08 January 2017

Sangharakshita and Romanticism

Like Suzuki and Govinda, Sangharakshita embeds his characterisation of Buddhism and its relation to art in a discourse derived in part from Romanticism and its successors. This is apparent not only from his explicit estimation of Romantics such as Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth, and Beethoven as representatives of the best of "naturally religious art" but also in the way he attempts to isolate the internal, experiential component as the essential element of religion to which all others are subordinate or of which they are corruptions. The influence of Romanticism is also evident in his critique of industrialism and its aesthetic sensibilities and his approval of the simple beauty of peasant homes. He echoes the Romantic, moreover, in his representation of art as expressive of sublime, interior, and transrational states, as well as his insistence that true art is conducive to morality, which nevertheless might transcend mainstream moral codes. 

McMahan, David L. (2008). The Making of Buddhist Modernism. Oxford University Press. (138)

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