[Cross-posted from New Books in Buddhist Studies] The 20th-century Chinese philosopher Mou Zongsan is relatively little known in the West, but has been greatly influential in Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China, as well as influencing Confucian studies in North America. His work helped revive Confucianism at a time when many thought it dead. Yet at the same time, Mou devoted significant scholarly time and effort to writing about Buddhism. Why? Jason Clower‘s The Unlikely Buddhologist: Tiantai Buddhism in Mou Zongsan’s New Confucianism (Brill, 2010) attempts to explain why Mou thought Confucians could benefit from the study of Buddhism. In this interview, he explains Mou’s interest in Buddhism, and demonstrates to us why the study of Chinese Buddhism and Confucianism are inseparable.
Jason Clower is an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies at California State University, Chico.