Benoit Vermander (魏明德)

Benoit Vermander (魏明德)

Benoit Vermander lives in Shanghai. He teaches philosophy and religious anthropology at the University of Fudan.

週一, 12 十月 2015 13:32

Michel de Certeau: The Unity of an Itinerary

Nathalie Zemon Davis has given a very effective description of Certeau’s underlying intellectual and existential focus:

          “Whether writing about madness and mysticism in the seventeenth century, South American resistance movements in the past and present, or the practice of everyday life in the twentieth century, Certeau developed a distinctive way of interpreting social and personal relations. … Certeau wanted to identify the creative and disruptive presence of "the other"—the outsider, the stranger, the alien, the subversive, the radically different—in systems of power and thought. … To be sure, notions of ‘otherness’ were cropping up in literature, philosophy, and psychoanalysis in the 1960s and 1970s, when Certeau was gaining prominence, but he was original in the multiple ways he conceived figures of the ‘other’ and how they functioned in many settings. He coined the term "heterologies" to describe disciplines in which we examine ourselves in relation to otherness; history and ethnography, for instance, could be ‘sciences of the other’ if they confront the often disfiguring assumptions we bring to our understanding of different times and places.”[1]

Reflecting on the forms, expressions and meaning of “Experience” was at the core of Certeau’s research: what language do men shape and develop to give an account of what is impossible to express and yet cannot but be said, sung or cried out? How does “experience” coalesce into “institutions” that want to make it perennial and yet are prone to disfigure the initial intuition of the founder? How does our creativity in everyday life, regardless of the constraints to which we are submitted, flow from the roots of our inner experience and create new social configurations? As Marcel Mauss had done before him, Certeau was somehow looking for “total social facts” (fait social total), the study of which reconciles and transcends sociology, psychology and anthropology. Certeau’s quest has a strong epistemological dimension: it wants to restore the unity of all knowledge presently divided into different social sciences and humanities according to the way separate fields of study or “disciplines” are defined and organized by the academic world.

As it had been partly the case for Marcel Mauss some forty years before, Certeau entered the “linguistic turn” because of such epistemological concerns: paying attention to the logic of language was the key for reconciling the study of the individual and the collective into one. “Mystical” language was Certeau’s special topic. He studied mysticism not only as an individual phenomenon, but also as a collective adventure. He did it through the deciphering of the Mystical School which flourished in the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries, especially in Spain and in southwest France. His encounter on  the one hand  with Jacques Lacan and a certain type of psychoanalysis, on the other hand with Wittgenstein and his philosophy of language helped Certeau to center his thought on the formal linguistic study of speech and writing. That study provided him with an organizing thread which was instrumental in linking his  investigations through many disciplines. No wonder that Certeau was so quick to produce an insightful analysis of the 1968 movement: right on the spot he understood it as a major event concerning people’s language and speech.


Making Sense of Everyday Life

In L'Invention du quotidien (The Practice of Everyday Life) of 1980, Certeau brought attention to all kinds of daily practices. For instance, the way people are walking into the city according to their own whims creates a  "walking rhetoric”; we read books in ways we are not supposed to do it, somehow reshaping and giving new meaning to the material at hand. In the same way, cooking rituals organize our own space and ways of living together, with families and friends. Somehow, the “trajectories” developed by ordinary people can be seen as “tactics” they devise to build up their own markers, paths and spaces across settings to which they have to get adapted. By so doing,  they “poach upon” the territories controlled by political and social powers. Paying special attention to the “ways of proceeding” of the silent majority therefore leads to a “polemological analysis of culture.” Culture articulates conflicts and develops in an atmosphere of tensions, and often of violence, for which it provides temporary balances, contracts and compromises. “The tactics of consumption, the ingenious ways in which the weak make use of the strong, thus lend a political dimension to everyday practices” concludes Certeau.

As developed by Certeau, the notion of “trajectory” or “wandering line” is especially thought-provoking: “In the technocratically constructed, written, and functionalized space in which the consumers move about, their trajectories form unforeseeable sentences, partly unreadable paths across a space. Although they are composed with the vocabularies of established languages (those of television, newspapers, supermarkets, or museum sequences) … the trajectories trace out the ruses of other interests and desires that are neither determined nor captured by the systems in which they develop.” Note here the way the tactics of everyday life are compared to sentences, in which we use as we deem it best specific sets of vocabulary and grammatical resources.

Certeau’s line of analysis has been developed well beyond its original setting. The concepts developed in The Practice of Everyday Life have been used for explaining how people “create” ancestors for instance through representations and stories.[2] In modern megalopolises, urban-dwellers’ inventiveness is now taken into account by the ethnographic literature when describing how they make use of the places designed for mass consumption or how they carve out places for religious or recreational purposes.


History, Practices and Writing

Certeau’s epistemological acuteness took shape through his study of the mystical and spiritual literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It made him aware that believers had been continuously adapting their faith to new social contexts and giving new meanings to words, ideas and rituals coming from the past. Even for a 20th century historian who is a Catholic believer, any 16th century Catholic was really a “Stranger.”

According to Certeau, we cannot just project on the past our current vision and languages – and, at the same time, we cannot content ourselves with a learned, “objective” accumulation of data. There is an “absence”, a “lack”, a tension that truly opens up a way towards “historical knowledge.” It is the “otherness” of the one we first thought was “close” to us that gives birth to the risk of writing history. Certeau says that he started to write really about Jean-Joseph Surin, when he discovered how far away he was from this 17th  century French Jesuit  whose texts he was studying.

The reflection led by Certeau on the status of the historical text was inspired by his own historical practice, and at the same time it was  influencing his historical practice. His own research style has been well characterized by Roger Chartier: “’All of Certeau’s work as a historian was centered on the precise, careful analysis of the practices by which men and women of past times, appropriated, each in his or her own way, the codes and the places that were imposed on them, or else subverted the accepted rules to create new formalities.”[3]


Belief and Weakness: Entering the Mystic Path

As his historical research leads him to reflect on the nature of “belief’, Certeau also renews  Christian theology. He sees Christ as the figure of the Other, of the “Stranger’, he describes “belief” as a way of experiencing one’s weakness (La Faiblesse de croire, 1987 – English translation in preparation in London, Spanish translation available in Buenos Aires). Such existential weakness, he noted, needs also to mark the institution that conveys and gives social expression to faith. A “weak Church” is the only institutional model that can be fully loyal to the particular nature of Christian faith. Only in weakness can spiritual fecundity be experienced. Christianity had to be “scattered” (Le Christianisme éclaté, Paris, Seuil, 1974) in order to be reborn. “One can say that the mystical is a reaction against the appropriation of truth by the clerics, who started to become professionalized in the thirteenth century. It favored the illumination of the illiterate, the experience of women, the wisdom of fools, the silence of the child: it opted for the vernacular languages against the Latin of the schools. It maintained that the ignorant have competence in matter of faith. … The mystical is the authority of the crowd, a figure of the anonymous.”[4]

Chartier has said that, for Michel de Certeau, “History was a place of experimentation.”[5] The same can be asserted of all intellectual practices to which Certeau dedicated his thought and time. For him, a field of research was never actually defined and limited by its subject matter. His careful exploration of any issue, in any field of study, would rather turn it into a place, a laboratory : there he would  link together insights, hypotheses and methodologies into an ever-evolving intellectual synthesis. The discovery of the “Stranger” – located in us or outside of us –  was the driving force which inspired his insatiable curiosity. In a special way, Certeau tells us that mysticism and its study allow us to explore the very “strangeness” which always is within and outside our own being, such exploration will draw us farther away from our familiar ground.

Maybe when we embark into any research of our own, do we similarly need to nurture a “mystical drive” that brings us away from our comfort zone. Thirty years after his death,  Certeau’s works still challenge our intellectual habits and bring us towards grounds where we may be reluctant to be involved. As he would say so often, to fully live one’s life, everyone has to take some major risk.

[1] “The Quest of Michel de Certeau”, The New York Review of Books, 55 (8), May 15 2008.

[2] See Grégory Deleplace, 2009, L’invention des morts, sépultures, fantômes et photographie en Mongolie contemporaine, Paris, Centre d’Etudes Mongoles et Sibériennes- Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, « Nord-Asie I ».

[3] Roger Chartier, op. cit., pp.45-46.

[4] Interview in Le Nouvel Observateur, 25 September 1982, pp.118-121; quoted in Chartier, op. cit., p.46.

[5] Op. cit., p.47.


Illustration by Bendu

週四, 10 九月 2015 09:34








有的父母離開家鄉外出打工時,選擇將孩子留在農村,形成一群數量更為龐大留守兒。根據2008年全國婦聯的一份報告指出,留守兒計有五千八百萬名,占農村十七歲以及十七歲以下人口的21.72%(4) 根據教育部統計,2011年學齡留守兒計有兩千兩百萬名,較前一年減少七十一萬兩千名。(5)比起城市人子女,農民工子女往往有較高的輟學率、較低的就學率,以及較低的畢業率。(6) 眾多農民工子女沒有完成九年義務教育。居住在城市的農民工子女約有四分之三的年齡處於小學階段(7),而十二歲以上農民工子女的就學率普遍低落。 (8)眾多農民工後代的青少年子女選擇返回家鄉,或選擇在城市開始工作。










1 ATTANE, Isabelle, Au pays des enfants rares. La Chine vers une catastrophe démographique, Paris, Fayard, 2011, p.182.《衛報》有類似的估計(1900)上千萬農民工子女得不到教育2010315日。

2 中國有1260萬農民工子女《中國日報》201295日。

3 Isabelle Attané, op.cit., p.182.

4 上千萬農民工子女得不到教育衛報》,2010315中國被建議成立國家留守兒童委員會新華社2008年月9日。







11李丹柯曾滿超,中國農村教育的家庭決策與性別不平等,《國際中國研究雜誌》,第1卷第2期,2003年,224-248頁;譚琳宋月萍,性別是否影響?理解中國當前義務教育不公平,《亞洲兒童性別歧視》,本地治理,全印出版社,207-224頁;MONTEIL, Amandine, “Éducation : la longue marche des Chinoises”, in Chinoises au XXIe siècle. Ruptures et Continuités, Marylène Lieber et Tania Angeloff (eds), Paris, La Découverte, 2012, pp.43-62.







週六, 01 八月 2015 17:52















再者多數佛教基金會較少來自企業的創舉,大多是由寺廟設立或管理。相之下,儘管儒家展現家長式的行事作風,強調附屬關係以及地域差,但對企業責任的社會層面具有更系統性的影響對中國整體社會而言,「基督教信徒老闆和基督教教義重要性雖然相對微弱,但地方的影響相當活躍。(5)換句話說,我們的觀察印證安德瑞(André Laliberté)佛教慈善事業當今影響力的論述,亦即佛教徒對社會服務的本質缺乏共識對世俗信眾的行善缺乏持續性質、系統性質的教導最終導致佛教成為一股保守的力量,無利於社會變革。(6)



1 SU, Dongpo (2008), Selected Poems and Prose, Lin Yutang Chinese-English Bilingual Edition, Taipei, Cheng Chung, pp.68-69.

2参见LALIBERTE, André., WU Keping and PALMER, David  (2011), "Social Services, Philanthropy and Religion in Chinese Society", Chinese Religious Life, edited by David Palmer, Glenn Shive and Philip Wickeri, Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 139-154; LALIBERTE, André (2009), "Entre désécularisation et resacralisation: Bouddhistes laïcs, temples et organisations philanthropiques en Chine", Social Compass, 56(3), Septembre 2009, pp. 345-361.

3 KRAISORNSUTHASINEE, Suthisak (2012),"CSR through the heart of the Bodhi tree", Social Responsibility Journal, 8 (2), pp. 186-198.

4 2005年,何鴻毅在香港獨慈善組織——何鴻毅家族基金,該慈善團體致力於向全球推廣中國文化和佛教思想,並發起一系列中國和海外資助專案網站參見!/about/, 20131210

5 參閱CAO, N. (2008), “Boss Christians: The Business of Religion in the 'Wenzhou Model' of Christian Revival”, The China Journal, 59, pp.63-87.

6 André Laliberté (2012), “Buddhist Charities and China’s Social Policy: An Opportunity for Alternate Civility?’, Archives de sciences sociales des religions, 2012/2 (n° 158), pp.95-117.

CSR in China : Interview of Benoît Vermander (Calumet Rountable, USA, November 2015)

週五, 03 七月 2015 21:21















  • 我們強調的第一個文化特色是領土,由中國道家和其他文化傳統拓展而成,至今依然是生氣蓬勃的文化特色地域領土象徵人的歸屬(例如村莊鄰里或工作單位),並被視為一個有生命的個體。的隱喻是中國世界觀的核心概念。每處地域都是有生命的個體,而對中國傳統醫學來說,身體也被視為一處有氣息的地域。形塑身體的和空間意義上的」,我們必須對兩者有所理解與掌握。中國視每一方空間都居住著氣,氣支撐著我們,因此我們也應該予以善待。( 4)中國是由數不盡的小宇宙組合而成。藉由巷弄的架設,圍繞著棋盤式的通道,或是安身的密閉空間,人們重構空間感,生命受到滋養與培育。宇宙成為人居的真實存在,庇護著男性,女性以及孩童,他們透過屬於自己的空間與風潮共享並管理著寰宇。如此體會居住空間的方式使我們得以寓居大地。對於既定地域領土的依戀感,以及形塑地域領土」的感知,顯而易見於眾多中國企業家面對身處土生土長的出生地或是工作環境的起源地所展現的行為,他們在上述環境裡扮演承擔的重要角色。這樣的空間意識停留在定義參考基準空間的範圍內,而且員工在公司範圍內約略展現同樣的行為方式。由此觀之,今日中國企業家決策者以及社會領袖所面臨的問題即是如何動用幫助整個社會達致新調節意識的資源,以調節支配小型社區大型社區以及大自然之間三者的關係。他們面對的挑戰在於如何務實地重新評估與詮釋能夠幫助他們完成任務的傳統要素。
  • 由此觀之,和諧」是能平衡不同利益與聲音的工具,因此人們重視和諧的概念。在中國思想裡,和諧始終是一個核心概念。二十世紀九十年代以來,中國強調和合文化(和諧與合作的文化),即是試圖調節中國傳統社會思想和今日現實真相之間的落差。如此的社會工程並非易事。凡是想要引用傳統和諧的觀念的人必定遭逢一個問題:和諧觀念適用於權力階層分布明確的同質性社會,而且對外來影響掌有切確的控制權。不管在中國或是別處,當代社會的特色是流動性國際化思維與行為規範恆常的多樣化,同時人與人之間經濟面文化面的互動不斷地增長。在這樣的背景下,如果和諧的觀念要繼續被引用的話,它指的應該不是回歸過去的狀態(此舉全然不可行),而是透過多樣性、矛盾和交流的過程中實踐嶄新的社會理想。
  • 除了重新思索中國傳統思想裡和諧」觀的範疇,另外值得我們重新詮釋的概念是的範疇。在此,我們遇到一個難題:不管是知識份子還是普羅大眾,對許多中國人來說,實現志業似乎與的落實存在矛盾,至少當我們理解的社會意涵時即有這樣的體悟:中國的哲學傳統對義人推崇備至,尤其是儒家。然而,道家存在另一個相關的核心概念,甚至是儒家傳統或是法家傳統也是如此:平等平等首先是一個本體論概念,指的是萬物生靈的本性皆平等,此一概念由佛教思想進一步拓展和強化。平等」同樣是一個存在概念,與簡單質樸節儉等概念息息相關。早期儒生主張人人具有平等的潛能,因而推動不立基於階級差別的教育。法家思想家韓非子提出法律之前的平等思想,唯有統治者除外。(5)社區價值提出朝向質樸與平等的呼喚——這樣的呼喚在今日中國的各個領域迴盪。
  • 另一個需要考量的調整概念是多樣性為了爭取民眾耕作的最大利益,簡化生態體系,國家和社會正逐步侵蝕中國的多樣性。幾世紀以來,中國失去了大量的生態緩衝地森林濕地和荒地。」(註6)值得我們警覺的是,生態多樣性以及思想多樣性兩者形影相隨。當人們推行單一發展模式,景觀變得單一化。文化多樣性與生態多樣性齊步同行,在中國也是如此,因為當獨特的文化與發展模式都能受到尊重時,人與大自然之間也將容納多樣化的連結途徑。提高文化多樣性的呼求在中國社會的諸多領域覓得回音,尤其是在西部開發模式的論辨中得到迴響,由此維護西部獨特資源。
  • 「社區價值構成人們定義永續發展模式的另一個基本向度,它確實也是近似中國傳統精神的向度。今日,我們面臨的挑戰,在於如何將社區價值作為評估工具,來構思輔助諸多發展模式。將社區發展相結合,也就是社區價值的思維有助於我們從各種角度的觀點評估既定項目的成本與費用在規劃灌溉運輸或工業發展等計畫時,我們懂得網羅地方居民的智慧。經由溝通和議價的過程,人們將提高對生態問題的關注。

傳達企業社會責任與永續發展作為優先的理念,上海浦發銀行選擇綠色幸福 責任三個來同時闡釋國家十二五規劃和中國的傳統價值觀。儘管落實上的度顯著,但浦發銀行的報告顯示出該企業高度重視人的價值,關注普通人、弱勢群體、邊緣群體的意願,並且讓我們確信唯透過互照顧共同分享的公共倫理觀,我們方能重新思考一個人的價值觀、行事方式和行事的優先順序如此方能説明一間企業公司成為全球化、永續發展的行動者(7)浦發銀行的事例一種轉變顯示在永續發展必要理念基礎上,傳統中國和現代中國最終可以調和為一




1 WALDMAN, David A., et al., (2012), “Cultural and Leadership Predictors of Corporate Social Responsibility Values of Top Management: A GLOBE Study of 15 Countries”, Journal of International Business Studies, 37 (6), p.834.

2 GAO, Yongqiang (2009), “Corporate Social Performance in China: Evidence from Large Companies”, Journal of Business Ethics, 89 (1), pp. 26, 30, 31.

3 AGLIETTA, Michel and BAI, Guo (2013), China's Development: Capitalism and Empire, New York, Routledge.

4關於此一主題的相關資源,請參見 LAGERWEY, John (2010), China, A Religious State, Hong Kong, Hong Kong U.P.

5 BAI Tongdong (2012), China: The Political Philosophy of the Middle Kingdom, London, New York, Zed Books, p.24. 也見pp.60-64.

6 McNEILL J.R. (1998) “China’s Environmental History in World Perspective”, in Elvin M. & Liu T.J. (Eds.), Sediments of Time, Cambridge U.P., Cambridge, p.35.


8 XU Shangkun, YANG Xulai (2010), “Indigenous Characteristics of Chinese Corporate Social Responsibility Conceptual Paradigm”, Journal of Business Ethics, 93(2), pp.321–333.

9 SHAFER William E., FUKUKAWA Kyoko, LEE Grace Meina (2007), “Values and the Perceived importance of Ethics and Social Responsibility: The US versus China’, Journal of Business Ethics, 70(3), pp.278-279.

CSR in China : Interview of Benoît Vermander (Calumet Rountable, USA, November 2015)

週一, 22 六月 2015 16:13

'The Mass on the World' by Teilhard de Chardin

It was in the desert of Ordos that Teilhard wrote one of his great mystical texts: 'The Mass on the World' (La Messe sur le monde). Without bread and wine, he couldn't celebrate mass everyday, as he was accustomed to doing. So it was the high plateau which became his altar, and all the matter in the universe that became his offering to God:

It is done.

Once again the Fire has penetrated the earth.

Not with sudden crash of thunderbolt, riving the mountain-tops: does the Master break down doors to enter his own home? Without earthquake, or thunderclap: the flame has lit up the whole world from within. All things individually and collectively are penetrated and flooded by it, from the inmost core of the tiniest atom to the mighty sweep of the most universal laws of being: so naturally has it flooded every element, every energy, every connecting-link in the unity of our cosmos; that one might suppose the cosmos to have burst spontaneously into flame.

In the new humanity which is begotten today the Word prolongs the unending act of his own birth; and by virtue of his immersion in the world's womb the great waters of the kingdom of matter have, without even a ripple, been endued with life. No visible tremor marks this inexpressible transformation; and yet, mysteriously and in very truth, at the touch of the supersubstantial Word the immense host which is the universe is made flesh. Through your own incarnation, my God, all matter is henceforth incarnate.

Through our thoughts and our human experiences, we long ago became aware of the strange properties which make the universe so like our flesh:

like the flesh it attracts us by the charm which lies in the mystery of its curves and folds and in the depths of its eyes;

like the flesh it disintegrates and eludes us when submitted to our analyses or to our failings off and in the process of its own perdurance;

as with the flesh, it can only be embraced in the endless reaching out to attain what lies beyond the confines of what has been given to us.

Watch an excerpt of the documentary Teilhard and China, produced by the Taipei Ricci Institute and the Xu-Ricci Dialogue Institute at Fudan University (more info here).

週六, 02 五 2015 10:42



撰文|魏明德      攝影笨篤索羅門群島

台北利氏學社創辦者甘易逢(Yves Raguin, 1912-1998)是研究基督宗教、佛教、儒家思想與道教等靈修思想的專家,影響力遍及亞洲、太平洋區域以及其他各大洲。甘易逢的旅行穿越各個空間,與他相逢的人基於多元種族、宗教與文化,這些點滴都融入他的思想與靈修觀中。在此我們側重以「海洋性情(oceanic feeling)描述他與神對話的靈修體驗藉此我們更能敏銳感受甘易逢的靈修性格。



甘易逢出生於法國。雖然是法國籍人士,他與太平洋世界持有一份親密性。他在越南與台灣長期居住使得他成為亞太地區的一份子,而且他曾指導避靜的靈修體驗並授課,地區擴及菲律賓、加拿大以及巴布亞紐幾內亞 (Papua New Guinea)。他曾經在自己撰寫的一本書中,提及一次飛越過太平洋夜航的靈修體驗:在兩個多小時的時光中,在太平洋上短暫的夜色航行,我看到自我意識的終極深度,但在我的自我意識內見到另一個意識,後者顯得更為深徹。我不能接觸這另一個意識,如同我接觸自我意識那麼清楚,在我內我還是能接觸這另一個意識,它呼喚我,朝向它而去。」穿越太平洋海面的夜航體驗架設出密契經驗顯現的時空。















在太平洋世界中,海洋就是洲陸:海洋構成了各種生活型態的自然環境,同時也是海島居民的溝通媒介……詩人艾培力郝歐法(Epeli Hau'ofa,1939-2009)論及島嶼之洋,他認為大洋凝聚一切而不是分割各島,海洋是充滿閱歷的故事:在海岸出生者在海洋中移動與呼吸,宛如鹽在海中一般自然,或是血液在肉身當中奔流一般自如。沒錯,寬廣無垠的海洋同樣居住在人類肉身內在的限度當中,島民透過登船踏浪尋找其他島民的方式探訪自身的內在旅程。

這一切讓我們想起作家羅曼.羅蘭(Romain Rolland)在與佛洛依德(Freud)的通信中所稱謂的海洋性情。透過這樣的表達詞語,羅曼.羅蘭試圖捕捉超越所有宗教信仰結構中令人悸動的無窮無盡的感覺。今日,羅曼.羅蘭稱謂的海洋性情已經變成宗教心理學發展史中的一項註腳。當時佛洛依德並不贊賞,他寫信給羅曼.羅蘭說道:你倡議的字句令我感到陌生。神祕事物對我來說像音樂一樣難以接近。羅曼.羅蘭回答道:我很難相信密契主義和音樂對您來說感到陌生。我寧可認為您害怕它們,因爲您期望的是讓批判理性工具毫無瑕疵。



大洋的體驗對甘易逢來說呈現多樣的型態。在很長的一段時間中,這樣的感受是透過體驗沙漠而得到靈修成果,沙漠的體驗長駐在他的生活之中。他將早期的著作──《神的荒漠(God’s Deserts)的內容分贈給許多友人,法文版現已集結出版,其中傳達的正是西方古典的靈修風格,以下的叙述讓我們想及大洋上破曉的感受:








這個段落表面看似簡單,但是它向意義的深度開放:西方如此特定的密契靈修傳統,從聖伯爾納鐸(St Bernard)艾克哈特(Meister Eckardt)與聖依納爵 (St Ignatius)銜接而來的靈修調性,藉由簡化純化的作用,不僅與人們稱謂著的東方靈修學相互連結,而且與不同語言、習俗以及環境中活躍的靈修體驗相互應合,某種程度上儼然已經全球化。這裡論及的體驗是關於一個人身在特定的傳統與喚呼聲中,如何理解自身真正被喚呼的我在,如何讓一個人的獨特性變成具有創意的沃土,藉此其他人將能夠透過同樣的方式肯定自身被喚呼的我在。普遍性不是本質,寧可說是一個過程,人們經由具創造力的忠實度而覺醒,彰顯我從哪裡的來處以及我被喚呼的去處。甘易逢毫無倦意穿越的海洋確實是神性寬廣無邊的顯露,不但滿全而且虛空,同時居住在我們有限的內心深處。甘易逢穿越的大洋同時也是人類靈修經驗顯露多樣性格外出色的翰海,就像島嶼散落在未知的海洋上。對甘易逢來說,海洋與神性的浩瀚感彼此揭示,相互闡明。

週三, 17 九月 2014 00:00









攝影│沈秀臻 學習如何思考,如同自由且負責的人。

週三, 17 九月 2014 00:00

La seconde vie du Grand Ricci

Fin août 2014, les Presses Commerciales de Pékin (l'une des plus grandes maisons d'édition chinoise, éditrice, entre autres, du Dictionnaire Xinhua - le dictionnaire le plus vendu au monde) ont sorti un volume de plus de 2000 pages, le « Dictionnaire Ricci Chinois-Français », une édition révisée et raccourcie du Grand Ricci , le dictionnaire publié en 2001 par les Instituts Ricci de Taipei et Paris, dont les droits ont depuis été confiés à « l'Association Ricci pour le grand dictionnaire français de la langue chinoise » . L'ouvrage devrait atteindre les librairies de Chine début octobre.

Depuis les premiers contacts entre les Instituts Ricci et les Presses commerciales (Shangwu), il aura fallu attendre quinze ans... Mais le délai était largement justifié : les Presses commerciales ont effectué un travail d'exception, qui fait de ce dictionnaire – et pour très longtemps – l'outil de référence lexicographique entre le chinois et le français. Le choix des expressions a été fait avec scrupule, les expressions douteuses ou fautives ont été corrigées, un choix éclairé de nouvelles expressions venues du chinois contemporain a été introduit sans pour autant affadir l'ancrage du Ricci dans l'histoire de la langue et de la pensée chinoises. Les traditions lexicographiques combinées des Presses Commerciales et des Ricci ont livré ensemble ce qu'elles avaient de meilleur... Ouvrant le dictionnaire, je me remémorais avec joie ma première visite dans le « temple » intimidant des Presses Commerciales en 1999 : Zhang Wenying, l'éditrice qui m'accueillait alors a finalement coordonné jusqu'au bout le projet. Entre tous les partenaires impliqués, la confiance et l'estime n'ont fait que croître au long des années.

L'origine du grand Ricci remonte au « Bureau d'étude sinologique » de Zikawei, à Shanghai, dans les années 1880, et au travail accompli par les sinologues jésuites français Léon Wieger et Séraphin Couvreur dans le Hebei à partir de la même époque. Il avait été repris notamment par les pères Eugen Zsamar, Yves Raguin, Jean Lefeuvre et Claude Larre après qu'ils avaient quitté la Chine. Il était grand temps que ce fruit de la sinologie jésuite « rentre » en Chine, et qu'il le fasse corrigé, mûri, porté à fruition par la meilleure institution lexicographique chinoise. La parution du « Ricci-Shangwu » n'est pas seulement un événement éditorial. Ancrée dans une longue histoire, elle est un signe fort de fidélité et d'espérance.

週五, 13 八月 2010 16:03

Is Asia Pacific? Interreligious conflicts, dialogue and inventiveness in today’s Asia

There is no need to underline the dizzying diversity of Asia’s religious landscape. I do not intend here to attempt even a preliminary sketch of the patchwork of faiths and traditions that extend from Pakistan to Japan… I just would like to point out some general trends that have emerged in the last two or three decades, trends that have been partly reshaping the setting of Asia’s religions. Also, I would like to reflect on the challenges that these trends are creating. Furthermore, I’d like to suggest a few possible answers that Christianity could articulate in response to current developments, provided that Christians wish indeed to become “peacemakers” as the Sermon on the Mount calls them to be. Such responses may also inspire the ones brought forward by other religions. In any case, interreligious dialogue in Asia has become an endeavor that no religion can escape from, not only for spiritual reasons but also in order to achieve the following goals: (a) progressing towards national and ethnic reconciliation (b) ensuring religious freedom and other civil rights (c) tackling global challenges (dialogue of civilizations, ecology, struggle against consumerism, development of a global ethic.)

Revivalism and Identity Crisis

Revivalism has become a predominant religious trend. The clearest example is provided by the new vitality found by Islam in Asia, as is also the case in other parts of the world. Such fact is of utmost importance: Indonesia is the most populated Muslim nation in the world; Bangladesh and Pakistan have overwhelming Muslim majorities, and Malaysia has also a Muslim majority, though not as pronounced; India has a strong Muslim minority; and Muslim populations are located on conflict-prone frontier regions in the Philippines, Thailand and China.

The point here is that such “vitality” - experienced with different feelings according to the standpoint of the observer - encompasses an array of very different phenomena that have to be carefully distinguished:

- A kind of revivalist atmosphere stressing both Islamic and ethnic pride on a background of post-colonial sensitivity and widespread religious education, affecting the consciousness of Muslim populations all around Asia.

- Marginal violent movements carrying attacks, movements often fostered by international networks.

- Pervasive political strategies trying to impose and enforce Islamic laws and Islamic state apparatus; such strategies threaten the fabric of the secular state (which was a feature of post-colonial Asia) or lead some states that from the start were not altogether secular to become openly theocratic.

- At the same time, it is important to note that, since 2001. Muslin communities often suffer from accrued hostility and prejudices, especially in countries where they are a minority - and these prejudices can reinforce violence and deviant behaviors. Some of these communities also suffer from disadvantageous social background and economic conditions.

A few additional remarks are in order:

- Among these trends, the third one might be the most preoccupying one. In history, such strategies have led to the annihilation/assimilation of populations living in Muslin societies and professing other faiths. Strategies vary according to the size of the proportion of the Muslim population and the overall political situation. A distinction is to be made between Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia on the one hand, and the other countries of the region where Muslims are a vocal minority, sometimes with complaints rooted into national history. At the same time, further comparison between Bangladesh and Pakistan for instance might help us to assess better the role of cultural or international factors in religious attitudes: Bangladesh prides itself of a spirit of tolerance and accommodation seemingly lacking in Pakistan. This opposition of style between two Moslem countries leads back to an array of cultural and political factors deeply anchored into the collective memory of the two protagonists.

- In countries with Muslim majority, Christians of tribal origin generally constitute the most vulnerable population when it comes to forced conversion and discrimination. At the same time, Christians who are social leaders because of their wealth, occupation or educational level are often at the frontline of ongoing confrontations (this is patent in Pakistan).

- Of course, besides the Islamic revival, other sources of concern exist, which strongly influence interreligious conflicts and cooperation on the continent as a whole: authoritarian States manipulative of religions or even of interreligious dialogue; revivalist political/religious currents and organizations that might go with the assertion of a “national’ religion (in a Buddhist context, the phenomenon can be observed in Sri-Lanka); materialism and consumerism as they are cutting off the very roots of interreligious dynamics and dialogue.

- With the exception of Vietnam maybe, one notes everywhere a strong growth of Protestantism, most of the time under a fundamentalist and proselytizing garb, which often exacerbates tensions already existing. Proselytism also characterizes new religions, which are in the rise in many countries. As a consequence of this increase of religious communalism, a country like China is much less “syncretistic” than in the past and, witnesses a new assertiveness of believers who are conscious of clear-cut confessional divisions.


In a Buddhist temple in Bangkok (July 2010)

What is to be done?

1) In a context marked by potential or actual confrontations, but also by encounters and fluctuating frontiers, believers should not renounce the ideal of living and praying side by side as a privileged form of dialogue. Sometimes, and in different circles, there have been hesitations and reservations on a form of interreligious dialogue rooted into the fact of praying side by side. Still, one can reasonably think that God takes more pleasure in seeing people praying together than killing each other… Prayer often manifests itself as a kind of “revolutionary force”, and religious leaders are well advised to let and encourage people find their own way of associating their prayers in times and places of conflicts, natural disasters, or just for building up brotherly neighborhoods. Actually, what might be the most dangerous feature of violence is the fact that it exercises a kind of fascination that leads all people involved to a hardening of their own identity, fostering a chain of violent reactions - violent in spirit even when not in deeds. In this light, and even if such posture looks “idealistic”, the importance of a spiritual, even “mystical” approach towards interreligious understanding cannot be overlooked.

2) At the same time, it is impossible not to tackle directly the political dimension of interreligious encounters (understood as dialogue and tensions): ethnic or national revivalist movements and religious revivals are associated phenomena; ethnic, partisan and religious lines are often blurred. In the Catholic Church, a document of the Second Vatican Council, Dignitatis Humanae, has established the principle of religious freedom, associating it with a reflection on the mission, nature and duties of the state. At the same time, the text was strongly influenced by the American constitutionalism tradition. Asian religious leaders now need to clarify their stance about the secular state (which most of them tend to belittle or flatly reject.) Asian religions should debate of their political principles and, hopefully, agree on a few pressing tasks: (a) definition of the secular state, (b) pushing towards further regional union, encompassing a bill of rights emphasizing the spiritual roots of Asia (both their diversity and their strength), (c) working for equality among sexes (which might constitute the most important check against radical Islam on the long run)… Also going along this “political imperative”, arises the exigency to be always truthful about history. Interreligious and inter-ethnic encounters are made possible or are blocked by narratives that are shared or are conflicting. When they happen in a context where conflicting narratives are honestly recognized and retold, such encounters operate as a healing of memories.

3) Asia is a region marked by an irreducible linguistic, cultural and religious diversity. Traditionally seen by Christianity as a practical and theological challenge, such diversity is actually a treasure that needs to be assessed, appreciated and interpreted. Peace-building is thus to be seen as an ongoing endeavor inseparable from the development of interreligious dialogue: both tasks are anchored into an interpretative process through which cultures, creeds and world-views are perpetually reshaped. On the long run, the “translation” of traditional languages and narratives that the in-depth meeting with the Other makes possible nurtures a creative reinterpretation of one’s spirituality and faith.

4) Value education and other actions conducive to a culture of dialogue must target in priority women and the youth, as these two sectors are the ones who are susceptible to foster in the future a less rigid and more compassionate social culture. Value education starts from existential requirements such as the importance of honesty, mutual respect and joy. Interreligious cooperation is actually anchored into the nurturing of basic values that, ideally, could and should be taught in the schools of a pluralistic secular state.

A “musical” metaphor might help us to ascertain what is at stake in such encounters: we all have different musical tastes, different “ears”, and yet we are called to do music together. What then will come out of our musical disagreements? At the end of the day, we cannot bet for sure on the kind of music that God likes and composes. Maybe He does not compose in the C scale or in B moll, maybe He composes a kind of serial or computer-generated music that goes through disharmonies and rhythmic breaks – music that we do not immediately appreciate. Creative music generally challenges our listening habits - and we can assume that God indeed is a creative composer.

週二, 20 四月 2010 19:27

“Found in Translation” Matteo Ricci’s lexicographic inheritance is alive

“Grand Ricci”, Matteo Ricci and Xu Guangqi, Guests of Honor in Shanghai

• On May 11, 2010, the digital edition of the Grand Ricci, the largest Chinese-foreign language dictionary in the world, was unveiled in Shanghai.

• This event took place on the date of the four hundredth anniversary of the death of Matteo Ricci (May 11, 1610), pioneer of cultural interaction between China and the West.

• Scholars invited to address the newly founded “Xu Guangqi-Matteo Ricci Dialogue Institute” at Fudan University joined the “Association Ricci” for the May 11 event, celebrating a new era of intercultural dialogue founded on the mutual appreciation of the diversity of our tongues and traditions.

週五, 01 十一月 2013 14:39




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