamond Sutra and '因是' in Zhuangzi"


The extensive interaction between Buddhism and Daoism, two important philosophical and religious traditions originating in Asia, happened on the basis of the many similarities in their core values and worldviews. A close comparison of the foundational philosophical doctrines in these two traditions would enrich our understanding of the theoretical conditions that enabled their various forms of interaction in history. In this paper, I present a philosophical analysis of two different practices to understand the reality of the world, “neither A, nor non-A” in the Diamond Sutra, an important Mahayana scripture, and “因是” in Zhuangzi, a foundational text of Daoism. Under the conventional interpretation of “因是” as the cognitive action of affirming, these two texts sharing the goal of obtaining an enlightened vision of reality are at odds in terms of the right attitude to view the world with. Proposing an alternative interpretation of “因是” as the practice of experiencing the world as it is, I argue that there exist considerable similarities between the two texts in terms of their reasoning behind adopting the two practices, and my interpretation of “因是” enables a coherent appreciation of both practices as useful in clarifying the philosophical ideas in these two important classical texts, as well as pointing out the potential path toward the truth. 


Xinyi Wang is a rising junior majoring in Philosophy. She is from Nanjing, China and is interested in Classical Chinese philosophy and Buddhist philosophy.