Prof. Keta has
taught at Kanazawa
University, and currently specializes in religious philosophy and
studies. Having earned her PhD in literature at Kyoto University, she
teaches there while also serving as president of the Japanese
Religious Studies. Prof. Keta has written many books including Nishida Kitaro ‘Zen no Kenkyu’ [‘The Study
of Good’ by Kitaro Nishida] (2011), Nihirizumu
no Shisaku [Nihilist Thought] (1999) and Shukyo Keiken
no Tetsugaku: Jodokyo Sekai no Kaimei [Philosophy of
Religious Experience: An Elucidation of the Pure Land Buddhist World]
lecture, Prof. Keta referred to ‘earth’
as a key concept in literature and religion. She explained, “The
earth is the
source of every harvest. It is a religious object that finds expression
Greek and Japanese mythology. It is a word that means a specific
a boundless expanse.” She added that the earth is the ultimate mother,
birth to everything and serving as a place that brings together birth
religion and spirituality in
Japan, and referring to Daisetsu Suzuki, a Buddhist scholar, Prof. Keta
sometimes feel nostalgia for the past when we hear about the earth.
however, the primary meaning given to Earth is that of a planet.
has changed our perspective of the earth as a boundless source of life
Earth as a mere sphere. In this way, science has relativized the world.
the earth is eternal, the Earth will end someday.”
Regarding some of the global issues we
face today, she stressed, “We have decided to
inhabit the Earth and treat the environment as our own property. In
fact, we destroy the environment with our own hands and consume all its
resources. Considering these negative aspects, we have to take
responsibility for living on Earth. Earth is the earth and vice-versa.
It is neither an object to be researched, nor a work of art to be
viewed, nor is it a resource to be consumed. The important issue is how
we sustain life on Earth with its history of both glory and folly.
Religion is indispensable in the search for a way to address this issue
differently than we have done so far.”
The Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP)
Masako Keta (Professor, Kyoto University / President of Japanese
Association for Religious Studies)
Sky Building (Osaka-shi, Osaka)
November 30, 2016